According to Chief Marketer, webinars are about 30% effective at moving prospects through the sales funnel, compared to over 50% for written content. Does that mean that webinars don’t work as well for generating leads?
No. Not at all.
Webinars are fantastic at boosting engagement and bringing leads in, but they need a little assistance on the back end to bring those leads to conversion. It’s worth the time, because if a webinar is followed up by serious lead nurturing, your marketing team can hand over some of the highest-quality leads your sales team has ever seen!
Webinars are interactive presentations viewed digitally in real-time by interested prospects. Great webinars are not sales pitches. They’re informative, almost like a free lesson, and provide explanations and/or demonstrations of important topics.
To make a great webinar, start with your ideal audience. Having spot-on personas is a great start to discovering the right topics to discuss in your webinar. What does your target market crave? What question or concern do you frequently hear from prospects or clients? Successful webinars provide answers and vital information to the audience that needs it most.
Once you’ve identified them, it’s important to directly target these folks with your marketing strategy. Make sure that you advertise well in advance of the webinar, and use a combination of email and digital ads to draw in interested parties.
Prospects will watch the webinar and some may even engage in a question-and-answer session afterwards. So why aren’t they sales-ready leads?
Because a webinar, while highly engaging, does not necessarily bring in folks who are immediately ready to part with their money. Webinars attract the curious; these are people who may not yet realize they need your product or service. It’s vital to be gentle with these leads, and nurture them through the sales funnel. They have the potential to be wonderful, sales-ready leads, but a little legwork is required first.
The leads you’re seeing after a webinar are marketing-qualified leads (MQL’s). These people are more likely than other visitors to eventually become customers.
MQL vs. SQL
Imagine you’re a salesperson at a small hardware shop and three customers come in. One walks right up and immediately asks where your paint brushes are. This person is a sales qualified lead. They are ready to buy, but just need your assistance to find the right product and make the purchase.
The second looks around for a bit, then asks you how one of your weed whackers work. You head over and provide a small demonstration, showing them how to use and care for the item. After discussing for awhile, they thank you and say they have to think about it but will come back tomorrow. At this point, if you get their information, you can add them to your mailing list. This person is a marketing-qualified lead.
The third person wanders around the store looking at everything you have and eventually leaves. They’re not really a lead yet, but if you mention your spring sale is starting next week, hand them a promotional flier and tell them you hope to see them soon, they might return in the coming days.
So how does this relate to webinars?
Turning Webinar Leads into SQL’s
Those webinar leads are hot MQL’s, but they are only lukewarm when it comes to sales. In order to push them closer to the sales end of the pipeline, it’s time to nurture those leads!
We have a great piece about the foundations of lead nurturing here, which explains that the basics are:
Establishing a schedule for timely follow-ups
Diversifying your marketing channels
Aligning sales and marketing
That fourth point is one of the most important parts, and developing an Account Based Marketing strategy is a huge help when it comes to pushing prospects along the sales path towards a sale. It unites sales and marketing in the process, and ensures that you already have a plan before the prospect even interacts with your content.
Another helpful tool is lead scoring, which can help you ensure that no one wastes time on leads that turn out to be dead ends.
Once your webinar is over (and you’ve placed it up for review as an on-demand piece), it’s time to start nurturing these leads.
Whatever channels you choose to use, be sure to follow-up with these folks. Ask them to share the on-demand webinar, or invite them to your next one. Send them a white paper on a subject that came up during the webinar, or remarket to them. Whatever strategy you choose, make sure it piques their interests enough to them to come back. The more touch points you have, the higher their lead score - and once that score gets high enough, those folks will be true sales-qualified leads.
Handling webinar leads the right way will make you a hero not only to your sales team, but to your viewers as well. A great marketing and sales strategy ensures that everyone’s happy, and great content ensures your place as a thought leader in the market.
- Lindsay Jawor