As a digital marketer, it's easy to get to get caught up in the latest trend. We tend to dismiss digital tactics that have been around for a while simply because they have been around for a while. Yet some of these stalwarts, while not sexy, still have value in them. For example, websites and email databases are still the workhorses in any digital strategy, even if they don't get all the attention.
One of my favorite digital tactics, which I have advocated for years, is hosting webinars. Yes, I can hear the collective groan from marketers who, after two years of a pandemic, have chronic cases of Zoom fatigue. But webinars are still one of the most reliable methods I have seen for generating qualified leads.
Of course, webinars do have a lot of room for growth. The narrated slideshow format has grown stale. While there have been improvements in webinar software over the years, these mostly amount to convenient features and integrations with other marketing software, but not game changers in the format. They haven't done much to revolutionize the experience of attending a webinar.
But new classes of tools have become popular during the pandemic that give marketers an opportunity to reinvent their webinar strategy. Here's how you can incorporate these tools into your webinar strategy:
1. Using Livestreaming Video Software for Webinars
As livestreaming to destinations like Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and Twitch have become more popular, inexpensive software that enables livestream producers to up their game has also become more ubiquitous. Frankly, who wants to look at a bunch of Powerpoint slides when they could watch two real people having a live discussion on the screen? While you can accomplish this with Zoom, browser-based apps like StreamYard and BeLive make it possible for anyone to add a little polish to their video presentations. Meanwhile, more sophisticated apps like OBS, eCamm Live, and vMix enable producers to transform their webinars into full-blown TV shows.
But it's not just the production values that improve with these platforms; it's also the ability to put multiple people on the screen at once. While webinars could always have co-hosts, the presentation was lacking. Now, it's possible to create a webinar that looks like an episode of The View or something you might see on cable news. Webinars can become much more enjoyable, conversational experiences with today's technology.
2. Using Virtual Event Platforms for Webinars
There's a new concept in its infancy: “Social Webinars.” While the focal point of both social and traditional webinars are the main presentation, social webinars add a new dimension: They allow the attendees to videoconference with each other before the presentation starts and after it ends. Hosting webinars on a platform like AirMeet or Remo instead of the usual suspects like GoToWebinar, Zoom Webinar, or WebEx, webinars suddenly become networking events. The interaction encourages attendees to turn their full attention to the event instead of checking their email while a presenter drones on in the background. This interaction builds a sense of community among the attendees.
Moreover, webinar hosts can now give their attendees an opportunity to apply their learnings by giving the attendees discussion prompts after the presentations and encouraging people to talk amongst themselves. These guided discussions add even more value to the webinars.
3. Using On-Demand Platforms for Webinar Recordings
While platforms to make webinar recordings available on demand are not new, not everyone takes full advantage of them. Now that we're using livestreaming software to make webinars more engaging, we'll want to make sure that we enable people to find them after the fact. This means making the presentation available on YouTube, as well as publishing the audio from the presentation as a podcast so that people can access it in popular destinations like Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Making the recordings widely available encourages more people to attend your next event.
While hosting webinars is not a new marketing tactic, there are tools available now that makes it possible to transform them into highly produced, engaging networking events that provide far more value. If you're currently using webinars, it's time to up your game. And if you're not using webinars to generate leads, there's never been a better time to start.