The growing importance of webinars can’t just be overlooked now. Especially, startups and small businesses have a golden opportunity to boost productivity, save money, and improve collaboration by using these virtual events.
Technology is advancing very fast and is increasing its potential of impacting businesses in ways that sometimes seem quite unimaginable. The use of webinars is one such potential that can greatly help companies redesign their business processes and revisit their strategies to be more efficient.
To put in simple terms, a webinar is a web-based platform that can be used to conduct presentations, host online conferences or seminars, promote products and services, or simply to establish a closer relationship with existing clients.Hence, due to these reasons such a channel can be hugely beneficial for small businesses in terms of capturing leads and generating sales. To cut the long story short; if utilized properly, webinars can become a medium for instant recognition for startups, big time.
If, being an entrepreneur, you want to know how a webinar can change the fortunes of your startup company; this article would hopefully provide you a good insight throughout the reading. To begin with, the Institute of Management Consultants has laid down 10 key benefits of webinars for the success of your business.
How to use webinar as a sales tool
First and foremost, you just need to know how webinars can fit into your business. Traditionally, business owners used to follow a long process. First they generate leads, qualify them, have a meeting, and, if possible, make a sale subsequently. If it doesn’t happen that way, they have to follow up until the potential customer either make purchase or ultimately stops returning calls.
Now if you compare this process to running a webinar, the first thing that stands in clear contrast is you will be able to identify the right customers from prospects into loyal customers. By putting attractive advertising around the webinar using marketing techniques, many people would curiously like to register for it. This gives you a good opportunity to spend valuable time with people who are interacting with you through webinar software from across the globe. However, finding people who may be interested in your product or service is just one aspect; to turn them into loyal customers is a different story altogether.
A typical sales webinar ostensibly intends to increase awareness and information regarding a new product and uses certain actionable steps, which ultimately shepherd the prospect into the sales process.The conversion process used in a webinar (a.k.a “sales funnel”) can be understood with the following infographic designed by Marketo. The process follows the shape of an inverted pyramid as the webinar starts. It then narrows down to capture interested customers who are willing to see product demos. This allows executing the final goal of turning them into paying customers.
Source: Program Plan for B2B Marketers, Marketo
How to improve your company’s brand awareness using webinars
Thus far you have got a fair idea that webinars can provide tremendous amount of flexibility and unlimited benefits to small businesses. Now being a progressive entrepreneur that you are, a touch of imagination and innovation could create a highly engaging environment for your participants. This strategy will go a long way in improving your company’s brand awareness. You have to increase user experience and convenience of participants to have a chance to maximize available resources. The following strategies will surely help you with this:
Keep your audience focused
The methodology and content of interaction that you are going to use in the webinar should closely mirror with that of in-person presentation. However, do not forget there is a difference between the two situations. A webinar is obviously more challenging to gain your attendees’ focus because it is quite easy for them to get distracted. For example, they would like check emails or personal messages on their phones, or even to go for a cup of coffee in the middle of the webinar.
So, what should you do then? Well, instead of showing them slides and talking for an hour or so; make your webinar interactive and also allow them to contribute to the event. You can use a collaborative whiteboard, a moderated chat, or polls and surveys.
Visual storytelling is another way of how effectively you can keep your audience engaged. Prior to begin your webinar, just think of ways on how you can prompt your attendees to exchange views back-and-forth. Polls do a great job of engaging an audience interactively and then sprinkling questions and answers sessions in-between will certainly make it an engaging affair. Thus, using these simple tactics will make your audience more focused and then you can effectively make them aware about your product or service.
Use webinars to improve marketing
As you know the fact very well that content is very important factor that drives traffic to your website. So, archived webinars (available to members and non-members alike) with good content are excellent in terms of improving your company’s search engine rankings. Whether it’s a product demo or an educational event, you need to find ways to broaden the visibility of your webinar content. After posting your archived webinar to your website, you can promote on your own social media channels. This is a great way of increasing your business’s brand awareness among people.
Collaborate with top decision makers
Webinars are all about engaging audience as effectively as you can and if you have a product or service that adds great value, rest assured you are likely to get conversions during your webinar. However, it might not always turn out that way. Here you need to set yourself up to connect with some of the biggest decision makers in the business. So, without wasting a second, if you provide a clear, engaging, and entertaining webinar, you will be able to attract the attention of other companies who would like to do business with you. Then the valuable proposition of decision makers would provide the audience to consider your brand, which will certainly open up more business opportunities for you.
Use a Hashtag dedicated to your webinar
Using a hashtag through the entire webinar process that is quite unique is an effective strategy being used these days by webinar specialists. A lesser known hashtag will ensure all tweets related to the hashtag are about your webinar. The only thing you need to keep in mind is use the hashtag well before the webinar takes off. It helps create a community of people with something in common. During the webinar, you can use the hashtag to interact with the audience, answer queries, and gather more questions for the Q&A segment. Even after the webinar finishes, you can use the hashtag to follow-up on any unanswered questions and send additional information.
As we discussed the insurmountable potential of webinars for the success of small businesses,we found that they can become an effective weapon of conversion in the end. They are cost effective and provide a special appeal to the audience. Finally we learnt that how companies can improve their brand awareness using webinars. So, go ahead and set the stage for your own webinar.