Build Webinars with Clients in Mind

This post was originally published on which-50.com.

Schneider Electric builds its webinars based on partners or end-users and then pulls together content accordingly, according to Chris Quinn, its VP of Marketing.

Quinn said from that stage the company may involve multiple of its own teams to bring content together.

“For example, a seminar targeting water and waste water end-user customers included three of our businesses plus a customer who talked to a case study implementation.

“The webinar enabled us to attract people from right around the country in a cost-effective way compared to an on-ground or physical event approach — and also shows respect for customer time constraints. We reached 120 customers, which was above target.”

Quinn said Schneider Electric is a broad business covering many market segments and the company’s customers know it for a particular aspect of what it does.

“So a challenge for the company is to find practical ways to help them understand the broader problem-solving capability and solutions that we can bring to help them,” he said.

Extracting Value From Customers

When designing a program that focuses on extracting more value from existing customers, Quinn said it has to start with the customer first, then the company collaborating across teams to pull together the right content and style.

“Having a customer talk to their experience is always valuable and we generally include plenty of time for Q&A.

“We have successfully applied live polling on a few occasions to drive engagement. Most of the effort is required in the planning phase and it depends on strong collaboration, including external participation,” he said.

Types Of Webinars

There are various types of webinars and all have a specific role to play.

As one example, Quinn cites the waste water webinar as one designed to engage customers and help them understand the broader role the company can play.

As another example, Quinn said, the company had recently hosted on “targeting specifiers (electrical consultants) on the topic of digitised electrical distribution — an emerging space where we have leadership credibility.

“We did two webinars in this space — one was thought leadership/vision and the other was a technical presentation that went into the practicalities of how to get involved in this emerging space.”

Schneider’s most recent webinar was on smart grid for utility customers, targeting technical people from electrical utilities all around Australia. Smart grid, according to Quinn, is also described as “pipeline acceleration”.

He said the company did this webinar based on the opportunities it observed in the past through various tactics, and found that movement in the sector is very slow.

“We pulled the report and invited customers with the help of the sales team.

“The content for this webinar was real examples directly from one of the customers and partners using the solution,” he said

The result from that was 212 people registered, and 142 people attended.

He explained, “From the sales cycle point of view, it’s hard to comment at this stage. However, the engagement level was very high. We provided five different resources (224 downloads) and three videos (64 views).” The Q&A portion yielded 25 questions or interactions.

Want to learn more about how webinars work in APAC? Check out Webinar World Sydney right here.

Binge-Worthy Webinars Are Easy to Build

This post was originally published on which-50.com.  

The widespread consensus that we are in the midst of a new golden age of television is predicated on the combination of sophisticated storytelling and distribution platforms that put the power in the hands of the audience.

Indeed, it has given rise to a new term — ‘binge-watching’ — meaning to watch a large number of television programmes, usually from a single series, in succession.

So Maryel Roman-Price, Field Marketing Manager at Magento, an Adobe company, asks: why not adapt that ideology to webinar creation?

Webinars can be powerful tools to generate demand and diversify your channel offering —particularly when combined with a story that brings value to your audience.

“It’s cheaper than physical events, it can be wide-cast or as targeted as you want it to be. But a lot of marketers do it, so you have to stand out somehow, and you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money or do something out of this world [to achieve that],” Roman-Price says.

The secret is in the planning, and in listening to your audience and adapting accordingly. Look at all possible data points, Roman-Price says, and if something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to change it up.

When it comes to the development of creative content, Roman-Price says your own experience is a good starting point. What works for you probably works for the majority, she says.

“Start with that, then tweak it according to your target audience’s preferences. Look at what’s working for others — you don’t really have to re-invent the wheel, just make it better and your own. Sometimes, an idea just pops out of nowhere. You just need to expose yourself out there by reading, networking, watching, and, of course by listening to your own audience — they are always more than happy to propose ideas.”

Having a level of input can also help organisations foster audience loyalty, because it shows you value your audience’s opinions and listen to what they have to say.

“Give them air time by answering their questions and being readily available should they have more questions,” Roman-Price advises. “Make it easy for them to follow your series — have a great UX [user experience] on your webinar platform, have it available on-demand, and offer resources and not just sell to them. They sign-up and watch to learn, so give them that and entertain them at the same time.”

The elements often missing from a webinar ‘series’ are consistency and a continuous narrative. It is easy to deviate as webinar ‘episodes’ evolve. That is why having a plan that plots the narrative can be so helpful — as long as you are prepared to adapt accordingly should it fail to resonate with your audience.

Above all, never underestimate the power of being fun.

“To be ‘binge-worthy’, [a webinar] has to be addictive and likable,” Roman-Price says. “If you make it fun, then it’ll be enjoyable both for your team and the people watching it.”

Maryel Roman-Price is a presenter and panelist at Webinar World in Sydney on Thursday 2 May. To learn more about Webinar World Sydney, click here 

Give Your Webinars a Great Lead Gen Reputation

This post was originally published on which-50.com.

Webinars are given a bad reputation because if at first they don’t succeed for lead generation, marketers give up rather than trying again.

However, Sara Gonzalez, General Manager — Digital Events at Redback Connect, says if they are considered an extension to a marketing strategy and treated as more than just simple ‘add-ons’ then people might have a different approach.

Redback Connect and ON24 have worked together to write the State of Webinar Marketing 2019 report which will be released during Webinar World in May.

Gonzales says, “My gut feel was right about how people are measuring the success of their programs. Twenty-four percent of respondents are running webinars as part of their lead generation campaigns, yet only 13 percent said their webinar programs were successful.

“A huge part of this is due to the fact that the majority of respondents measure the success of their webinars by number of registrations (68 percent) and number of attendees (74 percent). There seems to be more of a focus on platform features rather than nurturing leads through the funnel and using the amazing data that is available.”

What The Market Gets Wrong

The majority of webinar users do not consider the format or style of the event, with 63 percent of people still using basic audio and slides to present, according to Gonzalez.

“No wonder average attendance rates are dropping and people aren’t seeing success.

“I think we are wasting amazing speakers, content and opportunities and need to lift our game,” she says.

Gonzalez suggests marketers should be using the platform to host panel discussions and broadcast quality events that encourage conversations rather than one-way presentations.

“The webinar market is becoming quite saturated, so I think people really need to think about how they can stand out from the crowd,” she adds.

Why Webinars Excel

Webinars need to compliment other marketing tools, according to Gonzalez. Whatever is written can be converted to digital and vice versa.

For the report the researchers asked respondents what they love about webinars, and the consistent theme is around saving time and money and increasing accessibility.

“Think about the reach — what other tool allows you to remove geographical barriers like a webinar?

“People are working differently now and think that is why webinars are excelling — they accommodate the modern marketer and, if done properly, can be the most effective lead generation tool available,” she says.

Maximising Returns

Gonzalez says the best webinars are those that are consistent.

She explains that this requires webinars to be “planned around strategic initiatives and become an extension of a content plan.”

She says, “Organisations also need to resource more effectively. We found that it takes three to four weeks on average to plan a webinar and get it to market, and that can take anywhere from two to eight people involved in the planning and delivery process – creating the marketing material, assets, campaign, delivering the event. That’s because successful webinar organisers know that they can’t plan in silos.”

Why Webinar Marketing Requires Great Planning

Interested in learning the latest webinar tips, tricks and innovations? Discover how APAC gets digital marketing done on May 2 at Webinar World Sydney. Click here to learn more.

This post was originally published on which-50.com.  

Webinars are an extremely powerful marketing tool, according to Alison Jack, Marketing Campaign Coordinator at Employsure. She warns that they take time and effort to organise — but the rewards are worth it.

She says, “Planning is key. A lack of planning and structure can lead to ad hoc webinars thrown together at the last minute. A proper strategy maps out exactly how your webinars will contribute to your overall marketing activity.

She also believes there has to be engaging content. “Before we had a strategy in place, it was common to reuse presentations from live seminars to try to replicate the same success.

“However, keep in mind an online audience often has a shorter attention span and can easily be distracted. Webinar content therefore needs to be highly engaging with a range of video content, clean slides, polls, and a Q&A to keep the audience engaged and switched on.”

Creating Consistent Branded User Experience

Jack says that when various teams are creating webinars, it can be hard to keep a consistent standard approach.

“For example, our teams were using different types of landing pages and registration forms that weren’t consistent.

“To resolve this, we created new landing page templates, EDM templates, PPT templates and webinar background for the teams to use.”

To streamline some of their processes, they updated their CRM with the ON24 attendee list, so it is updated every four to 24 hours.

Before they were manually updating the CRM with the list. There was also two- to three-day waiting period before receiving the attendee list.

She says, “We also can sort the leads by engagement score, so we know the sales team are reaching out to the hottest leads first. Giving the sales team access to the questions asked during the Q&A had a huge impact on the quality of the conversation with the leads.

“Pre-recording the webinar and creating a Simu live or On-demand event has been a huge time saver. The production schedule is carefully planned, and we do not have worry about nervous presenters or technical issues.”

Improving Knowledge Of Webinars

Improving the sales team’s knowledge of webinars is important, as Jack argues webinar leads require a different approach to inbound leads or leads that attend physical events.

She says Employsure conducted an internal analysis of its webinar follow-up strategy and discovered the first 24 to 48 hours after the webinar is a crucial time to begin to nurture attendees and move them down the sales funnel.

“This timeframe is your chance to continue the dialogue with your audience, including reaching out to the no-shows, which we also discovered converted better between 48 to 72 hours following the webinar.

“We worked with key stakeholders in the sales department to set up a dedicated team of sales people to target these webinar leads. To arm the dedicated sales team, we also created a best practice guide with useful info on the types of questions the sales team should ask on the call,” she says.

Hard Work Pays Off

Earlier this year Employsure conducted a webinar series called Back to Basics — a three-part series helping small business owners start the new year right.

Jack says this webinar series was a huge success, with more than 520 registrations, 228 attendees, 68 sales meetings booked, and sales of $236,828 from three webinars.

She says, “For marketers, this is where all your hard work in planning and hosting a webinar pays off. You now have a wealth of data and can strategically package it for a smooth handoff to your sales team.

“The success was the result of an effective strategy, engaging content and a confident team of sales people that knew exactly how to approach these leads.”

5 Tips to Inspire Quick Marketing Campaigns

This post is the latest in our series on scrappy marketing – an approach can help you achieve better results in less time.

Creating content campaigns with serious impact doesn’t have to be the preserve of larger companies. But creating content that’s both fast to produce and effective in driving results requires inspiration.

This blog looks at scrappy ways you can use free digital tools to conceive, build and launch winning content campaigns fast.

Zero-in on the right content titles with Google Autocomplete

Even though you may have buyer journey maps and positioning documents that define what your target customers might be looking for, there may be specific terms buyers are using that you have missed.

Google Autocomplete makes its search predictions based on what other people have searched for. By reviewing what phrases or questions are associated with your keyword, you can discover what people want to know about your product and create content that they’ll want to engage with.

You can also use Autocomplete to find out what terms your keywords are related to, and place these into your content to help improve its relevance.

While taking this approach alone is unlikely to result in winning lots of organic traffic, it can provide both a useful tool for gathering ideas and a place to make sure you’re creating content that people are actually looking for.

Plan your next webinar campaign with Google Trends

In addition to Autocomplete, check out Google Trends to see how the popularity of a particular search term, and its related queries, have varied with time. Which industry topics are most relevant to your potential customers, and what’s falling out of favor? Are there any seasonal patterns?

There’s also an option to view ‘rising’ search terms, which shows you which topics and queries related to your industry have increased most rapidly in popularity over the last year. Are there search queries that imply emerging pain points for your customers? Insights like these could inform what emerging subject your next webinar could be about.

Discover existing content to repurpose with social data

Which of your social posts have had the most shares? Are there any themes that have worked well for other companies? Go back through your timelines to find out. If you go back far enough, you may find a piece of content that still has legs, or for which a recent theme has given it new relevance.

Discuss what it might be about the popular post that worked so well. Does it solve a problem that your potential customers might have? If so, it may be possible to repurpose the content.

For example, a popular how-to video could be spun into a longer guide that goes into greater detail than the video. Make the guide available to only those who have filled out a form, and you can start generating leads.

Make the most of upcoming events

Events are a great opportunity to generate content, even those you’re not holding.

If there’s an industry event on the horizon, find out what main themes will be discussed and use these as inspiration for your own content. Keep an eye on social activity during the event, making note of the topics that are firing up the most discussion among your potential customers.

Even for events that aren’t your own, producers will often release delegate lists to show what companies are attending or presenting. This can provide you with a list of targets that could form part of an account-based marketing campaign.

Create your next breakout blog with ego bait

Content that boosts the egos of influencers or industry leaders, or ego bait, can prove a major traffic driver if done well. Ego bait usually takes the form of an interview or listicle, and tends to perform well as the subjects featured are – unsurprisingly – keen to share any content that praises their work.

The key is to keep it authentic. Put aside your metrics head while your building the campaign and focus on engaging the person you’d like to feature in your content. If they’re a good fit, the content is informative and your customers find it helpful, all those shares and links back to the site will follow.

Why Webinars Are Great for Research and New Content

This post was originally published on heinzmarketing.com. Syndicated with permission.

Before diving in, be sure to read our previous posts on Panel Webinars, Webinar Operations, Internal Alignment, and ABM! Now, for our fifth entry into this blog series, let’s talk about how you can use webinars as a means of gathering new data to fuel your content strategy. By utilizing polls, questions, and other interactive assets in your webinars, you’re able to capture more data on your attendee’s level of intent and interest areas while simultaneously gaining insights for new research, content, and messaging.

Why should you use webinars for research and new content?

To Easily Conduct Research

With a captive audience and interactive tools on your webinar, you can conduct research to uncover new data trends, insights, or simply to fuel your content marketing strategy based on the responses you get back. This enables you to spend more of your time actually using your research rather than spending hours and hours conducting 1:1 calls, putting together surveys, or trying to schedule meetings.

To Produce Custom Content

By taking the pulse of attendees on your webinar through questions, polls, and downloadable assets, you’re able to better understand what content your audience actually wants to see. Use your findings to create custom research reports, share insights with your audience, and refine the relevance of your go-to-market in association with marketing campaigns, partner efforts, PR, analysts, as well as your customers.

To Gain Live Intelligence

When you ask questions or polls during your webinar, it makes it possible to tailor or shift the focus of your webinar on the fly to better align to what your audience wants to see or hear about. This can turn your webinar from one that just focuses on topics at a high-level to one that goes into more detail where the audience actually wants it to go.

When should you use this play?

Using your webinars to conduct research and fuel new content initiatives can be an effort spurred by a number of reasons. It may be time to reinvigorate your content, messaging, and persona strategies, or maybe you want to generate better engagement in your marketing campaigns overall. Or, there may be a need or want to discover new insights and trends, but you don’t have the resources or means to conduct more formal, survey-driven research

Stakeholders and roles

While utilizing webinars to gain better insights into trends and content themes may seem like a simple enough tactic, there are still a specific set of roles to consider. To ensure that you’re capturing data in the most efficient, natural way possible, a successful team should be made up of the following roles:

  • Webinar Presenter: to lead the conversations, ask the right questions, and guide and prompt the audience to respond to questions and polls
  • Webinar Producer or Technician: to set up surveys & polls and show questions and answers on screen in real-time
  • Marketing: to apply the insights gained in the webinar into their different campaigns, strategies, and tactics around content development and demand generation

Want more?

Stay tuned! In the next few weeks, we’ll revisit this topic to dive into the specifics and how-tos of using webinars to conduct research for your content strategy.

 

 

Growth, Engagement and Webinars: How Today’s Top Marketers Make it All Work

This post was originally published on LinkedIn.com by Sydni Craig-Hart. Syndicated with author’s permission. To learn more about Smart Simple Marketing, follow this link.

This week, I was a first-time attendee at Webinar World, a user conference hosted by ON24, in San Francisco, CA. ON24 is an enterprise-level technology company that, per the comments on their website, “is on a mission to redefine how organizations engage with their audiences, powering interactive, data-rich webinars and content experiences that help people connect on a more human level and make smarter business decisions.”

(By the way, many thanks to ON24 for hosting such a great event right in my backyard… I love the no-plane 10-minute commute and sleeping in my own bed! 🙂 )

Table of Contents

At Smart Simple Marketing, we’ve been producing high-quality webinars since 2008, and I have personally delivered hundreds of live webinars. They are one of my favorite platforms for teaching. Webinars have been an integral piece of our marketing strategy, and we’ve consistently used a variety of webinar formats to build our 29,000+ email list, build relationships with industry influencers, train small business owners how to attract more clients and increase their revenue and so much more. Webinars have also been an integral piece of the work we do for our enterprise clients, helping them to drive engagement, deepen loyalty, and gain market share with small, minority-owned and women-owned businesses.

Hosting compelling webinars continues to be one of the top three strategies we recommend to our corporate clients, as highlighted in our insights paper, Successfully Selling to Small Businesses. In fact, our very first project with a corporate client was producing, marketing, and re-purposing a five-part webinar series for Verizon Wireless, called “The Entrepreneurs Guide to Business Success”, and we hosted that series using ON24.

As such, I’ve been looking forward to Webinar World 2019 and hearing ON24’s take on the latest success strategies for leveraging the power of webinars as a marketing tool. Since it is my first time attending the event, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I thoroughly enjoyed three of the sessions I attended yesterday. One of those was a panel discussion entitled “Keynote Conversation: Living Your Best #Webinerd Life.” Check out the description of the session:

“The life of a webinerd can get pretty crazy. From great successes to epic fails, there’s never a dull moment when you’re at the helm of your company’s webinar channel. Join ON24 Chief Webinerd Mark Bornstein in a panel of webinerds who will share their stories of webinar disasters and recoveries, getting big wins and internal recognition and their most valuable lessons learned.”

The session was moderated by Mark Bornstein, Vice President of Marketing and Chief Webinerd at ON24 and the panel included:

To provide a bit of context, Deanna, Josh, and Nina describe their work this way:

  • Deanna (Clarivate Analytics) – “My team oversees all the marketing and strategy for three of Clarivate Analytics business units. Webinars have become critical to our demand strategy approach at every stage of the life cycle. Right now, we’re running about sixty webinars globally. We also support the field by repackaging and repurposing our webinar content.”
  • Josh (Collette Travel) – “We’re a tour operator, and we travel to all seven continents. We do B2B and B2C as well. On average, we do 500 webinars a year. Our goal is to educate travel agents, educate group leaders on our products, and then educate members of those different groups to get them to purchase different tours. We provide webinars throughout the entire life cycle.”
  • Nina (Salesforce) – “For all of our different products and industry segments, my team handles all the executional programmatic approach to our webinars and overall strategy.

Following are my favorite takeaways from the panel discussion along with suggestions for how to implement the insights shared into your own marketing programs.

How Have Your Webinar Programs Evolved?

Mark (ON24) – “How have your webinar programs evolved; are they still talking PowerPoints, or where are you guys with that now?”

  • Deanna (Clarivate Analytics) – “For us, it’s all about engagement. We recognize that industrywide, people are willing to pay more for a premium experience. So, we are really implementing that as part of our webinar strategy. It provides us with an opportunity to not just have engagement, but to give all our prospects and customers experience, and so, for that, it causes us to evolve and look at everything differently.”
  • Josh (Collette Travel) – “If you look at where we were seven years ago to where we are now, it’s completely different. We’ve definitely grown and come up with real strategies for the year and try to plan things out for the following year. We take all the surveys we get and listen to our consumers and our travel agents. We really plan things that are interactive; we do series. We try to do value-added webinars as well; it’s not just about selling for us; it’s about, for example, ‘how to use Facebook’ or ‘how to take the best photography’, so we try to really add that into our strategy.”
  • Nina (Salesforce) – “One of the biggest changes is how much traction our webinars have gotten over the years; we continue to see increased numbers of webinars that we’re doing every single year. We do still have our PowerPoints and audio, but we’ve done a lot more with video recently. We have a studio that we will pre-record in or stream live in, so people are sitting just like this in a panel discussion, talking about things that are interesting to them or product launches or things like that; so, we’ve gotten a lot more innovative that way over the years. We’re not just PowerPoint and audio.”

BIG TAKEAWAYS (aka Smart Simple Marketing Implementation Advice)

  • Focus on creating TRUE engagement—meaning allowing your audience to share their thoughts, ideas, and struggles with you (all of which is far more important than what you have to say to them.)
  • Plan your content in advance, and don’t fly by the seat of your pants. You’ll be less stressed and create a better experience for your audience.
  • Design webinars that make life easier for your audience. Focus on helping them solve the problems that cause them to waste time, money, and effort. If you do, they’ll come back for more (which means lower customer acquisition costs for you).
  • Look for ways to incorporate video in your webinars. Including short videos will help keep your audience’s attention and provide more context for the point you’re trying to make.

How Do You Approach Webinar Management and Planning?

Mark (ON24) – “How do you manage so many webinars? What does planning look like when you’re trying to support so many events?”

  • Nina (Salesforce) – “It was definitely chaotic in the past. We’ve dialed it back, so now, people can only book webinars for the next coming quarter. We have a steering committee where we work together functionally, so we’re not just operating in silos. Also, we have a webinar brief that all of our campaign managers and product marketers fill out and turn in at least four to five weeks in advance of their webinar. That is our working point for our team, to make sure we’re taking care of everything that goes into a webinar. We’ve created stricter guidelines for the process, so we’re not getting a brief two weeks before a live event and people expect us to produce a successful webinar off of that.”

BIG TAKEAWAYS (aka Smart Simple Marketing Implementation Advice)

  • Create a written process document to organize all the details of your webinar production and execution. Insist that every team (or team member) follow this process religiously. Doing so will save you time, money, and effort.
  • Create related forms (i.e., the brief mentioned by Nina) to help your colleagues think through the details of the experience they want to create. Not only will your form collect the information you need to produce a successful webinar, but it can also serve as a strategic asset that helps your team(s) collaborate. Your form can also be a strategic asset that can keep your team(s) focused on their goals.
  • Be intentional about knowledge-sharing between teams to help break down silos. This encourages greater collaboration and, ultimately, will create a more positive brand experience for your audience.

How Are You Evolving Webinars?

Mark (ON24) – “Are you thinking about creating webinars beyond simple high-level thought leadership webinars? Are you thinking about building webinars for each state in the funnel?”

  • Deanna (Clarivate Analytics) – “Absolutely. It’s not just about the thought leadership piece. It’s about engagement and helping the audience really understand what they’re going to get from connecting with the company. So, we’re absolutely building out webinars that are a value add. ON24 allows us to provide our audience with content pieces that will help them with their decision-making at the end of the buying cycle as well. The calendar of how we’re building out webinars, and how many webinars, where they are in the year, and what the buying cycle looks like—we take all of that into account.”
  • Josh (Collette Travel) – “With travel, we’re trying to not only get people to go on a tour; we’re trying to get them to buy. We’re also trying to educate our travel agents on the value of booking travel with Collette so they know exactly what their clients are going to get when they book with us. When it comes to the full year, we do have a strategy where we sit down in the summer and we talk about what we’re going to do for the following year.”
  • Nina (Salesforce) – “We have a lot of your basic product-focused webinars, since we have a lot of different products to serve. We also have webinars that are more sales driven, so you’ll see a lot of buy-in from the sales team on those. These sessions are going to be a lot more targeted to a smaller niche area. We have our thought leadership and “trailblazers” type webinars, and these are going to be your industry topics. So, we do have webinars that fit into all these different levels, and it’s really important to us that we are tailoring the content differently in all of those areas.”

BIG TAKEAWAYS (aka Smart Simple Marketing Implementation Advice)

  • Many companies make the mistake of using webinars as only a top-of-funnel strategy. Don’t be one of them. Leverage webinars to support prospects at ALL stages of the buying cycle. After they buy, you can continue using webinars to help your customers get the ROI they are looking for from your product.
  • Create content for different learning preferences. The same content you produce for a live webinar can become a series of checklists, worksheets, resource guides, templates, audio tutorials, etc., that support your attendees in implementing what you taught them. Distribute the additional resources during or immediately after the webinar to keep your audience engaged.
  • Developing a strategy is key to your success, but do allow space in your plan for flexibility. You want to be able to respond to a new trend, a hot news topic, a customer need, or a request from your sales team. Build in space for these sessions so they don’t throw off your editorial calendar.

How Do You Drive Webinar Registration?

Mark (ON24) – “Let’s talk about something that everyone cares a lot about when it comes to webinars. It’s the thing I hear again and again and again, which is driving registration, one of the hardest things to do with a webinar. You all have completely different types of audiences, what are you doing to try to get people to attend your webinar?”

  • Deanna (Clarivate Analytics) – “We are taking advantage of social. We have some folks that are really targeting and finding the right groups on Linkedin. And we have our partner groups making an appeal because these are their peers, and they are very respected by our audience. So, we give our partners “enablement packs,” where all they have to do is copy and paste into the respective Linkedin groups. This allows us to drive registration in addition to building out the typical paid and organic social and email channels that we are also using.”
  • Josh (Collette Travel) – “We do the basic e-mail that we always send out to get them to join. We have certain Facebook groups that we utilize with our agent network. We just started using Facebook groups over the past three months, and they have actually been working really well. When we’re on our webinar, we talk about what’s coming up next and get them to register right away; that way, we’re already touching that touch point with them.”
  • Nina (Salesforce) – “Email is still our biggest driver of registration, so that’s what we put a lot of focus behind. Each of our teams that are actually running the webinars will do their own social and digital promotions. We have seen a lot of success when we do a blog post about an upcoming webinar too; so, second to email, that’s been our second highest driver of registration.”

BIG TAKEAWAYS (aka Smart Simple Marketing Implementation Advice)

  • A multichannel strategy is necessary to meet your registration goals. Take stock of ALL of your channels, the various features available on each channel, and create content specific to the culture of that channel. Feel free to repurpose content across channels, but do so strategically.
  • Use your marketing communications to give attendees a preview of the webinar event. Show them exactly why taking time out of their day will help them address a pressing problem or meet a current goal.
  • Once people have registered for the event, keep them engaged. Encourage them to invite a friend, learn about their needs by way of a brief survey, and give them additional previews of the content. You need to keep reminding them of the value you’ll be presenting to encourage them to attend live.

What Are Your Tactics for Webinar Engagement?

Mark (ON24) – “How are you getting your audience involved in the webinars? What are you doing to get more engagement in those experiences?”

  • Deanna (Clarivate Analytics) – “We’re absolutely taking advantage of the widgets on the ON24 platform, which, for example, gives us the ability to share white papers. The other thing we’ve done is enable our audience to use social media widgets. We have our social media manager paying attention so that if someone tweets or writes a post about the live webinar, they’re getting a response in real time, so that it becomes more of a conversation. That’s really important when you’re trying to create conversations versus campaigns and building more than engagement.”
  • Josh (Collette Travel) – “We utilize the ability to have resource links, polls and surveys built into the session on ON24. We try to have polls in every webinar, and we also try to ask questions to break up the webinar.”
  • Nina (Salesforce) – “We do a lot of polls and share links to resources. Our other route is we bring video into the webinars so that people feel like they’re connecting with someone on a more personal level then just hearing a voice on a slide.”

BIG TAKEAWAYS (aka Smart Simple Marketing Implementation Advice)

  • Take another look at the tool you’re using to host your webinars. Make sure you’re aware of ALL of the features and benefits available to you so you’re getting the greatest return on your investment.
  • If your tool happens to not have the interactive features of ON24, look to third-party resources to help create engagement during your presentation. For example, tools like PollsEverywhere, Slidio, ClickMeeting, and SlideDog are inexpensive, easy to use, and help create an interactive experience with your attendees.
  • Just because your webinar ends doesn’t mean engagement with your brand should end. While you have your audience’s attention, give them options to continue the conversation in a way that feels comfortable for them. This could include immediately scheduling a follow-up call, directing them to watch another webinar, or giving them a piece of relevant content that helps them implement what they learned.

Do You Integrate Video into Your Webinars?

Mark (ON24) – “How have you begun to integrate video into your webinars?”

  • Josh (Collette Travel) – “We decided we wanted to try something different than just the PowerPoint. So we thought, ‘let’s just try to go live and do an actual interview,’ so we did. It wasn’t in a studio, and we didn’t have lots of equipment. We had a small little Nikon camera, a little microphone attached to it, and a little tiny light, and it was sitting on a kitchen table. It just shows what you can do with a small budget. You don’t need tens of thousands of dollars. We spent $1,000 to buy all the equipment and created a great polished video.”

BIG TAKEAWAYS (aka Smart Simple Marketing Implementation Advice)

  • Hubspot reports, “87% of consumers say they’d like to see more video from brands in 2019.” As such, video is a MUST-have in your content marketing toolbox. The question is not “is video a fit for us?” The question is “how are we using video to connect with our audience?”
  • An easy, fun and inexpensive way to create great video content AND engage with your audience is going LIVE on a platform like Facebook or LinkedIn. Minimal setup is required to create a great video, and your audience will love the opportunity to have a conversation with you.
  • Video is ripe for repurposing! You can use a single piece of content in your webinars, your marketing promotions, and product tutorials. Get creative and start putting your ideas into action!

How Do You Cope with Bad Speakers?

Mark (ON24) – “How do you deal with bad speakers? There’s nothing worse on a webinar than a terrible speaker.”

  • Deanna (Clarivate Analytics) – “We have some speakers who are deeply intellectual and very verbose, or they have slides that have 30 bullets on them, which can be very dense. So, in addition to helping with slide coaching, we run a practice session for our webinars. If we hear they’re not as engaging, we plan ahead to ask questions on certain slides to break up the sound of the voice. We let the speaker know in advance that the webinar manager is going to interrupt them on a certain slide, and this really helps.”
  • Nina (Salesforce) – “We really try to make the speaker as comfortable as possible. Our team makes sure that everything is covered so that the speaker doesn’t have anything to worry about besides speaking. We try to make it so they just have to focus on their expertise for the webinar.”

BIG TAKEAWAYS (aka Smart Simple Marketing Implementation Advice)

  • It’s all too easy for a speaker to go off on an unrelated tangent or turn their presentation into a pitch about their company. In order to avoid alienating your audience, clearly communicate with your speakers your expectations about the focus of their presentation. Make sure they understand that they are there to create value for your audience, not “toot their own horn” or sell their product.
  • Keep your content simple. We’ve seen time and again that our clients try to cram too much information into a session and end up overwhelming their audience. Choose ONE topic for your webinar and design your content to focus on that one topic. You want your audience to walk away feeling refreshed and inspired, not overwhelmed and confused.

How can Webinerds Reach the Next Level?

Mark (ON24) – “For all of our future and current #webinerds, any one piece of advice that you would give our audience today to take their webinerdship to the next level?”

  • Deanna (Clarivate Analytics) – “Use the best practices that ON24 provides you with; they’re critical. View your webinars as engagement, not just a tactic.”
  • Josh (Collette Travel) – “Don’t be afraid to try something new and try something different. Take what you learned here and try it. That’s what I’ve done (this is my third year) and every year we go back with at least one or two things that we’re going to try this year that has really impacted us.”
  • Nina (Salesforce) – “Be really passionate about what you’re doing. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Really push the envelope because who knows, maybe one thing, the next thing, will be a huge win for your company.”

As you can see, this was a rich session, filled with practical insights from three very different companies. Whether you sell B2B or B2C, whether you sell a product or service, whether your new to producing webinars or a seasoned veteran, there is always an opportunity to cross-appropriate strategies that are working in companies that look different from yours. I challenge you, as you think about what you learned in this article, not to think “yeah, but…,” and instead think “how can…”

Take “can’t” out of your vocabulary. Focus on what you CAN do. Commit to truly serving your audience. That is a guaranteed strategy that leads to success.

This is just one recap from the many insights we gained at Webinar World that we’ll be sharing in detail with our clients.

If you’d like to schedule a no-obligation brainstorming session about how to implement a results-focused webinar strategy, you can reach Sydni at sydni@smartsimplemarketing.com.

ServiceNow’s Approach to Webinar Program Innovation (Part II)

This is part two in a two-part series on how organizations can extract more results from their webinars. For part one, click here

The push towards account-based marketing ultimately is about creating the capability to personalize go-to-market strategies and outreach. Webinars – both generic and targeted – play a vital role in ServiceNow’s focus on the Financial Services market.

There are many definitions of Account-Based Marketing going around – it’s a hot topic in Marketing these days. At ServiceNow, ABM is one of three Go-To-Market programs, in addition to Executive Programs and Campaigns.

 

Figure 1: ServiceNow Go-To-Market Model

 

Market and Account Segmentations

We segment our markets along a number of axes, and decisions on marketing spend are related to our country tiering model (Tier 1: UK, Germany, France and The Netherlands), the 50 largest accounts for ServiceNow in EMEA, the Executive decision makers (CxO level) within the Top-50, the broader market segment of Large Enterprise organisations, specific industries that historically have proven lucrative for ServiceNow, like Financial Services.

In 2018, we increased our focus on Top-50 accounts. In the first phase of our Account-Based Marketing program, we target 17 Financial Services accounts (banks and insurers) within our EMEA Top-50 account list.

Guided by our London-based ABM agency McDonald Butler Associates, we’re working side by side with Sales leadership and Client Directors to understand how marketing can help accelerate the sales strategy execution within these 17 accounts.

Financial Services: 3 go-to-market modes

To understand the role of the ON24 platform as part of our ABM strategy, I will outline our thinking on a high-level. If we take the triangle from figure 1 and we put it on its side, we see figure 2, where three go-to-market modes in the Financial Services market are identified:

1.    Content Marketing for the largest segment in the database. These are the accounts that are in the Financial Services industry, but they’re not strategic enough yet for ServiceNow to focus investment.

2.    Account-based marketing for the 17 Financial Services Accounts within the EMEA Top-50 of largest accounts, critical to the future growth of the company.

3.    Target Account Marketing for those accounts within Top-17 FS which require even more focus and investments, for instance, because they have been included in a global focus program, or because the sales strategy requires additional marketing investment.

Figure 2: Industry-to-Account-Based Engagement Model 

Content Strategies Per Mode

Now that these three modes have been established, we can start devising the content marketing strategy and resources, systems and data services we require per phase over time. To summarize six months of conversations between our sales teams, agencies, and colleagues around the globe:

Seventeen of the EMEA Top-50 accounts our sales organization is going after, are in Financial Services. If we create a content marketing strategy for our target personas in Financial Services, we can start creating an active database in Financial Services within our Tier 1 markets and track who is engaging with ServiceNow, test new ideas, and generate initial demand.

Part of the mix of assets and tactics we employ for this FS content strategy are industry-based messaging frameworks, demo environments, sales decks, blogs, position papers, storybooks, and FS industry event sponsorships – all developed in close cooperation with industry experts and Client Directors.

The ON24 Pillar

In the case of our Financial Services focus, one of the key content strategy pillars is a series of live webinars, running on ON24, reviewing the various parts of our FS value proposition with large FS customers featuring as panel speakers. The recordings of these webinars are used to populate an ON24 Target landing page, with a branded header visual, targeted introduction and the call-to-action to engage the FS discussion groups within the ServiceNow Community.

For the 17 FS accounts within the EMEA Top-50, we go the extra mile by increasing the level of localization of the content and assets. The messaging framework is reworked based on account insights shared by the account director. Co-branded design templates per account show our commitment to work with them. Our executives proactively reach out to their counterparts.

Not only is this a very scalable model, but it also feeds industry-specific content into the long-tail of accounts in the same segment, which are not yet in our Top-50 focus.

In line with the webinar performance metrics we track internally, some of which we shared in Part 1 of this two-part blog, we have seen a significant increase in target account engagement and pipeline influence. The use of ON24’s Target product for ABM has been key to creating the focused content experience, while enabling our marketing metrics to easily demonstrate the increased consumption and engagement via the real-time sync with our CRM system.

Bid Marketing Menu

Once we get to the RFP/bid stage of the engagement, a special programme of activities kicks into action, our so-called “Bid Marketing Menu”, including a targeted brochure aligned with the value themes outlined in the RFP, a branded ON24 Target landing page with messaging and video assets relevant to the offer, email and social media programs to driver further engagement in the account, and real-time engagement monitoring.

Figure 3: Account-based ON24 Target page – account logo blurred out in header visual

Targeted, Personalized Webinars

ON24 Target has enabled the ServiceNow team to introduce targeting and personalization techniques into our webinar programs. We already had the ON24 platform integrated with our website, our Eloqua marketing automation platform and our CRM system, and Tableau already has the dashboards in place to visualize engagement and business value down the funnel, which basically means that these targeted investments are automatically tracked and reported on in our systems, too. So, without much extra effort in the infrastructure layer, we’re able to create actionable insight and higher value for our sales and account teams.

Baseline for 2019 growth

Today, we can show which contacts from our target accounts are engaging our webinar program, including the stage of their engagement and propensity to pipeline and bookings – which is a great baseline for continued growth in 2019 and beyond.

Announcing ON24’s 2018 Webinar Benchmarks Report

Looking for the latest in webinar benchmarks? Check out the 2019 Webinar Benchmarks Report right here or get our top-level takeaways right here.

Time and time again, webinars are listed as one of the content formats most preferred by prospective buyers. It’s easy to understand why. Quality webinars engage, inform and disseminate content to an interested audience. But what are the best practices for a webinar? The answers reside in our 2018 Webinar Benchmarks Report.

This year’s benchmarks report examined nearly 20,000 ON24-based webinars conducted during 2017. The result is a guide to webinar standards, best practices and new trends as well as a comparative marker for ongoing webinar programs.

Looking for few key takeaways? Here’s a taste of the facts figures you’ll learn:

  • 56 minutes: the average attendee time spent in a live webinar
  • 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST): the best time to hold an event
  • 44 minutes: the average time spent in an on-demand webinar
  • 44 percent: the average conversion rate for webinars with more than 100 attendees
  • Q&A: the most-used widget on the ON24 webinar platform
  • 22: the percent of webinars featuring video

But this report is more than a list of numbers to abide by. It’s a map to help you bring one-to-one communications to a digital scale. Adding a personable, engaging touch to digital communications is especially important in an era where distractions and alternative solutions are easy to come by. Today, engagement matters more than ever.

Generating engagement and nurturing trust are two reasons why webinars stand out from other forms of content. In fact, according to Demand Generation’s 2018 Content Survey Report, 48 percent of respondents said webinars were both their top choice and most valuable content format during the mid-stage of their buying journey. What’s more, 75 percent of respondents in the same report also said they’d share more information to gain access to content in a webinar.

As a single tool to generate pipeline, revenue and actionable insights for sales, it’s hard to surpass a webinar. But for generating trust and actually engaging with your audience, there’s no competition. Stop interrupting your prospects and start engaging with them with ON24.

For more insights into how to make the most of your webinars and to maximize engagement, download ON24’s 2018 Webinar Benchmarks Report and watch the corresponding on-demand webinar for more best practices.