Arguably one of the biggest changes organizations have had to adapt to in response to COVID-19 is the pause on face-to-face interaction – client meetings, presentations, events and conferences, etc. There will be a day when we’re all back in the office and attending meetups, but until then, businesses must make the most out of the current situation.
In addition to this shift in “regular business culture,” another huge commonality that many businesses have seen is the increase in their clients’ hunger for content. There’s no doubt that all of us are navigating new waters, so we’re turning to our partners to be thought leaders and provide support.
So, how do we answer all these incoming questions for all these people when we can’t be in the same room?
Thankfully, in today’s world, we’re surrounded by an abundant selection of software and technology platforms to make the transition smoother. Face-to-face is still happening, just over a screen. One of the most popular ways people have been connecting with customers, new prospects, and those who just want to learn more is through webinars.
Webinars: The “New” In-Person Meeting
While webinars have been a trusted way to share information and connect with clients for a long time, the increase in usage has skyrocketed over the last few months.
Platforms have boosted their marketing and advertising, more free trials and discounts have been offered, and there are even TV commercials now for online conference tools.
Simply put, a webinar is a video lecture, workshop, or presentation hosted online using webinar software. Often business-related, these sessions can be used to share knowledge, ideas, and updates with people around the world.
Before COVID-19, you could assume that software and technology industries were running most webinars, but today it’s jumped into almost all sectors. We’re all looking for the most effective ways to communicate online, and webinars can do just that.
Benefits of Webinars
According to InsideSales.com, 73% of marketing and sales leaders say webinars are one of the best ways to generate quality leads. One of the main reasons why there’s been an increase in these online sessions during COVID-19 is because they still allow for real-time customer engagement and conversation – it’s going to be your next best option to an in-person meeting or event.
You’ll even find articles saying that webinars may be dead. Each business will have channels that work better than others, but to say that webinars are old-school is simply not true.
These are just some of the many reasons why Mentor Works’ marketing team agrees with the 73% that say webinars are one of the best marketing and sales channels:
- They allow you to position yourself as the expert: If your business is hosting the webinar, those who have registered are there specifically to hear you talk about a certain topic. They are listening to you and are seeing you as a thought leader. To register for a webinar, people are providing their contact information and taking time out of their day to hear what you have to say. They’re trusting you to deliver valuable information.
- They work across the entire customer journey: From thought-leadership panel discussions to weekly live demos, webinars are a dynamic and effective way to move prospects down the funnel from awareness to closed deal and beyond.
- They generate new leads: A business is always looking for new leads. Those who see that you’re promoting your webinar will likely venture to your landing page and engage with your form by registering for the event. This is telling you that they’re interested in whatever it is you have to say. While on your registration page, they also may click on a link or download an asset and get pooled into your list of leads. Those who register AND attend your webinar are as high quality as it gets.
Webinar Solutions Available
There are dozens of webinar platforms to choose from and each business is going to be attracted to certain features over others. Some of the well-known ones include:
GoToWebinar has been a Mentor Works favourite for years and if you’ve ever attended one of our hosted webinars, you’ll be familiar with the attendee view of the platform. There are over 2.7M webinars hosted every year with GoToWebinar and over 50,000 customers, making it one of the most widely used webinar platforms. They have a lot of great resources for remote teams and there is currently a promotion for up to 14% in savings. Try GoToWebinar free for seven days.
Zoom is another massive player in the webinar space with many features like online meetings, video webinars, conference rooms, and chat messaging. Zoom has a COVID-19 support page with many resources around training, hosting virtual meetings, and home office setups. There is also a special offer that if you sign up for a Pro Annual plan with ZOOMCARES, there will be an additional 20% discount which translates to a $60 savings per year.
WebEx is a great option if you are hosting an event with a lot of attendees. Their webcasting tool can host up to 100,000 attendees. Like most conferencing tools, they also have a COVID-19 support page with blogs, training sessions, and tips for working remotely. There is a special offer to have the first month free when you sign up for a paid monthly plan, or four months free when purchasing an annual plan.
Slido is a go-to Q&A and polling platform for meetings and events. It offers interactive Q&A, live polls, and insights about your audience and has many integrations with well-known tools like PowerPoint, Slack, and Google Slides. Check out their resources on using Slido for online meetings, events, and classes.
An advantage with all these platforms is that there’s tiered pricing for whatever stage your business is in. Small affordable plans can cover the basics, while enterprise solutions will offer loads of add-ons for large companies.
Best Practices for Business Webinars
Whether you are a webinar pro and have hosted hundreds of sessions or are still new to the online conferencing world, there are always ways to improve and create a better experience for your attendees. A few tips and tricks:
Select the right day and time: You’ll want to consider where most of your audience lives to schedule an appropriate time. Will this be a global conference with participants around the world? GoToWebinar recommends scheduling the webinar in the middle of the week, with 11:00 am to 2:00 pm being a safe timeframe.
Promote your webinar: If you’re hosting a free webinar, you want a lot of people to attend. Make sure that there is an easy-to-navigate landing page for people to register on. You’ll want to tap into all the marketing channels like social media, blog, email, SEO, etc., to spread the word. If you have a website, make sure your event is on there where it can easily be found. Email reminders one week, one day, and one hour before the webinar will be a saving grace for those who don’t put events in their calendars right away.
Make it real and raw: Especially today, it’s safe to say that people are craving human interaction, even if it is through a screen. Showing your face with a webcam during a webinar will bring more emotion and legitimacy to a presentation and attendees will naturally be more interested in the information you’re sharing. Include a live Q&A during the session and put out polls and shift your topics to real-time results.
Don’t forget about follow-up: As we’ve said, webinars generate leads, so you don’t want to waste these potential leads by never contacting them again. Marketing and sales teams should collaborate to figure out the best approach to follow-up. An email within 24 hours of the webinar with links, resources shared in the presentation, and contact information is a great place to start.
Build Your Business with Webinars During COVID-19
Even after most restrictions have lifted, offices get filled again, and in-person events are taking place, there’s a good chance that businesses will continue to host and attend webinars, given all the value they provide.
Interested in attending a Mentor Works webinar? We’ve got plenty of government funding sessions coming up, so register for one today!