The term webinar sprung up around 1998 — right in the middle of the dot-com era. It came from a combination of the words “web” and “seminar.” And while today’s fashion may have reverted back to the days of Friends, webinars have evolved beyond the 90s for good.
No longer just virtual seminars, organizations of all types and sizes are using webinars to support their marketing, sales and customer success efforts. It’s an ideal tool for creating interactive learning experiences that feel personal even on a large scale.
While you’re familiar with webinars, and may have even hosted a few yourself, you may be stuck for new ideas and webinar formats that will really get your customers and prospects excited.
Here are six types of webinars that will help build stronger relationships with your audience at each stage of the customer journey.
The Thought Leadership Webinar
Thought leadership webinars have become a go-to marketing tactic in recent years. InsideSales reports that 73% of sales and marketing leaders say webinars are one of the best ways to generate quality leads.
Webinars help you:
- Display leadership in your industry
- Create valuable connections
- Bring in a new audience (a.k.a drive a ton of new leads)
Good thought leadership webinars focus on the latest trends and industry developments. They promise to bring audiences strategic insight and open their eyes to new possibilities.
And when you team up with a partner or industry influencer, webinars can dramatically expand your marketing reach. Webinars are an easy way to take advantage of an influencer’s audience without asking for too much effort on their part. You both promote the webinar, share the leads, and everyone gets to show off their expertise.
The Lead Nurturing Webinar
Educational lead nurturing webinars cultivate your relationship with your audience and move them down the funnel. These types of webinars are designed specifically for prospects already in your database. They have a high-level understanding of what your company does and the problem you solve.
Provide educational content that demonstrates your company’s expertise, unique approach and value proposition. Lead nurturing webinars aren’t a sales pitch, but they can dive into a problem and show how you help solve it.
The key is to highlight your product while still providing real value. A few successful examples I’ve seen of this kind of webinar of include:
- Case study webinars. Showcase one, two or more customers and how they used your product to overcome a challenge and the results they saw.
- Live workshop webinars. Before or during the webinar, ask attendees to submit a real-life problem then give advice or demonstrate the solution during the webinar.
- Report summary webinars. If you recently published a white paper or report that explores a widespread problem, behavioral trend, etc., create a webinar that highlights the key findings and how your product or offer fits into the solution.
The Product Demo Webinar
Today’s buyers carry out 67% of their buying journey digitally before they ever contact sales. They are actively researching and finding the information they need, and they have a strong impression of your brand before ever actually talking to a sales rep. So start building the real relationship digitally and make the information they want easily accessible. Product demo webinars do just that.
These webinars provide valuable buyer information. Give your audience a tour of your product, highlight the major use-cases and biggest benefits. These webinars also give you the opportunity to connect with hundreds of prospects at once, freeing your sales reps to focus on the highest quality leads and biggest accounts.
Demo webinars can also help surface highly motivated buyers. In fact, GoAnimate found that prospects who attended a live demo webinar were 150% more likely to purchase than those who didn’t.
The Customer Onboarding/Training Webinar
Customer onboarding is one of the most important interactions you have with a new customer — it sets the tone for the rest of the relationship. Deloitte research shows that customer experience is a key differentiator for at least 62% of businesses, which is why at least half of all businesses are putting more money into the customer experience.
Customer onboarding and training webinars allow you to deliver more product value to your customers in an interactive way and monitor the onboarding process as a whole. An information-packed webinar gives your customers the chance to immediately get more from the product, while you build a lasting positive relationship with the brand.
Instead of conducting training on a one-on-one basis, host a webinar for several customers at once. You’ll still be able to establish rapport and build a personal relationship by turning on your webcam and using polling and live Q&A features.
The New Feature/Product Tutorial Webinar
New feature or product tutorial webinars allow you to reveal new developments and generate excitement. They’re also a good way to show existing customers new or less commonly known features or new ways to use and get more value from them.
For example, reveal “hidden gems” features of your best selling products. Achieve more buy-in and build out a more in-depth webinar by asking participants to submit questions and topics in advance.
The On-demand Webinar
You can make all the webinars I’ve mentioned on-demand. In other words, you can drive ongoing value from webinars you’ve already produced.
Replace live product demo webinars with pre-recorded versions. You can either schedule them to occur regularly or allow users to access them on demand. Or give customers access to training webinars on-demand in case they need a refresher. For evergreen brand-awareness webinars, make them on-demand and host them on GoToStage to bring in a steady new stream of viewers and leads.
There are lots of ways to use on-demand webinars, so get creative.
The Bottom Line
Webinars are one of the easiest and cost-effective ways to deliver the visual, interactive experiences today’s customers expect. Remember webinars aren’t just for lead generation or customer training. They’re not always a couple of panelists and a few slides. They can be anything you want!