Why brands should put webinars centre-stage to boost demand generation
With uncertainty still the prevailing wind, it’s impossible to plan live events with confidence. Consequently, stock in webinars is going up.
As one of your brand’s few viable ‘storefronts’, today’s webinars must be expertly produced, highly engaging and well-integrated into marketing campaigns. Fortunately, video-conferencing services have previously untapped capabilities that can support high-quality webinars.
I’ll be the first to admit that once upon a time the prospect of joining a webinar filled me with a sense of despair. Those early webinars were notorious for their low production values, boring ‘death by PowerPoint’ formats, little to no interaction, and awkward technical mishaps.
Although video-conferencing services and broadband speeds had been advancing considerably in the last decade, it took the Covid crisis to finally launch the humble webinar into the 21st century. These days it’s not uncommon to hear someone at work talking up a great webinar they’ve recently attended.
Watch Marketing Week and BlueJeans’ webinar for five fast hacks to recharge your events strategy
Video-conferencing finally comes of age
Don’t assume that you need to hire an outside firm to put on a rave-worthy webinar. Many of the companies producing these are simply making smart use of available technology and planning with the same rigour as they would with a live event.
Modern video-conferencing systems like BlueJeans have all the security features and ‘smart meeting’ capabilities – like moderator controls, whiteboarding, analytics and Dolby noise cancellation – that you need to run a professional, high-quality webinar. If you’re still in pre-Covid mode, only using video-conferencing to make low-cost audio calls, it’s either time to modernise or get more out of your existing system.
Raising your brand’s accessibility
Webinars will never be a permanent substitute for making personal human connections. However, webinars offer several other unique benefits in their own right. The most obvious is that they allow you to attract delegates from all over the world, live or on playback. People who habitually can’t attend events due to budget and travel restraints get to engage with your brand.
But webinars provide even more subtle and interesting accessibility benefits. For example, your sales process might depend upon persuading influencers in specialist roles like software developers, who might not attend the kind of live events you normally run. With a webinar, you can cater to a much wider range of personas, and even run breakout sessions for people with special interests.
But there’s an even less obvious benefit that’s equally important: webinars allow you to cater to different personality types. Introverted people can get intimidated by live events, especially when it comes to asking questions in a large presentation room. In a webinar, anyone can post a question in a chat window without feeling exposed.
Again, the ability to cater to more people, more roles and more personality types doesn’t mean you should replace all live events with webinars. Instead, webinars should complement and integrate with your live event programme so that you gain maximum reach and widen your circle of influence.
In these lean business times, we’re all on the hook to measure ROI. Another great advantage of webinars is the ability to measure key performance indicators. The BlueJeans Command Center, for example, provides live service intelligence and centralised meeting management so you can monitor stats like how many people attended, from which locations, for how long, what questions were asked, what meeting content was shared, and other key information.
The bottom line
Webinars are more than a stand-alone marketing programme – they’re a chance for businesses to open their (virtual) doors to a much wider community. Whether it’s a first touchpoint to educate new prospects or part of a mid-funnel ABM campaign, webinars are a critical business driver that establish trust and chemistry throughout the buying cycle.
Throughout 2020, webinars have taken centre-stage as an essential part of the marketing mix. And as you start to build your demand strategy in a post-Covid world, it will be critical to rethink how and where webinars will make the most impact to your bottom line.
Yes, you can
Perhaps the biggest barrier to marketing teams running their own webinars is fear of failure. Many have been quite understandably scarred by bad experiences from the old days of webinars.
The experts at BlueJeans by Verizon are here to help. And what better way than through a webinar, ‘Dial-Up Demand Gen with a High-Impact 2021 Webinar Strategy’, hosted by Marketing Week. Join us on 10 December 2020 at 3pm GMT, as we will give you key insights into the business of webinars and five fast hacks to recharge your event strategy, including:
- How modern webinars fit into your overall marketing and business model
- Tips and tricks to fight webinar fatigue (for hosts and attendees)
- The best ways to promote products and services via webinars
- How webinars can be a highly effective and self-contained opportunity generator
- The future of webinars and their influence over customer relationships.
For further reading, check out the BlueJeans Virtual Event Engagement Guide, which contains a few fundamental strategies, tactics, and checklists to help facilitate audience interaction and meet business goals.
Paul Scholey is senior vice-president and general manager, international at BlueJeans by Verizon.