This won't come as a shock to you in 2018, but content marketing is still one of the main ways to bring more leads to your business. What you may only be warming up to though, is the rising dominance of video marketing within that space.
Webinars have always played a role in video marketing. But the live video medium benefited from a boost in popularity in the past 5 years. This is in large part due to increases in bandwidth and improvements in the software powering those live sessions.
So, how to best leverage webinar marketing to your advantage? How to properly set up your first webinar? I'll answer these questions, and more, in a series of articles about webinar marketing.
But before we go further, a few definitions and stats are in order. This will ensure everybody is on the same page.
What is webinar marketing?
Webinar marketing is using an online seminar to share free content with potential buyers of a paid service or software. Webinars usually include a visual presentation followed by a Q&A session. A standard webinar session lasts between 30 minutes to 1 hour in total.
The content presented during the webinar can be promotional in nature. Product demonstrations are a great example of promotional webinar content. But webinars can also have a wider scope related to your business. For example, hosting a panel of experts to discuss a topic linked to your business fits that category.
Webinars often feature one host live-streaming from their webcam, and a slide-deck presentation. Sometimes, the host may bring other participants on stage to add a different point of view.
Examples of content marketing webinars
Here are some great examples of webinar marketing put in action:
Expert point of view: the Mailjet GDPR series example
As you know, the European GDPR law came into effect in early may 2018. Leading up to it, Mailjet made a special effort to become the first GDPR-compliant email service provider. This was a great opportunity to create educational content on the topic of GDPR-compliance with emails.
This top-of-funnel approach aimed to generate leads from prospects looking at how to adapt to the new law. Of course, not everyone searching about GDPR was also looking for an email service. But GDPR affected so many people, that even targeting a small percentage would be enough.
They chose their Head of Legal to host these webinars, rather than someone from marketing. This shows a deliberate move towards knowledge sharing, rather than selling or promoting.
These sessions were a great opportunity to drive qualified traffic towards the Mailjet service. Which proved a valuable addition to the sales funnel as a first entry point.
Leading up to a direct sales pitch: the GoCheck Kids example
GoCheck Kids has another approach to content marketing webinars. Their business relies on new technology so they spend most of their webinars explaining it. They only jump on their product demo once they explained the technology part.
GoCheck Kids is a software-based vision screener for pediatricians. Their technology allows to detect vision disorders by analyzing a photo of a child's eye. All it takes is snapping the photo, which allows detection in younger subjects than traditional vision tests allow.
This is a very cool product. But a big part of making the sale is actually explaining the technology behind it, and convincing pediatricians of its efficiency. That's why content marketing webinars about vision-screening made perfect sense for GoCheck Kids. A typical session is 50/50 or 70/30 education/promotional content. More than half is about the technology itself and how it works to detect the disorders. The rest is actually demoing the GoCheck Kids software.
This type of content marketing webinars is well-suited to educate prospects. Not al businesses need to use this strategy though.
Pro tip: test the waters by creating a few educational content articles on your blog first. Their results can be a proxy to the results you could expect from webinars on the same topic.
What are the numbers and stats behind webinar marketing?
37% of marketers believe webinars are among the best channels to drive revenue. It is the 2nd highest ranking channel right behind white papers at 40% - source: DemandWave Market Research
Content diversification is key - "The Old Content Marketing Playbook Doesn't Work Anymore" by Ginny Mineo, former Manager, Content Marketing Strategy @ Hubspot
46% registrant-to-participant on average - Livestorm webinar statistics
Best days to host webinars: Wednesday and Thursdays - Livestorm webinar promotion tactics guide
Best days to send invites to webinars: Tuesdays and Wednesdays - Livestorm webinar promotion tactics guide
Why use webinars for marketing?
Webinars are a form of gated content. Meaning viewers need to fill a form to register and attend the webinar session. Registering to a webinar always requires at least entering an email. Oftentimes, hosts ask more information to further qualify each participant. Information like company name, size, industry, are a few examples of this.
Because they allow to qualify visitors upfront, webinars are particularly popular with marketers.
This makes webinars an effective tool to create a qualified contact list. List that you can use for marketing after the webinar session is over.
In other words, webinars apply the same levers as event marketing, at a fraction of the cost.
Webinars are one of the front running formats in the large pool that is video marketing. On a macro level, online video consumption as a whole has been on a steady increase in the past few years. That is thanks to growing bandwidth and a will for diversified content.
On a macro level, online video consumption as a whole has been on a steady increase in the past few years
This in turn applied to content marketing. But video also benefits from being a fresh alternative to the saturated written format.
When having a blog is not a competitive advantage anymore, competitive advantages come in newer forms of content. Video and podcasts being the two frontrunners in this race for content diversification.
Competitive advantages come in newer forms of content, video, and podcasts being the two most impactful ones
Webinar have another benefit: the capacity to interact with live viewers. Engagement like this makes the sessions more personalized than a one-way video presentation.
Webinars are also easy to repurpose into other formats, multiplying its ROI dividends. You can turn a live webinar session into a video replay, make it accessible on-demand behind a form, or share it publicly depending on your goal.
A live webinar session can be turned into a video replay, made accessible on-demand, behind a form or shared publicly depending on the goal
Each webinars' replay can also be made into an audio podcast shared on audio platforms.
Last but not least, every Webinar can benefit SEO if turned into a text transcript and made into a blog article.
What is the future of webinar marketing?
With live online interactions becoming the norm, it's safe to assume webinars - and by extension webinar marketing - are here to stay. Workers beyond seasoned marketers will get more comfortable in hosting and attending them as well.
The progress in technology will help the advance of webinars too. For example, WebRTC makes webinars more accessible, regardless of setup.
Being able to host and attend a webinar session directly from the browser without having to download an app will become the norm. This, in turn, will increase the average rate of participation to webinars across the board. A trend that benefits the usage of webinars for marketing.
Being able to host and attend a webinar session directly from the browser without having to download an app will become the norm.
Technology improvements will also allow to provide webinar sessions to a larger audience at once. Again, this is a huge advance for webinar marketing in particular, which optimizes for number of attendees.
Webinar Marketing Guide Part. 1 — Key Takeaways
Here's what we learned in this post:
👉 Webinar Marketing is the practice of presenting concepts related to a product/service without promoting it to generate and qualify leads.
👉 An effective content marketing strategy happens on diverse channels, which can include Webinars.
👉 Webinars are among the most impactful media for content marketing, second only to White Papers. (source)
👉 Repurposing Webinar Content helps reap the benefits of a webinar for a fraction of the effort. You should repurpose Content Marketing Webinars into new formats. Possible formats include audio podcasts, videos uploaded on social sites, text transcripts for SEO
👉 Registration forms allow to grab valuable information to qualify leads. They should be as short as possible, enriched with a third party software if possible, and used to define campaigns following the webinar.
👉 In a period of transition from written content to video and particularly live video, the future of webinar marketing is promising.
That should cover most of the "what?" and "why?" you may have asked yourself. By now, you should have a pretty clear view of how impactful webinars can be in your content marketing stack.
In the next part of the series, I'll dig into the "how?", possibly an even more pressing matter than this introduction. How to properly design a registration form, how to properly track registrants' sources, how to properly market your webinar and get more people to attend... so stay tuned for the next one!