Webinars: Voluntary Marketing for Better Conversion

We’re no stranger to hearing the phrase “our product is different.” Considering ReadyTalk’s experience vetting vendors and agencies, we’ve learned that everyone says it. Including us. As B2B companies clamor for the attention of decision makers, is there any way to guarantee you’re buying jet fuel and not snake oil? That’s a tough one. There are tons of options in the digital marketing space and everyone claims to offer the best. So at the risk of promoting our solutions in a similar we-solve-all-your-problems stereotype, let me explain why webinars are the ultimate form of voluntary marketing.

Time is more valuable than data

Banner ads, pre-roll video, and even PPC are all examples of involuntary marketing. Don’t read that in a negative tone — we use these methods (and so do you). In other words, the images appear on your screen based on your search history and profile, rather than from a formal exchange of data to obtain the content. Downloadable content like eBooks, case studies, and infographics are voluntary marketing channels. Meaning, in order to read or view the content, a lead needs to provide their name, email, phone, etc. They’ve volunteered their info in exchange for your asset.

Webinars go one step further. Unlike the downloads listed above, webinars ask for something much more valuable — time. Registrants have agreed to give you 30–60 minutes of their day! I mean, wow. That’s a lot to hand over to a complete stranger. Don’t waste their time. Their likelihood of conversion hinges on whether or not they believe it was time well spent.

This means it’s up to you to provide value-rich content. The relationship between your brand and the prospect begins with a memorable impression that they carry through the rest of the buyer journey. Use the following tips to keep them focused on your event, and more importantly, deliver on your promise that it’s worth their while. No pressure.

Don’t be lame, break through the boring

Make your presentation thought provoking, educational, and valuable for your audience. Don’t ever let your webinars become a placeholder on your marketing calendar. If you treat every webinar like an event, chances are you’ll have higher turnout and create more buzz. Remember, webinars are the first chance that your prospects literally hear the voice of your company. Another reason they’re a great form of human-to-human, voluntary marketing.

So, how do you make sure they walk away with something new? Part of it comes down to your choice of presenters. Choose people with a charismatic delivery, conversational yet intelligent, and with a knack for drawing the audience closer. Your audience can spot passion from a mile away, so use the opportunity to turn more heads with an engaging speaker.

Think podcast, not lecture

Have you ever attended a snooze fest webinar? They’re the worst. And usually it’s because the speaker is reading directly off the slides. In this case it’s not a two-way street. The presenter is talking at the audience rather than pulling them into the content.

Remember, people attend a lecture. But they subscribe to a podcast. Want to evangelize your database? Turn them into brand advocates that spread the word on their own.

Pro tip: Podcast style is easier when you co-present with another speaker. Bounce ideas off of each other during the presentation, be fun, challenge each other’s thoughts, ask questions when they come up. Don’t be afraid to deviate slightly from the script. Sometimes the best comments are made when people go rogue. Podcast, not lecture.

Webinars Create Connection

That’s what it’s all about. Given the interactivity of a live webinar (Q&A, chat, polling, and surveys) you get to establish a deeper understanding of individual audience members. Other forms of content marketing and lead generation don’t capture the same insights. Obviously we’re biased because it’s what we sell. Still, webinars are undeniably “different.” Your brand gets to speak directly with the people that matter most to your business. If you effectively capitalize on your webinars, buyers will see your brand and products as more than just another face in the crowd.

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Justin McHeffey

Justin McHeffey

Justin is responsible for creating content and generating leads for ReadyTalk’s Webcast and Webinar solutions. Focusing specifically on the marketing buyer, his work includes email nurture and cross-sell programs, sales enablement, collateral development, and hosting webinars for customers and prospects. He has held a wide range of marketing and communications roles in retail, event promotion, and the news media. Justin began his career as a TV meteorologist where he grew a storm chasing fan base and improved market position for the CBS affiliate in Denver.

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