You’re probably familiar with webinars, you’ve been to a few, maybe even hosted some, but you’re not alone! Did you know, a webinar is hosted every 2 seconds around the world? So it’s safe to say they’re pretty popular.
In this article, we’ll be breaking down exactly what a webinar is, how it works, and why it’s essential for every stage of your marketing strategy. By the end, you'll know just why webinars are so popular among your marketing peers and how to elevate them and their value within your own marketing strategy and activities.
So, let’s start from the beginning:
What is a webinar and how does it work?
Well, fun fact: the earliest form of a webinar has been around since 1960!
The original webinar even had the same bones as the webinars we have today, with messaging boards and screen sharing capabilities. This is because the concept and ideas that drive webinars haven't changed in the last 60 years, webinars then and now focus and specialise on two-way communication.
So, it may not surprise you that the first webinar was created for educational purposes - which also happens to be the most popular type of webinar today.
Webinars are used virtually everyday for education, product demos, marketing pitches - and everything in between. What makes webinars so versatile is the fundamental simplicity of what they offer: an easy way to virtually connect and share ideas with anyone in the world, at any time.
Webinars are, essentially, online seminars. They encourage and facilitate two-way communication, which makes them a wonderful brand awareness and lead generation growth tool.
So how do webinars work? Well, the two-way communication emphasis of webinars means that audiences are encouraged to participate in webinars.
A basic webinar often consists of:
- Live video
- Recorded video
- Q&A sessions
- Screen sharing
As you can see, all webinar platforms are built for audience participation. But more advanced webinar hosting platforms give you everything above, with more opportunities to engage and diversify your webinars to help them stand out. They offer a variety of chat elements, live video streaming, on-screen CTA’s, multi-channel accessibility, and downloadable materials.
Another bonus? A number of webinar platforms also collect data on attendee engagement, allowing you to measure different analytics and improve your webinar experience for next time. It’s an essential part of your webinar platform as the data can ensure you know everything you can about your webinar’s performance and attendee engagement.
Basically, a good webinar platform offers you everything you need to engage with attendees, nurture leads and grow your brand awareness, and most importantly preference and trust. But a smart webinar platform takes advantage of this engagement by incorporating branding wherever and whenever they can.
This means the incorporation of logos, brand colours, personalised landing pages and email templates. Webinar hosts are then better able to build and support the overall growth of their brand's position, identity and maintain that all importance brand consistency.
And brand consistency is most definitely not something to be overlooked - in fact quite the contrary! One study found that brand consistency contributed from 10% to more than 20% in revenue growth across business industries. So it’s literal money in the bank - and who can deny that that’s a good thing for any business.
But, it’s not just the webinar platforms that are built for participation, webinars themselves should also be scheduled for maximum participation and attendance. We discuss this at length in our article, all about webinar best practices which runs through everything you need to know to promote and throw a webinar, but in the meantime we’ll give you the basics.
First, the better than the rest time to host a webinar is on Tuesdays and Thursday, around 12 pm. This is because industry studies have shown this mid-week/midday combo gets the highest attendance rate.
Another make it or break it feature for attendee engagement? The length of the webinar. A webinar should be no longer than 60 minutes, one industry survey found that 40-45 minutes is actually the preference for 44% of webinar attendees- leaving 15 minutes for an additional Q&A session.
The Q&A session seems to be the star of the show for most webinar attendees, a whopping 92% of webinar attendees want the Q&A session at the end of a webinar session.
Why are Q&A sessions so popular? They are one of the best ways for business and potential customers to get to know each other on a personalised level. They capture and nurture potential leads, more on that now.
Marketing funnel: Marketing strategy webinars
Now that you know what a webinar is and how it works, let's talk about why.
99% of marketers, in one industry survey, agreed that webinars represent a critical element of their marketing plan. We reckon it’s because one study found that 73% of attendees at B2B webinars turn into lead generation.
Right throughout the entire marketing funnel, webinars are an essential tool to the end goals of capturing and nurturing leads. Webinars create endless ways to build your brand awareness and get in those possible leads, making them a great multi-level marketing tool. Case in point, one industry survey found that 89% of marketers believe that webinars outdo other channels in creating qualified leads.
Webinars throughout the marketing funnel.
Top of the funnel webinars focus on building brand awareness and demonstrating expertise in a specific marketing field.
The top of the funnel webinar acts like a magnet, a lead magnet. Webinar hosts (businesses’ marketers, just like you!) offer potential clients an opportunity to learn something new and to have a personalised exchange with your company. In return, you get to build your brand and relationship with a qualified lead. It's a win-win for everyone!
Webinars are an excellent way to capture potential leads at the top of the funnel because they capture potential leads that are already interested in what your company has to say.
So how do top of funnel webinars differ from webinars made for the middle of the funnel?
Well, middle funnel webinars are built for those attendees (and possible leads) that you’ve already been introduced to. Think people that attended another one of your webinars or another business you've already been talking too. After talking or emailing with a potential client, you invite this business to one of your webinars in order to demonstrate the value of your company and get to know one-another as potential partners.
This is what middle of funnel webinars are for, they nurture leads down the funnel by creating an opportunity to build your position, demonstrate how your company can be of value to a lead and answer all the questions a lead has.
Middle of the funnel webinars give you a chance to show your leads how your product/service has worked with or fixed relevant problems. These webinars give your company the space to show how they think, what their brand values are and how these characteristics are valuable for your lead.
So now that you’ve got them hooked, it's time to finish the deal. Bottom of the funnel webinar is all about business, the culmination of all your other marketing efforts. After all your work, your Q&A sessions and webinar promotion emails, this is where you make sure your efforts pay off.
At bottom of the funnel webinars you demonstrate exactly how your company provides value for this specific lead. You answer every question and at the end you (hopefully!) send them over to your sales team.
With so many ways to utilise webinars as a marketing tool it's no wonder that over half of marketers run up to 50 webinars a year.
So there we have it. Now you know what a webinar is, how it works and how you can maxmise the value of webinars throughout your entire marketing funnel. In other words, you now know why webinars are so essential for growing your brand awareness and lead generation - and you’re ready to get started.
Even armed with all this knowledge, hosting your own webinar can seem daunting. Well, over here at Tame we offer personlised support and demos of our fully brandable, engaging webinar platform. So, we can make sure your next webinar will be everything you want it to be and more! Reach out to us and we’ll help you every step of the way.
- Parmonic: “The History of Webinars”
- Webinar Care: “39 Webinar Statistics 2022 – Effectiveness, Attendance and All”
- Lucidpress: “The State of Brand Consistency”
- On24: “ON24 Webinar Benchmarks Report”
- BigMarker: “How to Host Successful Webinars in 2022”
- On24: “Global Report Shows Use of Webinars Triples, Driving Digital-First Engagement Across Industries”
99Firms: “Webinar Statistics (Editor’s Choice)”