What does it take to Increase The Reach and Engagement of Your Webinar?

Webinars have long since been a popular marketing and sales channel for brands to communicate with their audience and share recent updates, interesting information and much more. According to a recent 2021 ON24 Webinar Benchmark Report, webinar attendees increased by 251% compared to the previous year, many would attribute this to the move to a digital-first environment in the light of the on-going Covid-19 pandemic. 

However, while webinars have become a priority for many marketers partly because of the pandemic, in recent years though and even before the pandemic, several marketing leaders focused on audience engagement and growth by utilizing interactive webinars as a core part of their B2B marketing and customer acquisition strategy. 

Like everything else in marketing, there can be never a set process for running your webinar.  What works well for one brand might not help achieve goals for another. 

While including webinars into your overall marketing mix is a worthy idea in today’s environment, to take things to the next level and boost the reach and engagement of this channel, what does it really take?

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Live versus On-Demand Webinars: The Truth is -> You need a mix of both

For marketers who are still at a nascent stage when it comes to implementing a fresh webinar strategy, a common question that can plague them is, what works better – live or on-demand webinars?

Several reports and research suggest ‘’best times and days’’ to host webinars. A recent ON24 study suggest the best time for a webinar is 11 AM Pacific Time, which is 2 PM Eastern and 1 PM Central Time.

But let’s keep in mind, we now sell and market in a digital environment that is meant to cater to a global audience and multiple time zones. 

For marketers wanting to host live webinars, taking into account convenient times based on these basic factors will matter and influence the number of live attendees. While most B2B marketers may consider hosting live webinars mid-week (usually Wednesdays or Thursdays), the fundamental remains, what works for one brands and type of topic, might not work the same way for another topic and campaign. 

Studies have suggested that live webinars may get more registrants than on-demand webinars. Both models require a comprehensive pre-webinar and post-webinar promotion campaign, in most cases, marketers turn their live sessions into on-demand webinars to capitalize on both models. 

Running post webinar campaigns and offering your webinar content as a downloadable asset may not garner the same hype and attention as a live session, but if the theme of your webinar is not topical, the same content can be used in your content marketing campaigns for the next few weeks and months to garner a larger audience base, even if at a slower pace than a live session. 

The key takeaway remains –> while webinars are now becoming a go-to marketing choice for most B2B teams, enriching your webinar content and webinar marketing strategy to include both, live and on-demand promotions might work better than choosing one over the other. 

Include Interactive Sessions During your Webinars; (Like Live Q&As) are a Must

For marketers who do choose to host live webinars on a regular basis, implementing interactive sessions within the webinar can boost audience engagement and even attendee rates. Studies have suggested that 86% of the audience interact during these live sessions if there is a live Q&A. 

There are various ways in which marketers can optimize the interactive part of their webinar session. Calling an industry influencer to host the Q&A, implementing humor, using interactive chat features to engage the audience – all of which can increase the success rate of the live session itself. 

Furthermore, marketers who understand the importance of re-purposing content can then use their live session recordings at a later stage to re-market to new audiences or lost prospects by capitalizing on extracts from these webinar interactions to add value to their marketing messaging. 

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Targeting and Promoting your Webinar to the Right Audience!

A crucial step of any B2B marketing and B2B webinar strategy involves clearly identifying who you are targeting to and why you are targeting them

Once this in place, it is easier to shortlist the most relevant marketing channels and platforms to promote your webinar to the right audience. 

Platforms like LinkedIn allow marketers to plan specific targeting criteria and expand their reach with the most relevant audience based on pre-defined parameters. 

At any given point of time, understanding whether your target audience is in-market for a product or not and also breaking down your target audience’s buying behavior and buying cycles can help you further dovetail the webinar content you plan to broadcast while distinguishing between which webinars should be promoted to which part of your database and when (based on their buying cycle). 

This is where marketing leaders have to shorten the gap and know how best to breakdown their webinar content to suit different kinds of marketing campaigns in the future. 

Leveraging Existing Customer and Partner Networks

Marketers can actually utilize their existing business network, current customer base and partner network to run collaborative webinar promotions. Hosting a landing page on external websites, having a joint social media plan in place where customers and partners promote the webinar on their social channels, adding a dedicated webinar promotional message into their own weekly email campaigns are just some examples of how this can be achieved. 

Capitalizing on an existing network of customers and partners can be a great idea for start-up teams and marketers on a tight budget. 

Go Beyond the Traditional

Marketing gimmicks have to take on more creativity and out-of-the-box presentation ideas to break through from the noise. Many marketers would argue that today’s digital-first environment is far too crowded with far too much content available for consumption.

But this is where marketers can identify an opportunity – to serve the audience with something they might not have seen any other brand host before. 

While any traditional webinar promotional campaign includes the typical landing page, reminder to download or watch the webinar, regular follow ups and then of course, social media promos as well, a successful webinar engagement strategy requires all this and more

Humor, teaser videos, planning and presenting content and information using different tactics (musical jingles, for instance!) are a must to create that interest among an audience that is served this kind of content on a daily basis already. 

It is at this juncture that marketers can create that impact and difference and boost their audience engagement and acquisition rate. 

A successful webinar strategy is one where a webinar is not only attended by a majority of your target audience, its one more most of your audience has converted into long-term customers. 

Using the right metrics to track your webinar consumption, identifying the right kind of topics to host in your webinar, calling the right industry specialists and speakers to host your webinar are all part of the process. 

When it comes to engaging your audience and increasing the ROI of your webinar strategy, there are several strategies and methods that can be put in place. The onus lies on marketing leaders to think creatively and focus on what’s not been done before to stand out from the crowd and create that lasting impact.

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