Videos are quickly becoming an integral component of any inbound marketing strategy and for good reason. Internet users love video. Unlike other forms of content, videos are capable of sharing your brand’s story, personality, mission, and product with your audience in a more personal emotional way. Because of this, internet users are more able to connect and engage with it. Research consistently shows that between 20% and 40% of webinar attendees turn into qualified leads.
Businesses are already experiencing the benefits of incorporating videos into their inbound marketing strategies. A study done by Insivia report that 96% of B2B companies are already integrating videos into their marketing campaigns while 73% point to videos as one of the factors contributing to positive results to their ROI. At this rate, it is expected that video will account for 80% of internet traffic in the world by 2019.
Needless to say, businesses—especially startups—should start using video as part of their inbound marketing strategy in 2018. There are many types of video that startups can use. Of these, webinars are considered as among the most effective.
What is a webinar?
The term webinar is short for “web-based seminar.” It is an online event where the person hosting this interacts virtually with an audience through an Internet-based platform.
What makes webinars different from other instructional or informational videos is that it gives the audience the opportunity to engage with the host. Webinar-hosting platforms come with chat features that allow the viewers to type in their questions for the host to answer during the course of the webinar. This ability to engage with the audience is essential for businesses using this for their inbound marketing campaign because it helps them develop a more personal connection with their target market.
Generally speaking, there are three types of webinar formats used by marketers: live webinars, pre-recorded webinars, and what I call hybrid webinars.
As its name suggests, live webinars are those where you are speaking with your audience in real-time. This is the most common format used by businesses not only because it is easier to set up, but also helps establish rapport and credibility with their audience quickly.
The downside of using live webinars is that it is prone to technical problems. No matter how much you test out your presentation slides and product you will be demonstrating, there’s always the chance that something can go wrong during the entire presentation. Worse, you—the host—can even get disconnected during the course of the webinar because of internet connection problems.
Because of the technical challenges that happen during live webinars, other marketers prefer to record their webinars and edit these beforehand, and then schedule it to go live at a specific date and time.
On the one hand, this allows you to present a polished presentation free from any blunders or technical mishaps. However, the downside of this is that you miss out on the ability to engage and quickly convert your audience.
I first came across this while watching a Steve Dotto’s webinar on Evernote, specifically his favorite features about it. The webinar starts out live and then shifts to a pre-recorded section where Dotto demonstrates the Evernote features. Once the demonstration is over, it then changes back to a live webinar feed. During the entire time, the chat session is open to the audience to engage. During the live parts of the webinar, Dotto’s assistant manages the chat session. While the pre-recorded section was going on, Dotto himself joins in the chat session to answer questions left by the attendees.
As you can see, hybrid webinars offer marketers the best of both worlds. They minimize—if not, eliminate—the possibility for technical problems to happen during the course of the webinar. At the same time, it gives marketers the ability to connect and engage with the audience in real-time.
The 5 tell-tale signs it’s time to do webinars
Whichever webinar format you choose to use, one thing is for sure: hosting a webinar takes a lot of time and effort on your part. With so many things that you will need to do to launch a successful inbound marketing strategy, the last thing you need is yet another thing to add to their list.
Incorporating webinars into your inbound marketing strategy can be that “secret sauce” you are looking for to quickly scale your business, especially if you are noticing any of these five things happening to your business.
1. You aren’t attracting a big enough audience
You have been doing all the right things experts are saying concerning launching an inbound marketing campaign. Yet, you are still not getting enough eyeballs on your content to improve your page rankings in Google and other search engines, much less get them to opt-in to your offer.
This is where hosting webinars can be very helpful. According to Jim Vernon, CEO of RockHer, one of the most significant benefits of using webinars is its ability to establish you as a reliable and trustworthy source of information and solution.
“Webinars provide you the perfect opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise to your target market,” he said. “This, plus the fact that they see you as a live person makes it easier for your audience to trust you and your business. More important, you can give them sound advice to their specific problems through the Q&A that usually happens at the end of any webinar, further establishing your leadership position.”
2. Your conversion rate is dipping
In an ideal world, conversion rates should progressively increase the longer you do inbound marketing. However, there are instances when you may notice that you are no longer converting as many leads as it used to provide.
Adding webinars to your inbound marketing strategy will not only help you generate more leads but as Adam Steele—founder of Loganix —points out, highly-qualified leads that you can easily convert into customers.
“People understand that to attend a webinar, they will have to register by filling up a form using their information,” he explains. “By registering, they are already demonstrating a clear interest on what you are going to talk about in the webinar. That interest makes them into qualified leads, so it is much easier for you to nurture and convert.”
3. Your audience does not fully understand your product
This is a common challenge faced by tech startups because most of the products and services they offer have many layers and can be quite complicated to understand.
Instead of merely creating an instructional walk-through video, entrepreneurs like Aaron Haynes, founder of Fenix Pro, found to be more efficient in educating their potential clients than just creating an instructional video. “Webinars can take your users on a step-by-step journey about your product or service and how it works,” he explains. “At the same time, it allows you to answer questions aired by the audience in real-time. So you are not only providing information and educating your clients, but you’re also able to nurture them, and even convert them into actual customers all at the same time. ”
4. You struggle with creating high-quality content
One of the critical factors that will determine the success or failure of your inbound marketing strategy is your ability to create content will provide your target market with valuable information consistently.
Webinars offer you the opportunity not only to create content but also repurpose it as Stefan Gleason—President of Money Metals Exchange—points out.
“Webinars are never a one-and-done deals like other kinds of content,” he said. “You can record these webinars, and add it as a resource to your website. You can also share these on different distribution channels like YouTube and Facebook. You can even edit the webinar and only pull out the audio recording so that you can publish it as a podcast.”
“But it does not end there. The questions that your audience asks provide you a valuable resource repository of ideas for content that you can create for your site. After the webinar, go through the questions left by the audience that attended your webinar. Find the most common questions that they asked, and use this as a topic for your next blog post.”
5. Your inbound marketing is not automated
Marketing automation is essential if you are implementing an inbound marketing strategy, especially if you are a startup. It is an efficient way of being able to cater to your market wherever they may be in the buyer’s journey.
Already 51% of B2B marketers are using some form of marketing automation with another 58% planning to adopt this in their strategy. “That is because not only does it allow you nurture your prospects with content that’s both personal and useful, but it also helps free you and your team up to attend to other aspects of your business,” Jonathan Zarra, CEO of Amico, stated. “By doing this, you are giving your business room for growth regardless of how big or small your team currently is.”
Incorporating webinars into your inbound marketing strategy will benefit your business whether you are already an established enterprise or a fledgling startup. At the same time, it will equip you to position you to be more able to compete with other similar businesses in your niche.
How do you plan to incorporate webinars into your 2018 inbound marketing strategy? Share these in the comments below.