If the myriad of webinar platforms out there with new entrants every year is not an indication that webinars are hot marketing tactic, then take a look at the following chart from MarketingSherpa:
Webinars, together with virtual events were ranked top three marketing tactics to have their budgets increased in 2011. The same result was voiced by Focus Research, pointing to webinars as one of the most valuable tools for B2B marketers.
Supporting this sentiment, MarketingSherpa puts Webinars again at top three most effective lead generation tactics.
All Webinars Are Not the Same
Problem is, knowing that webinars are a good tool to have in your marketing arsenal is not enough. To get the most out of it, make sure to include it as part of your content planning efforts and use the best type of webinar to the best type of persona. For example, consider the following types of webinars and how they can be used:
What: Product demo
Focus: Product features and functions
Typical Audience: Prospects that are evaluating solutions, technical buyers, training of new employees or business partners
What: New product release walkthrough
Focus: Key features of the new release, benefits of upgrading
Typical Audience: Current customers on previous release, sales team, business partners
What: Customer training
Focus: Step-by-step product walkthrough, business scenarios, best practices
Typical Audience: New customers, existing customers with new users
What: Case Study
Focus: One or more customers of your product tell their story of how it helped them overcome a problem that others in their industry also face
Typical Audience: Early stage prospects, current customers of another product (cross-sell) or different version (up-sell)
What: Educational (non-product)
Focus: Topic relevant to your prospective buyer
Typical Audience: Suspects, early stage prospects
And these are just a few examples. You can also host partner webinars where you host training sessions for business partners, you could do employee training webinars that talk to new employees about policies and procedures or guide them on how the company works, and you could have sales training webinars where tips are shared or new products are showcased.
Mapping Webinars to Your Content Plan
Webinars are a great channel to include in your content marketing plan. If you plan on creating a eBook or Whitepaper, a webinar is a great way to promote the highlights of what the whitepaper or eBook is about. New product coming out? Get a webinar in addition to the typical press release. Going to a trade show? Host a webinar the week prior to the show and give tips on how to make the most out of the show. Just came from a trade show? Host a webinar to share all the great stuff you learned during the show.
The longer webinars (more than 30 mins) can later be chopped down into easily digestible segments and posted on your Youtube channel. For the product demo webinars, you can also select specific segments of the recording and place them throughout the website to give emphasis to certain features of the product.
Customer testimonial webinars are great to include in your website and you can select key moments of a series of testimonials and stitch them together and publish as a Testimonial Reel.
Not all webinars are created the same, but each type can enhance your content plan and provide one more channel for your customers, prospects, partners, and even employees.