Webinars can be effective and efficient B2B marketing tools. They offer the chance to educate and engage audiences without requiring a lot of resource or time. Attendees get the opportunity to stay up to date with industry trends, learn new things and get expert views without having to leave their office. It is an interactive format that should achieve exactly what a workshop at a conference might achieve, but at a fraction of the time or money cost. And yet, despite all the attractions of the format for both B2B marketers and the professionals they are targeting, webinars are often poorly attended and have high drop-out rates.

There could be many reasons behind this, but fundamentally it seems harder to get a concrete commitment from people to attend a remote event or to stay engaged once they do. Maybe it is precisely because the process is so easy that commitment levels are quite low. Maybe it is because professionals have been exposed to too many webinars that were badly organised or rambling and got put off future attendance.

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Whatever the reasons, it means that you have a job on if you want to make your webinar a success. You need to both sell the event well, secure a higher level of commitment, and deliver a great event. Here are some techniques we recommend and examples of best practice:

  • Exclusivity: Only a chosen few are being invited to take part. A personal invitation is a much more attractive invitation. Make them feel specially invited, perhaps even asking for a specific contribution from their area of expertise.
  • Scarcity: It’s a one-time chance to get the view of industry experts on this compelling issue. If you are going to record the session and republish, it’s perhaps best to keep this quiet until afterwards. If your webinar contains a topic or speaker of particular interest and your invitee thinks this might be the only opportunity to hear it, then the incentive to attend becomes pretty high.
  • Including industry experts: Bringing in guest speakers of note can help boost the profile of your webinar and show that you are investing in making it something special (not just a presentation from your sales team). Upworks webinar on building email subscribers is a joint presentation from a member of staff and a high-profile guest, both speakers have their biogs and pictures on the landing page. We can see the same approach from analytics provider VWO on their webinars page, perhaps even better laid out, with the profiles visible to the right of the headline.
  • Compelling and focused: No-one wants to attend a long, rambling webinar on general industry topics. Keep your offer clear and concise. Explain exactly what you are going to talk about in advance and how the webinar is going to be structured. Attendees should know what they are going to learn about. The software configuration management company, CHEF, provides a focused promise and a clear explanation of what to expect on its landing page about ‘Creating Platform Agnostic Packages’. A niche topic to a niche audience, with plenty of information upfront on the page, before the visitor commits to viewing the webinar.
  • Promise quality: Webinars suffer somewhat from their reputation. Standards vary wildly and past experiences of time-wasting webinars may put off some professionals from further attendance. So it’s important that you both promise and provide quality. This landing page from Hubspot has it all, with a really premium look and clearly laid out page, promising exclusive speakers and insights and even offering a trailer so you can quickly get an idea of what is on offer.
  • Host your webinar on the right platform: The webinar platform you choose has a big impact on the ‘usability’ of that webinar. We only need think of different video conferencing platforms to realise how different tools, that ostensibly provide the same service, can produce very different results in terms of successful interactions and understanding. For webinars the differentiators are considerably greater, with providers competing with an array of different features, layouts and price-points. Make sure you find the right webinar tool for your needs.