In our age of remote work and social distancing, webinars and live video conferences have become a mainstay of the corporate world. Whether for internal training, client education or broader industry events, many businesses have been relying on video communication technology to stay connected and bring audiences together for a common purpose.
Webinars have also proven to be an effective lead generation and sales tool for many businesses, especially those in the business-to-business (B2B) space. By capturing the right data and implementing a solid engagement and follow-up strategy, you can nurture relationships with the people who attend your online conferences and convert them into paying customers.
Why host a webinar for lead generation?
Webinars are an effective sales tool if they're properly planned and utilized. While the primary goal of a webinar should be to educate the market and provide valuable knowledge on topics they care about, you can use these live online conferences as an entry point into your sales funnel.
Here's how a webinar can help you with lead generation:
1. You're capturing valid emails for your email marketing list.
Every person who signs up for your webinar will need to provide a valid email address to receive updates on the event and the conferencing information. On your webinar registration page, you can let people know that you would like to add them to your email list for future events and relevant information, thereby growing your subscriber base.
2. You're positioning yourself and/or your company as an industry expert and thought leader.
Two of the most important factors in earning a prospect's business are trust and credibility. By hosting a webinar on a general or industry-focused topic related to your product or service, you set the stage for attendees to view you and your company as experts in that area.
While you can also position yourself as a thought leader through other content marketing efforts like whitepapers and blogs, it can be much more effective for someone to see you live "in action," confidently speaking and answering questions about a particular topic.
3. People who sign up for your webinar already want to hear from you.
Warming up a cold lead is a challenge for any sales team. Your webinar attendees are already warmed up because they opted in to learn from you when they registered for your event. They are likely to be familiar with you and your company, and they'll likely be more receptive to a follow-up sales call.
Making the leap from webinar attendee to sales lead
You don't necessarily want to use your webinar as a hard sales pitch and try to close any deals during your conference. Instead, you should use your webinar registration and follow-up communications as an opportunity to qualify your leads and gauge which ones might be good candidates to enter your sales pipeline.
Before the webinar
As you build your registration page, decide what information you want to gather about your audience, such as title or position, company size, industry, and where they heard about you. This will help you learn more about your webinar attendees and properly qualify them as potential leads.
Prior to the webinar, send out email reminders to encourage attendance. Only about half of webinar registrants actually attend, so you may not have as big an audience as you anticipated. The more people you can get to follow through on their webinar registration, the larger group of warm leads prospects you'll have afterward.
During the webinar
Pay attention to the people who ask questions during your webinar. If you're recording the session or having someone take notes, you can keep track of those questions and prioritize following up with the people who asked them. This is a good opportunity to open further discussions about the questions they brought up.
You should also include social media links and contact information in your presentation to ensure anyone who wants to reach out to you first can easily do so.
After the webinar
Develop a general follow-up strategy to reach out to all qualified attendees to gauge their interest in a sales call. It can be as simple as a follow-up email within the week after your webinar, with a reminder of the event they attended and a link to a meeting recording or recap in case they were unable to attend live.
At the end of this email, provide a brief introduction to your product or service that may be of interest to them, and invite them to reach out with questions. From there, follow your normal sales process with the ones who express interest.
Structuring your webinar for success
There's a lot of companies hosting a lot of webinars these days, so it's important to plan yours carefully so you can stand out to your target audience. Here are a few tips and guidelines to follow to set yourself up for the greatest chance of lead generation success.
- Pick the right webinar topic. Choose a good topic that you know customers will be interested in. FAQs from your existing customers might be a good starting point, or you can keep your eye on conferences and events your competitors are hosting. By putting your own spin on popular topics, you'll demonstrate your value and differentiate yourself from others in your industry.
- Focus on educating your attendees. It's OK to mention your company or a customer success story during your presentation, but don't make your solution the main focus. Instead, keep your content educational and value-driven.
- Prepare to market your event. Plan a comprehensive marketing campaign to promote the webinar and encourage attendance. Send emails, blogs and social media posts about the topic you'll be covering with a call-to-action link where readers can register for your webinar to learn more about it.
- Make your webinar engaging. People are attending more online conferences and video meetings than ever right now, and, as many companies have learned, it can be difficult to hold people's attention. Keep your attendees engaged with interactive elements like polls and real-time chat. Their responses and conversations are an additional source of valuable market research data that you can leverage in your follow-up communications and future sales calls.
- Host your webinar on the right platform. Even a well-planned, informative webinar won't generate the results you're looking for if you're battling technical glitches, capacity limits and poor audio or video quality. Before you set up your webinar, do your research and choose a video conferencing solution with the features and capacity you need to pull off your event. Look for conferencing services that offer HD audio and video, recording capabilities, integrated chat and file sharing, customizable branding, software integrations, easy account management, and security permissions like waiting rooms and password access.
If you're trying to close more deals remotely, planning and hosting a live webinar is a great way to generate qualified leads. With the right video conferencing solution, you can worry less about technical issues and focus more on making a strong connection with your prospects.
Vast Conference offers a wide range of scalable conferencing solutions to meet the needs of any size of business. Compare plans or contact us to start your free 14-day trial.