Webinar Toolkit: Making a Case for Webinars

Last week, we hosted a webinar with Demand Metric on streamlining the sales cycle by mapping webinar content to the funnel stages (love these guys, by the way – if you're in need of any type of marketing related template, they probably have it). Most marketers view webinars as a legitimate driver in their demand gen programs but that doesn't mean the rest of your organization shares the same sentiment. Often, our marketing teams are limiting the potential of webinars to top-of-funnel prospecting (which can hurt our case), when really webinars can truly provide value across the entire span of the buyers' journey. 

Rally the troops behind your webinar strategy

So what are the next steps when you have tried launching a webinar program, successful or not, and lack buy-in from other key stakeholders?

We’ve put together the Making a Case for Webinars Toolkit  to help you convey value and rally the troops around your webinar strategy. This kit includes:  

  • Competitive Webinar Tracker
  • Web Conferencing Vendor Evaluator
  • Webinar Budget Template
  • Webinar Plan Template
  • Webinar Services RFP
  • Webinar Program Business Case
  • Webinar Program Manager Job Description
  • Webinar Topic Mapping Tool

Whether the purpose is to supplement your lead generation efforts and carry those events over into other buying stages or build community and provide training for your current customers – gaining the support for your vision is crucial. 

These tools will jumpstart your effort. For as much time and effort is allotted to compose, promote, deliver and follow-up on a webinar, I'd think we'd all agree that the more we can tweak and tune our process, the better leads we'll drive. This makes for a much happier sales force and proof of value for executive team.

What is your biggest struggle when it comes to your webinar program? Is it on the front end (gaining buy-in, implementing, etc.) or on the execution and follow-up side? We've got tools for that too! If you’re interested in other resources to aid in your webinar efforts check out the entire Webinar Survival Toolkit on our website.

 

Ski-Lift “Start-up” Chair Moves to Denver’s Next Up-and-Coming Tech Outfit

Chair Lift in the OfficeHistory is repeating itself today, but I guess that's how traditions are created. ReadyTalk customer and local tech company, TrackVia, today announced the passing of Denver’s downtown tech torch—or in this case, a ski-lift chair—to LoHi Labs, another burgeoning tech company.

The tradition started last year when  ReadyTalk moved to larger offices and needed to part with the ski lift chair that had been a fixture of our lobby.  Rather than retire the chair – which had grown to symbolize ReadyTalks award-winning company culture – we decided to present it to TrackVia, who makes online software that helps business people track and manage their work. The latest recipient of the ski chair, LoHi Labs is a mobile and web application development company focused on building high end technology for iOS (iPhone/iPad) and the Web.

Building a strong, collaborative and most importantly fun tech start-up community is what Colorado is all about. For ReadyTalk,  the chairlift represents what Colorado is known for: its active, outdoor culture and for having the fittest people in the nation, but we also want to be known as the innovative technology capital as represented by the employees at ReadYTalk, TrackVia and LoHi. The three companies have been strong supporters of the Denver tech community since their respective starts. From participating in Denver Startup Week and community technology meet-ups, to engaging with other tech communities in the area, the three companies have played an instrumental role in driving growth of Denver’s startup ecosystem, namely the tech sector.

Who should get the chair lift next?

Increase the Reach of Your Webinar Content with Mobile Playback

Extend the reach of your most important webinar content by providing participants the ability to access your recorded webinar content anytime, anywhere. Using mobile playback, a chairperson can enable content to be viewed from any smart phone or tablet. This allows participants access to your content on their schedule while increasing the ROI on your webinar investment.

Enable Mobile Playback by simply clicking "Add To Feed" .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How does it work? 

In the recording options section, a chairperson clicks “Add To Feed,” which automatically generates an .mp4 of the webinar recording; this also enables mobile playback. When the participant accesses the recording from a mobile, it will launch automatically on the native player of the device.  It’s that simple.

If the chairperson has not selected this feature and a participant tries to access a recording from a mobile device, they will receive a message indicating the recording has not been enabled for playback on a mobile device.

Mobile playback is not compatible with flash. Therefore, recordings embedded in environments like Facebook will not work on a mobile device. How will this feature align with the ways you currently promote webinar recordings? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

 

Don’t be a One-Trick Webinar Pony

one trick ponyToday's post is from Jerry Rackley, Chief Analyst at Demand Metric, who will also be presenting more information on this subject in an upcoming webinar, Streamlining the Sales Cycle with Webinars, on Thursday, May 23 at 1 p.m. EST.

 

As a marketing communications channel and form of content, webinars have undergone a lot of maturing.  Just a few years ago, webinars had a pretty narrow focus as an online sales or demonstration tool.  They’re still very good for this, but their utility today is much, much broader.

While there’s been an interesting evolution of how webinars are used, not everyone has kept up.  There is still a herd of one-trick webinar ponies out there, roaming the sales plains.  To them, webinars have one primary use: to conduct a virtual sales call.  As stated above, this is certainly a valuable use of the technology, but it also underutilizes it. 

Webinars have value across the entire sales cycle, not just in one or two stages.  Equally important, the type and content of a webinar should differ depending on where you are with a prospect in the sales cycle.  To understand how this works, begin by analyzing your sales cycle, or buying process.  Most sales cycles have very predictable stages and progressions from one to another, although the length of each stage and what must happen within varies greatly from company to company.  Here’s what a typical sales cycle looks like:

  1. Needs – the buyer becomes aware of a need.
  2. Discovery – the buyer actively begins searching for a solution.
  3.  Consideration – the buyer considers the options and develops decision criteria.
  4. Decision – the buyer makes a purchase decision.
  5. Review – the buyer assesses if the purchase decision was the right one.

Most webinars are deployed in the “Consideration” stage of this process.  One reason is because this stage is the birthplace of the sales-oriented webinar, and it remains a great stage for a live, web-based interaction with a prospect.  Another reason is simply because buyers are choosing to remain concealed deeper into the sales process than they used to.  So much information is available online, buyers can remain in stealth mode while they self-educate.  You may not know of an opportunity until the buyer has entered this stage.  However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t use a webinar to reach them during the “Needs” and “Discovery” stages of the process – it simply means you have to take a different approach.

Successfully using webinars across all stages of the sales cycle requires you first to understand how customers move through your sales process.  At a minimum, you need to know these things: Who are your customers?  Creating a buyer persona is very helpful here. What are their informational needs in each stage?

  • How long do they spend in each stage?
  • What are the catalysts for moving them to the next stage?
  • Which stage(s) is most problematic for you?

Use the ReadyTalk Topic Mapping Tool to help you gather this information and give it thorough consideration.

In general, you learn that in the “Needs” and “Discovery” stages, you must have webinar content already deployed.  This means a recorded or archived webinar that has been optimized for search.  Furthermore, the content you deliver in these early sales cycle stage webinars is rarely sales-oriented.  Remember, you probably aren’t aware of the buyer yet – if they wanted a sales interaction, they would have already revealed themselves.  Instead, they’re looking for useful content that educates and informs them about how they can address their need.  So in these early stages, you’re giving advice, not pushing for the sale.  But your advice is built around your understanding of what customers must know to advance to the next stage of the sales cycle, ideally with a favorable impression of your brand.

As prospects move into the “Consideration” and “Decision” stages, webinars will tend to change character.  More often, they’re delivered live, perhaps to smaller audiences or even one-on-one, and they are definitely sales-oriented.  We’re using webinars in these stages to position our solutions, overcome objections and create confidence around a purchase decision.  While there’s always room for improvement, most companies have these stages figured out pretty well.

The last stage, “Review” is often overlooked. The prevailing view is that once the sale is locked up, the work is done; time to move on to the next prospect.  Companies that take this view forfeit an opportunity to accelerate new customers down the brand loyalty path.  Webinars are excellent onboarding resources, and even though the sale is complete, marketers should have involvement in developing and delivering content to new customers who sometimes are second-guessing their purchase decision.  Use webinars to do some virtual handholding and make sure new customers are using solutions productively, and as importantly, feeling good about choosing you.

Webinars are effective vehicles for carrying buyers through the entire sales cycle at an accelerated pace.  It’s great if you’re using webinars in the “Consideration” and “Decision” stages of the cycle, but if that’s your situation, you’re limiting the value you can get from a webinar strategy.  Essentially you’re a one-trick webinar pony.  Consider how webinars can extend your reach earlier – and later – into the sales cycle.  Doing this well requires understanding your sales cycle and developing content to meet the buyers’ needs in each stage. 

 

 

 

15 Ways to Incorporate Webinars into your Content Marketing Strategy (tweets included)

There was an abundance of content marketing tips at the Content2Conversion event hosted in NYC earlier this month. Being a newbie to both the Big Apple and the conference, I had plenty to keep my mind occupied for a few days (thus the delayed blog post…or something like that). The line-up of speakers was second to none and there were plenty of opportunites to connect with like minded marketers – many of whom had the same questions, so I felt I was in good company. 

Content marketing is no longer just a 'hot topic' – it's more like a staple and if you're lagging, then you'd better make an effort to get on board. Fortunately, the resources aren't hard to come by. After all, I'd hope if content marketing is the staple, than those that have pushed the idea forward have supplied us with plenty of content to help launch our own strategies. I digress. Webinars are a delivery vehicle for your content

Like I mentioned before, I had plenty of material from the conference (feverish notes, tweets, powerpoint decks, etc) and created a quick list of seven ‘tweetable’ tips from ideas shared at by presenters and panelists. I've taken the liberty to add a bit of 'webinar flair' to the concepts and how online events can dovetail nicely into a content marketing strategy:

  1. Find your influencers, get them on your webinar, multiply your content marketing efforts.  – Joe Pulizzi, Content Marketing Institute @juntajoe (Great post from @KISSmetrics on the topic, too http://ow.ly/kqPKe)
  2. Will your webinar attendees thank you for the content you shared? Utility should be a driver in your presentation. – Ann Handley, MarketingProfs @MarketingProfs
  3. Build up your #contentcred. Let people access your #webinar recording for a limited time, then drive leads with a short form.  – Rob Yoegel, Monetate @RobYoegel
  4. Create webinars with reuse in mind. Break it down into other forms of content http://ow.ly/kqOX8 #contentcuration – Pawan Deshpande, Curata @tweetsfromPawan
  5. Are you on #Slideshare? It’s an amazing place to repurpose #webinar slides, two thumbs up. – Joe Pulizzi, Content Marketing Institute @juntajoe
  6. ROI – hard to measure right away in a webinar. Think Return on Objective. Use webinars as a building block to conversion – Lee Odden, Top Rank Online Marketing @LeeOdden
  7. Strategically stretch resources, map webinar content to different stages of the funnel and nurture! – Brian Carroll, MECLABS @brianjcarroll (not at the show, but worth mentioning – check out his related webinar http://ow.ly/kqTnC)

If you’re not currently using webinars as a part of your content marketing strategy and want to learn more, check out the recording of our own recent webinar with @Kapost and @Vidyard, "Where Do Webinars Fit in a Content Marketing Strategy?" And just for an extra teaser – here are eight more tweetable tips that we dove into (via @anitawehnert):

  1. 59% of respondents to a 2013 CMI study are using webinars as a tactic in their B2B content marketing strategy.
  2. Per CMI, B2B marketers rank webinars as the #3 tactic for content marketing, with 61% calling it effective.
  3. People don’t want boxes, they want what’s inside. Think of webinars as a delivery vehicle for your compelling content.
  4. As with any other piece of content, having a clear picture of who you are targeting with your webinar is key.
  5. Webinars play a role throughout the funnel. Top? Thought leadership. Mid? Demos & case studies. Bottom? Onboarding.
  6. Think about reuse from the get-go. Discrete ideas that can stand alone make it easier to repurpose webinar content.
  7. Treat webinars as a rich source of content to mine for ongoing programs. Think SlideShare, blog posts, e-books, transcripts, etc.
  8. Drive more ROI from your webinar recordings by sharing on YouTube, embedding on blogs & including in nurturing emails.
     

If you are already taking advantage of all the difference forms of content that can be produced from webinars, let us know! Maybe you recognize a few from above, maybe you have some that we haven't thought of. How have you been able to reimagine your webinar content and reuse in other parts of your content marketing campaigns?