Once your company has achieved brand awareness (and even while you’re still working on it!), lead generation is the most important activity for any marketing department.
What is one of the most valuable tools for B2B lead gen? Inside Sales.com’s Optimal Lead Generation Methods report states that “75% of respondents (B2B sales and marketing representatives) say a webinar is the best way to generate high-quality leads.”
But to generate those high quality leads, you’ve got to design an effective webinar and follow-up marketing campaign.
Designing an Effective Webinar
For science-based businesses, a third-party webinar is a smart choice. When you hold your webinar via third party trade publications, it is viewed less as a direct marketing campaign and more as higher-value educational information.
You need to choose a topic your audience is interested in. Then choose speakers for the webinar who are not associated with your company, as that drives higher interest in the webinar for your target audience.
You should know that third-party webinars can be pricey. You’ll be paying quite a bit of money for their email list in addition to the hosting and all the marketing they will do to their audience. But sometimes their list isn’t complete, and you’ll want to supplement it with additional lists – including your own – to make the most of your investment.
Once you’ve held the webinar, I often say to clients, “Now what? What are we going to get out of the webinar?”
Yes, you’ve got a webinar. You’ve got this great piece of collateral that’s going to live on and be accessible for a year. You can market it, you can do eblasts reminding people to log on to the archived version of the webinar.
But what’s the next step in generating leads from a webinar?
Creating ROI from Your Webinar
Sometimes companies who hold webinars think that once they’ve created, promoted and produced the webinar the job is done. It’s not.
If this is what happens in your organization, you’re walking away from leads. Obviously, you don’t want to do that. You need to keep marketing.
When a webinar is scheduled, many people will sign up. But only half – 40% to 50% – of that audience usually attends. This is when you segment the audience who was interested in the material. You’ll divide the list into “Those Who Attended” and “Those Who Did Not Attend.”
For those people who attended the webinar, you’ll create an email drip campaign starting with a “Thank you for attending” message along with a next step call to action. Your next email could include an Executive Summary of the webinar or the PowerPoint slides in a PDF format. The emails following that could include white papers, case studies or articles relating to the webinar topic.
But for those interested parties who didn’t attend, many times they are completely left behind by marketing and sales departments. You can’t assume they didn’t attend because they weren’t interested. Anything could have happened – life, emergencies, important meetings, etc. This situation calls for a different email drip campaign.
For these folks, you’ll want to create a starting email with a “Sorry we missed you on the webinar!” message. You can also include an executive summary with a call to action link to the archive for the webinar. Your next email in the drip campaign might be the PDF of the PowerPoint slides from the webinar along with a link to the the archived webinar – providing a way for them to attend at a more convenient time.
As this audience gradually attends the webinar, you’ll receive monthly reports from your webinar vendor identifying them.
What Happened With This Clinical Company’s Webinar?
One of Brandwidth’s clients in the clinical space did a webinar on PCT testing and Sepsis.
The first step? Identify the audience. In a hospital, sepsis falls under the antibiotic stewardship team. That team consists of three audiences: the laboratory director, the infectious disease director and the pharmacist. In every hospital, that’s the team for an antibiotic stewardship program.
The webinar was being run through College of American Pathologists. Now, CAP is an outstanding place to have a third-party webinar, but their list is specific to laboratories. They don’t have infectious disease doctors in their database, and they don’t have clinical pharmacists on their list either.
The next step? We rented two lists to fill out the audience – a clinical pharmacist list and an infectious disease doctor list. We gave the infectious doctor list to CAP so when they sent out the invite to the PCT & Sepsis webinar, both the labs and the infectious doctors received it.
The clinical pharmacist list rental required a different process. They needed an HTML version of the invite to send to their list. So we provided the messaging for the invite in HTML for them.
The set-up? We structured the webinar to ensure that our client spoke very little. While they sponsored the webinar, they chose a clinical pharmacist and an infectious disease doctor to speak about sepsis, why PCT testing is so important and how it affects diagnosing sepsis. In addition, we structured the presentation slides for both leading experts.
On the day of the webinar the company had 1,100 registrants for the webinar. It was a one-hour webinar, and more than 600 people attended. But what’s fascinating is this: that one-hour webinar lasted an hour and a half due to the questions the audience asked.
Post webinar marketing steps?
Now we had the list of registrants, and they included the clinical pharmacists, infectious disease doctors, and labs.
What we did first was create an email blast to those who attended from the registrant list. To those who attended the message was, “Thank you for coming.” For those who did not attend we crafted an email message of, “Sorry we missed you.”
And because we had rented the infectious disease doctors list for a three-month period, we were able to see which doctors did not register for the webinar. For those individuals we created a special email message around, “Sorry we missed you at the webinar. Here’s a link to the webinar archive.”
The ongoing email marketing campaign looked like this:
- The first email provided the webinar’s executive summary and PowerPoint slides.
- The second email provided an FAQ. This FAQ was created from the Q&A from the webinar.
- The third email provided attendees a white paper on PCT testing and sepsis.
By structuring the ongoing communications, we kept the audience engaged. It was obviously a very germane topic, because 1,100 people registered and even more importantly – 600 attendees stayed on the phone for an hour and a half. Not one attendee left the webinar before the end.
A Successful Webinar Delivers ROI
A successful webinar includes the right topic and the right audience. You need to make sure you’re reaching all of the audiences that pertain to the topic. If you’re producing the webinar through a third-party organization, they may not have the list for your entire audience – so go and rent more lists. Be sure that you have a plan for a proper follow-on marketing campaign.
Remember that in science-based businesses, sales numbers are not always immediately reflected. You won’t be in the position to have a “Buy It Now” button, so ROI can occur 18 months or more after an event such as a webinar. It’s important for your marketing and sales teams to track whether their conversions have attended and engaged with the webinar, or any follow-on marketing efforts.
Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.