If you’ve missed an opportunity to share key information with clients, prospects, or colleagues in the last quarter due to cancelled or “postponed” events, you’re not alone. Although sales calls, meetings, trade shows, and events of all kinds have been cancelled or rescheduled due to health concerns related to COVID-19, virtual solutions have jumped in popularity. Interestingly, even though there are several relatively new creative virtual options, one method that has been around a while has seen tremendous interest and utilization: webinars. Not sure if a webinar is a good fit for your virtual plan? We’ve addressed three of the top questions about webinars and why hosting one can make a big impact for your company:
Why a Webinar?
Webinars provide an opportunity to prepare key material for an audience which can be as targeted and exclusive, or as wide as you choose. Beyond the actual content, the structure of the webinar can be entirely personalized to fit your goals. Did you miss your quarterly training with employees, and are looking for a way to engage company-wide in one cohesive conversation? Did the big trade show, which normally produces several key leads, get pushed to a distant date in the future? Consider inviting your prospects to learn more about what you can offer in an industry-centric discussion to get the conversation started. Maybe you’re simply looking to boost brand awareness. Whatever your objective, webinars provide a platform for engagement with an audience, trackable attendee data for follow-up, and an opportunity to establish your company as a subject matter expert.
Can’t I Just Host a Virtual Meeting?
In short, you could. Many have turned to virtual meetings as a way to stay connected with employees, clients, and prospects. For a simple exchange of ideas, a meeting might fit the bill. By contrast, webinars allow for your company to plan the content with the professionalism and polish of a true sales meeting or presentation. Additionally, many platforms provide specific analytics pre- and post-webinar which enables pointed follow-up with the warmest leads. Rather than sending a calendar invite for a specific meeting date and time where content can be found only once, webinars enable you to send emails, run ad campaigns, and integrate webinar content into all channels of your marketing. Worried about scheduling conflicts? Unlike meetings, webinar content can be sent in full after the event to ensure no one misses out on your key information.
Webinar Hosting Services--How Will I Know Which One Is Right For Me?
The options for hosting webinars have expanded greatly, from tried and true favorites like Zoom and Go-to-Meeting, to newer players in the game like the just-introduced LinkedIn “Events” and the product in G-Suite, “Meet”, which operates as an extension of their Hangouts function. These platforms can get as in-depth or as streamlined as necessary to fit your webinar needs. Even with free accounts, many will allow webinars to be scheduled and executed in a basic form--which is more than enough for some.
However, especially in recent months, many platforms have expanded their capabilities to cater to every need of hosting a webinar--including customizable invitations to attendees, brandable registration pages, scheduled attendee follow-up, interactive Q&A functionality, cloud recording, and more. More than ever, webinars can mimic in-person panels and discussions. Choosing which platform is right for your webinar is heavily based upon the scope of your webinar (how many attendees you estimate), the nature of the webinar (are you presenting to an internal audience or are you hoping to generate leads?), and your budget for business/premium subscriptions. With so many options available, there is sure to be a platform to fit your specific set of requirements, so stick with it!