A Great Customer Experience Is a Reliable Experience

B2B marketing has totally changed — as Laura Ramos, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester, notes, B2B buyers are approaching business-related purchases like consumers. Meaning, they’re not buying a single product, but rather deciding to join your company’s vision and opting-in to the experience you promise. If you’re purchasing a team chat solution, for example, you’re not just buying a method of communication, you’re buying into the promise of teamwork, collaboration and transparency.

The same buyer mentality extends to every organization. If, as Ramos warns, a customer suffers a bad experience, then your brand’s relationship with that customer is irrevocably harmed. This risk means marketers must be responsive, reliable and empathetic with their audience. Every experience must be easy to access, consistent and exceed expectations. Otherwise, marketers can kiss their customers goodbye.

We want to make sure you can make the most of every moment and built our webinar marketing platform with 99.999 percent reliability, that’s less than six minutes of interruption in a year. That way, you can focus on delivering amazing webinars and content, rather than worry about the technology behind it.

“I have never in over 300 webinars (as of 2018) had a problem with the availability of ON24’s platform. Not only that, whenever I had a problem that I may have caused, like uploading a last-minute slide deck or accidentally deleting something, the ON24 emergency line has been able to help me in minutes. They are extremely dedicated to uptime and quality service.”

Miles Szkoda, Web Content Specialist, Jameson Publishing

With ON24, you can count on your webinars being an awesome experience that your customers love, tweet and rave about.

Why The Best Marketers Are Adding Online Experiences to IRL Events

This post was originally published on martechseries.com

Fall in the marketing world means more than just pumpkin-spiced lattes, it’s a hectic time full of industry conferences. All you road warriors know what I’m talking about… there are too many B2B marketing events, conferences, summits, and forums to keep straight.

In the whirlwind of flights, happy hours and card-swapping, all those valuable in-person conversations can feel like they happened ages ago once you get back to the office.

So how do the best marketers leverage the valuable connection of an in-person conversation at a digital scale? Forrester analyst Laura Ramos recently examined this dilemma and found that leading B2B marketers add a virtual event component. At ON24, we’re seeing this trend heat up with many of our customers and partners making their in-person conferences available on-demand.

Here are four reasons why the industry’s best are integrating digital events with their seminar and conference strategies:

Create a better content experience for attendees

I like to think we are at the post-hardcopy phase of physical events. When you travel to a trade-show or conference today, very few booths, if any, hand out paper content. The days of lugging around tote bags full of data sheets are over. People want digital content. Unfortunately, there is no way to effectively deliver that digital content when you are in-person at an event.

In contrast, a virtual event offers more flexibility in terms of the content organizers can share with audiences. For example, during a virtual presentation, a presenter can choose to share slides, videos, white papers, case studies, and more, all alongside one another and in relation to the ongoing discussion. Viewers then have the choice to self-select a content experience that fits their needs.

The same is true with call-to-actions (CTA). Instead of telling attendees to sign up for a promotion or product when they return to the office, in a virtual space they can choose a CTA that suits their interest, whether that be further follow up or an immediate free trial. By empowering audiences to create their own experience, marketers provide their audiences with a personally tailored event at scale.

Deliver unprecedented scale and presence

When it comes to scale and reach, digital rules. With a virtual component supporting the physical event, event organizers reach audiences well beyond those who physically attended. Recorded keynote presentations can be viewed by prospects unable to attend or those who missed the opportunity. And later, that same recorded content can be viewed on-demand at leisure.

By virtualizing the event any conference, sales kick-off, or seminar becomes an instant “persistent environment” – a constant stream of on-demand digital content such as keynotes, whitepapers, videos, and more. All the content created throughout the event exists in perpetuity, outside of the actual moment of the event. No event should become irrelevant because it happened a month ago. A virtual event can preserve experiences for use well beyond the conference dates.

Change the way you qualify prospects

Virtual events can also redefine the way marketers qualify leads. Unlike in-person events, no data is lost. Organizers capture every data point an attendee creates, whether it’s an instant message or a survey question answer. Every action is logged and associated with that individual for later reference.

By capturing the minute details that happened during an event, marketers can identify and qualify leads faster and more efficiently. All of the useful context surrounding a customer’s experience is captured. What questions did they have? Which pieces of content were they most interested in? How long did they attend a session? With the right data, answers to these questions come naturally.

Later, marketers can call upon insight gathered during the event further down the funnel, selecting those prospects that are most promising, and those not to be bothered with.

Faster and more efficient sales follow up

This, I believe, is the primary reason marketers must have a digital presence coinciding with any live event today. A recent study found that 27% of marketers follow-up with event leads 7 to 13 days after the actual event – 12% wait two to four weeks! During that time valuable context and momentum are lost. In contrast, leads generated by virtual events are sales-ready from the time of capture and follow-up can occur almost immediately.

Instead of waiting for badge scans to load and classify, a virtual event provides marketers with instant integration. The data collected is instantly integrated with existing CRM systems and can be acted upon immediately after, making the handoffs event marketing teams share with sales teams richer and more insightful.

Moreover, sales teams get the exact context a customer had during the event. A sales rep can pick up the customer conversation exactly where it ended post-event. There’s nothing lost in the transfer and, for the customer, it feels natural, like the conversation just continues from one rep to another. This is extremely important – no customer enjoys repeating themselves.

Expanding your audience

The primary fear that most marketers have with adding virtual to their physical events is that the virtual will somehow cannibalize the physical. And while certainly a justified concern, the counter-argument is even more compelling. A majority of the prospects that you invite to your events will not attend, though many probably wish they could. Perhaps they don’t have a travel budget or maybe their schedules are simply too busy. Why not provide those who can’t attend with an option to participate in your event? Even if they don’t have the full conference experience, they can still take in the content they are most interested in and you still create moments to engage with them.

These virtual experiences can be large scale environments that replicate an in-person conference or simply webinars that broadcast key presentations, either live or on-demand, to extend the value of your content.

There is a time where I can see digital and live events merging seamlessly in the near future. We’re not there yet, but the capabilities available today are poised to dramatically change the event experience, surfacing more detail and actionable insight than ever before. If you’re a marketer planning your next live event, don’t forget about your digital audience! Your sales teams and CMO will thank you.

How the Legal Marketing Association Uses Webinars to Build Strong Connections Online and Off

We recently sat down for a conversation with Holly Amatangelo, Education Director of the Legal Marketing Association, about how LMA approaches professional development and education for members – and, specifically, the role of webinars in fostering such community and connection in the 4,000-strong organization.

ON24: How important is professional development and education to LMA members?

Holly: It is extremely important. Professional development is one of the top reasons members join LMA. We provide formal training via webinars, our annual conference, our certificate programs, online learning, as well as programs offered at the local and regional level. These all offer venues for the sharing of ideas and access to subject-matter experts.

Adult education and learning is changing in every industry, but specifically in the association industry. We live in 24/7 world, and having 24-hour access to learning is really important. While nothing will replace face-to-face learning, our members also want on-demand education at their fingerprints.

Over the last three years, we have increased all our education offerings by 200%, and increased our webinar offerings by more than 300%. In addition to webinars, we launched a podcast channel and new in-person certificate programs. We now record the majority of our conference sessions with audio and video, which are then available to members.

Webinars are … part of a wider effort to continually improve both the quality of the content, and the delivery of that content.

We are focused on the quality of these programs as well, not just the quantity. We look at the core skills members need to be successful as well as what they need to know to stay current. For example, AI has been a big focus for us in 2017. Our goal is best-in-class programming for our members, regardless of firm size, geography or years of experience.

With that increase in offerings, we’ve seen an increase in attendance in all our programs. With our Body of Knowledge (BoK), we have identified core domains, and the fundamental competencies and skills that are necessary for success in those domains. At our learning store, the member can pull what they need, rather than us pushing programming at them. The learner is in charge of their learning journey. We encourage members to recognize that webinars are part of our many available resources.

So clearly webinars are important in that 24/7, one-click delivery approach to education? 

Holly: Webinars are definitely an important part of our education strategy, and part of a wider effort to continually improve both the quality of the content, and the delivery of that content.

We look at our strategy holistically. To me, whether you are speaking at a webinar, our annual meeting or at a certificate program, we need you to be prepared, and encourage using a broad range of engagement strategies. When someone is delivering a virtual program, like a webinar, we want to make sure they are using polling, and asking certain questions as part of registration. We want them to use the online Q&A box, so that lots of voices can be heard during a single program.  

Increasingly, we are seeing that stronger online connections lead to stronger and more frequent offline connections and skills. Are you seeing that? 

Holly: In many ways, webinars level the playing field. They allow us to connect members across the country and across the regions. And they help solve a lot of hassles in modern life, for example, a terrible commute. If you are in Southern California, a program across town might take 45 minutes to get to. In some areas, it could take three hours, if you are a county or two away from the area. Physically, it’s just not possible to get there. Webinars allow for improved regional programming.

In many ways, webinars level the playing field.

We’ve also seen local groups or regional members come together for “watch parties.” Five to 10 people will get together to watch a webinar, and then talk about it, rather than bring in a speaker. So we’ve been able to blend what are already high-touch webinars with face-to-face education and networking, which we know is so valuable. Or, members will watch it before and then get together and talk about it. It’s a way to make the world a little smaller. 

This is especially helpful for smaller local groups that might not have the budget for more regular, robust programming. It helps those members, as well as working parents or others with more burdensome schedules, keep pace with their peers. It impacts their personal results. They can meet the demands of their lives but still be able to learn.

We recently restructured to make sure every member gets a uniform experience, access and support. Webinars are one of the ways that we are able to level the playing field among regions. All members have access to speakers that some regions or local groups might not have easy or ready access to. Additionally, it’s highly cost-effective for speakers, and makes the best use of the time of really in-demand professionals, both speakers and attendees.

We’ve seen an uptick in the use of webinars by LMA’s Shared Interest Groups (SIGs). Tell me about that.

Holly: Our SIGs are the driving force behind many of our webinar programs. They are always bringing in new and exciting cutting-edge, front-of-mind speakers and issues.

Our Small Firm SIG knows the challenges. They are able to book programming that is immediately actionable. Learning is all about applicability to life.

Talk a bit about the various ways in which members learn, their learning styles.

Holly: Not only are we always making sure we are bringing people content, we want to have that breadth of knowledge available in multiple modalities. And, we want to have multiple opportunities to address the same topic from different vantage points. It’s impossible to scale at that level without webinars as part of our program offerings. They also allow us to repurpose the content into other things: blog posts, social media content, articles, etc. These meet the needs of those with a variety of learning styles, in addition to making the most of the amazing content our speakers deliver.

…one of the features that is key with our webinars [is] one-click mobile access.

How is technology changing LMA education programs, and education in general?

Holly: We have a very mobile, technology savvy membership. LMA members expect to be able to go on their phones and get what they need. They demand access to 24/7 education. If that component is not part of an association education strategy, it should be. It is definitely part of ours and is one of the features that is key with our webinars – their one-click mobile access.

Anything to add?

Holly: Anything that helps us make the world a little bit smaller, when we can’t be face to face, is a good thing. Connection is key.

I agree! Thanks for your time. I’ve really enjoyed our conversation. I’ll see you at the annual meeting, but until then, I’ll see you online!

 

Originally published in JD SUPRA

Want to Increase Your Webinar ROI? See How ON24 Saved Us Nearly 80% and Boosted Output by 3X

Webinars are amazing marketing tools. They give businesses a platform to engage potential buyers for hours at a time. But when we changed to an in-house solution, we realized we were only experiencing the tip of the iceberg. Keep reading to see how we reduced cost and increased output with one simple solution.

As the web content specialist at Jameson Publishing, I see my fair share of webinars—about 80 per year. So when we decided to move from a third-party solution to hosting and managing all our webinars in-house, I knew there were a few critical must-haves: cost reduction, time savings, and confidence in the platform. Now, just two years after implementation, our results speak for themselves—we made the right decision.

A Little Background

Jameson Publishing is a pioneering B2B media services company devoted to the creation of valuable long-term professional relationships. Whether it’s through our print and online publications, at one of our industry events, or during a professional training course, our focus remains the same, to provide the platform where the world’s business and community leaders meet, engage, influence and collaborate to bring important new products, services and solutions to market quickly.

We work with companies who have marketing departments of one all the way to giants like Microsoft and Honeywell, and although our partners come from all industries and with very different budgets and resources, they have one thing in common: They understand the power of a webinar.

We’ve been offering webinars for over five years now, but with the rise of the public’s—and B2B buyer’s—consumption of visual media, the demand for this highly engaging content channel has increased drastically. There’s no other tool in the marketer’s toolkit that allows them to hold the attention of a prospect for 60 minutes or more, and our partners recognize the huge ROI potential behind this unprecedented engagement.

As more and more of our partners added webinars to their contracts, we began to think about how we could increase our output while drastically reducing the time to create, manage, and execute the webinars as well as reduce our cost per webinar. For several years, we used a third-party to perform every function of the webinar: manage, set up, produce, and execute. While this hands-off approach did have one benefit—it didn’t require any internal resources—it also had its fair share of drawbacks. Namely, time and money—two of the most precious business resources there are.

The Selection Process

Being that we had never owned this process internally, we didn’t have a team set up to manage all the aspects of webinar production. So I volunteered to be the point man and our management team began evaluating webinar platforms. We looked at several of the big names, like Adobe Connect and GoToMeeting, but like the adage says, experience is the best teacher. In this case, our experience came from attending webinars hosted by other companies to see which ones stood out to us. Not long into our hunt one of our circulation team members happened to be attending an online trade show and was extremely impressed by the quality of the live webinar. After some investigation, she found out that the webinar software company was ON24.

To be honest, ON24 wasn’t even on our radar. Like a lot of companies, we started our search with the top names in the industry—the Gartner Magic Quadrant companies. But it was the experience of watching, participating and using various platforms that gave us the confidence that we were choosing the best webinar platform for our needs. Today, we’re happy we took the time to try several options, and as you’ll see from the results below, that time was an investment that has paid dividends.

Time Savings

Our partners are busy professionals with calendars to match. With our old provider, we would have to schedule a 20- to 30-minute training call with our co-presenter before the live webinar to explain the platform and how to use it. These co-presenters are often executives and/or industry analysts, so a half-an-hour time commitment is a big ask. And when you have people whose job it is to ensure the financial success of their organization, asking them to learn this menial task of running a webinar could often become an annoying or frustrating experience.

With the simplicity of the ON24 platform, I now only need five minutes or less to explain how to run a webinar. The process goes like this:

• Login

• Explain the three main windows they will use.

I know, not even a lengthy enough process to justify bullets, but you get the point. A minute or two per window to explain how to manage questions and ensure a smooth webinar, and that’s it.

In addition to reducing time spent per webinar for our partners, the fast setup process is a blessing for our busy editors and sales reps who join in on the training calls. To illustrate how quickly and easily someone can go from zero knowledge to trained and ready to host an ON24 webinar, I’ll give you a real-world example. Recently, I had a scheduled session with a partner and before the editor or sales rep even had a chance to join the call, the training was over and they were ready to go. By having a tool that is well made and easy to use, it increases our partner’s confidence in us and their decision to use us to reach potential customers.

Cost Savings

By switching to ON24, we’ve reduced our costs by nearly 80 percent. . . In addition, our partners are happy with the beautifully produced and flawlessly executed webinars and our executive team is happy with the boost in our bottom line.

Now I’d be remiss if I didn’t factor in the soft cost of my time into our current price per webinar. But with just a nominal amount of experience and initial training (less than two days), I can set up a webinar similar to ones we’ve completed in the past in less than 10 minutes using templates and create a new webinar, branded specifically for a new partner in less than 30.

Increased Confidence

This efficiency in our process has also produced an unforeseen benefit: confidence. From day one working with ON24, every single webinar has gone off without a hitch. This flawless execution has not only given our sales and management teams confidence in ON24, but it has also increased their confidence in our internal resources to deliver a seamless, highly professional webinar experience to every partner, every time.

If you and your company are considering a change, and are vetting various webinar platforms, I can’t stress enough how important experience is. Get your hands dirty, attend and host as many webinars as you can on as many different platforms as possible, and let your experience guide you to the best solution. This firsthand knowledge will give you and your entire organization the confidence that you’re making the best decision, and I hope, will produce for you the same tremendous results we’ve achieved.

Originally posted in Upshot stories

“You Like Me. Right Now, You Like Me!” – How to Turn Your Webinar Data Into Business Development Action Items

I wrote in a recent post how to identify qualified leads. Webinars present a host of opportunities for focused business development on qualified leads that, sadly, some firms fail to capitalize on.

(The key phrase here is focused business development by the way. Some of the actions below, like #1, can be done with the help of your business development team; whereas; others – like #3, the phone call – should be done by you and should be focused on just a handful of truly engaged prospects.)

Marketing and business development are about “now.”

The headline of this piece is a nod to actress Sally Field, who, after a somewhat unorthodox career, won an Oscar in 1984 for her role in “Places in the Heart.” There are so many marketing lessons there, but I’ll focus on two: “like,” and, most importantly, “now.”

Marketing and business development are about “now.” When you need Q-Tips or FCPA advice, you need it. When you don’t, you don’t. That’s why it’s important to act in a timely manner. (I also addressed this recently in another post on how law firms can establish expertise and make connections using timely analysis of top news.)

I’m going to assume that you understand the value of post-program data and can’t wait to jump on it. Leveraging my years of leading successful sales teams, I have some ideas about outreach to qualified leads:

1. “Buff” Paper

This is a write-up that you market and release as a select, invitation-only product. It should be a short (hence buff, not white) summary—not the slides—of the content you covered in the program. When sending, stress the exclusivity of the product. Make sure you include a call to action: “If we can help you think through this issue, please contact me.”

2. Private Follow-On Education 

Bespoke on-site CLE or invitation-only webinars are ideal for targeting high-value prospects and ready-to-sign prospects. Remember, these are people who have expressed a distinct interest in your content and therefore your services. A bespoke online program is magnitudes more effective (and cost-effective) than rallying a huge team to respond to an RFP.

3. The Old-Fashioned Phone Call 

What sweet nostalgia, like homemade ice cream. Call these individuals and thank them for attending, even if you just get their voicemail. Resist resorting to email, though make it short if you hit voicemail (less than one minute). Focus on people who fulfill two or more criteria (see previous post). They will be disarmed and charmed by your personal approach. 

4. Personally Ask for Feedback

Attendees will be flattered and impressed when you personally sought them out to learn what else they would like to learn about the topic. You are reinforcing that they are your complete focus and a valuable source of information regarding the information and services you provide. 

5. Sophisticated Cross-Selling

Consider this message. “Hi, Michaela Johnson here of Jackson & Johnson. I notice that you recently attended an online seminar on the FCPA. I realize that our firm doesn’t currently provide services to your company in this area, but I would welcome the chance to help you evaluate whether you are getting what you need from your current provider, or help you find the right provider. Please let me know if I can be of use.”

Fact is, that’s a pretty generic message. You’re on the right track, cross-selling based on an identified need. But the message matters. Consider a more targeted message instead, one that shows you know something about your target:

“…I noticed you asked a few FCPA-related questions and signified an interest in compliance matters in your survey answers. I’d love to discuss further with you to ensure your questions were answered.”

These are just a few of the many ways to interact with qualified leads. The list has no bounds if you approach it with savvy and creativity. That said, if you’d like to talk about where to take your efforts beyond your webinars, and how to approach your data, I’d welcome the conversation. Best, Sam

 

Originally published in JD SUPRA

How To Build Webinars That Drive Attendance And Make Money: Insights From A Unicorn

Are you a marketing professional struggling to boost your webinar-generated revenue? I am the Brand Webinar Producer for a prominent construction project management software company. Not only do I love my job, but I’ve turned our webinars into one of our top-five money makers. How did I do it? It all starts with building great content and great relationships, while investing in a reliable and scalable webinar marketing software.

Like it or not, the world is moving irrevocably toward a paperless world. Technology has fundamentally changed the way we do business and the only way to move forward is by embracing the enhancements in efficiency and communication that cutting-edge technology can provide. As the Brand Webinar Producer for Procore, I find myself at the forefront of that technological wave each and every day, and I’d be constantly frustrated without the assistance of a powerful tool like ON24.

As you can imagine, construction is a very paper-focused industry. Building plans, approvals, submittals and changes are happening all the time. It’s important that they’re communicated as they happen. That’s where Procore enters the picture. We’re a cloud-based project management platform for construction companies. Our aim is to help reduce the industry’s paper trail while enabling instantaneous communication and built-in flexibility.

Procore has been featured in Forbes, reaching the coveted “unicorn status,” a designation for privately held companies that are valued at more than a billion dollars. It’s been really exciting, but working for Procore has also been one of those experiences where you can rise to expectations of a company that prides itself on shooting for the stars. I took over webinars, despite the preconceived notions about the limitations for what webinars can really do for marketing and sales. With an assist from ON24, I’ve been able to totally make the webinar channel my own and it has become a well-oiled machine. In 2015, we hosted 40 webinars. In 2016, we held close to 80. We are on track for 100 webinars in 2017. It’s an incredible feeling, but it’s a far cry from where I thought I’d end up.

A Marketer’s Journey

Originally, my dream was to be the General Manager for the Los Angeles Lakers (and anyone who knows basketball knows, that perhaps it is for the best that didn’t happen). That was the goal I pursued through high school and college. I even ended up earning a Sports Management degree from NYU. After college, I found myself working for the Golden State Warriors. Of course, this was 2011, and the NBA lockout saw me transitioning careers to more of a marketing focus and moving back to my hometown in Santa Barbara, CA.

I realized quickly that if I wanted to continue a career in marketing, I needed to expand my skill set. I began to train as a marketing project manager and from there I was led to the tech sphere. After all, that sector’s consistent growth shows that’s where the world is going. For a while, I worked for a small startup, which was a great learning experience. A startup requires people to wear a lot of different hats, so working there for over a year and managing everything from events to communications, I was able to figure out what I was good at, what I needed to improve on and perhaps more importantly, I learned what I loved to do.

A few of my former coworkers had gone to work for Procore and they turned me on to an opportunity to work for the company. The move to Procore was a no-brainer. I came out to interview and was sold on the dream.

Though my job title might sound a little weird, I’m essentially a project manager for our webinar channels. When I began, our marketing department had around 30 employees, but Procore focuses on such aggressive growth that our company has seen the marketing department and company double in size just within the year since I joined the company.

Making Money With Webinars

Overseeing the webinars for such a highly-valued and innovative brand is a big responsibility, because webinars happen to be a popular channel in the construction industry that resonates with both clients and prospective clients. More and more of our webinars are being approved for continuing education credit, which is really important for pretty much everyone in construction who has to complete a certain amount of credit hours. That consideration combined with Procore’s revolutionary purpose has made our webinars one of our most reliable ways to generate leads and new customers, as well as become a great sales tool for our world-class Sales Team. Here are some of my go-to tips for creating and engaging and successful webinar.

  • Make It Easy to Use: Easy access and reliability are paramount to the webinar experience. Thankfully, with ON24, our only questions come from people who don’t realize that they don’t need to dial-in to get to the presentation, and that the audio streams from their computer speakers. When it comes to working with ON24’s platform, we’ve never had any issues.
  • Make It an Experience: My goal is to create an immersive experience in which the user feels they are a participant, not just a remote audience member watching with screen share. At Procore every interaction is part of the customer experience, with online channels being critical in that journey.
  • Communicate, Communicate, Communicate: You have to be open to communication from the beginning. In fact, you should overly communicate until you figure out how your team members, your stakeholders, and your clients digest information.
  • Get Your Team Actively Involved: You have to promote your webinars internally to express to your teammates why they’re important. Getting people to support your webinars and spread the word about them is a huge asset. One of the greatest tips I can offer is developing a strong relationship with the Sales Department, since they will help champion your channel, as well as leverage the channel for revenue goals.

These simple tips, along with the opportunity to talk about a world-class product has helped webinars become one of our top five of revenue-generating channels. As you can imagine, the expectations for our webinar content is extremely high as a result. Unfortunately, Procore’s rapid expansion and lofty goals proved too much for our previous webinar platform. We just outgrew their capabilities. So, when I joined the company one of my 90 day goals was to find a new webinar platform.

Procore needed a webinar platform that could meet all of our needs:

  • Pre-loaded Presentations: That was huge for us, because the larger our webinars get the more bandwidth they take up on our network and the harder screen share becomes. When you start to get 500 and 600 people attending your webinar, that preloaded cloud-based feature is a necessity.
  • Video Capability: There are few more effective ways to capture and keep an audience’s attention than by integrating some video into your webinar.
  • Easy Email Integration: Email is the driving force behind webinars and the biggest source of driving registration. In terms of content, you need something catchy, but authoritative, concise but informative. Then you need your webinar platform to work seamlessly with your marketing platform.
  • Reliable Platform: From start to finish, we want our audience to have the best webcast experience. We can come up with the best content in the world, but if your audio or screen share cuts out then your customer is not getting the experience that they deserve.

Luckily enough, ON24 meets all of those needs and then some. In fact, since Procore has made the switch, our webinar attendance has risen above the industry average of 35 percent. With ON24, our show rate is now more than 40 percent.

We have our webinars broken out into three phases: Internally hosted webinars for early stage content, sponsored webinars for brand awareness and lead generation, and late-stage customer focused ones with round tables and QAs. Those are my favorite because I get to hear how our product truly makes a difference in our customer’s lives and can show the value to our prospective customers.

To further illustrate our success: Procore hosts one large scale webinar per month. We recently had more than 1200 people register. It was about 40 percent current customers and 60 percent prospective customers. At show time, we had more than 400 people attend. Since the beginning of 2017, we’ve been hitting more than 500 registrants for our large scale seminars, which is twice has high as last year.

We want Procore to be an exceptional experience for everyone at every touch point and webinars happen to be a popular revenue-generating channel in the construction industry. From start to finish, we want everyone to have best webcast experience possible, and we deliver that with ON24. I would encourage anyone looking to invest in a high-powered marketing webinar platform to check out ON24. This past year has been filled professional growth and adventures. I am grateful we adopted ON24 and look forward to continued success and pushing webinar marketing boundaries with ON24.

Originally published in Upshot stories

Webinar Strategy: What Marketing Personalization Can Do

What are you more likely to respond to? A marketing webinar invitation with a title like “How to Accelerate Your Pipeline,” or an invite that speaks to your segment and your particular problems, like “How to Cure Pipeline Bottlenecks in Tech Marketing” or “Lead Maturation Secrets For Financial Marketers?”

Most of us respond to marketing personalization, but as marketers, it’s hard for us to deliver. The problem isn’t lack of data — we’re swimming in data. We can record everything from what lists your leads signed up for to how long they spent looking at a particular page. We can test different messages, designs, webinar formats and content down to the word and get hard data about who our customers are and what they want. The problem is, most of us are focusing on content without taking the time to target our content and webinar strategy.

LinkedIn Marketing Solutions (LMS) faced a more daunting marketing personalization challenge than most. We’re the marketing and advertising side of LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional platform. Our job is to help LinkedIn marketers connect with their customers.

The benefits of our product are obvious, but our customers are difficult to target because they come from so many industries with so many different targets. There are higher education companies targeting aspirational professionals, B2B tech providers, and nonprofits looking to sway key influencers and decision-makers. Figuring out who’s a webinar marketing prospect, who might be interested in our ebook, and who’s just there for connections itself requires some sophisticated modeling. Segmenting and targeting all those different groups is even harder.

How do you target so many different segments? Throwing a lot of content at them is part of the answer. We have an always-on marketing strategy across every channel available to us — sponsored content and dynamic ads, InMail and email, social feeds and blogging, live webinars and other webcasts. But throwing content was pretty much all of it. We’d get suggestions, run a webinar and see how well it worked. We were running a decent webinar cadence, with 4–6 per month, but we didn’t have a cohesive strategy behind our content and webinar marketing. No matter how good our content was, it wasn’t connecting quite like we wanted it to.

Marketing personalization starts with analytics

Our first task was getting our content on target — defining our audience so we could deliver the right content in the right form. The first thing was to figure out who was reading white papers, downloading ebooks or signing up and attending our marketing webinars. We brought in our business analytics team to work with us to score members for propensity, so we could see where our members were in the marketing funnel.

That helped us group the targets, but we still needed to know who they were. Fortunately, as a professional network, we had plenty of data to figure that out, including job titles, skills and previous experience as clients. Not only did that help us identify the hot leads, but it also gave us a sustainable model for lead maturation. But the breakthrough was the other information we learned about our targets. That let us do what we couldn’t do with good ideas alone: personalize the marketing content.

The personalization imperative

Our webinar marketing strategy got pretty intricate later on, but basic personalization was very simple. The content was already good, even where it was just targeted towards marketers in general. The key was tweaking the messaging. Just by making simple changes to address it to the industry of the member, we received a 184 percent boost in clickthrough. That’s a change anyone can make — you just have to take the time to learn who you’re talking to. And once you get the basics of marketing personalization down, there’s no limits to what you can accomplish.

Qualified Leads in Law Firm Business Development: Who, What, and Why They Should Be Your Best Friends in 2018

Webinars are great ways to maintain connections and educate both clients and prospects on business and legal issues of interest and concern to them. They also happen to be one of the best ways for business development managers and partners within your firm to identify and develop qualified leads.

Think of it this way. Marketing with a capital M is the act of speaking to a roomful of business people, some, perhaps, who have just wandered in for the free Wi-Fi and coffee. (This is what partners do every time they share their expertise with a broad audience.) Business development is the act of striking up a subsequent conversation with that person in the back of the room who says, “Can you repeat that?” That’s the essence of a marketing qualified lead, or MQL – and it is typically done in collaboration between business development managers, who can help identify the lead, and partners, who should conduct the follow-up.

Webinars and the data they produce are an amazing, facile source of information directing you to qualified leads. You just have to know what to look for and commit to thoughtfully reviewing the data from each and every webinar you host, especially if you want to hone and refine your message and approach over time.

Frankly, every publisher (that’s what webinar hosts are) should be doing that. If not, you might as well just leave flyers and access codes out in the United Club frequent-flyer lounge.

Here are some examples:

  1. Frequent Flyers. Those who have attended more than one webinar in the last 12 months are telling you they trust you as a source of information.
  2. Current Clients. You might accept as a given that current clients would attend. Don’t. What this tells you is that there is an issue on their minds that your team may not be addressing. This is vital information deserving of immediate follow-up (more on that in my follow-on column).
  3. Evangelists. Did any registrants or attendees forward your webinar invitation? If so, this is strong evidence that they trust your counsel on the topic and are willing to put their personal brand behind yours.
  4. Finishers. Who stayed online for the full webinar? Busy in-house counsel make quick decisions on whether a presentation or content is useful. Make a note of finishers.
  5. Poll Takers, Questioners, Openers. Who participated in the pre-webinar poll? Who asked questions during the presentation? Who opened the post-program email containing your slides? This is vital data that will help your BD team narrow down its targets.
  6. Post-Program Talkers. Often an attendee will privately email a presenter, saying they found the information helpful. Make sure you get this information from your attorney-presenter, and strategize with them on the best follow-up. It shouldn’t just be a reply saying “thanks.”
  7. Social Connectors. This is the mother lode of presentation ore. Be sure to engage with your attorneys to learn who has connected with them on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., in the two weeks following the webinar.

The most important step? Integrate this data. Who fulfilled two criteria? Who fulfilled three or more? Take the time to crosscut your metrics to determine the most fertile prospects. Then plan a customized outreach. More on that in my next post.

Want to Increase Your Webinar Audience by 30%? See How Twilio Does It with Facebook and an On-Demand Strategy

Webinars can be a vital part of your marketing arsenal, provided you’re making the best use of your efforts. Your job is to fill the webinar with content and your platform’s job is to help you do so with ease. Here are a few tips for building your audience easily and consistently with ON24.

With more than a decade of experience as marketing professional, I’ve seen numerous methods of business development come and go. In all honesty, the vast majority of them aren’t reliable, and they usually fall out of favor for good reason. The most consistently effective strategy, the one with real staying power, is webinars. Combining the power to educate your target audience while also promoting your brand in an honest and open environment, webinars are an invaluable tool for any marketer looking to generate leads and engage their clients.

Speaking from experience, any entrepreneur hoping to make the most of their webinar experience can begin and end their search with ON24.

Currently, I am the marketing campaign manager at Twilio, a cutting-edge cloud communications platform. I wasn’t always in marketing, though. I began my career in IT support. It was there that I learned to differentiate between those companies that talk a good game and those that can back it up with solid technology.

That ability to differentiate between quality and bluster is integral to my current position, where it is my responsibility to provide high profile brands like Lyft, Airbnb, and Zendesk with the building blocks they need to best communicate with their clients.

To successfully accomplish Twilio’s business goals, as well as those of our clients, webinars are essential. And no one does webinars better than the team at ON24, a leading webinar marketing platform.

I wasn’t always equipped with such a powerful asset. Before making the switch to ON24, I spent a year using a competitor’s webinar platform. However, when you host five webinars a month for each of your clients, the platform you work with has to be many things at once.

  • User-Friendly: When you’re always in the process of introducing your webinars to new clients, you need to ensure that no one is going to waste valuable time wondering how to use it.
  • Branded: Your users need to know that you’re relying on a trusted, valued brand from the moment they begin your webinar. After all, the platform you use says something about your taste and your talent.
  • Consistently Reliable: Your time is better spent focusing on the content of your webinar, not anxiety about whether or not the software will actually work.
  • Analytical Powerhouse: In today’s ever-competitive business world, you need real-time reporting and insight just to keep up to date.

Unfortunately, after several trials and errors the competitor missed the mark entirely and it was time to make a change.

I made it a top priority to transition Twilio’s webinars to ON24. The entire process was surprisingly easy thanks to their intuitive interface and helpful staff. Before long, ON24 had empowered me to take my webinars to a whole new level.

While Twilio hosts live webinars, we also archive each one so that our users can access them on demand. Our benchmark attendance rate for a live webinar is about 35 percent of registrants. What’s even more impressive is the value you get out of a webinar once it’s complete. Over time, your webinar will find its way into the hands of a much larger audience than a simple one-time showing. That is why on-demand webinars are so crucial to content marketing efforts.

Year over year, there is a steady increase in the number of on-demand webinar viewers. The data shows that if you aren’t marketing your on-demand webinar content, you could be missing out on up to 30 percent of your potential audience. For example, when you promote an on-demand webinar using Facebook, this content is consumed by up to one-third of the original number or registrants. Basically, it’s like running a live webinar without being forced to take the time out of your hectic schedule to do so.

Thankfully, ON24 is able to help you archive and display your webinars with ease.

Developing a live webinar is a huge endeavor that requires a significant investment. Many businesses miss out on the opportunity to capture new users by hosting a live webinar, but never making it an on-demand option for later consumption. When I speak at panel discussions about on-demand webinars, I like to emphasize the importance of using Facebook advertising. This platform takes webinar registrant information and targets similar audiences. This is, by far, one of the most powerful methods for promoting on-demand webinars.

If you’d like to transition to using on-demand webinars as well as live viewings, there are a variety of methods you can employ to give your on-demand webinars longer life:

  • Avoid using exact dates in your webinars to help give them a longer shelf life.
  • Promote related on-demand webinars during live webinars.
  • Use webinar analytics, survey results, and polling data to understand your audience better so you can create stronger social media promotion.
  • Continue to share on-demand webinars via marketing channels—sales pages, search engine marketing, emails, your other webinars, social media, online advertisements, and your own website—even after you’ve moved on to new projects.

None of this success would have been possible without help from ON24. Choosing them was easy from the outset, not only because they’re a well known and highly trusted brand, but because they proved to my inner IT pro that they were a group of passionate experts whose goals were in line with my own. Since we’ve made the switch from their competitor, several members of the Twilio team have praised ON24’s audience console and easy customization, and we’ve come to place a lot of stock in ON24’s immediate analytical feedback when we’re building Twilio’s next great webinar.