There's no question webinars have become an essential ingredient in today's business world. You've probably been hearing a lot about webinar marketing and communications for some time now, and surely you've attended a number of webinars yourself. Perhaps you've even thought about delivering your own webinar – but you hesitate, fearing the worst: a failed event and a wasted budget.
However, that's not the case for most webinars when you do them right! According to the Content Marketing Institute, webinar platforms remain in the top 5 technologies B2B organizations use to manage their content marketing efforts. Moreover, webinars and other virtual events also stand among the top 5 channels for distributing content to a targeted audience. This tried-and-true tactic isn't going away any time soon, so it's best that you brush up on your webinar use cases, and get a handle on how you can make the most of them for your business.
Of course, the topic and purpose of a webinar are the main reasons anyone attends in the first place. But the type of event you're launching also plays a big role. People don't want to attend every event out there; they only want to participate in the types of webinars that satisfy their educational needs – and everything else is a waste of time. Read our list below to identify the 10 types of webinars everyone is doing today!
1. eLearning / Continuing Education Delivery
eLearning is widely used today as an extension of the classroom, usually covering a topic for educational purposes only. This method is popular in many professions where keeping your industry chops up to date requires Continuing Education (CE) and re-certification. And CE content is often delivered by way of a webinar!
Continuing Education webinars—both live and on-demand—help eLearners earn credits in their field without them having to travel long distances and disrupt their schedules. These online events incorporate a virtual audience learning about a specific topic from an expert speaker – who leverages interactive tools to conduct surveys and polls, field questions, and gather feedback. Most CE webinars are peer-reviewed prior to launch and are designed to meet state and federal requirements. When using a content delivery platform that includes Learning Management System essentials, CE webinars can also be followed by an evaluation, a test or quiz, an additional recommended course, or even automated certificate delivery.
2. Employee Training
The use of video for employee training is rapidly growing in popularity. Studies have shown that 98% of business leaders recognize the value of using video for training employees better and faster, with 75% stating this channel is very valuable. While offering live webinars to your employees (particularly your remote workers) provides them an opportunity to ask questions, recording a series of on-demand webinars from which team members can pull information about specific topics also presents a personalized learning experience (adhering to a "just-in-time" learning model).
Webinar production teams should focus on making training and professional development videos engaging so that employees actually retain and apply what they’ve learned to their jobs. It's so important to connect the material to their role in the company, as well as to connect their role to business goals.
3. Product Demonstration
According to SiriusDecisions, 67% of the buyer’s journey is now completed digitally – and most of that process occurs independently before a prospect even contacts a company's sales team. And oftentimes, product or software demos are what closes the deal.
Product demonstrations not only provide your company the opportunity to show how what you're selling is the solution to your potential buyer's pain points, but they're also a great opportunity to make a good impression, differentiate your product from your competitor's, and answer any pressing questions that are keeping your prospect on the fence. Today, a positive user experience is more important than ever – and a demo is an easy way to reassure your webinar viewer that your product or platform was built with a seamless UX in mind.
4. Customer Onboarding
Onboarding is one of the most important processes you have with a new customer because it sets the tone for the rest of the engagement. Research from Deloitte reveals that customer experience is a key differentiator for 62% of business buyers, which points to why so many companies—particularly in the SaaS industry—are funneling money into customer success programs.
This phase of the buyer's journey is a critical tipping point. Your customer has made the decision to partner with you, and they’re likely excited to be doing so. So the last thing you want is for buyer’s remorse to set in! You can avoid that by helping your customers understand how to take full advantage of your product or service. What's one effective way of doing this? Hosting a webinar.
New customers want to learn about how a product or service works beyond the simple instructions. Using a webinar platform, you can schedule training or demonstration sessions with customers to give them more value for their investment. Instead of conducting training on a one-to-one basis, you can also invite several of your customers to the same webinar to save time and leverage any relevant polling, survey or Q&A functionality.
5. Corporate Communications
More and more, companies are hosting virtual town hall meetings to communicate with all of their employees. Considering that a virtual workplace is becoming increasingly common across numerous industries, and that there are so many organizations with satellite offices operating across the world, the ability to engage with remote staff members is critical.
The best webinar platforms allow you to broadcast company events on a one-to-many scale (connecting 10,000+ attendees). So why not take advantage by creating a quarterly webinar that brings the president of your company to each employee's office for a 'State of the Union' address? You can also obtain employee feedback during these virtual events – and the ability to send comments directly to the C-Suite can sometimes prompt high-value remarks.
6. Lead Generation
Lead generation webinars are meant to deliver educational content about a topic in which your business has expertise to an audience that is likely experiencing a problem in this area. The primary goal is to acquire new contacts (or leads) with whom you can follow up after the webinar. If you establish enough thought leadership and credibility during the presentation, you might just convince them that they are a good fit for your solution.
While lead gen webinars are marketed on multiple channels, it's best to home in on a specific buyer persona that represents your ideal type of client. Of course, these webinars should be promoted to leads already in your database, but it's important to advertise your virtual event on channels where you can target qualified prospects (LinkedIn or Facebook advertising, industry publications, etc.)
That being said, lead generation webinars are nearly always a win-win situation. When your event registrants gain access to your valuable content, you collect their precious contact information (name, email address, job title, and so on). But another reason they're useful is because they serve as a talking point for your sales team during important conversations with prospects in the funnel.
7. Customer Retention and Nurturing
Turning your qualified leads into paying customers is a challenge in and of itself. But once you close the sale, your job isn't over. In today's competitive business landscape, customer retention is crucial – and inspiring your buyers to stay with you and become brand loyalists is a never-ending process.
However, webinars make it much easier to nurture your customer relationships. An invitation to a webinar affords your clients the opportunity to stay informed about important company or product announcements, and gives them yet another way to get their questions answered. While you might make the same announcements and have similar conversations across other channels, webinars show that you're really trying to be an approachable business partner in whatever way is convenient for them. Plus, it potentially demonstrates that you're more tech-savvy than your competitors!
8. Branding / Reputation Management
Webinars can help you build your brand awareness and status as an industry leader by creating a connection between your valuable content and your customers. One way this is accomplished is through placing your company's logo in your webinar's web room and branding all related materials accordingly. Building trust in your brand is key – and thought leadership webinars are a great place to start.
Yet another use of webinars is to address your audience when a big change in the industry is taking place. How will your business adapt to new laws or best practices? (The GDPR is a prime example.) Is your product team taking into consideration new technologies that have become available? Always stay ahead when issues like these arise by communicating efficiently and effectively with your customers and other influencers in your audience. Sometimes taking no action is what gets your reputation into trouble!
9. Association Membership Content
If your customers are actually members of your organization who are paying a monthly or annual fee for your services and benefits, webinars are the perfect way add value to the package. Many associations offer webinars to their members at no additional cost, while charging a fee to those who are not part of the organization. This not only provides an extra benefit to your program but also makes the events feel more exclusive.
Research also tells us that Continuing Education opportunities make up the third most popular reason why people join professional associations in the first place. By offering educational webinars about timely industry topics, you’re not only marketing your organization’s expertise to both current and prospective members, but you're also catering to those looking for access to specialized information.
10. Panelist Discussion
Finally, a round-table discussion with a panel of industry experts is a great way to showcase that you're in the loop – and that your business is a leader in the field. During this type of webinar, the discussion is typically managed by a moderator who asks three to five panelists about their opinions and experiences with respect to various topics.
One way to engage the audience is to ask registrants for questions in advance. Equipped with this information, your moderator can tailor the presentation to meet the needs of the attendees and also prep the panelists ahead of time. This also gives your experts a chance to mull over the questions and provide more thought-out and / or data-backed answers.
Are you interested in learning how our flagship product – Beacon360 – can help you successfully deliver any of these types of webinars? Contact us today to discuss your specific needs with one of our technology specialists!