This week saw the EdgeThreeSixty digital marketing team tune in to the latest webinar from On24, the webinar-based marketing solutions provider, to find out what the experts out in San Francisco think 2017 has in store for Webinar marketing.

What is a webinar?

A short-form version of web-based seminar, a ‘webinar’ is simply a presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar that is broadcast to viewers online.

Using video-conferencing and other web-based software, webinars can be run just like regular seminars, with speakers sharing audio, video and slideshow presentations with all attendees.

If you utilise all the webinar tools at your disposal, making the presentations content rich experiences with social media integration and plenty of CTAs, you could find your multi-media, interactive webinar is more engaging than a regular seminar.

If you’re wondering what your business could gain from hosting a webinar, or a series of webinars, consider that they can be used for all of the following:

  • Generate leads
  • Qualify leads
  • Drive prospects through the buying cycle
  • Brand and position your company
  • Become thought leaders
  • Train employees, partners and customers
  • Customer retention.

When hosting a webinar, try to make it relaxed and fun, almost like a TV chat show, as this will help both you and your audience to relax and increase engagement. It’s a good idea to keep webinars relatively short, as bite-sized content often has better viewer retention rates – that said, so long as your content is relevant and you keep your audience engaged, there’s no reason retention rates should suffer.

Also be sure to use each webinar to promote other, relevant content, including future webinars, remembering to include direct URL links or embedded video wherever possible.

And if you want to get ahead of the competition, check out the On24 webinar marketing predictions for 2017…

5 predictions for webinar marketing in 2017

1. The return of the webcam presenter

Broadcasting via a webcam is arguably the most straightforward and cost-effective way to host a seminar, but it’s a technique that seems to have fallen out of favour – but the popularity of applications like Facetime and Skype mean people are more comfortable talking into their screens/webcams, and so presenters could go back to this technique.

Why use webcams?

  • Create connection between presenter and audience
  • Creates brand thought leaders
  • Easier to communicate
  • Makes content more approachable
  • More visually compelling (better than audio)
  • Easy and cost-effective to record.

2. The slide-less webinar

Although you may see a deck of PowerPoint slides as essential for displaying information touched on in your webinar, they can take the attention away from both you as the presenter and the content you’re presenting – but the story you are telling is what people are interested in, and the slides are secondary, so consider going without them to make your story the focal pointof the webinar

When to go slide-less:

  • Audience driven conversations
  • Interviews
  • Panel discussions.

Benefits of going slide-less:

  • The presenter is the story
  • More conversation driven
  • Avoids being dull
  • Offers a more TV-like experience.

3. Integrated video clips

Integrating video into your webinar is a great way to break up and vary the presentation, get across information in a more engaging way, and also leverage any existing content.

  • Spice up audio only presentations
  • Break up speaker sections
  • Integrate company/product videos
  • Integrate customer videos – great for mid/bottom of the funnel, use case studies or demo webinars to convert customers
  • Pre-record webinar intro videos to give the presentation that TV show feel.

4. Direct to On Demand

The rise of streaming websites and on demand (OD) TV and radio mean we’re no longer restricted by schedules, and so we no longer like to be told when and where we can tune in – so it’s important you archive all webinars and make sure the is content available on demand after it’s been broadcast live.

Why On Demand content is important

  • There are only so many live events and database can handle
  • Create OD content for every single stage of the buying cycle
  • OD webinars make great webpage CTAs
  • Need a library of ungated short-form content to drive to CTAs.

And you could also take this opportunity to edit and repackage and long webinar content as a series of shorter, bit-sized videos that can be serialised and released at regular time slots over the course of a couple of weeks – you could even make it gated content to encourage subscriptions to your site or mailing list.

Interesting examples of short form content include:

  • Market updates
  • Platform updates
  • Product demos
  • Industry specific presentations
  • Customer interviews.

5. Appointment setting and selling from the webinar

Webinars give you a captive and engaged audience, so make the most of the situation and promote your business while these potential clients are at their most engaged in real-time, and consider CTAs for appointment booking or product purchases.

This is a great tactic for those clients at the middle or the bottom of the funnel – the ones who already have some buy-in to what you’re promoting – and if you’re using the webinar for appointment setting, those who have self-selected and appointment are more likely to show up.

Could your business benefit from webinar marketing?

Webinars offer an effective way to promote your business, build authority and engage your audience, and should be part of every multi-media marketing strategy.

They also offer a cost-effective way to get your brand message across, and you can broadcast a perfectly good webinar using nothing more than a good-quality webcam – just make sure you get the lighting and backdrop right so it looks as professional as possible.

To find out more about webinar marketing, or any aspect of digital marketing, get in touch with the EdgeThreeSixty team here, or call us on 0151 223 0001.