February 13, 2020 Michael Mayday
With tools like webinars, marketers can engage audiences virtually anywhere at any time. But while always-on marketing is an important element in your marketing toolbox, it’s not the only tool to use.
Consider the live webinar, which enables you to interact with your audience directly and drive genuine engagement. Or, as Tessa Barron, our own Vice President of Marketing at ON24 put it for Toolbox Marketing:
“It is about having a two-way conversation with your audience rather than a boring one-way presentation. With a two-way conversation, there’s genuine human engagement and interaction, which can then inform a conversation with sales and provide an overall better customer experience.”
So, how can you act on the live webinar promise? Here are some pointers to consider:
Harness the Power of Your Brand
What’s the first thing you think of when you think of “brand”? Logo? Name? Company colors? It’s doubtful that live webinars are on this list, but they should be. After all, brand is more than just immediate imagery. Brand is your organization’s way of life, how it positions itself to the outside world — it’s the mixture of company principles with action.
Practice your praxis by embedding your brand values into your live webinar. If your organization values education and supporting audiences in their career journeys, offer certificates or continuing professional education credits with your webinars. If your company has an active customer community, then provide a variety of webinars — from panel to product updates — addressing audience needs and allows them to communicate with your organization directly.
Most of all: be consistent in your approach. Your webinars should have familiar styling, tone and presenter presence. Which brings us to our next point…
Build a Series
Audiences love consistency. And when it comes to winning audiences and prospects with webinars, a programmatic series like you’d find on television is an excellent idea. If you’re going to build a webinars series, there are a few things you should know.
First, you need a topic, and one addressing the needs of your unique audience. For example, we run our Webinar Best Practices Series so our audience can learn how they can run an excellent webinar program that delivers results.
Second, you’ll need an energetic presenter who’s not afraid of going on the screen and talking with audiences (for more tips on how to find or nurture your webinar presenter, check out this edition of WBPS).
Third, and following from the second point, if you’re going to do a series, you’ll need to use video so your audience can connect your brand with an actual human being. This is important because — as audiences engage with your webinar, ask questions and respond to polls — you’ll need someone who can respond to audience reactions in real-time.
Fourth, you’ll want to brand your webinar with your company’s colors and logo. And we’re not just talking about the basics. Modify your webinar’s icons to match your brand’s identity, change the background image to something that either matches the tone of your event or enhances your brand. We have some great examples of well-designed webinars here.
Finally, pick a day and time for your series and run it as consistently as you can. This last point is perhaps the most important, because if your audience comes to expect an edition of your webinar series every week and you miss, then you’ve damaged your brand’s relationship with audience expectations.
If you’re interested in developing your own webinar series, check out this edition of The #Webinerd Channel covering this very topic.
Show Your Solution
Prospects want to know how your solution works specifically for them. Live demo webinars are a great opportunity to both show them and address and specific concerns they may have.
For example, if your company produces software, a live webinar demo can address integration concerns, highlight features or show audiences how they can use your solution to solve a specific problem. You can apply these same principles to organizations needing to show how an object is manipulated, like those in the manufacturing and automotive industries.
Finally, live demos are a great way to gather data on what your audiences actually want from your solution. Polls, surveys and even Q&A sessions can identify customer or prospect concerns and directly connect your audience with your product team.
The Power of the Panel
Finally, audiences love a good discussion, which is why you should almost always consider running — or participate in — live panel webinars. There are two flavors of live panel webinars to consider: internal panels, which feature your organization’s subject matter experts and partner panels, which brings a range of SMEs from different organizations together.
The former, featuring internal panelists, are great for demos or thought leadership positioning. The latter, which feature a collection of SMEs, are where live panels can shine.
Live panel webinars provide a few obvious benefits to the audience. They provide a range of opinions on a topic, gather experts into one event, empower audiences to discover new solutions and perspectives easily and — best of all — allows audiences to interact with panelists directly and ask their burning questions. This is good because it enables your company to get its message and thought leadership out to new audiences which you wouldn’t reach otherwise. Which brings us to our next point…
Live panel webinars are lean, mean lead-generating machines. That’s because, often, your organization and your partners will share leads generated from live panels — introducing you to new prospects you may not have reached otherwise. If you decide to go this route, sit down with your partners and hash out the details to ensure that all partners are promoting and driving as much registration as possible.
There are many, many more ways live webinars can help enhance your audience’s content journey, but these four points provide you with the basics of getting the most out of your live webinar program. Head on over to our upcoming webinars page to learn how live webinars can enhance your overall digital experiences.