In this blog, we’ll look at how to use webinars for B2B lead generation in a post-pandemic era and outline the best ideas for converting B2B leads into long-term loyal customers.
As the dust settles and businesses adapt to the new normal, the power of virtual gatherings has proven to be an indispensable tool for B2B organisations seeking to connect, educate, and engage with their target audience.
The Webinar Evolution
Webinars have been around since the end of the 80s. In that time, webinar platforms have evolved, but essentially, the technology hasn’t enabled webinars to become as engaging as they should have been. But with COVID-19 running rampant across the globe, it became a necessity as a part of wider marketing strategies and forced the tech to keep up.
It also meant that to keep ahead of the industry trend, presentations needed to be upped a gear or two with sharp presentations, interactive elements, better sound and better lighting.
And despite many presenters executing death by PowePoint in an attempt to kill off their audience, the popularity of B2B webinars continued to grow.
So before we get into the nitty-gritty of the benefits and how to put on a successful webinar, let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room – online fatigue.
We‘re Sooo Over Webinars!
Webinar fatigue – it’s like being stuck in a never-ending Zoom meeting that you can’t escape from.
OK – we all felt webinar fatigue during the pandemic. The never-ending invites to virtual conferences and in-person meetings, with the voice in the back of your head saying, “Oh shit, here we go again!“
But there were many positives that came out of the almost excessive use of virtual events and webinars.
As a way of creating a sustainable marketing impact with prospects and existing clients, B2B webinars proved to be a saving grace for business owners and marketing teams to reach as many prospects as possible in multiple locations for a fraction of the cost of a physical event.
What worked well were product reviews, demonstrations, and educational and online social events. And overall, despite how we felt about virtual events, webinars not only survived the pandemic but also continued to be an invaluable and cost-effective way to acceptable audience attendance to help generate quality leads.
Just take at look at some of these stats.
5 Webinar Facts You Should Know
1. According to GoToWebinar, 73% of B2B marketers say webinars are the best way to generate high-quality leads.
2. A study by the Content Marketing Institute found that 57% of marketers have used webinars as part of their content marketing strategy.
3. Research by ON24 found that webinars have an average attendance rate of 44%, which is much higher than other digital marketing tactics like social media and email.
4. According to DemandGen Report, 76% of buyers are willing to register and share basic information in exchange for content such as webinars.
5. BrightTALK reported webinars having the highest engagement rates of any type of content, with an average viewing time of 57 minutes.
Webinars are like a first date – they allow you to make an impression to woo your audience in a way other digital marketing activities simply can’t
Like a magnet, the great thing about hosting a webinar is that they attract prospects through a funnel, who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.
A recent survey by GoToWebinar found that 73% of B2B marketers and sales leaders said webinars were the best way to generate high-quality leads. That’s like hitting a hole-in-one on a mini-golf course!
But now that we’re emerging from the pandemic, what’s the future of webinar marketing? Well, it looks like it’s here to stay, with a few provisos.
6 Steps For B2B Lead Generation
Whilst virtual events still have their role to play in a world that’s emerging from the pandemic, with careful planning, consider the following:
1. The Headline
First and foremost, you must capture their attention like a cat chasing a laser pointer. A compelling title and description for your webinar will work wonders. Be the Obi-Wan Kenobi of your field, and they’ll happily follow you on your journey.
2. Keep It Short and Sweet
In a post-pandemic world, people have a newfound appreciation for brevity. So, keep your webinars short and sweet. Get to the point and avoid long, drawn-out presentations that can lead to viewer boredom and disengagement.
3. Interactive Experience
A webinar doesn’t have to be a one-way street. Make it an interactive experience by encouraging audience participation through Q&A sessions, polls, and surveys. This keeps viewers engaged and involved in the presentation.
4. Engaging Content
If your webinar is boring, no amount of audience participation will save it. So, make sure your content is engaging and valuable to the viewer. Offer something unique and informative that they can’t get anywhere else.
5. Variety is the Spice of Life
Don’t rely solely on webinars to connect with your audience. Mix it up by offering other types of content, such as videos, podcasts, and blog posts. This keeps your content fresh and interesting and prevents webinar fatigue from setting in.
6. Timing is Everything
Consider the timing of your webinars. Obviously, lunch hours or times when people are likely to be busy with other activities is a no-no. Be respectful of your audience’s time and schedule your webinars accordingly.
In general, aim for the midweek days for hosting, with Thursday being the best option.
How to Convert Your Attendees
Welcome to a realm where possibilities unfold and opportunities abound. As the curtains close on a compelling webinar, there’s true potential of converting leads and transforming them into lifelong customers.
Post-event, keep the attention of both attendees and registrants as if you were a skilled magician.
Follow up with them promptly by sending them a personalised email, keeping the conversation going and making them feel valued. However, this is where many will fall by the wayside, as it’s not what you say but the tone to use when saying it.
It’s important to be subtle, like a ninja, and not scare them away with aggressive sales tactics. Instead, use the softly softly approach and offer them something of value, like a free consultation or a discount on your services. And then, let them make the choice on their own.
You want to be like a friendly bartender who gives recommendations but ultimately lets the customer decide what to drink. And just like that, with some charm and finesse, you’ve turned an unknown prospect into a potential customer.
OK, so let’s break this down further.
So, you’ve hosted a B2B webinar and want to turn those attendees into customers. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to convert those webinar attendees into loyal customers:
Step 1 – Post Communication
- Follow up by sending a personalised email or message thanking them for attending the webinar. Include a link to the recording of the webinar and any additional resources that were mentioned.
- Also, consider providing additional resources or answers to their questions. This shows that you value their time and are willing to go the extra mile.
- You can also use this opportunity to ask for feedback on the webinar and invite attendees to continue the conversation on social media or through email. This is a great way to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry and build long-term relationships with your audience.
Step 2 – Give Back
- Give them the goods – offer a free trial or demo of your product or service. This lets them see first-hand how your solution can solve their pain.
- By giving potential customers a chance to try out your solution, you increase the likelihood of them becoming paying customers. According to a study by HubSpot, companies that offer a free trial or demo have a 25% higher conversion rate than those that don’t.
Step 3 – Be their BFF
When it comes to proposing a consultation or meeting to address a potential customer’s requirements, it’s like asking them out on a date. However, instead of dinner and a movie, you’re offering to wine and dine them with your expertise and solutions.
- A consultation or meeting is like a tailored suit – it’s made to fit the potential customer’s unique needs and pain points. It shows that you’re not just looking for any ol’ customer; you’re looking for the perfect match.
- By conversing with a prospect, you have a much better chance of establishing a relationship long term. Every customer is a potential brand evangelist!
Step 4 – Sprinkle In The Magic
Social proofing – the art of customers advocating your product, service and brand. It’s like the marketing equivalent of “everyone’s doing it, so why aren’t you?” It’s also an opportunity for potential customers to see that other businesses have taken the leap and have come out successful on the other side.
- Testimonials are worth their weight in gold. Used within in your digital media or as a review on a third-party review site, a testimonial is like having your best friend vouch for you. It provides credibility and reassurance that your solution works and has helped other businesses like theirs.
- Although requiring more effort and planning, gaining a case study from a customer is one of the best forms of social proofing, particularly in the B2B space. Like a good book – it tells a story. By sharing the success stories of other businesses, you’re creating relatability and showing potential customers that they’re not alone in their struggles.
Step 5 – Seal The Deal
It’s time to seal the deal with a potential customer after they’ve viewed your webinar. But how can you turn that into a sale? Let’s take a look at some tips for bringing the deal over the line.
- Follow up and address any concerns. If the attendee expresses any concerns during the webinar, make sure to address them in your follow-up communication.
- Finally, don’t be afraid to be persistent in your follow-up communication. While you don’t want to come across as pushy, staying top-of-mind with the potential customer and reminding them of the value your product or service can provide is essential.
- Remember, converting webinar attendees into customers is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time, effort, and a little bit of charm.
Step 6 – Result Analysis
Measuring and analysing your results is critical to understanding the success of your webinar and making improvements for future events.
- Consider tracking metrics such as attendance rate, engagement rate (questions asked, polls answered, etc.), conversion rate, and revenue generated.
- Use this data to identify areas where you can improve, such as increasing attendance or engagement rates or optimising your follow-up process to improve conversion rates.
Quality over Quantity, Every Time
Apart from using webinars to make announcements of products and services or to educate, you can also use them to harness relationships with existing customers, suppliers and prospects within more intimate online settings.
As a real-world example, due to the pandemic, I took social influencing online as part of a wider ABM (Account Based Marketing) campaign by inviting several key account customers and a couple of prospects to a virtual wine event.
Within 10 days and as a result of that event, one of our prospects signed a deal worth over £300K. If you’re wondering what the drop-out rate was for that virtual event, it was 0% and a cost £4.5k to host the event, returning an ROI of 6566.67%. As a marketer, I’ll take that every day of the week!
When executed well inline with a clear and defined strategy, utilising a webinar platform for smaller social events keeps the connection alive with the people your business depends on. And in the above case, using social proofing within a social environment, either online or offline, is where the magic happens, resulting in great gains in lead gen conversion rates.
Marketing is all about building relationships.
From a B2B perspective, I’ve always believed that the more you connect with your audience, the better. And this goes beyond digital marketing.
Yes, all that nurturing along the way through emails, social media, PPC, SEO etc, has its role to play, but at the end of the day, if you’re looking to secure a big commercial deal, you have to be able to look that person in the eye and shake their hand. It’s not rocket science, but it is about building long term relationships.
Although not the be-all and end-all of securing a deal, online events allow you to engage with your audience more intimately and provide a great introduction to your brand and content. Webinars are more effective in generating leads than email and social media. In fact, it’s not unusual for webinars to generate an average of 5 times more leads compared to other digital marketing channels.
By starting with a clear goal, choosing the right topic and format, promoting your webinar effectively, engaging your audience during the event, and following up with attendees afterwards, webinars can deliver real results.
The final point I want to leave you with is to use webinars as just another part of a bigger campaign. Life is about balance, and so should it be in marketing as well.
ON24’s Webinars Benchmark Survey (2022): https://www.on24.com/resources/asset/ebook-on24-webinar-benchmarks-report-2022
HubSpot’s Webinar Marketing Stats & Best Practices (2021): https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/webinar-stats