Only 16 Percent of B2B Consumers Prefer Live Webinars

  |  June 4, 2013   |  Comments

If the novelty of attending a live webinar is wearing off, is the power of webinars gone, or are there new and more effective ways to use them to generate leads? Here are some new webinar best practices.

When marketers list the types of content they're producing, many put a check next to the box titled "webinars." These online presentations have been used effectively for many years, and the webinar's popularity has surged with the decline of tradeshows during the recent recession.

Webinars are traditionally viewed as a singular event, where there is an invite to attend, a pre-planned hour (or less) for execution, and a follow-up. However, in a recent survey I conducted, only 16 percent of people preferred to see a webinar live, vs. viewing a recording of the webinar after the fact.

If the novelty of attending a live webinar is wearing off, is the power of webinars gone, or are there new and more effective ways to use them to generate leads?

Survey Says

In my research, I asked 400 B2B consumers how they prefer to watch a webinar. While only 16 percent said they prefer to watch it live, the other 84 percent either didn't care if it was live or preferred to watch it at another time. If you are only looking at driving leads from webinar registration, you might be missing the biggest trend in lead generation from webinars: the people who can't make it.

Anita Wehnert, who is responsible for product strategy at webinar solution ReadyTalk, advises, "At ReadyTalk, we've seen average attendance of our own live webinars drop from about 45 to 50 percent to about 35 to 40 percent over the past year, but we're getting three to five times that number of leads from the recording."

What if we looked at the webinar as a series of small videos instead of a singular, one-off event? What doors would this open, and how could we drive more leads with the same input?

For those 84 percent of people who either can't or don't want to attend your live webinar, here are three tactics to make your webinar more of a long-term lead generator:

  1. Split it up.
  2. Host it on your site.
  3. Use appropriate CTAs.

Split it up. When putting together your webinar, make sure you create slides that give you easy stopping points. With your content packaged together in divisible chunks, your single webinar can easily be sliced into several short segments. These short segments can then be used separately in lead-nurturing programs, email blasts, and as trailers for promoting other content. The key here is building your presentation in sections.

Pro tip: When outlining your webinar, give your speaker a list of questions to answer, and have each single question on a new slide to make editing easier later. Make sure the questions are thought-provoking enough to provide several minutes of commentary time.

Host it on your site. After the webinar is over, publish those short segments, as well as the full webinar, on your site. Advertise them differently, and host them separately. Suddenly, your content library will appear much fuller, as you split up separate pieces of the original webinar to publish more content. At the same time, customers who are only looking for information about one segment of the webinar can find that more quickly.

Pro tip: Use dynamic content on your site. If you have your webinars split up you can then advertise different ones at different times dynamically. So if you know the person is an executive buyer you might only want to show the webinars with statistics, or high-level information, and when a manger shows up it shows more tactical webinars.

Use appropriate CTAs. People are willing to give up an email address in return for good content, so don't be shy - ask for their email addresses. Calls-to-action in videos are the best-kept secret for online lead generation today. Ezra Fishman, director of marketing for online video hosting company Wistia, says they see a 20 percent conversion rate on videos that use a call-to-action directly within the video content.

Pro tip: For the first video, do not require any registration. The video should run about 60 seconds to two minutes. After the video, offer another in the same series. When the next video pops up, make sure you have an email registration box. This also should be tied into your marketing automation solution for full lead tracking.

Webinars belong in your digital strategy, and implementing these three essential techniques should help you earn more ROI out of each webinar. Your lead generation can increase significantly through webinars - just remember that if only 16 percent of people can watch your webinar live, you still have that valuable 84 percent to influence. Market to everyone within your webinar's touch points by creating separate video content out of the original live event, and you'll continue to see results from the webinar long after the event has ended.

Image on home page via Shutterstock.

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Mathew Sweezey

Mathew is the head of thought leadership for B2B marketing at Pardot, a Company. A consummate writer, he has been featured in numerous publications such as Marketing Automation Times, DemandGen Report, Marketing Sherpa, ZDNet, and is the author of Marketing Automation for Dummeis (Published by Wiley February 2014). As a speaker Mathew speaks around the world at events such as Conversion Conference, Dreamforce, SugarCon, and to companies including Microsoft, Investec, NetJets, and, to name a few.

Follow @msweezey

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