This is Part I of a three-part series on producing great webinars that deliver B2B sales leads. In this post, we’ll introduce why webinars work so well along with the challenges in producing them. In the second part, we’ll give you the whole list, a whopping 50-step checklist for doing your webinar right. Finally, in the third part, we’ll talk about the follow-up.
Webcasts or web seminars (“webinars”) are an exceptionally valuable part of the content mix for B2B lead generation in technology and industrial companies. When used in conjunction with other content media such as white papers, e-books, infographics, blogs, and video, webinars help attract specific types of prospects at specific times during their evaluation process. They help identify the level of interest of sales prospects. For example, did a prospect register for a webinar shortly after registering for a companion white paper? Did he attend the webinar, or just register? How many minutes did he view
the webinar? If you’re using lead scoring in your marketing automation, each of those indicators accrues to the score. If you’re not, you can still judge the prospect’s interest through the answers to those questions. Webinars — better than any other medium in the content marketer’s toolkit — allow for deep, meaningful analytics. For this reason, they’re a critical component of the B2B content marketing kit.
Webinars are challenging to produce
But this value comes at a cost. Webinars are time-consuming. Webinars require teams of people to plan, promote, produce, and broadcast. Webinars demand reliable, high-bandwidth Internet connections and clear, predictable audio connections. Marketing organizations must find speakers — “talent” — who know their stuff, know the company’s key messages, can converse in technical or operational detail, and perform charismatic and articulate public speaking (a set of characteristics that rarely occur in a single individual)… and then get those people to outline 30 to 50 minutes of presentation material, write a compelling abstract, attend planning meetings, meet deadlines that probably aren’t assigned by their own bosses, and eventually create and deliver a professional presentation on a potentially worldwide broadcast.
Once you, the marketer, have all of that covered, you’ll need to work to a tight schedule, with many interdependencies.
Sending out the invitations three weeks ahead of the broadcast date doesn’t sound like a big challenge… until you realize you need the abstract, HTML emailers to promote the webcast, landing pages with registration forms, auto-reply emails with login instructions, and the names, titles, bios, and head shots of your speakers that you’ve worked so hard to convince to participate.
Run a complete dress rehearsal? Sure, no problem at all… until you discover that your three speakers all have regular jobs and no one mentioned to them a month earlier that they’d have to spend all this extra time on this. Or until you remember that the main point of a dress rehearsal is to test everything exactly as it will occur at showtime, and then discover that two of your speakers are traveling and won’t be in the same place for rehearsal and live broadcast. And that you didn’t realize that holding a dress rehearsal at 10:00 AM doesn’t show you how your office Internet bandwidth will perform during your live broadcast at 1:00 PM. (Why does this matter? Here’s a tip from the pros: A significant number of your co-workers eat lunch at their desks and use the time to watch streaming television or video, which are bandwidth hogs. So if you’re hosting a 12:00 or 1:00 webcast, you’ll want to know ahead of time that your network can sustain enough bandwidth for you to run webcast, video, and audio. Otherwise, the latency between your audio and your webcast will frustrate your viewers.)
Why not outsource webinar production?
At this point, we would imagine that you might think that outsourcing the production of your webinar sounds like a terrific idea. And it is. It’s actually a great idea. The authors highly recommend outsourcing your webinar production while taking in-house responsibility for trained, on-point speakers and delivering the key messages you hope will attract sales prospects. After producing hundreds of webinars from both sides of the fence — our agency and as executives leading marketing departments — we can tell you with no hesitation: Outsource it. Agencies do webinars all the time. We stamp them out like a factory. High volume, high quality, no pain for you. If you want to contact us to help you with your webinars, you can do so at www.wingreenmarketing.com/contact-us. If not, we’re still here to help, by presenting a step-by-step process to producing great webinars in our next blog post.
Still prefer to produce your webinars in-house?
If you’re committed to putting on one or more world-class webinars in-house, we’re very happy to provide you with a primer on 50 pointers on what to do and when to do it. Follow the directions in Part II, don’t cut any corners or take any shortcuts, and you’ll be able to produce successful webinars.