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The webinar is a powerful digital marketing tool for businesses.

 

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we live and work. With the successive confinements, the limitation of physical contact and the development of teleworking, videoconferencing has imposed itself on our personal and professional lives. Beyond its interest in times of health crisis, the webinar is a powerful digital marketing tool for companies. 

What are the specifics of this type of online conference and its benefits for your business? How can you create an engaging webinar to generate leads and increase your sales? Here's how.

What is a webinar?

The term "webinar" is a contraction of the words "web" and "seminar". It is an online seminar that participants can attend remotely via an internet connection. It is also known as a web seminar, online conference, webinar (from the English "web" and "seminar") or teleconference.

An interactive online meeting

Webinar registrants receive a link in their email to connect to the website where the webinar is being held. Webinar platforms offer many possibilities:

  • video and audio exchanges via an independent camera and microphone or integrated into the terminal used (computer, smartphone or tablet);
  • sharing documents (Powerpoint presentation, corporate film, etc.) from the speaker's computer screen;
  • virtual whiteboard;
  • chat functions, etc.

Listeners can listen to the presentation, ask oral or written questions and interact in real time with the speaker and other participants as if they were there. The event is usually recorded so that interested parties can watch the webinar live or on replay.

Videoconferencing and webinars: what are the differences?

Health restrictions and the development of teleworking have accelerated the digital transformation of SMEs. Webinars and videoconferences are among the 2.0 tools that need to be integrated into your way of working. Often confused, these two forms of online conferencing nevertheless each have their own specificities.

Videoconferencing, for small group discussions

Videoconferencing is an online meeting in which all connected people can share their screen and activate their microphone and webcam. Widely used in teleworking, it promotes team collaboration through two-way communication. The major drawback is the high bandwidth consumption, which can lead to poor audio and video quality. To avoid this concern, most videoconferencing tools impose a maximum number of participants

Webinars to communicate with a wider audience

In the case of a webinar, video and screen-sharing are usually reserved for the speakers only. Participants interact via instant messaging or polls. The host can occasionally mute the audience to allow them to ask questions. The webinar format is ideal for :

  • a presentation of products and services;
  • an online course or training ;
  • a product demonstration;
  • a question and answer session.

Why organise online conferences?

Webinars are a popular sales tool for 66% of digital marketers (source: Company Webcast). This type of content has many advantages in terms of sales prospecting, conversion and loyalty.

Reach a large number of potential customers

Hosting a webinar instead of a physical event allows you to expand your audience because there areno geographical constraints. Anyone interested can attend the webinar, regardless of their location. The short format and the fact that you don't have to travel also saves your prospects a lot of time. 

All of these elements contribute to a high participation rate, on average between 60 and 70% of registrants. Sending a replay allows those who are not present or who are in a different time zone to view the webinar offline. This allows you to reach even more people.

Generate qualified leads

The webinar is also an excellent lead magnet to enrich your prospect file with quality contacts. For example, 79% of buyers are willing to give their contact information in exchange for a free webinar (source: Curata). In this way, you can gather information about the participants and qualify your leads by analysing the webinar statistics. In addition, you have the possibility to filter registrants and block potential competitors.

Promote the conversion of prospects into customers

The ability to answer potential customers' questions via chat helps build trust and accelerates the sales cycle. This interactivity also results in greater engagement from participants. Mastering the discourse through professional quality visuals becomes part of your brand strategy and helps build awareness and authority in your market.

Benefit from an excellent return on investment

Finally, online conferences are a very good way to reduce costs compared to physical events: you avoid room rental and travel costs! The webinar requires few material and human resources, which makes it an easy and economical marketing tool. It is therefore an ideal marketing tool for all types of organisations, including small companies with limited budgets.

How to set up quality webinars?

Want to run a free webinar to boost your sales, but don't know how to go about it? Here are the main steps to follow.

Choosing the best webinar solution

There are many tools available to make webinars. Here's an overview of the best webinar software available on the market.

The Livestorm webinar platform

Autour de l'Image works with industry-leading webinar software Livestorm. This French solution allows companies to organise online meetings and webinars of professional quality. The webinar tool is equipped with advanced features to facilitate the entire creation and delivery process:

  • responsive and personalisedlanding page;
  • integration with CRM and marketing automation software;
  • email management: sending invitations and reminders;
  • customizable virtual rooms;
  • engagement levers: interactive surveys, promotional offers;
  • pre-registration mode for on-demand webinars ;
  • audience segmentation to better reach your target;
  • dashboard with statistics and post-webinar data analysis ;
  • settingup the replay immediately after the live broadcast;
  • sharing on social networks.

Unlike video conferencing software such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, Livestorm requires no download. With a few clicks, your prospects can access the webinar on any web browser and device. The interface ensures a quick and intuitive start.

Livestorm offers a free version limited to 10 simultaneous connections. The paid version supports up to 1000 participants.

Other webinar software

Depending on your needs, your resources and your sector of activity, you can also opt for other free or paid tools:

  • Zoho Meeting: this application integrated with the Zoho CRM platform is still limited in terms of functionality, customisation and number of connections.
  • Adobe Connect: designed by the creators of Photoshop, this webinar tool focuses on the quality of the user experience. Disadvantages include a high cost and the restriction to 25 participants for the cheapest offerings.
  • Zoom Webinar: the webinar version of the popular video conferencing platform supports up to 500 participants. Despite flexible registration management, the solution suffers from a lack of collaboration tools and mobile access.
  • Cisco Webex: this webinar software has new features such as noise suppression, real-time translation and background content sharing.
  • Webikeo: this webinar solution for B2B companies accommodates up to 1,000 users, but does not allow participants to speak.
  • Business Hangouts: this business version of Google Hangouts supports up to 5000 simultaneous connections and works even without a Google account.

Live video broadcasting on social media with Facebook Live or YouTube Live is more suitable for a B2C target.

Organising the web conference

Has one of its programs caught your attention? Now is the time to get started! Here are the steps to follow to make your webinar:

  1. Register on the webinar platform of your choice.
  2. Create customised pages: landing pages, registration forms.
  3. Set a date and send invitations by email.
  4. Prepare attractive content: presentation, slides, etc.
  5. Promote the webinar on your social networks.
  6. Test the functioning of the platform.
  7. Broadcast the webinar live.
  8. Share the replay.

Once the event is over, don't forget toanalyse the statistics of the webinar: number of registrants, absentees, participants present until the end, etc. Set up a lead nurturing email campaign to help prospects progress through the conversion tunnel. 

To be accompanied by Autour de l'Image

To be fully effective, your webinar must be integrated into your content marketing strategy, and take into account the expectations and maturity of your targets at each stage of their buying journey. As a true partner of your company, our communication agency brings you its expertise before, during and after the webinar:

  1. Preparatory meeting to define your objectives.
  2. Work on the message and wording.
  3. Assistance in the creation of communication materials and layout.
  4. Sending invitations by e-mail, with a possible enrichment of your prospecting file.
  5. Promotion on social networks.
  6. Setting up the Livestorm platform for the event.
  7. Webinar process: video, logistics.
  8. Sharing the replay.
  9. Management of the dashboard and sending of the contact file (registered, present, offline viewings).

Would you like to turn your webinar into a sales tool? Contact us to discuss this by filling in the contact form below!

 

About the author

Philippe Rigault

Philippe Rigault is the founding President of the agency Autour de l'Image. He assists clients in the development and animation of their communication strategy, combining advice, creativity, mentoring and common sense. Autour de l'Image is a global communication agency that simplifies the life of entrepreneurs. It brings together all the communication and marketing skills needed to develop sales and brand awareness.

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