Webinars 2.0: Maximizing Webinars with Social and Interactive Engagement


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New research reveals the continuing domination of webinars for the purpose of lead generation and marketing to prospects and customers. Almost 95% of companies surveyed host webinars, with more than 85% using them for marketing and lead generation and more than 52% also using webcasts for internal education and training.

Less than 20 years old, the business of web conferencing and collaboration has been maturing, changing and quickly becoming more technologically advanced since the late 1990s when it was born. What started as a basic transmission of information from one entity to another over the Internet, has since become a feature-rich, highly interactive and effective tool for lead generation, marketing and education.

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Webinars 2.0: Maximizing Webinars with Social and Interactive Engagement

  1. 1. A White Paper Webinars 2.0: Maximizing Webinars with Social and Interactive Engagement 7 Key Areas To Maximize Your Webinar Program New research reveals the continuing domination of webinars for the purpose of lead generation and marketing to prospects and customers. Almost 95% of companies surveyed host webinars, with more than 85% using them for marketing and lead generation and more than 52% also using webcasts for internal education and training. Less than 20 years old, the business of web conferencing and collaboration has been maturing, changing and quickly becoming more technologically advanced since the late 1990s when it was born. What started as a basic transmission of information from one entity to another over the Internet, has since become a feature-rich, highly interactive and effective tool for lead generation, marketing and education.Sponsored by
  2. 2. New research indicates that sophisticated, and as more webinars, now well-established attendees are aware of the as a vital marketing tool for benefits of viewing a webinar, the many companies, continue to use becomes more widespread. rise in popularity. Almost 75% of All indicators point to the companies surveyed recently by continued growth of the medium DemandGen Report have increased as a successful marketing and the frequency of webinars they host, educational tool. with more than 38% increasing This white paper will reveal the hosted webinars by more than 21%. results of the Best Practices The “Best Practices Survey for survey, analyzing responses from Webinar Hosts” also revealed that 113 companies that currently host companies must differentiate their webinars. The paper will uncover webinars through interactivity, using the most important trends related to social media, Web 2.0, engaging the benefits and use of webinars by content and compelling presenters. these experienced webinar users, including insights and comments As webinar technology continues from survey respondents and other to improve and become more industry experts. Best Practices Survey Snapshot  84% use webinars for lead generation  75% have increased frequency of webinars in the past year  More than 50% use LinkedIn & Twitter for webinar promotion  21% have had best success with 30-minute format  31% planning shorter events in 2011  Industry analysts and customer case studies draw best response  Interactive features are becoming more important  Ease of use/setup are top consideration in choosing a platform2 • A DEMANDGEN REPORT WHITE PAPER 2010
  3. 3. 7 key areas to maximize your webinar program: 1. Growth of Webinars 2. Webinar’s Role in the Lead Gen/Sales Pipeline: Measuring the Success of a Webinar 3. Integrating Social Media and the Webinar 4. Winning Webinar Strategies (Speakers, Formats, Incentives) 5. The Benefits of Interactivity Before, During and After Broadcasts 6. Improvements in Webinar Technology – Best New Features 7. Post-Presentation Reporting, Follow-Up and Marketing 1. Growth of Webinars If you search the words “webinars” and “webcast” on Google, a com- 95% of survey respondents stating that they currently host webinars, bined total of 112 million links are 82.6% of that total said they have returned. By comparison, “oil spill” increased the number of webinars brings up 99 million. Point being, they hosted in the past year. webinars are top-of-mind and grow- The greatest percentage of that ing in popularity. (By the way “lead group – 37.8% – has increased generation” returns 14 million links). the number of webinars hosted by more than 21%. A number of factors have contributed to the growth in Looking forward, 74% of webinar use. First, the technology companies surveyed report that has continued to improve, offering they will increase the number of more consistent transmissions, webinars they host in 2011, with better quality audio and web the largest percentage – 34.5% – viewing and an increasing number planning to increase the number of of features that help to improve webinars hosted by 1-10%. the effectiveness and measurable results gleaned from each project. The research confirms this. With3 • A DEMANDGEN REPORT WHITE PAPER 2010
  4. 4. Looking forward to 2011, how do you anticipate your schedule for webinars will change? We will increase the number 34.9% of webinars we host by 1-10% We will increase the number of 24.6% webinars we host by 11-20% We will increase the number of 14.3% webinars we host by < 20% We will decrease the number 4.0% of webinars we host Our volume of webinars will 22.2% remain flat vs. the prior year 2. Webinar’s Role in the Lead Gen/Sales Pipeline: Measuring the Success of a Webinar Is a webinar successful if it has One could argue that Quality of more attendees, if it elicits a lot Attendees is directly related to of post-presentation chatter or if Leads Obtained, which begs the it generates a lot of sales leads? question: Are webinars and webinar Yes, yes and yes. To some degree technology meeting the needs it depends on whom you ask… of companies’ sales/marketing what the goals of the webinar departments? were for that particular company. “I think the real key is finding the The highest percentage of survey right balance between thought respondents cited Number of New leadership and the ability to Sales/Marketing Leads Obtained incorporate the soft sell product (44.1%) as the most important stuff” into a webinar, noted Loren measure of success, while Quality McDonald, VP of Industry Relations of Attendees (reaching the target for Silverpop. “No one should audience) came in second feel like that they were part of at 32.5%. a commercial during a webinar4 • A DEMANDGEN REPORT WHITE PAPER 2010
  5. 5. broadcast," he noted, “but when a “You need to go back to yourThe highest percentage salesperson phones up a prospect, identification of audience benefits they should be able to have an and make sure they are always of survey respondents angle they can hang their hat on” highlighted,” Molay continued. cited Number of New as a result of the webinar. “Exclusivity also helps motivate Sales/Marketing Leads people. Highlight the fact that Obtained (44.1%) as In order of cited importance, other they are part of a select group to measures of success for a webinar the most important receive this invitation because the are (rating average on a scale of measure of success, content matches their interests. 1 to 7 – 1 being most important): while Quality of Remind them that they only have Number of Attendees (3.69 ratingAttendees (reaching the one chance to see the live event average), Number of Registrants and interact with the speakers.” target audience) came (4.72), Ratio of Registrants to in second at 32.5%. Attendees (5.08), Number of When the target audience Registrants to View Recorded message is clear and clearly stated, Webinar (5.21), Number of Minutes the next step is making sure the Attendees Stay Online (5.27), and message reaches that audience. Conversation Created in the Q&A “Companies need to make sure and Chat (5.39). they are leveraging all channels to promote their webinars,” McDonald These statistics make it clear said. “Make sure every group that the registration process in the company is in sync and is important, and businesses promoting the project whenever should make sure they are paying possible,” he noted, including attention to detail before the first social vehicles, naming the project invitation goes out. “It is your in email signatures and including job to communicate a sense an article about the webinar in the of importance for your event,” company’s monthly newsletter. said Ken Molay, Founder and President of Webinar Success. While the bulk of registrations will “Let people know why they should likely come from the repeated email be interested and enthusiastic invites, “by going beyond the core about attending,” he noted in a email invites there is an opportunity presentation titled How to Engage to increase registrations and Members With Compelling Virtual attendance by some decent Events – 2010 Style. number. It is multichannel reinforcement.” 5 • A DEMANDGEN REPORT WHITE PAPER 2010
  6. 6. 3. Integrating Social Media and the Webinar Social Media is certainly the buzzword of the day and is creating “We incorporate social media on a few fronts, it’s kind of a 360-degree special challenges for companies approach before, during and after a in their quest for new customers. webinar,” said Amy Bills, Director of Should we blog, tweet or both? Field Marketing. “First we use it as Should we be on Facebook and a promotional vehicle. We enable LinkedIn? all of our employees as well as the speakers and anyone else involved No doubt that most successful “We incorporate to share the webinar among their companies are testing the waters networks. That is a pretty powerfulsocial media on a few of social media if not jumping in way to get exponential traction.” fronts, it’s kind of a head first. Survey respondents360-degree approach have committed to social media Bills continued: “We create before, during and through the four most obvious messages tailored specifically to venues: Company Blog (59.7%), share on Facebook, Twitter and after a webinar.” Twitter (58.0%), LinkedIn (51.3%) LinkedIn. This makes it fast and—Amy Bills, Bulldog Solutions and Facebook (37.8%). Additionally, painless for everyone to share, and 26.9% are involved with Other types keeps them on-message. Social of social media. media is also a great way to turn the webinar into conversations. We To make the most out of social create a Twitter hashtag for the media, companies must make events so people can tweet during a serious commitment to the the live event. That helps us see channel, according to Molay. “To what is really resonating with people.” make social networking a success it requires an ongoing commitment Post-webinar, Bulldog shares from an organizational level and transcripts of the webinar Q&A a continuous plan to expand your across social media channels. “If reach and effectiveness,” he said. social media is about conversation, our feeling is let’s give the Bulldog Solutions has jumped in community lots to talk about!” the social media waters with gusto. Additionally, companies share recordings of the webinar post- event on their networks. Most survey respondents are on board with the commitment to social media, with 88.3% reporting plans to increase social media interaction in 2011 and of that total, 30.3% plan to increase their social media participation by 11-20%. 6 • A DEMANDGEN REPORT WHITE PAPER 2010
  7. 7. 4. Winning Webinar Strategies (Formats, Speakers, Incentives) While getting the word out about Some of the areas businesses the webinar is a vital aspect of should be focusing on in the the project’s success, once the quest to deliver relevant and registrants and attendees are interesting content include choice on board then content becomes of presenters, value-added Once the registrants king. “I believe the most important incentives and presentation format.and attendees are on need is for businesses to improve The most popular webinar format board then content the quality of the presentations is 60 minutes, with 73.8% of they are delivering via webinar so respondents citing that length as becomes king. that attendees see webinars as the most effective. More than 20% valuable and beneficial,” Molay also prefer the 30-minute webinar, said. “This is a reversal of Marshall with very few opting for 90-minute McLuhan’s quote that the medium or less-than-30 minute choices. Too is the message. It is turning out long and too short just don’t work; that the message is influencing the 30-minute segment often is a the perception of the medium. If valuable lunchtime tool. But overall the content being presented is not the 60-minute format gives the seen as valuable, no amount of speakers a chance to present and technology will save the business.” leaves a reasonable amount of time What format have you had the best success with? 90 minute webinars 1.6% 60 minute webinars 73.8% 30 minute webinars 21.4% Less than 30 minutes 3.2% 7 • A DEMANDGEN REPORT WHITE PAPER 2010
  8. 8. for Q&A, polls, chats and additional value. Attendee incentives should audience interaction. offer a similar type of value. “Everyone loves free stuff, but make When it comes to presenters, it relevant,” noted Justin Gray, survey respondents reported CEO of LeadMD. White papers, “Everyone loves that industry analysts are the E-books and free trials are a few offree stuff, but make most valuable webinar speakers, the incentives that make sense for with 36.9% rating them as most it relevant.” webinar participants, he said. important. Delivering case study —Justin Gray, LeadMD examples packs the second-most Survey respondents agree. A Free powerful punch, with 28.6% of Research Report is the number- respondents citing the customer one most important attendee case study as most important. incentive, according to 44.0% of Other valuable presenters include respondents. Free white papers authors and industry peers. and books (often authored by one bloggers, company executives and of the presenters) also fared well in consultants ranked lowest. the rankings. Prize drawings and discount offers were least palatable Incentives Must to survey respondents. Be Relevant Offering a chance to win a free Webinar attendees want iPod or Starbucks gift certificates information that is relevant and can actually serve to “cheapen your not readily available elsewhere. brand,” added McDonald added. Industry analysts and customer Also, “You risk attracting the wrong case studies offer that type of type of prospect.” 5. The Benefits of Interactivity Before, During and After Broadcasts There is little more discouraging into the sessions may help keep during a webinar than watching attendees alert and interested. the number of attendees drop Study respondents are working57.1% plan to make off during the session, or seeing on this, as 57.1% plan to make webinars more the attentiveness reader decline. webinars more interactive in 2011. Attendees get distracted by their interactive in 2011. There are several ways to approach email boxes, other work and office webinar interactivity. Some consider activity and can tire of the webinar Q&As and surveys during the if the content does not keep them presentation as the beginning and engaged. Bringing more interactivity end of interactivity. But industry 8 • A DEMANDGEN REPORT WHITE PAPER 2010
  9. 9. experts suggest that webinar hosts breed marketing leads. “When you look beyond the live presentation to offer opportunity for interaction bring interactivity to pre- and post- you can capture that activity: for presentation. example, you can capture the Webinar hosts should specific answer someone gave to look beyond the live “In the next generation of webinars a poll question then the marketing presentation to bring it is going to be huge to be able department has information to helpinteractivity to pre- and to continue the conversation after target a prospect’s needs. It can be the webinar,” McDonald said. For post- presentation. a gold mine for marketing.” example, “A blog post could live on the page with the link to the Survey respondents cite interactive recording, then the conversation tools as some of the most important can just continue on.” Businesses features of the webinar. Recording also could enable the blog pre- the webinar is most critical (83.1%), presentation, by beginning a then Q&A (78.6%) and Chat conversation about some aspect of (46.5%). Post-Session Surveys the webinar topic. and Polling also are considered beneficial by many respondents. Bills added that interactivity can 6. Improvements in Webinar Technology – Best Features Generally webinar hosts are (67.0%) and Application Sharing pleased with improvements in (43.6%). Features considered webinar platform usability; user beneficial by respondents include interfaces have improved and are Polling (58.1%), Audience relatively intuitive. Some users Attentiveness Meter (54.4%), Hand The most important continue to seek improvements in Raising for Attendees (51.8%) and aspect of the webinar reporting and analytics capabilities. Post-Session Surveys (47.9%). platform for users in In addition to the interactive The most important aspect of thethe Ease of Use/Setup, features mentioned above webinar platform for users in the according to 42.5% of (Recording, Q&A and Chat), some Ease of Use/Setup, according survey respondents. of the features respondents find to 42.5% of survey respondents. critical include: Automatic Email Reporting and Archiving also are Reminders to Registrants (75.9%), considered important. Email Registration Templates 9 • A DEMANDGEN REPORT WHITE PAPER 2010
  10. 10. 7. Post-Presentation Reporting, Follow-Up and Marketing To achieve the greatest ROI from Keeping the dialogue going can a webinar, businesses must be a key component in a business’ maintain a high level of focus desire to stay top-of-mind for during all stages – before, during attendees. Maintaining interest in and after the event. Starting at the the webinar after the live event also top, company division must work will serve to generate new interest well together to plan the concept, in archived recording. create the content, promote “Don’t think of a webinar as a static the presentation and follow-up "Don’t think of a event,” McDonald said. “It should effectively to reach the goal of the webinar as a static be an ongoing dialogue.” To that session, particularly when the goalevent, It should be an end, webinar hosts should consider is generating sales leads. ongoing dialogue.” all the options of how to utilize Webinar hosts can stay on top the content post-presentation. “I—Loren McDonald, Silverpop. of the webinar following the live call it Return on Slides (ROS),” he presentation by sending out explained. “You can tweet about follow-up emails and analyzing the it, blog about it and link to it.” post-presentation report. Survey McDonald referred companies to respondents are attentive to both a site called SlideShare that allows of these strategies, with 70.6% anyone to upload presentations sending out Automatic Follow-Up and make them available by Emails most of the time and 68.9% Internet search. of respondents viewing Post- Presentation Reports most of the time. 10 • A DEMANDGEN REPORT WHITE PAPER 2010
  11. 11. Conclusion Webinar technology has come a long way and businesses are realizing the benefits of incorporating webinars into an overall sales/marketing strategy. As companies continue to increase the number of webinars they present each year, they are becoming more focused on engaging attendees in innovative and creative ways by improving the content, incorporating interactivity and participating in different types of social media. Overall the webinar platforms available are working effectively for users. Improvements in usability and user interfaces have made the process more user-friendly. Some improvements on the horizon will likely involve analytics and reporting.11 • A DEMANDGEN REPORT WHITE PAPER 2010
  12. 12. About the Survey The Best Practices Survey for Webinar Hosts includes feedback from 119 executives in companies who use webinars for Lead Generation, Demand Generation, Social Media and related purposes. The survey was conducted in July and August of 2010. The feedback came from Directors of VP, CEOs and Sales/Marketing executives in a variety of verticals, from software and business service to finance, healthcare and media/Internet. The survey skewed to companies with less than $50M in revenue (62.9% of respondents) and 1-50 employees (40.9%). About Citrix Online GoToWebinar is an easy-to-use do-it-yourself Webinar tool designed to increase market reach by enabling presenters to connect with up to 1,000 attendees online. With GoToWebinar, you can reduce travel costs, generate more qualified leads at a lower cost and enhance communication with customers, prospects and employees. All You Can Reach™ – for one low monthly flat fee. About DemandGen Report DemandGen Report is a targeted e-media publication spotlighting the strategies and solutions that help companies better align their sales and marketing organizations, and ultimately, drive growth. A key component of our coverage focuses on the sales and marketing automation tools that enable companies to better measure and manage their multi-channel demand generation efforts.12 • A DEMANDGEN REPORT WHITE PAPER 2010