September 22, 2021
Looking for new ways to engage with your audience while offering them valuable content?
Webinars are the way to go.
If you've read our sales and marketing report for revenue leaders, then you'll know that 30.1% of marketers dedicated their budgets to webinars this year.
And, there's a reason for that:
Webinars are a fantastic demand marketing tool that can help you generate leads and build relationships with your buyers.
We spoke to Liam Bartholomew, Global Head of Demand Generation, and James Sutton, Campaign Marketing Executive at Cognism, to find out everything you need to know for organising a successful webinar of your own, including:
Why webinars are vital to a B2B marketing strategy | How to plan webinars: topics and speakers | How to promote your webinar before it goes live | Tips for hosting your webinar on the day | How to distribute your webinar after it’s live | Catch up on all Cognism’s webinars
Click one of the headings ☝️ to skip ahead or scroll 👇 to start.
Brand awareness, increased reach, and better customer relationships.
These are just a few of the benefits you can get from B2B webinars.
Think about this:
When you organise a webinar, you're sharing your knowledge with your audience.
They’re there because they want to learn more about specific topics, and often they’ll have questions only you can answer, which opens them to the sales funnel door. James says:
"Webinars are a great way to engage with our audience and enter them into the funnel. When they register for a webinar, we know that they are interested in a topic and looking for answers to questions they have on this topic - making it easier for our SDRs to connect with them and offer them a solution."
Not only are they getting valuable content from you, but you’re providing them with the knowledge they need to solve certain pain points in their company.
The more value you provide, the more likely they’ll want to share your webinar and brand with their network.
What's more, this will increase your reach. Opening your brand up to new audiences you may not have thought of approaching before.
And you may find that your next webinar has even more registrants as word spreads.
"Webinars are a great way to interact with your customers or prospects and keep their attention for an hour. You don't get many channels where this is possible. Say they download an Ebook or visit our website; we can't control how long they spend there or if they actually read anything, which makes a webinar an excellent engagement tool." - James
This gives you a way to engage with your buyers that isn't straight up selling. Showing them that you value their relationship, you have a lot to offer them, and you're an expert in your field.
After that, it's just a matter of utilising the right channels for further engagement.
The benefits don’t end there, as Liam explains:
"Webinars are a catalyst for content generation as well as being a lead generation tool. When you have other experts contributing, you can create spin-off content that can be shared organically, as part of awareness campaigns, on blogs and other lead gen assets. You can even repurpose the entire webinar as a podcast."
The benefits and opportunities of hosting webinars really are endless.
Just don’t think small.
For instance, what happens when your guests are asking questions you don’t have time to answer?
You create content out of it, of course.
James suggests creating a drip-email campaign where you give the audience answers to their questions while building your relationship with them.
Making webinars and the B2B marketing that comes from them a win-win for you and your buyers.
Before you start planning your webinar, gather your team for a brainstorming session and answer these questions:
Once you have these answers, you can move on to step one.
Your topic is going to be the foundation of your webinar journey, so choose wisely.
Think of it as your marketing hook.
You want to keep it short and straightforward so that you don't run out of time discussing.
Finding a topic means looking back at your published blogs to see which one did the best or scrolling LinkedIn for trending conversations.
Even better, send out a survey to see what your current customers want to know.
Just try not to overdo the topics you have.
At Cognism, we try to do what hasn't been done in a while, or even before, so that we aren't repeating ourselves and our content is as engaging as possible.
The key to how engaging your webinar is going to be is likely to come down to the quality of the content and the speakers. And most likely one informs the other.
Try to have a guest speaker from the industry who is an expert at the topic you're presenting and a moderator to drive the discussion.
At Cognism, we use our own software to help us find guest speakers and then reach out to them via LinkedIn. James explains:
"I know which companies I want to invite to speak on our webinar panels, so all I need to do is put the company name into prospector and get a list of job titles. Then I can go, 'oh okay, there's 'name' who is 'title.' They'd be perfect to speak about this topic."
"I can then get their contact data, but it's better to connect for this sort of thing over on Linkedin, so I'll head over there. Cognism just makes it an easy way to find people."
But, this is also where networking is key.
The more you build relationships with other industry experts, the easier it will be to invite them to be guest speakers. Liam advises:
"When you're invited to speak on podcasts or other webinars, always ask if the person who invited you would like to return the favour."
And, if you have a great partner network, tap into that - you'll find they'll be happy to help!
You should start promoting your webinar two to three weeks before the big day.
In the words of James:
"How don’t you promote webinars?!"
And this normally starts with sending out emails to let your audience, old and new, know what's on the horizon.
James explains how we do it at Cognism:
"We send inbound emails to people who want to hear from us. Then we send outbounds to reach out to people we think might be interested in the topic. I'll always send two to three outbound emails based on the marketing data I've gotten from Cognism."
For outbound leads, James generates a list of people based on job title, job join data or industry and automates a custom campaign for them. Then he’ll also check to see if anyone has searched for the topic of the webinar, and then he sends out another campaign based on that intent data.
If you’re not using a tool like Cognism yet, you can take a similar approach by segmenting your email lists for personalised campaigns.
Another tool we use is Mailtastic.
These don’t need to be paid campaigns; organic works just as well as James explains:
"You can set up events on LinkedIn, share your posts on Slack for your team to share on their socials and get your guests to do the same. It’s a great way to tap into a network you may not have had the chance to before."
When it comes to hosting your webinar, it can be a bit nerve-wracking but don’t stress - the Cognism team has you covered!
Here are their 7 top tips:
Your guests will appreciate being able to see who is speaking to them, and then you can also use the recording to create content later on.
Always try to have slides up because audiences like to have something to follow what you're saying.
They also like to take screenshots and share it on social media, especially if they see a statistic or something they find helpful. They can’t really do that if it's just speakers.
You need someone to be in charge of directing the conversation, watching the time, making sure that each person gets to speak enough etc.
You’ll need a slide by slide breakdown of how the webinar needs to go so your moderator can see what's coming next and guide the conversation there.
Besides your moderator, you’ll need someone behind the scenes checking the chat for questions and comments.
Then they can answer anything like, ‘will there be a recording of this?’ and pass on any interesting questions for the moderator to redirect to the speakers.
Do your best to engage with your audience by including live polls, answering their questions, showing videos, or asking for reactions to trending tweets etc.
Your webinar shouldn’t last longer than an hour. This way, you’re not taking up too much of anyone's time, and you won’t have too many people leaving early.
Most of all, don't stress too much.
If you can’t get to everyone’s questions, use it as an excuse to engage with them afterwards.
And, have fun!
Much like promoting your webinar, distributing it after it’s live is going to involve a lot of the same tactics.
Starting with emailing everyone who attended, and didn’t attend, a link to the recording and slides.
After this, you can enter them into nurture campaigns sharing similar content to the webinar topic they might enjoy.
Secondly, have your content writers whip up a recap so anyone who doesn’t feel like watching the recording can read about it.
And this is where the video comes in. James says:
"Having recordings of your webinars is amazing because you can feature snippets in your blogs, organically across social and in cadences too. I know our SDRs enjoy sending them to prospects, and it’s a great medium for creating campaigns, like awareness campaigns."
Don’t stop there, though!
Use your webinar to create a podcast episode and upload it to your website so visitors can watch on demand.
Here’s a copy of Cognism’s webinar distribution checklist to help get you on the right track:
There you have it, everything you need to know about creating a fantastic webinar!
Don’t forget, planning is everything.
After that, promotion and distribution is key.
But most of all, have fun and enjoy the process.
When your audience sees you’re having a good time, so will they!
Want to see our webinars in action?
We’ve got a fantastic collection just for you from ‘A Masterclass in Personal Branding’ to ‘The Secret Formula to a Winning Cadence.’
Click 👇 to catch up.