You keep hearing about using webinars for marketing your business, but you’re just not sure where to begin or how to be successful.

The purpose of this small business guide to webinars is to help you understand the purpose of webinars and how they can help you reach your sales and marketing goals.

Webinars are a powerful marketing vehicle for generating leads and customers. Here are all the questions we’ll be answering in this guide:

Webinars vs Meetings

The key difference between a webinar and a meeting is how you want to engage with your attendees. A meeting is a one-to-one communication channel. As in real life, an online meeting is a collection of people inside of a “room” where they will have conversations, give updates make decisions and share information. It’s primarily a two-way conversation between attendees and hosts.

Webinars, on the other hand are more of a one-way audio conversation between the host and the audience. Typically, there is one host or a handful of hosts speaking to hundreds or thousands of people.

If you’re hosting a webinar, then you are the primary speaker. It’s like reserving a room and inviting attendees to listen to you speak on the stage. The only difference is that the stage is a video screen and the audience is dispersed and at home.

Are Webinars Effective?

Webinars can be effective under two conditions: you are using the right type of webinar for the appropriate phase of the buyers’ journey and you are prepared to invest the time and money in promoting your webinar in order to get the right number of conversions.

As you can see, webinars can be a boon to your lead generation efforts. But don’t make the mistake of just jumping into doing webinars. Because the stats you see here and everywhere about how other people are using webinars for marketing, are a result of having a few success factors in place.

How to Successfully Use Webinars for Marketing

Webinars are a powerful communication channel that allow a speaker to reach a global audience without leaving their home or office. Webinars are a marketing tactic (not a strategy).

Your first step is to choose a marketing strategy. When you choose a marketing strategy, you’ll immediately understand HOW webinars fit in your marketing. You’ll know what promotion channels to choose and you’ll also know what to talk about and how to ask for the sale.

Let’s dig in:

marketing strategies and tactics

How to use paid advertising to drive webinar registrations

If you are selling a product or service through your webinar, then you can consider using paid advertising to attract targeted prospects to register for your webinar. Your goal should be to reach the largest targeted audience that you can.

You have more advertising options than you might think:

Direct mail: USPS EveryDoor Mailings are a great and affordable way to reach hyper-local customers in targeted neighborhoods.

Facebook Ads: This is a very popular option for promoting webinars. Upload your existing customer list to Facebook and create a custom audience. You can also expand your audience by creating a look-alike audience. Then take advantage of the “Lead Ads” advertising so prospects can register directly from the ad.

Google Ads: The great thing about placing Google ads is that you’re targeting people who are actually looking to purchase your product or service. Because 30%-45% of registrants actually attend the webinar, it’s critical to get as many targeted registrations as possible.

  • Both Google and Facebook for generating sales, leads, consultations, or anything of that nature
  • Facebook is ideal for webinars that build brand awareness or social following,
  • Google Ads are best for webinars that sell products directly,

How to use webinars to support your content marketing

Content marketing is more about INBOUND marketing. Webinars are an ideal fit for an inbound marketing strategy.

If you are a consultant, industry expert or professional, make sure that you are very intentional about your webinar topics and what type of webinar you’re going to promote to which audience.

Your challenge is going to be creating different types of webinars for every phase of the sales and marketing process.

In this example, Andy Crestodina, CEO of Orbit Media, a web design firm in Chicago does a webinar series called “Wine and Webinar” for their community. In this case, the “Wine and Webinar” series is a brand building, credibility building, relationship building piece of content. There is NO sales pitch at all. The sales pitch is Andy’s expertise, the relationship building is his sharing and educational content and the end result is that he is ultimately top of mind when you’re thinking of a web design firm (in Chicago).

webinar as content marketing

How to use a webinars to increase sales of products and services

Webinars are a powerful direct marketing tool as well. When you think about it, webinars are an extended infomercial. It’s your opportunity to get directly in front of your customer, educate them, demonstrate your product or service and convert prospects to customers.

What Types of Webinars Should I Do?

If you’re going to use webinars for your marketing, then you want to make sure that you’re focused on the buyer’s journey. The buyer’s journey is the process your customers are going through to find a solution to their problem.

buyers journey by stage

In the early stages of the buying process, your potential customers know that something is up, but they haven’t quite identified the problem. You want your webinars to be focused on the typical problems your ideal customer faces. These webinars should be educational in nature without featuring a specific brand or product as a solution.

In the middle stages of the buyer’s journey, your prospects know what problem they have. they are in search of the ideal solution. Here, you’ll want to help attendees figure out how to choose the right product or service.

Finally, At end stage of the process, it’s time to make your product or service the center of the presentation. If your prospects have been through the process, they’ve diagnosed their problems, looked at other solutions and now they need to feel good about their choice. This I the best time to give in-depth demonstrations, perhaps some tutorials and free trial onboarding.

In this next section, here are outlines of specific webinar types.

Webinar Types That Build Awareness

When you’re prospecting for new customers, the last thing you want to do is be pushy. Instead, look for opportunities to educate your customers on industry trends to help them identify areas of improvement or potential solutions.

  • Educational:
  • Industry Trends
  • Panel discussions
  • Keynote
  • Interviews/Online Summits

Webinar Types That Help Customers Find Solutions

In this phase, your prospects know they have a problem. What they need is a guide to weed through the solutions. For example, you can offer a Q&A webinar called “Ask me anything”. Then, you can transition to case studies.

  • Problem/Solution
  • Case Studies
  • Q&A – interactive
  • Explanation of Criteria

Webinar Types That Help Customers Choose Your Solution

When you think about it, sales is all about helping your customers choose you. And that’s what these webinars are designed to do. First, put yourself in your customers shoes. Then, think about what might be missing that will help them choose a solution.

  • Demonstrations
  • Comparisons
  • Q&A
  • Training

How to Engage With Your Audience on Webinars

The more engagement that you offer on your webinars, the more likely the audience will be to take you up on your offer. Here are the most popular ways to engage your audience in your webinar.

  • Q&A – 81%
  • Resources – 69%
  • Surveys – 36%
  • Social media – 25%
  • Polls – 22%
  • Group chat – 10%
  • Integrating

Can I Charge For Webinars?

You can also SELL access to your content in addition to your product or service.

Yoast, a blogging seo tool, is an example of how to use webinars effectively. They have free tutorials for prospects and new customers and then they also offer higher end educational content for technical experts. Also notice that they are charging their loyal expert audiences a fee for their training in addition to the cost of the software.

Yoast SEO Academy pricing chart 2020

Overall, whether you can charge for a webinar or not will largely depend on your product and service. If you’re selling a software, there is a good chance that you could use free webinars to help your prospects choose your tool and then charge for training.

Host a Webinar That Sells

Now that you know where webinars fit into your marketing strategy, you’re ready to start planning for and creating seminars that can sell at every step of the buying process.