By Mike Agron
You should try to think of a webinar like a radio show with pictures. A good webinar can breathe life into existing content such as case studies, research reports, and whitepapers, etc.
While face-to-face conferences and pitches have been effective in the past, we can’t ignore the costs of travel and the value of people’s time any longer. By hosting and taking advantage of your own webinar, you can serve up information in real time, cutting across continents and time zones. Webinars level the playing field by bulking up even the smallest companies. Because you have a much wider reach and a better chance to connect with prospective clients and partners without having to get on a plane or even in your car.
Well produced demand generation webinars allow publishers and their advertisers to leverage their brand, reputation, audience reach, content, and offer a new way of adding value to subscribers. This model allows attendees to register and attend for free, while the advertiser sponsors the webinar and pays a fee to the publisher for attracting the audience and producing the event.
A demand generation webinar is not about selling; rather, it’s about educating and making your audience more intelligent about a particular topic so they can make more informed decisions that ultimately influence the purchase of a sponsor’s products or services.
If the attendees gain value out of this information, after the webinar, they will become inspired to have a conversation with the sponsor to see if a deeper business relationship exists. It not only will help sponsors capture fresh new sales leads, it allows them to raise their brand’s awareness while promoting their thought leadership.
To attract an audience, beyond articulating what business problem is being solved, it must be relevant and clearly demonstrate that by attending the webinar, they will gain insights on how to overcome a “pain point” that is keeping them up at night, or get better business outcomes. Remember, people are busy today, so make sure that your topic is a “must have’ and not a “nice to have.”
Remember during the webinar, don’t sell, as it will turn off your audience’s big time. Do that after the webinar when you’ve gathered life cycle intelligence on your audience, such as how they voted in online polls, what questions they asked, as well as how they responded to fill out a simple post webinar survey online, covering how the webinar met their expectations, what they liked most, what could have been done better, etc.
While there are many dos and don’ts for producing and delivering webinars, I’ve found that there are 3 webinar myths that need to be debunked for you to have successful outcomes that also delight your audiences.
1. Myth #1 – Build it and they will come. This is based on the well known movie, Field of Dreams. Webinars, like any event, require a lot of careful planning to produce and execute. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Using a proven deadline driven methodology, best practices and key webinar metrics are the best way to ensure you meet or exceed your commercial outcomes, while delighting your audience.
2. Myth #2 I’m a great presenter, I’ll just show up and wing it. Wrong! Doing a virtual event where your speakers aren’t able to see the audience or get any feedback from facial expressions is a completely different experience than in-person events. Webinars, as mentioned above, are radio shows, but with pictures. Just like in radio, dead air or awkward silences are deadly. It takes a commitment of time to do sound checks, practice the flow and make sure that the content is engaging and will connect with the audience. It’s not so much about perfection as it is about connection with your audience.
3. Myth #3 – All attendees are “sales ready” to buy now. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many of the attendees are in various parts of their buying journey, and might not be ready to even determine if the offering that was discussed is for them. Webinar effectiveness is not simply about measuring how many new sales that closed. There are 5 other ways of measuring effectiveness, from being able to move a prospect to become a customer, up-sell and cross sell to an existing base, growing the pipeline with fresh new sales leads, putting the sponsor on the map as a viable competitor, and by reaching new markets and geographies.
Being able to collaborate with a publisher allows advertisers to deliver a well-produced webinar that will allow them to attract the interest of readers to become better educated. This is a true “win-win” for the publisher, advertising sponsor and readers.
To continue the conversation, visit our website www.webattract.com which has complementary resources such as eBooks on webinar best practices, methodologies, metrics and analytics as well as short videos, case studies and samples of past webinars, etc.
Here’s to your webinar success!
About Mike Agron:
Mike is a recognized thought leader as a webinar demand generation expert, and is also an award winning author of “WebinarReady™ – A Step-by-Step Guide to Hosting Successful Webinars”. He recently published his 4th ebook “The Art of Producing Webinars That Work”.
He’s also a sought after speaker for both virtual and in-person events and has been featured speaking for the American Marketing Association, Content Marketing World, Adobe Connect, BrightTalk, Citrix/GoToWebinar, ReadyTalk, Salesforce.com and many other organizations.
In 2008, after 25 years in high tech with such firms as Apple, Oracle and MapInfo, he cofounded WebAttract where he’s both the managing principal and executive webinar producer helping brands and media pubs reach new markets and audiences to promote their thought leadership and attract fresh new sales leads.
About WebAttract (www.webattract.com ):
WebAttract is a professional services and training organization of B2B webinar experts, passionate in helping sales and marketing professionals across numerous industries from Automotive, Engineering, Healthcare, High Technology and Satellite Systems get better results from their demand generation efforts, while delighting their audiences.