The #webinar – technology’s gift to #marketingautomation – Part One of Three: Types of Webinars

Webinars have been part of the technology landscape for a little over twenty years.  For the marketer, they have often been used as “the ultimate soap box.”  Presenting a webinar allows marketers to use digital marketing tools to gather an audience and make a presentation without the expenses of travel and other logistics that used to accompany putting together or attending even the smallest live event.   With the available technology today, a marketer can gather and present to a group for as little as $100.

The webinar is a powerful tactical marketing tool.  But many marketers today are missing a huge opportunity to use the webinar in a more strategic way and also to pair it with a Marketing Automation Platform.  A well designed and executed webinar presents at least three opportunities to segment, convert and engage with registrants and attendees.

In this three-part series of posts, I detail my thoughts on how to best use webinars as part of a strategic tool for acquiring new prospects and moving prospects along their journey to becoming paying customers.

Prospect Acquisition vs Further Engagement

There are two types of webinars, The Prospect Acquisition Webinar and The Further Engagement Webinar. Many marketers miss this simple distinction and end up with a presentation that has poor registration numbers, is unfocused and achieves neither goal.  By deciding on the goal of the webinar, three things become instantly evident: (1) the type of information to present, (2) the way the information is presented, (3) the way to promote the webinar.

The first big distinction between the two is how you promote your webinar.  If your goal is to attract new prospects, then you have to use an outside service to promote your webinar. Whether you purchase an email blast (or series of blasts) with a publisher or content syndicator, or you place ads using a PPC provider, the point is to reach people that you do not currently have in your sales and marketing funnel.  This can often be expensive, but it will be much less than attending a tradeshow or other live event.

Your content needs to focus on topics that are designed to acquire new prospects.  In this type of webinar, you will be addressing attendees who may not have even clearly defined the problem that they are trying to solve, or are just learning about the potential solutions to their pain point.  You need to create solutions-focused content so that attendees will see that you fully understand their problem and that you have expertise in the space.  You don’t have to completely solve their issues or prove that you are the “best” solution for them.  That comes later in the customer journey.  You want to give them easy to consume “bread crumbs” that are designed to get them to seek you out for more relevant and detailed content.

Producing a webinar designed to create additional engagement with your existing prospects can be much less expensive, since you should be able to get good registration by only promoting the webinar to your existing lists.

However, the content has to be much deeper than what is presented at a Prospect Acquisition Webinar.  You want to convince this attendee that your company has deep expertise about their pain-points, problems and concerns.  You want to show them that other companies who have their problem are your customers and that you have a solution for them.  You can even present evidence as to why your products offer the best solution to their issue.

Next Post – The Abstract