Webinars That Wow: 5 Tips for Create Engaging Webinars #MPB2B

Creating Engaging Webinar Experiences

Think about it. Do you enjoy being marketed to?

As marketers, we love our jobs; we love marketing. But like anyone else, it’s safe to say that we don’t enjoy receiving cold pitch emails, or downloading gated white papers, or spotting that “Request a Demo” ad for the 10th time.

As Mark Bornstein, Vice President of Content Marketing at ON24, said during his Keys to Engagement Driven Webinars session at MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum 2018, we’ve a reached a tipping point.

While the channels have changed, marketers are still very much relying on passive tactics that simply don’t engage. Modern audiences want to learn, but they also want to be inspired. And our professional expectations are very much evolving alongside our personal lives. With the Netflix model, we can choose to consume the content we want, when we want to.

So the question is: How can brands create content that prospects “want” to consume and engage with?

Mark says webinars are the ultimate engagement channel. And as it turns out, 66% of buyers say they prefer webinars to any other content formats, according to the 2018 Content Preferences Survey Report.

Webinars are certainly not new to marketing, but it’s time to re-think how we build them and use them. With these key elements, webinars can go beyond the “talking power point” and drive interactivity, engagement, and conversion.

5 Key Elements of the Engagement Driven Webinar

#1 – Branded Experience

Yes, your webinar slides probably have your logo and use the typical  brand sanctioned fonts and color pallette. However, your webinar experience, should integrate with your emails, website, mobile apps, and the list goes on. Mark suggests including campaign images, taglines, and visuals to create a compelling and brand immersive content experience.

#2 – Multimedia Experiences

We’re just beginning to duplicate TV-like experiences with marketing, and webinars are a great way to create conversations over presentations. Think about how many of us tuned in day after day to watch Oprah having conversations on stage. Would we have watched if she was flipping through slides from off camera?

An example of an innovative webinar experience is Live with Marketers from *LinkedIn, a digital talk show experience.

One tip for creating engaging conversations is to build or leverage an existing brand personality. Find someone you can put in front of the camera that the audience can connect with and wants to watch. Then build your series around that individual.

#3 – Human Engagement

In order to drive true brand engagement and affinity, the most important thing you can do is drive audience members to take action while experiencing your content. Calling or incentivizing the audience to ask questions, tweet, download content, or respond to live polls creates a more immersive experience.

Webinars don’t have to require audience members to passively listen in while checking emails. The more you can encourage engagement, the more your audience will connect with your content and brand.

#4 – Multi-Touch Content Experiences

Historically, marketers have found webinars can effectively move a prospect more quickly through the buyer’s journey by creating a multi-touch content experience. But typically, the page where the webinar lives doesn’t offer other types of content for people to engage with.

Creating on-page links to relevant content and via nurtures following the event allows you to engage prospects further. Don’t be afraid to distract your audience from the webinar itself; allowing them to choose the content experience they want to pursue, models the personal experience of on demand content binging.

Types of content you can link to from your webinar page includes:

  • Resources (e.g. white papers as supporting content)
  • Links to other relevant web pages, blogs, or events
  • Other upcoming webinars

#5 – Turning Webinar Engagement into Data That Converts

If you’ve engaged your audience during the webinar via polls, questions, and content downloads, you have some awesome inside info about your audience. And you can turn those webinar insights into email nurtures or they can be passed to the sales team. Knowing a prospects’ hottest questions or pain points, opens the door to a great sales experience for your internal team and the prospect.

What’s Next in Webinar Marketing

For brands where webinars are creating impact, many are already looking toward the next thing. Mark suggests we’ll start to see more brands offering: 

  • On-demand webinars for content binging: Webinar gateways allow you to get more mileage out of your content and the user to select the content that works the best for them.
  • Creating targeted experiences: Account-based marketing (ABM) efforts can be extended to your webinar marketing via recording specific webinars for target accounts or vertical, targeted on-demand landing pages, and so on.

Regardless of the form, content that drives visitors to consume for longer periods of time and meaningfully interact indicates a more enjoyable, persuasive, and ultimately impactful content experience. .

Are you using webinars to connect with your audience now? Tell us in the comments section below.

How High Impact Marketers Approach Marketing Strategy #MPB2B

Planning for 2019 is well underway and most marketers are asking themselves if their plan will really impact results. Many marketers start with goal revenue numbers. And from there, work backwards to corresponding goals for leads, channels, tactics and audience targets. Unfortunately, the words that no marketer wants to hear ring clear from leadership: do more with less budget.

So how can you do more with less? How can you ensure success in the ever-changing landscape of the B2B consumer?

Samantha Stone, the Founder of the Marketing Advisory Network, suggests that marketers flip the usual model for 2019 planning. If you start with marketing strategy,  you can stop doing “more” and instead focus on a few tactics your team executes incredibly well, that can have a significant impact on the organization.

But let’s face it, often it can be tough to stay focused on strategy. Fortunately, Samantha offers 3 tips to create a high-impact marketing strategy (regardless of where you’re at).

#1 – Start with honest differentiation

Establishing your competitive differentiator seems like marketing 101. But something that seems simple, can be overlooked when working backward from revenue numbers. And can result in sales and marketing messages that miss the mark with your target audience.

One mistake brands make is creating a competitive differentiator based on what they think is most valuable. Instead, this is a good opportunity to identify what customers and prospects consider to be the differentiator.

At the core, differentiators should be:

  1. Unique to the brand, compared to competitors
  2. Meaningful to the customers you serve (solving a real pain point)
  3. Durable or able to make a measurable impact (cost, time spent, etc.)
  4. Evidence-based, with the data to back it up

Once you have your differentiator hypothesis you must validate it with the correct audience (your customers and prospects). Remember, your differentiator can’t be something you, your boss or CEO feels; it has to be something your target audience believes in.

Spend the time to test your hypothesis with customers or potential buyers and ask is your messaging:

  • Compelling? 
  • Credible? 
  • Impactful in their organization?

#2 – Close the Sales & Marketing Gap

Many brands are still facing a disconnect between marketing and sales. Sure, there may be more conversations about lead quality and frequently asked questions. But fundamentally, most marketers feel like they’re delivering a flurry of activity; clicks, leads or social shares. But to sales, that activity may feel less like a flurry and more like a trickle.

The 2016 B2B Sales and Marketing Collaboration Study uncovers some unexpected sales and marketing behaviors which may drive this perception disconnect:

  • 66.7% of sales teams report that they are NOT rewarded for supporting marketing objectives. They are incentivized only for closing the deal, not all of the critical activity that happens nurturing a prospect to talk to the sales team.
  • 57% of organizations report that less than 85% of leads delivered by marketing are followed up with by sales.

This is likely because a portion of the leads delivered are not the right person at the right stage of the buying cycle.  

How do you fix the disconnect?

  1. Go directly to buyers. Breaking down the barrier between marketers and buyers results in better marketing communications, which resonates more with buyers (and sales). 
  2. Leverage a variety of formats when communicating to sales. This matters more than the frequency of the meeting (i.e. email, centralized repositories, virtual and in-person meetings,etc.).
  3. Create service level agreements between sales and marketing. This may include:
    • Lead scoring criteria
    • Time from lead assignment to follow up
    • Collection of win/loss data
    • Number of new contacts added to the database by sales

#3 – Stop Being Accountable for Activity. Measure Impact.

As B2B marketers, we talk a lot about leads. And leads may be easy to generate; with the right campaign, the right gated asset or the right event. But we aren’t really after leads; we’re after opportunities. In order to focus on the right types of activities, we need to ensure we are looking at the right metrics.

So rather than leads; focus on metrics which are meaningful to the bottom business line:

  • Financial (Pipeline created, win rate)
  • Advocacy (# of referrals)
  • Length of Buying Process (Discovery Call to Demo, Proposal to Close)

Start with Strategy to Drive Impact

For 2019 planning let’s focus on strategy first. By refining our focus on a meaningful and unique value proposition; we can better align with sales to drive the right leads and then finally set goals for metrics that matter.

How are you setting goals for 2019 planning?