By Tim Asimos, Published November 7, 2014
Webinars are a powerful and effective tool for content marketing. In a recent study from Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, B2B marketers ranked webinars as the second-most effective content marketing tactic, following closely behind in-person events.
The very nature of webinars makes them an ideal tactic for content marketing. Taking the seminar format to the web (thus the name webinar), webinars are conducive to presenting educational content to a targeted audience. If your firm is not currently incorporating webinars in your content marketing program, you probably should be. Here are six reasons to contemplate.
1. Reach a broader audience
In-person events are incredibly effective; in fact, B2B marketers consistently rate them as their most effective content marketing tactic. However, in-person events and seminars are naturally limiting when it comes to audience reach. Webinars, however, have no geographic boundaries and can be promoted via social media, email and the Internet to reach an extremely broad audience. Leveraging webinars will allow your firm to reach an audience that would probably be unable to attend a local event. So if your firm desires to expand its geographic footprint, webinars can be a great way to get in front of a much broader audience.
2. Generate new leads and prospects
Webinars are extremely helpful for generating new leads when they are focused on a particular topic that interests your target audience. As part of the registration process, attendees are required to give basic personal information in exchange for the registration. Obviously, this is useful for building lists that can be further nurtured with automated campaigns and future offers. Registering for and attending a webinar requires minimal effort, so webinars can be a solid source of new leads for firms that consistently host them.
3. Nurture existing relationships
Webinars aren’t just for generating new leads either; they’re also useful for nurturing existing relationships as well. It’s very likely that a topic that appeals to a new audience will also appeal to existing leads and even clients. Webinars can also be used for ongoing client development by selecting a topic that appeals to clients and extending the invitation to existing clients only. Whether prospects, leads, or clients, webinars are useful for contributing to content marketing goals at all stages of the client lifecycle.
4. Demonstrate your firm’s subject-matter expertise
It’s one thing to say you’re an expert, it’s another thing to prove it. Just like speaking at conferences and seminars provides a platform for your firm’s subject-matter experts to showcase their knowledge and expertise—webinars do the same. As mentioned earlier, the very nature of webinars provides an environment that is conducive to presenting educational and informative content that attendees will find helpful and beneficial—all the while demonstrating the subject–matter expertise of your people and firm.
5. Value that extends beyond the live webinar
One of the bonus benefits of webinars is that they can be easily recorded and used for ongoing lead generation and nurturing. Other than the inability to ask questions during Q&A, on-demand webinars offer virtually the same value to viewers as the live webinar. Landing pages and offers for previously recorded “on-demand” webinars can be used on your website, blog, social media, and lead nurturing campaigns to continuously engage your target audience.
To get even more mileage from your efforts, webinar slides can be uploaded to SlideShare or repurposed as an eBook, guide, or series of blog posts. The point is—webinars offer a tremendous amount of ongoing value that extends well beyond the actual live webinar.
6. Relatively easy and affordable to produce
In-person events can be challenging to host, requiring a great deal of planning, time and perhaps most importantly—budget. So another appealing benefit of webinars is they involve relatively little upfront investment (headset microphones, cables, etc.), marginal ongoing cost (monthly fees for webinar software) and typically involve very few staff and resources (presenter(s) prep time, moderator, graphic designer, etc).
Webinar platforms such as GoToWebinar, WebEx, and Adobe Connect are affordable and easy to use. Initially, it will take (and should take!) a fair amount of time planning for and setting up your webinar program, but once the first couple are behind you, producing webinars on an ongoing basis is manageable—regardless of the size of your marketing team.
The purpose of webinars aligns seamlessly with the goals of content marketing, making them an ideal tactic for reaching your target audience and achieving your firm’s marketing goals. If you’re not currently leveraging webinars as part of your content marketing mix, these are some of the key reasons to considering incorporating them into your program.