Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Webinars Rock The B2B Social Strategy

Webinars have proved to be a great content option for digital marketers, offering a fantastic opportunity to generate product awareness to many potential customers in a cost-effective manner. Properly tagged and archived webinars can also contribute to increased search engine optimization efforts for your brand. But in order for webinars to play a vital role in the B2B digital owned media strategy, they must be substantive and presented professionally. We can learn from the experience Rainmakers at global brand SAP had recently. As a business known for its analytics applications, SAP has more than 170,000 customers and more than two million members in its internal social network called the SAP Community Network (SCN). As a way to leverage their community network, SAP created a series of webinars to generate thought leadership branding and turn some of its SCN members into warm leads. The webcasts developed last year continue to perform for the SAP marketing department, providing a conversion rate of between 40 and 55 percent including both live and on-demand viewers. These incredible results were based on SAP following some key best practices in the use of online webinars. Here's how you can make webinars increase your conversion rates: 
  • Choose the right speakers, who are media trained and comfortable in front of an audience.  Consider looking outside of the organization at bloggers, analysts, partners and customers who are often willing and able to act as speakers. One person speaking an entire hour can get mundane. Instead, create panel-like experiences that are interactive.
  • Select the right content. If you're planning on a live question and answer session for the end of your event, have seed questions on hand just in case the audience is quiet. 
  • Use diverse channels to promote the webinars. In addition to your own marketing lists, send out emails to people who might be interested in a particular topic and consider renting third party lists. Use social media channels to generate interest and greater word of mouth sharing.
  • Timing counts. Research shows that webinars presented on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays generate higher attendance.
  • Make it a point to follow up with all participants and non-participants between 24 and 48 hours after your event. The follow up should include a link to the event on-demand and information on the next planned live event. 

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