All posts by Simone Nabers

Are webinars a tired marketing tactic? 9 questions answered to help combat the fatigue

Are webinars a tired marketing tactic? 9 questions answered to help combat the fatigue

 

Seventy-three percent of marketers produce more content than they did just one year ago. In fact, the average American spends almost 10 hours a day consuming content – but there is a threshold to what we can actually retain. With content creation skyrocketing, marketers must now break through the density of information to make their message stick. Sadly, most content is invisible because it’s not worth seeing. Webinar Fatigue - the dangers are real.

Webinar production is a great way to create content, but audience fatigue has slowly crept in and getting your webinar noticed has become a challenge. So how do we combat it? We must make it worth their while. Think about the value you place on your own time – not many appointments merit canceling your lunch hour, but that's exactly what most marketers (myself included) are asking audiences to give up. Time to rethink our format AND the value of webinar content we are producing.

In one of our recent events with Scripted, we tried to do just that.We still ran the typical 45 minute webinar for this, however, we changed the style and are hoping to launch a new format from it. We're really focusing on breaking the webinar into chapters. You can see the difference if you view the full recording OR you can listen to each section below by clicking on the bold text below. Each segment is about 6 – 8 minutes long. But, in order to save you some time and stay true to what I'm preaching, I'm giving you the condensed version with top takeaways and some relevant Q&A that came out of each chapter:

  • CHAPTER 1: Content for Leads, Not Just Views – What does your content tell you about where the audience is in the funnel, and how to use webinars at any of the buying cycle.
    • Do you have any recommendations for creating a compelling topic title or subject line for promotion?

Eric MacColl, from Scripted, had some great suggestions: Copyblogger recommends coming up with twenty-five different titles before you finalize it. It forces you to expand your mindset on that topic and not become pigeon-holed on your initial idea. Think of hook type words “secrets to…”, “how to…” etc.

I found some additional tips from Ken Molay at The Webinar Blog:

  • Tell your audience exactly what you’re going to present – succinctly and clearly
  • Create or name a challenge and provide value on how you’ll address it
  • Don’t get too cute – alliteration killed the title star
  • Is there a typical percentage of people that go from invite to register to attend? What kind of initial list size should I aim for?

I’ve had a lot of people ask this one and I always refer them to the same article – there was a great write up a couple of years ago on the Topliners Community (Eloqua’s community portal) where a gentleman broke this down. He’s got some solid logic and probably says it better than me, so hopefully this helps:

http://topliners.eloqua.com/community/see_it/blog/2011/03/31/how-many-webinar-email-invitations-does-it-take-to-get-a-registration

  • CHAPTER 2: Digestible Webinar Formats – Rethinking the typical 60 minute presentation and start creating something that's digestible or 'bite size.'
    • Does ReadyTalk facilitate Google hangouts?

We don't currently have an integration with Google Hangouts within the ReadyTalk platform, however, this idea has come up in numerous conversations as we are seeing more customers break out of the typical webinar format and try add-on options like this. 
 
We do currently integrate with Microsoft Lync, which could facilitate a similar “hangout” atmosphere – you can start a web meeting or conference call directly from a contact in Lync and also end invites to contacts as well. They are able to join directly from the invite by entering their name and a phone number and our platform calls out to them. You can learn more about our Lync integration here.

  • If webinars aren't a full hour, does that mean the content isn't as engaging?

No. In fact, I think they have the opportunity to be more so because you have shortened amount of time to truly convince the audience that your webinar is worth sitting on. That content should be interactive, regardless of the length of time, but with a shorter event your  topic has to be more concise – people know exactly what they will get in the session and in turn, I think will help keep them engaged. You are responsible for delivering on your promise as a speaker and keeping yourself on track. I believe there are still plenty of opportunities to bring your audience into the conversation (polls, chat, etc) to deliver an engaging webinar in a shorter time span.

  • CHAPTER 3: Crowdsourcing Your Webinar Content – Utilizing your social channels to create topics; crafting a message around what they want to hear, not what you want to talk about.
    • Have you found post-webinar Twitter Chats and/or Google Hangouts to work for all target audiences (like CFOs or CIOs) or mainly for a CMO/marketing type role? And what happens if someone in your webinar audience doesn’t have a Google Account?

To be completely honest, this is something we’re just diving into ourselves with our webinars, so I don’t have a ton of stats to share. I do think there is value with both a technical community (CIO / CTO) and also with the marketing based roles. 

Same goes for the technical role – I think they prefer forums actually to get their voice heard, interact with peers, discuss their challenges & dive a little deeper into discussions – I’d say Google hangouts more so than Twitter for them.

Here are a couple of blog posts I found that might help (both you and I) to get a better idea of what is and isn’t working in this space:

http://www.feld.com/wp/archives/2012/02/my-gradual-shift-from-skype-to-google-hangouts.html (this is comparing Skype to Google Hangouts)

http://www.jeffbullas.com/2013/12/04/10-tips-on-how-to-use-google-plus-hangouts/ (advice on who should and can utilize Google Hangouts on Air)

http://blog.qstion.com/google-hangouts/google-hangouts-on-air-live-qa-is-launched (offers some comparisons between Google hangout and Qstion)

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/twitter-chat-guide/ (some tips on Twitter chats)

http://www.nestivity.com/10-reasons-your-brand-should-host-a-twitter-chat/ (why you ought to host a Twitter Chat)

  • CHAPTER 4: Webinar Inception – The (content) gift that keeps on giving – re-imagining your webinar recordings for new content and more mileage.
    • What type of attendance rate have you seen to the on-demand webinar version?

We’ve seen 3 – 5x  as many people listen to the recording as the original live event because we’re able to put it out to so many additional channels. We do our best not to just let it sit on the archive page by typically running additional prospecting campaigns around the on-demand recording and which increases our reach with new audiences to get our content in front of (blog, social, email, YouTube, etc).

  • Our webinars topics are fairly in-depth and sometimes hard to "edit" into chunks and tend to go on the longer side. They fill up fast but are rarely watched later in their entirety. Would conducting them live but organizing them into parts (for easier editing lately) be helpful?

I would suggest the live format, but think about splitting them up into a series of events versus one long, difficult to edit version. This would make each topic more digestible – people can walk away with actionable items to make their job easier. If people know it’s going to be a series, you’ve made your content that much more ‘sticky’ that they’ll come back looking for the next event. This will make the recording more appealing as well – it's much more likely to be watched in its entirety if it a 'video-size' type snippet (think of your own attention span when it comes to watching content on something like YouTube or Vimeo). I think this would help boost the engagement and keep your message clear. 

Then you can take advantage of all those smaller recordings and string them together in something like an email campaign or blog series, create an eBook where each chapter references that specific topic and points back to your recording, etc. The possibilities are vast!

  • Does ReadyTalk provide the means to cut up an existing webinar recording into chapters – what formats do you offer? 

We do have an awesome editing tool that allows you to easily cut your webinar down into more of those digestible snippets, like I mentioned a few times. You can find some additional information here:

https://www.readytalk.com/products-services/recording

There isn’t a way to automatically chapter them out within the tool, but you can work with our support team to make as many copies of the original as you’d like to then edit and repurpose as you’d like. You can host them on the ReadyTalk server for a small monthly fee, or you can download them in a number of formats and host on your own site.

The most commonly used formats and available for ReadyTalk recordings are Flash, MP3, MP4, .wav

  • Do you have any recommendations for webinar captioning or transcription?

We’ve used 3Play Media in the past for transcripts of our webinars and they’ve worked well.

Whew! Hopefully there are some actionable tips in here for you. What other questions do you have related to these four areas? Or better yet, leave us your suggestions – the more we can stack best practices list the better! I know there are many webinar experts among us, don't be shy. What would you add?

 

 

Webinars: The Gateway Drug to a Video Marketing Strategy – Q&A Session Review

We recently hosted a webinar with the video marketing gurus over at Vidyard to dive into the idea of launching a video marketing strategy with the materials most of us already have – webinar recordings. We had a little fun with the theme on this one. With a number of Breaking Bad fans on our marketing team, we decided that we’d run with the idea of webinars as a gateway drug to a video marketing strategy (queue theme music).

We’ve all been on a webinar about webinars before, but not quite with this twist – and Breaking Bad had plenty of twists. Just as Walt walked a fine line (for a while at least) between high school chemistry teacher and impending drug lord, webinars are a jump off point for video marketing when you introduce some creativity. In the same light, the common elements you need to create your ‘product’ (videos) are right at your fingertips. However, to truly get your customers hooked, you have to take your webinars to the next level and deliver an engaging on-demand experience. 

If you’re a marketer and you haven’t put together your video strategy, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Our webinar included a solid thirty minutes just for Q&A on the topic and we still didn’t get to all of the questions. Which also is why you’re reading this blog – you have questions of your own. But wait, how about you WATCH the Q&A instead? In practicing what we preached during the live webinar, we compiled a list of 8 burning questions posed by our audience and answered them in an eight minute video session. So without further ado …

We hope this quick video was just as informative as it was funny (at least we think we’re funny, you may think otherwise). You can also view the entire webinar  with more great questions and discussion from our presenters. With some preparation and basic editing skills you can transform your webinar recordings to take on new life beyond the archive page. And don't forget about the distribution! We touch on this in the video, go back and watch – it's worth the sixty seconds. We hope you can take these tips and begin to build a comprehensive video library, starting with your webinar archives, that will continue driving leads into and down the funnel. 

 

 

Nobody is Watching Your Webinar and How to Fix It

Content is everywhere and in every form – videos, tweets, blogs, forums, whitepapers. I recently read an article that said by 2020 the amount of information on the Web is expected to increase by 600% – 600! In fact, 73% of B2B marketers produce more content than they did a year ago according to a 2014 survey done by Marketing Profs and the Content Marketing Institute. Problem is, how do we break through the volume of information when everyone is in a mad race to produce more? Sadly, most content is completely invisible because it’s not worth seeing.

Webinars also happen to fall in the bucket of content types. As with any other form, marketers put a lot of time and resources into the creation of a webinar. However, webinar fatigue has slowly crept in and getting yours noticed has become increasingly challenging. Tired of the same old webinar format? Time for a #webinarwakeup call

The secret of getting your content viewed by more people isn’t always about producing more, but rather thinking outside of the typical template. What’s digestible? What does your audience want to hear vs. what you want to talk about? Do live attendance numbers even matter as much now?

This month, we are teaming up with the content marketing experts at Scripted on April 29 @ 1:00 EST to cover some fresh approaches to the traditional webinar format and the content that you’re presenting. We’ll discuss:

  • Crafting webinar content that gets you leads vs. just views
  • New webinar format ideas to not only capture registrants, but attendees
  • How to crowdsource your next webinar topic
  • Webinar inception – developing mini segments within your live event to repurpose into additional content afterward

Now it's time for you to participate – reply to this post or use the hashtag #webinarwakeup on Twitter to send us your burning questions, or even tactics that you've found successful to combat webinar fatigue. We'll be using these questions submitted by the public to shape each section of our presentation. Don't forget to register for the webinar!

Let’s talk Simulive and what your webinar program could be missing without it

This month, oneLet's talk Simulive and what your webinar program could be missing without it of ReadyTalk’s savvy event managers, James Kenly, talks about Simulive—a new addition to the marketer’s toolbox.

Marketers are starting to really get the hang of webinars. The percentage of marketers producing webinars has jumped 20% since 2010 according to the Content Marketing Institute. The process itself has become more sophisticated and automated. Webinars are a machine that can be fine-tuned to deliver any type of content (video, breakdown of a whitepaper, research study, etc.), when and where you choose.

And they don’t stop there – webinars are a beast of content just waiting to be repurposed to extend the ROI of the event. If you’re already in the habit of reusing the content you’ve created for your webinars, a Simulive event may be the next step in your overall webinar strategy.

A live webinar attracts an audience around a topic. From that topic you glean both new and reusable content (including your recording) which lends itself to a fresh stream of audience touch points and extends the life of that topic. Rebroadcasting that recording (also known as a Simulive webinar) in a new, live setting gives you the opportunity to attract people who may have missed out the first time. What’s the best part of this increased pool of prospects? You don’t have to lift a finger!

Simulive rebroadcasts pre-recorded content as if it was happening live – you can add a live operator introduction and even conduct a live Q&A to reinforce the illusion. You also have the option to play back the recording without ever picking up the phone or logging into the web.

What are the benefits?

• Access to an entirely new group of registrants without rebooking the speaker (which may cost money)
• Deliver the same experience anytime, to any audience, in any timezone
• No need to schedule another date and time that works for all parties involved
• Recorded content can be edited so you present the most polished version, every time
• Give your webinar resources more mileage – it’s the type of content that keeps on giving

Leveraging webinar content to move your audience through the funnel is a no brainer. With Simulive, you increase the volume in the funnel that can be reached. Want to see it in action? Check out a live demo to learn how you can leverage Simulive for your next webinar.

Applying the Science of Waves to Webinar Promotion

This summer, we held a webinar with Sarah Skerik (@sarahskerik), VP of Content Marketing at PR Newswire, and our very own PR & Marcomm Manager, Bo Bandy (@bo_knows_ ) on maximizing the impact of your lead gen webinars. Typically, “impact” is about the effect of something that has already occurred– as in “What impact did that webinar have on my prospects?”

While it’s important for your webinar to have an impact, the need for impact really starts with promotional activities that are impactful. Small ripples don’t garner a lot of attention or create much impact. So how do you create a promotional wave? Well, let’s take a quick look at science and see if we can’t apply it to our promotional schedule (just go with it).

Webinar Promotion: Turning ripples into waves

How is a wave formed? Wind is responsible for creating waves. It runs along the surface of water and causes friction, which forms ripples. The stronger the wind the bigger the ripples. Ripples become faster and larger and create waves. Waves are strong. Waves leave lasting impressions  – just ask a surfer or someone who’s lived through a tsunami. Three additional factors to how strong a wave will be are:

  • Wind speed: the faster the wind is traveling the larger the wave will be.
  • Time (duration, timing) of wind: the wave gets larger the longer the wind strikes it.
  • Distance of the wind: the farther the wind travels against the wave (also called the fetch), the bigger it will be.

Now, let’s apply wave science to webinars.

If you take the concept of applying one force to another force, it begins to create friction – stickiness if you will. Take two promotional mediums –  email and video. Separately, they work and create small ripples. But think of the possibilities of stacking one on top of the other, applying more friction by embedding a video or webinar recording in an email., and how that could capture someone’s attention.

We can’t forget about the other three factors that determine the strength of that wave – speed (we’ll relate this to frequency), time (timing or duration) and distance (consistent, sustained energy).

Speed/Frequency: The more frequently your message is placed in front of your targeted audience, the more it begins to resonate. This is not to say you ought to bombard your list with 37 emails leading up to your webinar, but consistent, relevant messaging resonates. The closer you get to your live event, increase the frequency of your messaging.

Timing: Timing is everything, especially when it comes to promotion via social media. The better you time posts the much larger the potential audience is. You must be mindful of when you’re sending out your message to capture your best audience. Think about the time span leading up to your event and timing in between each posts so you’re creating more friction. Remember, the longer the wind strikes the wave, the larger it becomes.

Distance: We’re relating distance to consistent, sustained energy. Consistency is important in building a repeatable and successful promotion process as well as in the details of the messaging itself. Don’t confuse your audience. Whether it’s email, the event abstract, a social post, a website banner – tell them what you’re going to solve an then DO THAT in your webinar. Consistency builds strength. Strength in your promotions, strength in your events, strength in your relationships with prospects.  Consistency builds a bigger wave.

Just look at some of those that do it best (HubSpot, MarketingProfs, Marketo). You hear from them on a regular basis (speed). You keep listening because the messages are delivered at the right time. You get hooked because the communication is frequent and relevant (distance). By the time a prospects moves through a single campaign, the ripples have turned into waves leave a lasting impression on those in its path.