Webinars that are used for demand generation are a well-known tactic for attracting a targeted audience to educate them on how they can learn, achieve and improve business or technology challenges. They are an elegant way to go beyond sound bites and tell a story that can inspire attendees to want to have a conversation or demo after the webinar, which is when to start the sales process.
But not all webinars are created equally. Some inform and inspire and yield positive commercial outcomes while delighting their audiences, and others are covert sales pitches that simply don’t connect and are boring.
As we thought more about what separates an exceptional webinar from a so-so one, we realized that just about everything we’ve learned over the years from producing hundreds of webinars, can be boiled down to understanding these simple, yet profound three webinar myths.
Myth # 1 – Build It and They Will Come.
Years ago, you’d be able to build your list by having people register for your newsletter. Now, newsletters are one of the least effective lead generation tool—everyone has one.
When webinars were fairly new, the novelty of a webinar could attract many people to register, even if they only had a mild curiosity about the topic. Today, attracting new prospects to a webinar is a challenge for B2B organizations as we all receive so many hourly and daily emails, many of which are requests to download a free white paper or attend a webinar. Our prospects have limited bandwidth on what they’ll open and take action on.
If the topic doesn’t educate your prospects and inform them about a pressing challenge they currently experience, they’ll ignore your invite. And, if your content is a “nice to have” instead of “must-have”–chances are your prospects will ignore your email, delete it or even unsubscribe.
Just having a large well-known brand isn’t enough to guarantee a large audience. On the other hand, a lesser-known company can blow the doors off with high registrations, landing page conversions, and attendance because they had something timely that the market was very interested in.
To improve your chances of high registrations, you may want to trim down your mailing lists based on deliverability and engagement. Marketing automation software, such as Sugar Market, leverages the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to identify which of your leads are more likely to engage and convert.
Myth# 2 – All Attendees Are “Sales Ready” to Buy Now
This is another fallacy that can create unrealistic expectations and disappointments up and down the organization sponsoring the webinar.
Think of the last time you went into a retail store and were merely starting to research a purchase, and an over-friendly salesperson comes up and says “Hi, may I help you?”. You quickly reply, “No thanks, I’m just looking.” The same goes for most people who register and attend your webinar. They are looking to get better educated and informed.
There’s nothing like a sale closed from an attendee that didn’t exist in your sales pipeline before the webinar. It does happen, and we’ve had several attendees who became customers over the years. But, it’s more the exception than the rule.
You need to realize that people are in varying parts of their buying experience. You need to have a strategy for capturing intelligence across the webinar lifecycle so you can segment leads. And, you need a post-webinar sales follow-up strategy that should incorporate email marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, and phone follow-up efforts. You want to raise your brand profile, showcase your thought leadership, and nurture prospects from the webinar so they eventually become customers.
Myth# 3 – I’m a Great Presenter
There are real considerations, from technology, environmental, location, and numerous human factors that blow a hole in this myth. Even if you are a presentation god at live in-person events where you can use your presentation skills and think on your feet, gauge the mood of the audience and shift your topics or thoughts to keep them engaged, webinars take place online.
Audio is the Achilles heel of all virtual events and failing to take the time to do several sound checks, or making sure you and your other speakers are properly set up, have fast enough internet connections to mitigate latency issues, or echoes is something you can’t wing.
While audiences, in general, will be forgiving if you provide real substance over style, they won’t tolerate a sloppy and boring webinar. It might be socially difficult to get up in the middle of a live presentation and walk out of the room, but the anonymity of a webinar makes it easy for someone to start multi-tasking by checking their emails or social media channels.
During the live webinar, if the audio quality is poor and they can’t hear you clearly, they won’t be able to connect with you. If your slides aren’t visually appealing, or if the speakers/panelists aren’t able to maintain a conversational style and they drone on in a monologue rather than a dialogue, you’ll lose your audience. And you’ll potentially lose a prospect who could become your customer.
Planning an Online Event Soon?
Webinars are a high form of content marketing and they have the power to impact a ton of people. If you’ve ever been on the fence about webinars, hopefully, we’ve cleared up these common misconceptions and set you up for a successful webinar.