There’s a general acceptance that using B2B marketing webinars can be a successful strategy for manufacturers to drive lead generation, engage with prospects, and build thought leadership. But many manufacturing marketers can recount stories of time and cost investments that resulted in a tiny audience or how a webinar went off the rails for a variety of reasons.
So, what’s an industrial marketer to do?
In the latest edition of the Industrial Marketer podcast, co-hosts Joey and Nels dive into the world of B2B marketing webinars and offer suggestions of how to get started with webinars, which have been around for more than 20 years. Although webinars emphasize one-way communication, usually in the form of a presentation, they can facilitate two-way communication with submitted questions or a live Q&A period.
As a result, webinars can be especially effective for long buyer journeys and other aspects of manufacturing marketing because they:
- Create a dialogue with qualified leads. A good webinar host will read the room or answer questions based on the interests of the live participants.
- Are a preferred method of gathering information. A recent study suggests that 54 percent of B2B participants partake in a weekly webinar, and 84 percent of participants believe this helps them stay updated on what’s happening in their industries.
- Help build relationships and nurture existing relationships. This is about quality vs. quantity.
- Recent conversion studies have estimated an average attendee-to-customer conversion rate of 15 percent.
Recipe for a Successful B2B Marketing Webinar
Generally speaking, you should plan a B2B marketing webinar based on your marketing and business goals. In many cases, that means starting with your potential best customers and learning their pain points and how they talk about those challenges. Hopefully you already know this, and you have insights on the best ways to find and connect with these prospects. Webinars could be for the top of a marketing funnel (awareness), the middle (consideration), or closer to the bottom (conversion).
We are big fans of digging a little deeper into your objectives to determine the best approach for a webinar. If one of your goals is to improve conversions or close rates, you might consider a webinar with a deep dive into a success story or case study. Or match the webinar topic and format with key conversion points, or drop off points, in your B2B buying process. This is niche marketing; leverage key insights.
You have many options for what type of webinar to host, such as a panel discussion with internal or industry experts or something related to a product release. If you are taking an informational/educational approach, consider leveraging some of your existing content, such as case studies, success stories, white papers, and infographics.
DIY or Partnering with a Publisher?
Another consideration is whether you are going to be producing a webinar internally or partnering with a trade publication. There are many tools for publishing your own webinars, such as Zoom, Webex, Demio, and ON24. You also should take into account the time needed, talent for hosting, when to schedule it and how to market it to reach the desired audience. For many companies, especially with video prowess, this is an easy call in terms of tools and capabilities.
Partnering with an organization that regularly hosts webinars is an option, perhaps on a recurring basis or as part of a conference or event. Another option is using a trade publication, which brings a targeted potential audience. This approach may be a lot easier, though it often comes at a higher cost.
Considerations for Getting Started with B2B Marketing Webinars
You can get started on a road map for a B2B marketing webinar by looking at a couple of key considerations, such as:
- Cost – Calculate your costs (DIY vs. partnering will be different) and compare that with other marketing options. Keep in mind that some DIY costs will be recurring, such as a subscription to a technology platform, so you may be investing in a series of webinars. That, too, should be part of an evaluation.
- Audience – For industrial marketers, it’s not about how big of an audience you can attract, but how much of the right audience. For some, leveraging your own database may yield a good number of qualified leads. For others, it may require partnering with a trade publication. If you are partnering, be sure to understand all of those dynamics, such as:
- Is the format custom or fixed?
- What are you expected to contribute in terms of hosts, guests or content?
- Do you get any exclusivity of topic on that platform for a period of time, or will yours be one of many?
- Who owns the content; can you atomize it and repurpose it?
- Who owns the data from the attendee list?
Listen to the Podcast to Learn More About B2B Marketing Webinars
To learn more about how B2B marketing webinars have found a place in the growing spectrum of video marketing for the industrial sector, listen to Episode 41 of the Industrial Marketer podcast. Webinars have been around for a long time, but keep in mind that they are among the most successful types of video marketing, which continues on an impressive growth path.
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