Too many webinars? Or not enough? With an endless stream of webinar invitations hitting their inboxes, B2B prospects have to be ruthless about which ones deserve their RSVP.
In fact, some 53% of business professionals say there are just too many webinars happening right now. But with 91% of marketers saying webinars have been a successful part of their strategy, these versatile online events are still among the most effective marketing tools out there.So what makes the difference between just another webinar vs. a standout webinar that drives real results for B2B marketers? We asked a panel of experts for their top tips on the latest webinar tips and tricks, including the things event marketers should stop, keep and start doing in order to win with B2B prospects.
📈 Stay up to date with the latest trends in our B2B Webinar Benchmark Report
Yep, we hosted a webinar on webinar tips. We just couldn’t resits! If you’re looking for a deep dive, check out the on-demand version of our event where we highlight top tips from this post.
When webinars first hit the event marketing scene in the mid-1990s, they were a big step up from the dated video presentations of the day. 📽️But by 2008, business and marketing experts such as Jason Fladlien (a.k.a. The ‘$100 Million Dollar Webinar King’) and others had mastered the art of monetizing webinars, creating webinars that generate over $1 million in revenue. Then, of course, the pandemic hit. And that’s when the world of webinar series really blew up. Today, the webinar market is expected to reach an impressive $800 million by 2023, making these historic virtual events a front-running lead gen tool for companies of all shapes and sizes.
Source: Heinz Marketing
But just because webinars are the popular choice doesn’t mean they’re always the right choice. In today’s age of shortening attention spans and lengthening to-do lists, webinars only work if you’re presenting them in a way that genuinely engages your audience.
🤷 Not sure if you should host a virtual event or webinar? Get a clear breakdown on what the differences are, plus tips for when to use each one in your events strategy.
We've all been guilty of hopping into a webinar, only to immediately turn off our camera and go back to sorting our inboxes while the presenter does their thing.
But with 49% of marketers saying it’s audience engagement — not attendance — that makes or breaks their events, you can’t afford to let your audience coast through your next webinar.
Here’s what our experts have to say on how to create a standout webinar fit for the 2020s.
If there’s one thing our panel of experts agreed on, it’s that the hard sales pitch has no place in the webinar world.
For Alexis Taylor, Associate Marketing Consultant at Clicksuasion Labs, “B2B event marketers need to stop making their entire webinar presentation a sales pitch.”
Honestly, we couldn’t agree more. Here’s how Alexis explains it:
“When you are operating a webinar, you are competing against everything around the attendee for their attention. If attendees feel your webinar is just one large ploy to sell them something, even if they are in the market for your services, they will turn their attention elsewhere.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about your product at all. As Senior Demand Gen Manager at Testbox, Hiba Amin puts it: “There's a right time and place to talk about your product, but it's not during every slide of your presentation.”
Experiments have shown that by limiting your registration requirements to just three fields, you can reach a conversion ratio of up to 25%. For experts like Roy Morejon, President and Co-Founder at product development, crowdfunding and ecommerce marketing firm Enventys Partners, these small friction points matter more than you think:
“All event marketers need is a company name and email to follow up with a potential lead. The client should be encouraged to provide more information or register on a company website, but it should not be required.”
Bottom line? Your prospects are busy. They don’t have time to fill in an extensive questionnaire simply to catch your next webinar.
To make it easy, look for a webinar hosting platform that offers Magic Link technology that gives attendees access to your event at the click of a button. As a major bonus, this is also a stellar way to boost your attendee show rates!
Agora.io’s Creative Design and Production Manager, Claudia Oliva, is a big believer in using the right content delivery formats to help elevate the webinar experience for your attendees. For Claudia, if a live webinar is going to reach can’t-miss status, event and field marketers should stop falling back on “traditional, boring slide presentations like in the past.”
“The virtual space lends itself to a more engaging format, open the floor to discussions with the audience, prepare polls, invite people to the stage to join in the conversation or post questions in the chat, break up the presentation by introducing other media (videos, images, even music), keep them engaged.”
In the modern era of event marketing, there are myriad content creation formats to play with, including live video Q&A, real-time polls, customizable breakout sessions, video production capabilities, and more. Don’t be afraid to drop the slide deck and start getting creative with your webinar format!
Remember, attendees are showing up for your content. So your content better show up right back. For experts like Claudia, that means being 100% sure your content aligns with your audience.
And with 27% of webinar consumers wanting to learn about a hobby or passion, 18% wanting to learn about their career or industry, and 22% wanting to learn about both, there’s no reason not to bring a little fun into the mix.
In addition to content featuring subject matter experts addressing key industry pain points, event marketers at companies like Drift, Smartling and Alyce are keeping it fun with their webinar and event content by adding sessions for gift unboxings, live bands, cooking demos, and more.
If you’re an event marketer operating within an account-based marketing framework, take time to understand what common interests your prospects share, then customize your webinar content to make it truly unforgettable!
Emily Brook, Senior Marketing Manager at The Influencer Marketing Factory, believes that, “Businesses should continue to keep the structure of their webinars ‘how-to’ related with relevant, actionable lists for audiences to execute on their own.”
She’s not the only one taking a value-first approach to webinars. If you’ve ever attended a Salesloft webinar, you know keeping it actionable is what they’re all about. Here’s how Jennifer Cummings, Salesloft’s Director of Global Event Marketing, sees it:
“Our webinar content is very tactical. We never want to do a webinar that's just Salesloft. We want our prospects to see us as a thought leader, not a vendor. So our approach is, ‘Look, here's some content that we think you can take and use right now, even if you don't use Salesloft’.”
At the end of the day, prospects come to learn. Give them the key takeaways and tools they need to immediately implement what they’ve learned, and you’ll be able to use your webinar to score some major trust points for your brand.
Once you’ve got your webinar content mapped out, it’s time to think about how you’ll make it easy to get your audience excited.
Experts like Padmaja Santhanam, Growth Manager at FirstPrinciples believe it all comes down to a clear and well-optimized registration funnel.
“To make your webinar more engaging, ensure to narrow down your topic, drill down into sub-topic clusters, and prepare a landing page for your webinar with a CTA of registration. It will help you get more clarity on what they can expect from your webinar, and when you choose a specific topic, it makes your webinar more informative to your audience.”
By combining deeply targeted topics with a clear breakdown of what’s covered and how to register, you can increase attendance while priming your audience for optimal engagement during the actual event. Keeping your audience’s attention is a must!
“One of the major issues with webinars is that they are often not accessible to the largest minority of 1.85 billion disabled people, including me,” explains B2B accessibility consultant Svetlana Kouznetsova.
“I cannot participate in webinars. Some cannot even sign up for webinars because platforms to sign up are not accessible. It's a very critical issue that event marketers need to consider.”
While there’s still a long way to go in ensuring webinars are accessible for all, technological advancements like multi-language speech-to text captions and subtitles are quickly becoming best practice in the world of webinars and virtual events. Don’t forget to consider accessibility and inclusion for all of your events!
“One way to keep a webinar fresh and engaging is to do Q&A throughout the webinar rather than saving it for the end. This allows you to address people’s questions in closer to real-time, which keeps them more engaged during the presentation. Tell attendees that this is how you’ll be handling Q&A during the webinar introduction, and be sure to use the ‘questions’ feature on your webinar software so that questions don’t get buried and lost in the chat box.”
And you don’t have to stop there. “Things like polls and asking questions to drive comments in the chat make the webinar feel less like a lecture and more like a conversation,” says Hiba.
Logan agrees. “Use polls and quizzes throughout the webinar to keep people engaged. This is also a great way to do some market research, as you can ask attendees questions that provide you with feedback and use polls for A/B testing.”
These days, there’s no shortage of webinar platforms to choose from.
While the right platform for you can and should look different from every other brand, there are some essentials you’ll want to keep an eye out for, including:
The features you choose to run the webinar will depend on what you’re looking to achieve. Do you want a simple event to collect emails? Or a deeper branded experience? Do you need data you can follow up on? Or just the basics?
For modern field marketers like Jennifer, support from your platform provider is another key aspect to consider.
“I had heard how quickly Goldcast responded to customer feedback and we've already seen our input being put into the product. That was a challenge with previous platforms.”
Consider the goals of your webinars, how they play into your larger marketing strategy, and the level of support you’ll need to deliver a truly memorable experience for your attendees. The answers to these questions will lead you to the right platform.