Webinars…Could They Be Your Most Effective Business-to-Business Marketing Channel in 2014?
Business-to-Business (B-to-B) marketing is challenging. The sales process is more personal and the market size is smaller than Business-to-Consumer (B-to-C). The marketing communication is also different. The foundation of B-to-B marketing is direct communication, while the foundation of B-to-C is mass communication.
There is very little room for B-to-B marketing error in presentation and positioning. The competition is savvy, buyers have numerous options and the industry is constantly changing. The good news is B-to-B is often more profitable and sustainable than B-to-C.
If your company’s product or service solves a need in the B-to-B marketplace, then webinar marketing may be your most effective marketing communication in 2014. Webinars empower B-to-B companies with an opportunity to differentiate their product or service from competitors, which is a key ingredient in B-to-B brand positioning. Below is a 10-step process that will get you started with B-to-B webinar marketing:
10-Steps to Launch B-to-B Webinars that Engage Attendees and Generate Sales Leads.
- Define your webinar marketing strategy, goals and KPIs. I’m a big believer in Benjamin Franklin’s quote, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”. The quote is definitely relevant to marketing and webinar production. Ideate a multichannel marketing strategy, set S.M.A.R.T goals and benchmark key performance indicators (KPIs) for your webinars.
- Create target attendee personas. In order to reach the right target market and audience, determine what type of attendee will benefit the most from your webinars. This will enable you to keep your list building and list rental initiatives focused and on-target. It goes without saying, the attendees (personas) should be the ideal candidate to purchase your products or services.
- Develop your webinar content. A best practice for webinar content creation is to create a themed-webinar series in advance (not just one webinar). Design your content with the purpose of engaging, educating and entertaining your attendees. The B-to-B sales process is long and it takes time to nurture attendees and build relationships. Make your webinar content remarkable and rememberable. Strong Webinar content will position your company as an industry expert, and your products or services as solutions to the attendee needs.
- Educate and train your webinar talent. Your webinar is like a theatrical performance. It should be scripted and rehearsed prior to the live performance. Your webinar should have a moderator and at least two presenters. There is nothing more boring, than being on an hour-long webinar listening to one person talk at you.
- Create webinar invitation assets. Remember, your webinar is a marketing campaign. Other than the webinar content, your invitations are your most important assets. Considering producing a short 1-minute video, banner ads, contextual ads and a email ads to promote your webinars to your target attendees.
- Create a multichannel execution plan.Your webinar marketing should leverage your earned, owned and paid media channels. You should fully commit to your webinar marketing campaign as your number one B-to-B marketing lead generation initiative. Promote your webinars online and offline.
- Invite your target attendees. Use your personas to target your market and audience. Promote your webinar aggressively 2-3 weeks prior to the date of the webinar.
- Host your webinar. (engage, education and entertain) Make your webinar interactive by soliciting participation. Use surveys, twitter hashtags and demonstrations to make the webinar real time for attendees. Make sure your slides are easy to follow and understand. Constantly communicate and give value to the attendees.
- Invite attendees to your next webinar. Communicate the value of attending your next webinar to attendees. Tell them your best elevator pitch about the next webinar. Tease the attendees and make them want to learn more and attend it. Keep on engaging, educating and entertaining them.
- Follow up with attendees. At the end of the webinar, you should have a brief Q&A session with attendees. Include the presenters contact information on the last slide in case attendees want to follow up after the call. Soft sell your company, product and services as a solution provider at the end (don’t hard sell). Pass on the names of the webinar attendees to your sales force so they can phone the attendees and personally invite them to the next webinar. The sales force should use consultative selling techniques to determine the attendee’s needs (soft sell…don’t hard sell). Create a landing page and publish an archived recording of the webinar on your website.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this blog post. Have you effectively used B-to-B webinars to produce leads and grow your business? What do you think of my 10-step process? Please leave your comments below or send me an email.
All the best,