Webinars may sound very 2010 to you, and you likely doubt that webinar ROI is anything to write home about, but don’t be so quick to dismiss them.
Whether you’re a big-shot agency or a small business trying to make a mark, webinars are still a potent tool for generating high-quality leads. It just takes a different approach today than it did ten years ago.
In this post, we’re going to break down how to secure positive webinar ROI in 2023 and beyond to build buzz around your brand, ultimately building lasting relationships and landing large-ticket deals.
Their expertise has helped Nextiva grow its brand and overall business
Wait, Aren’t Webinars Antiquated?
Webinars may appear to be an outdated tactic. In a digital landscape brimming with short-form TikTok clips and Instagram Reels, you might wonder: Do people still have the patience for a 60-minute presentation in which no performs The Floss dance?
The short answer is yes, a lot of them do, especially when the content is hyper-specific and targeted.
Thrive My Way shows us some of the main ways that businesses are using webinars in 2023 and the data that supports their continued use:
It’s tempting to think that in our age of instant gratification, people wouldn’t sit through anything that lasts more than two minutes. Yet, the reality is more nuanced.
It’s true that attention spans are shorter overall, but they expand remarkably when people are genuinely interested in a topic.
It’s the difference between mindlessly scrolling through your social media feed and getting engrossed in a page-turning novel. When a webinar hones in on a topic that resonates with a specific audience, time becomes less of a factor.
We see this manifested in other areas, too, like binge-watching entire seasons of a series. When people find value in something, they are willing to invest their time.
So, let’s set the record straight: Webinars aren’t “old school” so much as they’re a classic example of the timeless principle of quality over quantity. When done well, webinars can command attention and engage audiences, proving that they are not just surviving but thriving in the modern digital ecosystem.
Webinars: Quality Over Quantity
The trick when it comes to webinars isn’t volume. It’s concentration.
Your aim shouldn’t be to fill every virtual seat, it should be to attract the right people to attend — or possibly not even attend, depending on how you’ve structured your sales funnel. (More on that in a bit.)
For example, Neil Patel’s agency, NP Digital, talks about how a big chunk of your efforts with your webinar should be promoting it to the most qualified recipients of your information:
He is a strong proponent of factoring in the buyer persona with how you promote your webinar.
Creating the ideal persona for your webinar audience means identifying those most likely to engage with it enthusiastically. In other words, you’re targeting those eager to discuss your relevant product or service offerings.
The guiding principle here is be specific. Whether it’s about dealing with a cookie-less world or understanding the changes in AI and paid advertising, when you focus on specialized, enterprise-based topics, you increase your chances of attracting qualified leads to your webinar.
Partner Webinars: Yay or Nay?
Partnering with another brand to host a webinar is the epitome of the win-win situation.
With webinars, both brands can showcase their expertise, draw from each other’s audience pool, and even share the costs of promoting and hosting the event. The core idea is synergy, the belief that the partnered webinars are greater than the sum of their parts.
Here are a few reasons why joint-effort webinars can be mutually beneficial for all involved:
- Expanded Audience Reach: Hosting a webinar on your own is a great way to engage your existing audience, but a partner webinar enables you to tap into a brand-new community interested in the same subject matter. Essentially, it’s like cross-pollination for digital audiences.
- Enhanced Content Quality: Two heads are better than one, right? When experts from two different companies combine their knowledge, the depth and breadth of the content can be incredible. This brings fresh perspectives and rich insights into the discussion, raising the overall quality of the webinar.
- Credibility Boost: Having another industry expert vouch for your expertise not only validates your brand but also enhances your credibility. The mutual endorsement adds an extra layer of trust, making the audience more receptive to both brands’ messages.
- Resource Sharing: Whether it’s the cost of the webinar platform, promotion or time spent preparing, sharing resources can make a lot of sense. You can pool financial and human resources to produce a higher-quality event that neither could accomplish alone.
Let’s take a hypothetical case of a cybersecurity company partnering with a data analytics firm to host a webinar on “Secure Data Management in 2023.” The cybersecurity company brings its expertise in protecting data, while the data analytics firm contributes with insights on how to effectively manage and leverage that data. The end result is a comprehensive webinar that offers a 360-degree view of secure data management, attracting attendees who are clients or followers of both companies.
But of course, it’s important to remember the key to a successful partner webinar: choosing the right partner.
Aim for a brand that complements your offerings and shares your target audience, but isn’t a direct competitor.
The Role of Audience Size
The size of your email list is significant, but it’s not the ultimate measure of success.
Imagine one company with a massive email list consistently drawing in a thousand or more attendees for each webinar. Now imagine another company with a more modest list, attracting a steady 150-200 attendees, particularly when leveraging partnerships.
The takeaway here isn’t the disparity in list size, it’s the level of engagement.
Whether your list is just starting to grow or has reached mature numbers, the focus should be on driving targeted traffic, either organically or through strategic collaborations.
The real game begins after the webinar ends. Remember when we said it was important to attract the right people to your webinar, regardless of whether or not they even attend? Well, that’s where post-webinar follow-ups can be the linchpin in your strategy.
Webinars are a mix of marketing and sales. Marketing creates automation sequences, while sales initiate the actual conversations. A proactive sales team can be the difference between a one-time attendee and a long-term customer. It’s obvious that you should reach out to attendees of the webinar and strike up a dialogue with them about how you can help them.
But there can be as much, if not more, value in connecting with absentee registrants.
What would it look like if you were to design a specialized email tailored for people who didn’t attend your webinar? You could just tell them, “Hey, we have this pretty cool message that we think you’ll get a lot of value from watching.” Or you could present an abbreviated alternative.
Think of it like this: “Hey there! We’re sorry we missed you at our XYZ webinar, but if you’d like the lowdown of what we covered, I can give you the cliff notes during a quick five-minute call.”
This simple hook can make the difference in compelling people who were initially intrigued by your webinar but couldn’t devote the time to actually attend it. But when they learn that they can get all the value from the webinar packed into five minutes, it becomes a much more practical idea for them. That’s what you’re trying to accomplish in the post-webinar shuffle.
Last Thoughts on Webinar ROI
So, before you discount webinars as a thing of the past, try giving them another thought.
If executed well, they can be a really strong lead driver for your business. Not to mention that a single webinar can be repurposed into more content, whether it be short-form videos that you can post to your social accounts or adapted into a blog post. So even if the attendance was seemingly low, you can still make ample use of the material you covered in your webinar.
Don’t forget, the key to turning a lead into a customer is a well-thought-out strategy — before, during and after the webinar.
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