This won't come as a shock to you in 2018, but content marketing, and especially video marketing is still one of the main ways to bring more leads to your business and ultimately sell more.
Although webinars have always been a part of that mix, the live video medium benefited from a boost in popularity in the past 5 years because of a few factors.
Why is that? And how to properly set up your first webinar? We'll tell you everything you need to know in this primer.
But first things first...
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 typically include a visual presentation followed by a Q&A session, and last between 30 minutes to 1 hours in total.
The content presented during the webinar can be promotional in nature, such as a product demonstration, or have a wider scope while still being related to the business, such as inviting a panel of experts to discuss a specific topic linked to the business at hand.
Webinars often feature one host broadcasting themselves live with their webcam, and a presentation such as a slide deck. Sometimes other participants can be brought on stage to share a different point of view or their expertise.
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
Leading up to the GDPR law coming into effect in early may 2018, email service Mailjet made a special effort to become the first GDPR-compliant email service provider. More importantly, Mailjet seized the opportunity to create educational content on the topic of GDPR-compliance with emails.
This top-of-funnel approach was destined to generate leads from prospects and whoever just wanted to learn more about the new law and what it meant for online businesses.
They appointed the Mailjet Head of Legal at the time to host these webinars, not a sales/marketing rep, showing a deliberate move towards knowledge sharing and away from promotional content.
Nonetheless, these sessions were a great way to drive qualified traffic towards the Mailjet service, a valuable addition to the sales funnel as a first entry point.
Leading up to a direct sales pitch: the GoCheck Kids example
A type of content marketing webinar is focusing first on explaining the technology or mindset behind your business, and only after that to jump on a product demo. That is what GoCheck Kids does.
They build a software-based vision screener for pediatricians, allowing to detect vision disorders via simply snapping a photo of a child's eye, even before they're old enough to run traditional reading and vision tests.
This is a very cool product, but part of making the sale is actually explaining the technology behind it and how it can benefit pediatricians. Hosting content marketing webinars about vision-screening made perfect sense for GoCheck Kids. A typical session will be split 50/50 or 70/30 between talking about the technology itself and how it works to detect the disorders, and actually demoing the GoCheck Kids software.
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?
Because of their format, often only accessible behind a registration form, webinars are particularly popular with marketers.
Registering to a webinar always requires at least entering an email, and sometimes more information to further qualify each participant.
This makes webinars very effective as a tool to create a qualified contact base to target 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 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, with the added benefit of being a fresh alternative to the over-abundance of content in other formats and most notably written articles.
When having a blog is not a competitive advantage anymore, competitive advantages come in newer forms of content, video, and podcasts being the two most impactful ones.
Competitive advantages come in newer forms of content, video, and podcasts being the two most impactful ones
Webinars add the capacity to interact live with viewers, increasing engagement and making the session more personalized than a one-way video presentation or tutorial.
Webinars are also easy to repurpose into other formats, effectively multiplying its ROI dividends. 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.
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 webinar marketing are here to stay as workers keep getting more comfortable hosting and attending them.
The progress in technology and notably WebRTC will help the advance of webinars by making it increasingly accessible to anyone, 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, something that hugely 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 permit to allow webinar sessions to a larger audience reliably - again, a huge advance for webinar marketing in particular which optimizes for number of attendees.
Webinar Marketing Part. 1 — Key Takeaways
Here's what we learned in this post:
👉 Webinar Marketing is the practice of presenting concepts related to the a product/service without overtly promoting it in order to generate and qualify leads
👉 An effective content marketing strategy happens on diverse channels, which can include Webinars
👉 Webinars are among the most impactful medium for content marketing to generate leads and revenue, second only to White Papers (source)
👉 Repurposing Webinar Content helps reap the benefits of a webinar for a fraction of the effort. Content Marketing Webinars should be repurposed into audio podcasts, uploaded as video on social sites, and turned into text transcript benefitting your SEO for maximum value
👉 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 just 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!