Webinars are ubiquitous in B2B marketing and especially in SaaS companies. They are a great way for businesses to have a conversation with their target audiences and offer the potential for collecting valuable new leads as well as getting direct feedback. However, the ubiquity of webinars is also their undoing. Often sign-ups rates are low and drop-out rates (leaving the webinar before it is over) high. So is it worth the effort of hosting webinars or would your resources be best directed elsewhere? We’ve reviewed the pros and cons of webinars for B2B marketers to help you decide.
Webinars. The pros for B2B marketers
Interactive. Webinars are not just a chance to educate your target audience about your products and brand, they are also a great chance to converse with your target group and get to know them. What better way to discover their pain points, how they feel about your products, their concerns for the future and intentions. Your webinar should be the start of a personal relationship with new clients and a community of interested professionals, perhaps the start of a series with regular attendees.
Lead generating. Webinars make effective ‘bait’ for successful gated content campaigns, with the potential to generate a mass of new leads and a smaller group of qualified leads in one go. Everyone who expresses an interest in attending will be asked for at least an email address and probably some personal data as well. These leads are useful even if they don’t attend the webinar. If they do attend, they become very well qualified leads to follow up with.
A webinar could also act as a great filter for direct response leads, where a pro-active interest has been expressed, but you remain unsure of the level of the seriousness of that intent. Sending an exclusive invitation to your webinar is a great way to explore a lead’s level of interest and educate them about your product, before your sales team picks up the phone.
Opportunity to share a lot of information. A webinar is an efficient way to share a lot of information with your target group and to educate them, in-depth, about your products and services. More comprehensive, engaging and interactive than an article, podcast or anything much short of a one on one presentation.
Cheap. Compared with having a presence or speaking at a conference, a webinar looks very low cost and yet has the potential to deliver many of the same goals around educating an interested audience. It’s also cheap and convenient for that audience who don’t have to go to the trouble or expense of getting to a physical event. Even compared with the production costs and time required to create a high-quality video, a webinar looks cheap.
Measurable. Engagement is easy to measure. Not only do you have an attendees list, you can also measure how long people stay in the webinar or how long they view a recording for. This can help you during the pre-sales stage to prioritise leads for further action/follow up calls.
Reusable. A webinar may well take place as part of a content production process to which it contributes. For example, it may be the presentation of a white paper, or it may be a consultation piece taking place during the development of a white paper.
Also, the webinar can give lasting value if recorded, attracting an ongoing audience. Often this is used as gated content, with viewers prompted to give personal data prior to viewing.
Webinars. The cons for B2B marketers
Attendance. Attendance at a Webinar is one of the biggest asks B2B marketers make of their top of funnel audiences. An invitation to attend a webinar is a request for a substantial amount time at a fixed date. Most people will only give such a commitment for something they really feel is important. So successful webinar marketing needs to have a compelling offer for your target group.
Engagement. Once you have got them to the webinar the battle is only half won. To really succeed you have to keep them there, hold their attention, and engage them in dialogue. We all know how hard it can be to maintain attention during online meetings and presentations. Your webinar has to stand out visually and audibly to succeed. Keep throwing the questions back to your audiences and use all the participation tools you have at your disposal (group chat, virtual hand-raising etc) to make your webinar a conversation with participants, not just a lecture into the void.
Time Zones. If your target group is international, it can be hard to find a time that works across the markets you operate in. Sign up for delivering webinars and you could be signing up for late nights or early mornings at work.
Tools: Finding the right webinar tool is an important and costly decision. The quality and appropriateness of the platform is a very crucial factor in the success of your webinar. Make sure you pick the right webinar tool for you.