by Jennifer Cline
(9/26/14 - Central New York Business Journal) Content marketing is what we are hearing about everywhere we turn. Content marketing and how brands use it to interact with potential customers, is reshaping business-marketing strategies. It allows you to follow potential customers all the way through the sales process, customizing content in each phase.
Providing potential and current clients great content allows you to show yourself as an expert within your industry. You can show that you’re the resource clients can turn to when they have questions. But, what is the best way to provide this content? Webinars are becoming one of the top choices of marketers for delivering content to prospects and customers.
Webinars are a vehicle to deliver B2B content to a larger audience with no geographic boundaries. It is a great way to engage an audience in real time.
This is not a new concept. In fact, webinars have been around since nearly the beginning of the Web. But they have never been so relevant.
Here are some of the benefits of webinars:
1. There are no boundaries. Because it is online, anyone from anywhere can attend a webinar, whether it is from their desk, home, or their mobile device. It makes attending a webinar much easier than trying to carve out time to physically attend at a specific location. It also saves money on travel and the expense of being out of the office.
2. A level playing field. Webinars allow even the smallest company to look big. If your presentation is done professionally and does not sound like a sales pitch, no one can tell the size of your company. It takes the idea of someone being bigger and better out of the equation.
3. Content comes alive. An interactive platform like this can allow content to be more exciting and real. It is not just words on paper; it is a live interactive discussion with real-time content delivery. You can attach files, show your screen or share any other relevant information to the attendees. Not only does a webinar allow you to interact with the presenter, but also allows you to hear what others are asking and doing.
4. Be a resource. Controlling content allows you to ensure your audience is hearing what you want them to hear. The educational aspect of the content will position you to be a resource for clients and prospects, now or when they need the type of service you offer.
5. A whole big world. In the past, your initiatives may have been more localized. Create an event in a city and invite people within that geographic reach. Today, webinars allow you access anywhere you want, at one time, providing a much more efficient and effective way to reach potential customers.
6. A focus group. Attendees of a webinar have now given you access to focus groups of your target market. Webinar tools allow you to ask in-depth questions and conduct behavior scoring, providing you with a wealth of information about this group.
7. A long life. Webinars are archived so that attendees can refer back to them. This is especially helpful to registrants that could not attend and allows others to discover it later on. This should continue to be a lead-generation tool, even after the webinar is complete.
As with any marketing efforts, it is crucial to measure the success and return on investment of each investment. Something like a webinar is easy to track because of its digital nature. Webinars, when done correctly, should have a good return for your company because the up-front costs are minimal, compared to many other content-delivery techniques. Before you decide to host a webinar, have a well thought-out plan. The plan should entail: content development, a marketing plan to promote the webinar (the who and what we are sending out), a sales strategy (how and with whom will we follow up), a tracking system to measure the success, an execution plan and finally, a follow-up plan. Don’t wait for the phone to ring. These registrants have now gone from cold to warm leads; take advantage of that.
Jenn Cline is a sales and marketing strategist at ABC Creative Group. She also consults with the Business Journal News Network. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.