B2B Webinars That Work: Expert Tips and Best Practices
Webinars remain a staple B2B marketing channel for quality lead generation and driving sales pipeline growth. But how can you ensure your virtual events actually deliver results?
To unpack webinar best practices, I recently hosted my awesome colleague Hannah Drake Kelley on the Healthtech Marketing Show, where she shared tips from first-hand success running high-converting webinars.
Hannah Drake Kelley has been a healthlaunchpad account director since 2022. She previously ran marketing and demand generation at several healthcare startups and established biotech firms.
She brings the perspective of someone who has executed many effective webinars from both the brand side as well as her current agency lens.
Why Do Webinars Matter in B2B Marketing?
Hannah first reinforced that webinars deliver on nearly every marketing objective, from brand-building to demand generation.
Their virtual format allows you to interact with hundreds of prospects. And it’s infinitely easier to commit someone to attend a one-hour online event compared to coordinating in-person meetings or trade show attendance.
The data also consistently reinforces the effectiveness of Webinars. According to GoToWebinar:
- 73% of B2B marketers say webinars generate the highest quality leads
- 20-40% of webinar registrants turn into sales-qualified leads
- 15% of attendees ultimately become customers
Well-orchestrated webinars humanize your brand and build authority by showcasing subject matter expertise. They nurture prospects throughout their buyer’s journey with valuable insights.
Webinars check every box as a scalable demand gen and brand-building workhorse.
Watch the Full Episode
What Results Should You Expect?
Assuming you execute webinar best practices, Hannah cited these performance benchmarks from GoToWebinars:
- Average Registrations: ~260
- Average Attendance: 40% of registrations
- So aim for ~100-110 live attendees
She also revealed two surprising engagement optimization nuggets.
First, 90-minute webinars dramatically outperform 60 or 30 minute versions. The longer slot signals more expansive, valuable content.
Additionally, roughly one-third of attendees register within the final 24 hours. This confirms that relentless last-minute promotion directly drives participation.
Where Do Webinars Go Wrong?
While hugely impactful when done well, webinars also commonly flop without diligent effort across the board.
Hannah highlighted typical, predictable pitfalls:
- Failure to Plan Adequately: Insufficient up-front preparation sabotages events. Don’t shortchange important groundwork.
- Misleading Titles: Don’t bait prospects with one concept and then disappoint with pure product propaganda.
- Poor Promotion: Amazing content is worthless without heavy promotion, driving registrations and attendance.
- Disjointed Sales Follow-Up: Failing to align marketing and sales around the webinar opportunity squanders viable leads.
Keep these top of mind when crafting your game plan.
How Should You Plan an Engaging Webinar?
Hannah next offered specifics on optimally planning captivating webinars from the ground up.
Start by identifying topics that provide genuine value to your audience rather than self-interested product presentations. Look at target buyer pain points and map content to address challenges.
Recruiting the right speaker(s) proves critical as well. Existing customer co-presenters build tremendous credibility. Relevant partners also enhance trust while providing a “neutral” third-party perspective.
Be sure to appoint moderators to steer the ship, allowing speakers to focus exclusively on delivery. Don’t overlook passion and enthusiasm during speaker selection either. Research confirms audiences prioritize energy over tactical talking points.
Scheduling also matters. Hannah advised hosting webinars Tuesdays through Thursdays targeting 1-3pm EST to maximize live turnout.
Finally, plan multiple rehearsals with speakers AND test attendees pre-event to smooth technology and presentation glitches.
Executing these planning fundamentals sets the stage for impactful events.
How Do You Drive Registrations and Attendance?
Hannah stressed that phenomenal content means nothing if you don’t promote drive-up sign-ups and participation effectively.
She urged marketers to begin with compelling lead-capture landing pages clearly summarizing value propositions. Then, unleash email campaigns persistently targeting customer databases and rented lists of target companies and contacts.
Hannah reminded participants to keep marketing webinars after the pre-event promotion ends. Registration data confirms a swell of late signups in the final 24 hours as reminders spark procrastinators into action.
Other key tips included enlisting sales teams for amplification and employing social proof like giveaways or contests to incentivize live attendees. Promote actively across all channels through show time.
Optimizing the Live Experience
When you have done the heavy event lifting pre-show, how do you make the show memorable?
Hannah advised appointing moderators to handle introductions, transitions, and pacing so speakers focus exclusively on content. Moderators also continuously monitor audience chat dialogue to surface relevant questions.
Speakers own the material, but remember two-thirds of attendees prioritize passion and enthusiasm over tactical talking points. She pushed speakers to amplify their energy levels to foster engagement.
Hannah also endorsed incorporating interactive components like polls early and often instead of limiting participation to Q&A rounds.
Finally, she reminded marketers to orchestrate behind-the-scenes roles managing technology issues and monitoring chat channels for real-time audience commentary and feedback.
Following the wisdom across planning, promotion, and production transforms average webinars into game-changing spotlights poised to accelerate post-event sales conversations.
Extending Your Efforts After the Curtain Closes
The work doesn’t stop when lights fade as marketing and sales teams should expand impact across the buyer journey.
Hannah urged sending prompt automated appreciation emails with on-demand access for registrants. Provide sales teams with segmented attendee lists based on engagement to prioritize immediate nurture and outreach.
She also stressed resolving outstanding questions, repurposing content into future blogs and snippets, and continually tracking asset performance and downstream pipeline and revenue impact to guide strategy.
Clearly, B2B marketing webinars involve heavy lifting across preparation, promotion, and post-event follow-up. But brands committing to excellence across the board reap substantial rewards in quality leads, trust building, and measurable sales acceleration.
Let us know if you need help with your virtual events and webinars. It’s one of our passions.