The Internet offers new possibilities to those who want to experiment and interact effectively with their target audience: webinars are one of them.
Due to the recent health crisis, this format has made headlines, but what is it really about and how can it be used for training and business?
A webinar is an online meeting or presentation held via Internet in real time, an online event that can connect people from all over the world. This feature of, breaking down physical barriers and connecting people in a simple and immediate way, makes it an effective marketing tool and also an essential communication channel.
If we think about it, there is one point that webinars have absolutely in common with their physical version: both formats provide an ideal framework for introducing learning content to large numbers of people. It is not particularly surprising that online seminars are of great importance in e-learning. Universities, further education colleges and language schools all offer webinars in their own areas of expertise, thus facilitating the work of teaching staff and students alike.
Particularly in distance learning courses, online seminars and lectures provide the perfect basis for a successful academic career. However, teaching and learning on the Internet is not the only area of use in which webinars are valued. There are numerous other fields of use in which this online contribution format shows its potential:
Press conferences with journalists;
Practical workshops and interactive labs;
Multi-participant online interviews;
Training courses on various software.
The main characteristic of live webinars is the interactivity and the ability to discuss, send and receive information in real time, thanks to the possibility to share the screen, to record the speeches for later review, to intervene with chat questions and to create virtual boards where you can explain concepts and showcase content.
Why should a company rely on webinars?
Webinar for companies is not an event in itself, but like other events, it is always part of a well-defined marketing strategy. If a few years ago we used to organize promotional events, today the web offers us a second chance (not physical but digital) to get in touch, not only with our customers, but also with potential ones.
Another advantage which companies should not underestimate is the cost control and minimal organizational effort. There is no longer any need to invest budget and time in renting locations, choosing catering and organizing transfers. Holding a conference is as easy as clicking a mouse, all you need to do is choose the right platform and invite the most suitable audience.
Thanks to this ease of access, webinars manage to gather many if not more people than a physical event: therefore, alongside a lower organizational cost/effort, it also brings more people to the event. In addition, webinars lead to greater interaction, because they give even the shyest of guests the chance to ask questions remotely, perhaps with the camera switched off!
The webinar can become a lead generation tool, but how?
It all starts with the concept of offering valuable content to an audience for free. In fact, the webinar is one of the many tools for accessing valuable content on the web.
It is necessary that the target audience is identified first. It will be important to first understand if the content we want to offer is oriented towards our existing customers in order to create a loyalty path or if, instead, this content is aimed at a target of potential customers. Once the precise target audience has been identified, it will be necessary to carefully choose the topic and the level of complexity in which it is to be treated.
As with all content offered on the web, the key to effective communication is simplicity: by this we do not mean that the topic must be simple or banal, it can also be a complex subject but the language must be accessible to everyone.
Let's take an example: if you decide to explain to your potential customers some basic elements for evaluating a quote or a project in your sector, it is clear that you should keep the language clear and non-technical and make the webinar interactive so as to avoid losing attention.
On the other hand, if you know that you are targeting professionals in a certain field, you can also allow yourself to adopt some technicalities - which will certainly be appreciated - and adapt the webinar outline accordingly. You could either deal with a general topic without going into too much detail, or focus on a single topic and deal with it exhaustively, or start with a practical case and then deal with a specific topic. Another aspect you need to take into account is the duration of the webinar. We recommend that you do not exceed two hours. The time aspect is also linked to the complexity of the topic you want to cover.
Today, webinars could represent a front-end product. By promoting them with the right tools, they will help you collect leads to build a database on which you can apply other marketing strategies to turn prospects into customers after the webinar. These post-webinar marketing activities will allow you to develop a long-term relationship with new contacts.
By continuing to provide them with free and useful content, as well as telling them about your company, the qualities of your product etc, you will have a high probability of becoming first in the minds of those people for your product/service, strengthening your brand and becoming influential in the industry.
Finally, if you are still pondering the decision of integrating webinars to your digital toolkit, you should take into account, that today, 87% of business use video as a marketing tool and webinars are one of the most effective ways to capitalize on the video craze. Moreover, 81% of those businesses claim that webinars helped them lift up their brand awareness, acquire new leads, and last but not least increase sales.