Four Tips for B2B Webinar Success

B2B content marketing is the holy grail for any organisation, but so many get it so wrong.  Research suggests that, done well, content marketing will generate three times as many leads as traditional advertising, yet costs 62% less.

I was recently thrilled to be asked to speak at ON24’s annual conference, Webinar World, to give my take on what makes a successful webinar campaign.

There was a clear pattern listening to the other speakers, and it was quickly agreed that webinar technology helps us access that intimate person-to-person sales connection in a far more cost-effective manner than traditional face to face contact. That is the holy grail of B2B marketing: maximising engagement by becoming smarter with technology, or, as moderator Chris Mitchell put it: “A single webinar engages 100 prospective customers for 60 minutes – can your sales team match that?”

That example – and the cynics among you will flag this immediately – hinges on the word ‘engage’. How do we ensure those prospective customers know the webinar is happening? How do we compel them to register?  And then attend? How do we keep them interested? How do we help them participate?  In short, how do we use the webinar format to maximum effect?

In my role at Contentive, a global B2B media and events company, I lead the delivery and execution of content marketing campaigns across five verticals on nine publications, covering financial services, corporate finance, accountancy, HR, public services and digital marketing.

Each publication is trusted by a core community of industry professionals who actively consume industry news and insights, as well as relevant content marketing from suppliers.

I’ve come across three principle rules that my team and I always (and I mean ALWAYS) abide by.

1. Set the trend, don’t follow the trend

You have active and passive B2B professionals, how do you cater for both and ensure the webinar series is equally engaging? No one wants to hear about an old trend, that’s so last year. Rather, professionals want to be provoked; they want their thinking to be challenged.

I work with a great team of editors who keep pace with each industry day in, day out. They attend events, get the (un)official word and stitch patterns together to form trends. They provide provocative, challenging topics for each webinar and plot totally editorially-led campaigns. These guys set the trends, they don’t follow them.

2. Own it, don’t sell it

Evidently the above refers to editorially-led webinars within our B2B communities. But the same very much applies to sponsored webinars with a commercial goal. Just because some prospective customers have signed up to listen to your company’s representative does not mean they want a sales pitch. I tell clients all the time never to mention their company or their product, you just need to know what you’re talking about and deliver well – the leads will follow. A webinar is above all a thought leadership campaign.

3. Content is king

And this leads on very nicely to the third tip.

A webinar registrant should come away having learned something new or with an altered perspective on the industry.  This new frame of reference may well lead them to believe that they need your product or service, because they trust you as thought leaders in the field… that’s the ideal, right?

But for that to happen, never forget the initial objective: to alter their industry perspective. To do that, you need to focus on the quality of your content. You need the genuine experts, and meaningful debate.  Stick your machine-learning engineer on the panel instead of the VP of sales, even if – shock and horror – they don’t have media training. Trust me, audiences trust and appreciate authenticity.

4. Promote the damn thing

It’s all well and good getting a great webinar together, but if no one knows about it then all your efforts will be wasted! I would recommend at least 8 to 10 touch points, hence preparation. Multiple formats are advisable as people respond to different formats. Putting together a campaign to promote your webinar is key ensuring that you are using advertisements, articles, mailshots and social media. Work with your distribution partner to make sure your webinar reaches as many people as possible. Sending out details to your mailing list is good to do too, but don’t just relay on this.

Once you have followed these simple steps you are ready to have a great webinar!

You can download our latest whitepaper, Five Step Guide To Hosting Webinars That Generate Leads And Deliver ROI here.

If you have any questions about running great webinars, you can contact me via rina.patel@contentive.com

 

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