Webinars are by far the most effective online marketing tactic to attract new leads. And that’s backed up with statistics.
Take paid advertising as an example…Wordstream reports that the average conversion rate is 2.35%, while a high conversion rate averages 5%. Webinars however, turn 20 – 40% of participants into qualified leads, even when the webinar is poorly put together. That’s significant. And worthy to be explored by the smaller business as a lucrative marketing method.
The majority of top marketers already know the value of hosting webinars for marketing purposes, but small businesses, and solo-preneurs seem to be webinar-shy, often perceiving webinar hosting as too complex or costly or… something.
Go through the following fallacies and truths, and then decide for yourself whether it will benefit your business to add webinars into the marketing mix.
Myth or Truth #1: You don’t need to put much effort into hosting a webinar
Just because your attendants can’t actually see you, doesn’t mean you don’t need to put in the effort to properly prepare hosting a webinar. The truth is, that because people can’t see you, you need to make extra effort to develop an event that is unique, engaging and which provides real value.
Using webinar software like ClickMeeting simplifies the process because the software does much of the hard work for you. The presentation preparation is the part that requires effort.
Because of the nature of a webinar, it’s all too easy for participants to get bored and wander off. In fact, webinars can get so boring that 27% of people have admitted to falling asleep, and a whopping 67% usually do other work while half listening to a webinar. (Source)
It’s a well known fact that when presenting face to face, the speaker needs to keep people engaged by moving around because that’s what keeps attention. In a webinar however, the participant can’t see the presenter, and it’s for this reason that as the host, you need to work extra hard to incorporate methods of keeping people engaged.
Myth or Truth #2: It’s expensive to host a webinar
The cost of hosting a webinar will depend on these factors:
- Whether you as the host are skilled enough in creating an engaging and professional presentation, or whether you will need to hire a freelancer to develop it for you.
- Whether or not you as the presenter have the ability to hold people’s attention with your voice, or whether you may need to pay someone else to do it for you. With this option though, if you were to think out of the box a bit, you could join forces with another professional and exchange “talents”, for instance: you do something for him and he conducts your webinar for you.
- The cost of the webinar software. There are many you can choose from, even some very good free choices like Free Conference Call.
- The cost of end products – i.e., you can do everything yourself if you have the right skills, or you can get others to do things for you, at a price.
Now compare these costs to hosting a seminar in an actual building. Costs for this would include:
- Venue hire.
- Materials like handouts, pens and promotional goods.
- Hiring people to do things for you – with the brick and mortar seminar option, you would not be able to do everything yourself; you would need help during the actual event. For instance, who will welcome participants, etc.?
You can see that hosting a webinar is far more cost effective, even if you have to pay people to do it all for you.
The other consideration is your actual objective for hosting a webinar. If it’s for marketing purposes, what are your alternatives for achieving the same objective, and how much would that cost?
On average, a webinar for marketing purposes, costs between $100 and $3000, depending on how it’s promoted and what technology is used.
Myth or Truth #3: Webinars are boring and ineffective
The statistics have spoken. The majority of webinars are boring.
But yours doesn’t have to be.
If we analyze the stats, we can see that:
- More than 60% of marketers use webinars as part of their marketing strategies, so despite most presenters not being especially good at holding attention, webinars still work well. Actually, HubSpot provides confirmation that this is indeed the case, as the majority of marketers report that webinars are the most effective way of generating leads.
- On average, 20 – 40% of webinar participants convert to qualified leads. So out of, lets say 100 attendees, at least 20 of them will end up buying from you. That’s a pretty good conversion rate. It makes sense though, that the more interesting a webinar, the better the conversion rates, otherwise people will simply wander off or click away before the end of the webinar, when the call to action generally happens.
Webinars are best used in the middle of the sales funnel, when people have started researching their options and are now in the consideration phase:
What you need to know concerning boring webinars, is that if you understand your target audience and your presentation reflects that understanding, even a poorly planned and poorly executed webinar will achieve results.
Myth or Truth #4: Setting up the entire webinar process is too complex
Most small businesses believe that setting up the entire webinar process is too difficult.
53% of small business owners believe webinars are difficult to create.
But when you use webinar software to host a webinar, it’s a piece of cake. As I said before, the hard part is the planning and promotion, which is something the software can’t do for you.
For a webinar to be successful, it needs:
- To be planned properly.
- To be targeted and executed according to the needs of your target audience.
- To be well promoted and marketing efforts must be based on your target audience, so that the right people actually know about it.
Myth or Truth #5: Participants leave the webinar before the end sales pitch
A webinar should never be a sales pitch. If it is, participants will indeed leave before the webinar ends, although you can certainly include a subtle pitch at the end of an informative webinar.
The secret to hosting webinars that keep attention, is to a) keep it short – about 30 – 40 minutes is a good timeframe, b) to give content that provides true value to your target audience, and c) to keep things engaging and interesting.
From a marketing point of view, a webinar should be informative to build credibility and trust; to make your target audience view you as the go-to for whatever business you’re in.
When people leave before the webinar concludes, it’s either because they’re bored, or something pressing has come up, or they are not ready to buy. On the other hand, if they remain through the sales pitch, you know they are ripe for conversion (and best you have a plan to maximize that…)
Myth or Truth #6: Promoting webinars is too costly
Actually, the truth about promotion and expense, is that besides the cost of hiring outsourced skill or paying for the time staff use to perform relevant tasks, webinars can be promoted without paying a cent. Here’s how:
You’ll need a dedicated registration page that you can send traffic to, in order to sign up for the webinar. Some webinar software platforms include registration page templates in the price, so at no extra cost, you’d simply need to tweak the template to suit your needs. Once that’s done, you’d send people there via:
- Your social media accounts. Bear in mind that for this to be effective and free, you’d need to have collected a good amount of followers already.
- Your website (when you want to promote happenings on your website without paying to drive traffic there on a once-off basis, it pays to continually add regular content like blog posts, which increase traffic via search engines over time).
- Your email lists. Again, you need to have collected a few names already in order to generate enough interest.
- Adding a call to action on your blog posts.
Kissmetrics offers more advanced methods of content promotion. Use these ideas to spark your own imagination for ways to promote webinars.
Key points summarized
Hosting a webinar to attract new business, provided it is well promoted, makes sense and the costs are justified.
The greatest effort is not in the technical side of hosting a webinar, but rather in the preparation needed to make it engaging and truly value-add to your target audience.
The biggest expense is when you need to hire people to design your presentation, or get an expert to host the webinar.
Webinars are only ineffective when they are not promoted and are poorly put together and executed.
Promoting the webinar can be done for free provided you’ve already built traction online.