B2B marketing webinars & how a bit of marketing consulting might help

Ed Marsh | Dec 17, 2014

Three stats define your world

Pull my string and I recite these statistics in most conversations:

  1. 93% of all B2B buying originates with internet search
  2. buyers are 70% (66-90) of the way through their buying journey before they want to speak to a sales rep 
  3. 74% of buyers select the vendor that is first to provide value as they build their buying criteria
"Businesses that engage with audiences in the earliest stages of the buying process win three-quarters of the time." CMI/Adobe Connect report on Webinars
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In sum that means you need digital marketing which captures prospects at the beginning of their process, quickly establishes thought leadership through practical & educational content, and creates the sort of personal connection, virtually, which a sales rep did in years past.

That's a tough challenge - but not impossible for companies willing to stretch.  And there's a misunderstood tool which can be incredibly effective but is infrequently used.

Webinars!

The Content Marketing Institute study found an interesting dissonance in adoption.  Marketers reported that webinars are among the 5 most effective tools, but are 12th in frequency of use.  The problem is they can be tough to produce and even tougher to sit through.

So the question is how to make them effective and easy.  This might be one of those areas where a bit of outside perspective in the form of marketing consulting could help.

Effective webinars for B2B marketing

A recent discussion "Why it's time to kill the webinar." in the Inbound.org community tackled this subject.  Most of the comments focused on how problematic power point presentations were.  There's no doubt that the most common shortcoming of webinars is a droning session of bullet recitation.  But that's not all.  Here's a quick list of 8 points to consider to improve your webinars.

  1. What marketing law dictates the 60 minute duration?  Why not 25, or 35 or 40 minutes?  If folks putting them on are appropriately respectful of others' time it will force them to be a bit pithier.  And I don't know about you, but I'm much more likely to sign up for 25 minutes than 60
  2. Treat it like public speaking...with a digital podium.  Rehearse, stand up, smile and project when you speak.  And how about a split screen of the presenter and the presentation - make it a bit more real.  Let them see you as an in the flesh resource rather than a disembodied voice.
  3. Don't make me sit through another 10 minutes of "Let's give folks a few more minutes to join" followed by "a few housekeeping notes"  - start on time and start for real
  4. If I'd be bored with your presentation in person, you know I'll be checking my email while you're droning on remotely.  Stop reading slides.  Make your presentation extra snappy.
  5. Forget about the technically plausible prospect of multiple presenters in multiple locations.  Odds are it will screw up.  Someone's screen won't share or audio will echo....no matter how many times you rehearsed.  Either get together in a single location or schedule a series
  6. Try a "standing webinar" - it works wonders for meetings!  
  7. Develop your webinar for a particular persona at a clear juncture in their buying journey.  A webinar is an opportunity to offer in depth, insightful, unique information delivered in dense chunk - that's not high level "attract" content.  It's appropriate somewhere in the consideration / decision continuum.  If you execute well, with dense content, for folks that are wrestling with challenging decisions, it's effective.  Especially consider the power of webinars to facilitate the handoffs between personas in a 3D corporate buying journey.  e.g. Encourage the plant engineer to invite the GM (CFO, etc) for a session on costs and justifications.
  8. Skip extraneous banter - sure everyone should be friendly, pleasant, etc.  But the "fun facts", ice breakers and affirmations get in the way of real material...or waste time.  These are busy business people.

In short, here's the acid test.  If anyone (except the inevitable statistical outliers) in your potential audience might want to "fast forward" through any part of your webinar, you need to tighten it up.  Don't expect anyone else to sit through a webinar presentation that wouldn't be riveting for you!  Not sure you'll clear that bar?  Maybe it's time to consider some outside marketing consulting.

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Make it easy....so you actually run some

But many companies hesitate.  They should fret the real challenge of creating an awesome, engaging, fast-paced presentation.  (It's not easy!!)  But instead they focus on the technical details.  (We often see the same with our clients early in their international sales effort who focus disproportionally on 'transactional' details.) 

The good news is that the technical details can be quickly and easily dispensed with using an integration of two SaaS tools in a seamless way to not only simplify registration, but even allow you to provide more specifically targeted information to attendees.  This video from HubSpot provides details on how it works.

 

 

And don't forget to record your webinar.  Convert the work into an evergreen sales tool that keeps on working for you!

Want to incorporate webinars into your B2B marketing?  Not sure how?  How about some outside marketing consulting to coach you through the process?  Wondering how webinars might fit into your B2B marketing as an industrial manufacturer?  Check out our eBook that lays it out step by step.

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