For successful companies, hosting regular webinars is a no brainer. Webinars are one of the best ways to extend your business’s reach, build your sales pipeline, or grow your audience. And most B2B marketers agree. In their 2016 content marketing survey, the Content Marketing Institute found that webinars ranked as the 2nd most effective type of content, behind only in-person events. Yet, webinars ranked 11th for content marketing activities completed, with only 66% of B2B marketers reporting that they had conducted a webinar in 2016.  

If you are one of the 34% of business that did not host a webinar in the last year, you are probably falling behind.  Most businesses find that webinars are one of the most effective ways to engage with their customers and prospects and build their business.

Not convinced? We’ve spoken to business leaders who conduct webinars regularly and here’s what we’ve learned.

You Can’t Get a Better ROI

Compared to other higher-cost marketing methods, webinars are very cheap to produce. Aside from the low monthly cost of an AnyMeeting account, webinars can be nearly free. To get started you don’t need a sophisticated set up. Simply have one of your team member find a quiet room with their laptop and with a couple of prepared slides and a demo or screenshare of your product and they’re ready to go. Of course, you can make your webinars more sophisticated as you gain experience by pre-recording presentations, incorporating videos, and increasing your preparation time.

Despite the minimal costs, webinars have the potential to fill your lead funnel, speed up your sales cycle and help significantly improve the retention of current customers by engaging with them in a personal setting with a customized message.

You will also get a higher return from your time. Some webinars will only last an hour, even with time for questions. Other marketing methods can takes hours to produce and weeks of getting trapped in a feedback loop. Since webinars are live, you only have to prepare and then host, with modest additional time to review results and leverage the AnyMeeting tools for follow ups. Instead of being locked in a delayed feedback loop, you learn from the process and iterate for your next webinar. During live presentations, your audience will be much more forgiving of any mistakes than they would in a highly produced video or similar piece of content.

“If you have sales team of 40 people doing 5 demos a day, you are not getting enough leverage. Webinars let you do a demo for 3000 people at once.”

Jeremy Koenig, Creative Director at MobileCause.

Spending a few hours to engage personally with a large swath of customers and prospects without physical barriers in place can have a huge impact on the growth of your business.

EDUCATE YOUR AUDIENCE; THEN LEARN FROM YOUR AUDIENCE

Sometimes webinars aren’t only about how you can inform your audience, it’s equally important to use the opportunity to get feedback from your customers, as well as prospective customers who may not have purchased your product yet. Successful businesses rely on this engagement and real-time feedback loop to ensure they are always in step with their target audience to make informed decisions around both their product roadmap and future marketing initiatives.

Using polling or a Q&A during your webinar will help you gather feedback to improve your product and messaging. Is there any confusion around what your product offers? What its best features are?   Why haven’t your prospective customers purchased? Are you being asked to add a feature that you already have? Are there common themes surrounding the usability of your product or unsolved weaknesses that need to be addressed?

Jeremy Koenig, Creative Director of MobileCause, conducts webinars at least monthly and debriefs with his team after each webinar to discuss what went well and what might need to be improved. His team also spends time analyzing the questions they were asked and comments they received to further learn from their audience.

For every customer that is giving feedback, there is another customer who thought the same thing and didn’t say anything. Webinars allow you to address both your silent and vocal customers, which will go further to increase your authority and credibility on the topics or products you are discussing.

This engagement may lead to prospective customers giving your product a chance or convince an existing customer to stick around a bit longer all while you are both growing your business and finding opportunities to improve.

FILLS YOUR CONTENT PIPELINE FOR MONTHS

Successful companies know that a well planned content marketing strategy is key to grow their businesses. Webinars are a great way to lay the foundation of your content marketing, as you are able to repurpose your webinar content in blog posts, video clips, infographics, meetups, webpages and more.

“Our webmaster takes webinar content to create evergreen SEO pages. We transcribe all of our content and visuals in pages and create a library to train customers and help potential customers.”

Jeremy Koenig, Creative Director at MobileCause

Now that you have a newly filled lead funnel or have identified existing leads most likely to buy, you can combine the questions and comments you received during your webinar to create specific content to speed up your sales cycle or increase the retention of existing customers. Not only are you filling your content pipeline, you are creating content that will be exponentially more effective.

In future posts,  we’ll spend more time exploring  how to re-purpose your webinar to create the most efficient strategy to grow your business. But if you already have lots of content, we’ll show you how to become thought leaders and market leaders by adapting your content for webinars.

Are you ready to take the plunge and host your first webinar? AnyMeeting is a webinar service designed and priced for small businesses. We offer a full-featured web conferencing platform for all of your webinar, online meeting and video conferencing needs. Test us and let us know what you think–start your 14-day free trial now

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