Are Webinars Still Relevant in 2019?

Bec Purcell

November 29, 2018   Follow
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Acquisition

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As SaaS businesses and teams clamber to find the next quota crushing tactic, we thought we’d take a moment to put a fresh spin on an old classic. Video conferencing! As we know employing a visual aid, and a definitive step-by-step approach, can lead to exponential benefits for both you and your customers. So, let’s take a walk through some clear use cases and spruce your video conferencing up a little.

To get a little objective with our recommendations, we gleaned data from over 100 webinar and conferencing programs to analyse uptake, attendance and sell through from these particular efforts.

First off, let’s take a look at why video conferencing or webinars work in the first place….

The ol’ adage of ‘people buy from people’ remains true, though what’s happened since video conferencing first kicked off? People became crazy busy - well, at least they appear to be. In reality, it’s a symptom of being absorbed into the “on-demand generation”. When was the last time you watched a TV show at a scheduled time rather than when you felt like watching it? Sales content isn’t far off in some respects, especially in the earlier stages. Let’s be real, who hasn’t signed up for a webinar only to wait for the pre-recorded version? Excluding those ridiculous AM time slots of course. Did you feel guilty? No. And furthermore, why would you drive or travel for a meeting or conference, if you can achieve similar via simply teleporting yourself or team!?

What have we learned?

With the increase of on-demand consumption and communication, the format and outcomes of webinars and video conferences have changed noticeably over the years. With that in mind, we’ve narrowed down five of the most common formats that most successful businesses are executing.

Panel Webinars

You’ve probably seen a fair few of these pop up on your LinkedIn from self-proclaimed ‘thought-leaders’. The common format for a panel-based webinar is with a charismatic (not a prerequisite) host who interviews a panel of 2-3 experts about a certain topic. These are quite nifty as the informal and unscripted nature adds an element of authenticity, and being in real time, it allows attendees to ask questions and receive answers then and there. This webinar form can be highly engaging and adds brand credibility by showcasing your know-how.

Educational Webinars

Educational webinars are the most common format that relies on slides to convey information - did you know the brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text? While it can include external speakers, these can be a bit of a yawn if it’s just 60 minutes of brain-dumping slides. It’s good to shake things up by including polls, videos, or even breaking up the content into chapters.

Keynote Presentation

Events can be expensive, time-consuming and expensive (yep we said it twice because they’re bloody expensive). Live-streaming keynote presentations on the day of is a great way to get the most bang for your buck, and collating recordings can add exponential value to your knowledge base.

Product Webinars

Product webinars are conventionally product-centric (shock!) and dive deep into the in’s and out’s of any of your products or certain features - new or existing. These are beneficial for prospects deep into your funnel looking for more thorough information to really sweeten the deal. It’s important to avoid turning it into a snooze-fest, but also ensuring that you’re tapping into their pain points and emphasising how your product can solve these. It’s not a chance to just talk about how great the tool is or go for aggressive upsells.

On-Demand Webinars

How many times have you gotten an invite for a REALLY cool webinar only to see that it’s at 4 am (pitfalls of living in the land down under). A study by ON24 found that 42% of registrants actually never end up watching the live presentations, so it’s important to have a recording available pre-webinar, post-webinar and for anyone else who finds themselves on your site looking for some hot intel.

So how can you best use any of these formats within your inbound funnel, and why would you?

Acquisition Stage

The acquisition stage is where you’re trying to get people to come into your trusty funnel. Even if you don’t have a dedicated video platform under your belt, you can take full advantage of your Facebook account to stream to your audience directly. A bit of a doozy, however, is not being able to capture any of the important details from these fresh juicy leads. Thankfully, there are handy integrations out there that allow you to sync up your tech to capture this data.

So why is this important in the acquisition stage? Capturing lead information means you can directly qualify these visitors and smack them right into the thick of your beloved funnel. Which not only presents you the platform to drive more leads for your sales team but subsequently pre-qualifies which leads are worth pursuing based off their present interaction and engagement with your offering. As such you are able to determine the level of attentiveness and pursuance relevant to their respective stage in the buying journey, generating higher quality MQL’s for your sales team to nurture further along the funnel. Pretty cool, hey?

Building brand awareness and leveraging multiple networks and connections makes panel webinars, or fireside chats, a no-brainer in the acquisition stage. Not only do you get to showcase your superior intellect, but by bringing in big rigs in the industry, the reach of your presentation will multiply.

Monetisation Stage

The foundational flow and structure of the monetisation stage are inherently similar to the acquisition stage, but that’s not to say it doesn’t hold its own importance. Here, you’ll want to graduate your leads into paying customers, pretty simple right?

To date, the registration process for webinars has become somewhat archaic and stilted with cookie cutter generic invites being the predominant source of outreach. This doesn’t really sit well with us in the inbound game, and it shouldn’t for you either. You’re essentially wooing your prospects to get them to jump on board with you, so you’ve got to impress from day dot across all aspects.

Leveraging video conferencing and webinars through the sales process is particularly handy if a face-to-face get together isn’t on the cards. Nothing can really recreate human connection, but putting a face and voice to the name, when executed with meaning, can come fairly close. Which makes using them in the monetisation stage almost a no-brainer.

Big players in the video marketing game, Wistia, did an epic online conference this year, CouchCon. After retiring their bricks and mortar conference (WistiaFest), they wanted to shake things up and make accessible all the tactical sessions without the need to travel hundreds of kilometres to get there - giving attendees the power to watch the sessions wherever and whenever they wanted. Riding the coattails of this initiative can serve your business exceptionally well in the monetisation stage by ensuring your customers really don’t have any excuses not to engage - and your content will be engaging.

Expansion Stage

So you’ve converted your visitors into leads, and then to paying customers. Woot! That doesn’t mean all your efforts stop here, if anything this is where the fun begins, and where you really need to put your money where your mouth.

Literally, any of the formats listed above can be used in the expansion stage, and for tech companies, you want to practice what you preach and show your customers how tech-savvy you inherently are! Using tools like Soapbox by Wistia gives you the power to make anything from presentations to pitch-decks super engaging and impactful. Whilst built primarily for sales-teams, it can be leveraged by any of the team for external or internal purposes to rock the socks off anyone you’re trying to impress. Integrating video elements throughout your on-boarding and sales process allows your assumed time-poor customers, every opportunity to absorb the shared intel on their own terms. Ultimately keeping the customer happy, while getting the chance to flex your tech.

"What’s the point of using webinars and video conferences once I’ve already got my customers?"

Well, we’re glad you asked! Upon release of product updates or even new products, your sales or product teams can announce to new or existing customers through the form of, you guessed it, a webinar! Giving them the platform to provide a step-by-step breakdown of all the ins and outs of the update with a visual for your customers to follow along with. This can carry on to be utilised by the customer success team to send out recordings to any customers who might’ve missed the live show.

Delighting your customers and prospects along each stage of their respective journey’s is a pretty important aspect that can shape the success of your business. For SaaS companies, leveraging videos and webinars across the board can reap success if you ensure it’s done with considered meaning. As with all pieces of content, it’s quintessential to have a meticulous plan with a clearly defined purpose and audience - webinars and video content is no exception from this rule.

"So why the f*ck do we keep doing webinars?"

It’s safe to say that the way webinars work and how they’re being utilised has evolved alongside the technology that supports them. Intercom, the second fastest growing SaaS company, runs webinars weekly and they do it in such an engaging and impactful way. Webinars, if done with conscious meaning can: add value to your customer, position you as an expert in your field, help to generate and qualify new leads, expand your reach, keep your audience engaged… should we keep going?

How we can do it better?

The key, for most if not all pieces of content, is knowing what your objective is, who your audience is and what you want them to take away. Keeping this front of mind will help you hone in on how to best optimise your marketing efforts. Continuously evolving to emerging technology and adapting to customer's needs and desires is a foolproof way to take your work to the nth degree. Smarter teams have evolved and are now offering pre-recorded alternatives on-demand, why? People are busy. It’s important to keep the content short and sweet otherwise your time-poor viewers will turn off. The smarter teams are leveraging advances in technology with platforms like Soapbox, Vidyard and Zoom to cater for on-demand expectations. If viewers want it, they want it now, and delivered straight to them while we’re at it.

It’s important to acknowledge that live webinars and video conferences can still be impactful, but there’s a non-negotiable need for an atmosphere to ensure you’re providing meaningful value in an engaging way. After all, your content is essentially a representation of your brand itself. On that same strand, if executed in a conscious and meaningful way, all video conferences and webinars can be incorporated into your respective knowledge base or marketing resources for maximum value and impact for both your customers, prospects and team.

We also wrote an EPIC guide for Zoom x HubSpot customers too! 

Keen to learn more? Let me call you on your cellphone 📞🎶

 
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