Top 4 Ways B2B Marketers Can Maximize Their Webinar Audiences
As a B2B marketer, you probably run webinars as part of your demand generation campaigns.
Good move. Webinars are an excellent way to engage and nurture your audience. After all, you’re not just asking someone to click on a link or to download a white paper, but to actually block 45 minutes or longer out of their busy day and listen to you.
Unfortunately, this also means that it’s difficult to actually generate webinar audiences in the first place.
That being said, there are a few things you can do to maximize your potential attendees. Here are my top suggestions, based on my experience promoting thousands of webinars over the last three years.
Use an amazing title and synopsis
This may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised…
In my experience, the titles that generated the most audience all fall into one or more of the following categories (illustrated by examples based on a network security webinar):
- Questions: How Secure Is Your Network?
- Inclusion of numbers/statistics: 5 Essential Strategies to Secure Your Network
- Bold, provocative statements: Your Network Is Being Hacked By Foreign Spy Agencies
- Funny titles: Network Threats Scare the Living ‘IT Out of Me
- References to current events: How Did Heartbleed Affect Your Network?
- Bonus example: What Are the Top 3 Reasons Spy Agencies Are Currently Hacking Your Network?
Moving on to your synopsis, it’s always best to keep these short and sweet. Avoid anything too general or too jargon-heavy and go for more human and relatable.
Usually a short paragraph explaining what the audience can expect to learn works well. It’s also good practice to include a line or two about the presenter at the end to give them some credibility.
Here’s a good example, taken from Peter Wood’s webinar on Pragmatic Network Security:
Peter Wood and his team analysed the results from a series of network penetration tests over the past two years, in a variety of sectors including banking, insurance and retail. They identified the most common vulnerabilities, how they can be exploited and the consequences for each business. This presentation demonstrates in detail how criminals can take advantage of these weaknesses and how you can secure your networks using straightforward techniques.
Peter is a world-renowned security evangelist, speaking at conferences and seminars on ethical hacking and social engineering. He has appeared in documentaries for BBC television, provided commentary on security issues for TV and radio, and written many articles on a variety of security topics.
Don’t promote your products, services, or brand
There’s been plenty of research into the changing B2B buying behavior. One solid report recently published by Google on The Changing Face of B2B Marketing is a good reference. It explains how your prospects are nearly 60% through the buying cycle by the time they visit your website or otherwise engage with your brand. It then suggests that companies should do more to be part of that earlier buying journey.
This is important. In most cases, your webinars will be attended by early-stage audiences. This means they’re not ready to learn about products, services, or brands yet, but are looking to self-educate so they can be better at their jobs.
To capture the attention of your future prospects attending your webinar, you therefore need to give them what they want. A few companies are very good at this, such as HubSpot, FireEye, and Getty Images. Their webinars give vendor-neutral insights on industry trends, research conducted either by themselves or others, or otherwise useful content that people want to hear.
By publishing interesting content that people actually care about, they’ve managed to build large subscriber bases of future prospects and to be seen as market influencers.
Use interactive features
The way that great presenters engage their audience in real-life talks is through interaction. They’ll ask questions, get attendees to stand-up or repeat after them, or some even get audience members up on the stage. Those techniques ensure nobody leaves the room or falls asleep.
This is trickier with webinars, not only because you’re not in a room with your audience, but also because attending a webinar requires people to be behind a screen. And as we all know, when you put people behind screens, they multitask.
So unless you’re Steve Jobs or your content is really groundbreaking, your attendees will be checking their emails or Twitter feeds in another tab while your webinar plays in the background.
The way to minimize this is no different than in the real-life talks: make your webinar interactive. Smart platforms know this and build tools exactly for that purpose. These can take the form of votes, video play-ins, live messaging during the talk, encouraging questions, live chats, etc. Definitely make use of these tools!
Make sure there’s a recorded version
B2B content tends to run during business hours, since it’s work related. What that means is that it’s likely your audience will have some kind of scheduling conflict preventing them from watching a live webinar that they registered for. From my experience, no-show rates can range from 20% to as much as 50%.
According to the 2015 Webinar Benchmarks Report, most of that audience will end up watching the recorded version of your webinar within the first 72 hours immediately after the live session. In order not to lose that audience, it’s therefore important to have an on-demand version available immediately after the live webinar.
On top of that, you’ll continue gaining more and more viewers as time progresses — even months after your initial presentation.
That’s it! If you follow the above steps, all you need is a strong promotional strategy and you’ll forever enjoy amazing audiences at your webinars. Combined with clever nurturing campaigns, ideally using marketing automation systems, and you’ll quickly move from being a vendor to a thought leader!