As a small business owner, you probably know that it’s easy to admire but tough to follow the marketing wizardry of the world’s most successful brands. The things that made Nike, Starbucks or IBM household names are very likely ridiculously out of your budget and also tough to implement in many cases. Starbucks holiday cups, we’re looking at you.
So how about we explore a different way of promoting your business? One that few people are adept at, is highly interactive and engaging and (the best part!) is actually pretty easy to pull off. Yes, we’re talking about using webinars as a key tool in your marketing arsenal.
Before we get into the hows, whys, and wherefores of webinars, let’s understand what a webinar entails. Merriam Webster defines a webinar as,
A live educational presentation during which participating viewers can submit questions and comments.
In other words, a webinar is an audio visual tool that’s more interactive than a pre-recorded video, yet more controlled than a live video conference. Let’s check out how we can leverage this highly underused marketing tool in creative ways for your small business.
The human brain is decidedly driven more by visuals than by mere text. In fact, 90% of information sent to the brain is in visual form. Work this visual bent of the human mind to your advantage by creating engaging product demos in video format. And what’s better than recorded video? Live video or a webinar of course!
A webinar featuring a passionate product professional, walking potential customers through the product and all its features, answering questions, clearing doubts is a far more impactful way of showcasing your product than with just a demo video that a user passively watches.
A webinar product demo can be an effective tool either in an actual sale or can be recorded and uploaded to your site for future viewings. Don’t fret, you’ll get plenty of views on recorded webinars too. A study found that 28% of people who watch webinars signed up to do so after registration was over. Take this webinar, for example:
It was conducted live for prospective Netsuite buyers and then uploaded to YouTube where it’s garnered over 4,700 views at the time of writing this article. That number far surpasses any registrations Netsuite might have received on the original live webinar.
The interactivity of a webinar – whether live or recorded – is a huge advantage for keeping the audience engaged. When a user can ask questions in real time, request to see specific features and functions that are most relevant to him, the impact of the product demo is arguably higher than a simple video. And as we know, the stronger your product’s impression on the user’s mind, the higher would be the likelihood of a conversion.
Marketing is not always about selling stuff. Sometimes it’s about building an image or brand position as a thought leader or an authority on your core area of interest. Sell chemical boilers? Maybe you need to work on building your authority in the area of boilers and industrial machinery. Run a cooking school? Time to become the best known chef in town.
A great way to achieve this goal of becoming a thought leader in your field is using the route of educational webinars. My favorite educational webinar series that’s become almost appointment viewing in the SEO community is Whiteboard Fridays, hosted by Moz founder Rand Fishkin.
Moz has managed to build a huge audience of professionals, students and business owners keen to upgrade their SEO chops by creating simple, no-fuss webinars that deliver great content and occur on a fixed day and time every week.
As businesses try to get leaner and more efficient, the move towards automation and chatbots has swept up customer service into its fold too. We all have experienced customer care calls that take ages for you to wade through all the automated responses to finally hear a human voice. Often the person who finally comes on the line is unable to help either, resulting in an overall unpleasant customer experience.
While it may seem counterintuitive, using video chats in place of phone calls or text chats is a smart way of humanizing the entire experience and getting more positive results out of it. Data from Talkdesk shows that 36% of customers would prefer using real time video chat with customer support instead of going the automated route. Personally, I’d like to simply see the person I’m seeking help from and explain my exact problem to them quickly via video instead of beating around the bush via emails, text chats, or even telephone calls.
Adoption has been brisk, with companies like American Express, the Mattress Firm, and Amazon already becoming video customer care veterans.
Geographically dispersed teams, are a reality of the modern business world. Whether it’s a small business with a handful of employees or a giant multinational with businesses set up around the globe, often it becomes tough for team members to get together and solve problems. Enter video conferencing or the humble webinar to the rescue.
Though not a textbook way of using the tool, webinars can be very effective in getting teams together, doing a presentation to a team with a bunch of remote members, or even plain and simple brainstorming. The chat feature of webinars allows members to take notes and exchange ideas freely without breaking the flow of the discussion. The fact that you can preset the time and date for such collaborative webinars helps users in different time zones to ensure they’re available when the whole team’s online and share ideas, updates and more smoothly.
By no means is this a comprehensive list of ways to work webinars into your marketing strategy. From making an announcement to shareholders to releasing a bug fix for your product, a webinar is a fantastic low-cost option that leaves an impact every time. Don’t take my word for it – try it yourself and tell us how it goes in the comments!