eCommerce Insiders

Webinars: Establish Authority while Boosting Revenue

What can a retail brand do to generate leads, educate, boost the reach of their brand, and position themselves in the industry, all with a simple, cost-effective tool that many are already using?

One option is a topical webinar. It’s not hard at all to do, and there are several viable reasons why it should be done.

In fact, the more intricate a product is, the more demonstrative the product requirements are, and the more a brand requires engagement, the more its marketing team should producing webinars.

Leslie Shields is the President of Chevannes Global. She offers consulting and coaching to small businesses, and in an article produced for IMCUSA blog, she lists 10 benefits that companies realize when they perform their marketing functions via webinars.

But before she lists the reasons, she explains why webinars are recognized as beneficial:

Think of webinars as places you can go. Webinars have evolved into a key marketing tool. Webinars are marketing events where you invite prospects and customers from outside your company to learn about a new product, share in your subject matter expertise on something important to them, or just find out what makes you a good fit to work with them.

What’s in it for you? If you effectively plan and execute a webinar you can:

• Generate new leads

• Improve your company’s brand awareness

• Help expand inside existing customers

• Qualify prospects and move the right customers to the next stage of the sales process

Adobe quoted the Marketing Pros and the Content Marketing Institute’s statistics regarding the effectiveness of webinars as a marketing and engagement tool:

62% of marketers are using webinars as a tactic to deliver B2B content marketing (up from 59% in 2012), according to a free research report by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs.

Additionally, marketers rate webinars as the 3rd most effective tactic of all (tied with videos). It begs the question why more marketers are not using webinars…

(Webinars offer) real-time content immersion…Webinars are the most immersive content experience available. No other tactic offers attendees the experience of interacting with the content so thoroughly for 30-60 minutes.

In addition to a variety of interactivity options, attendees can ask the presenter questions live and participate in the conversation with peers – even more easily than in an in-person environment. The interactive nature of this content consumption makes it very memorable and impactful.

The Inside View blog explains why webinars are a marketer’s go-to tool for establishing trust and authority within their industry:

Customers in all niches and industries are increasingly resistant to traditional sales messages and advertising. Some of this has to do with the changing nature of communication. As customers and prospects consume more of their information through internet media, their expectation has been to trust those answers that they find themselves more enthusiastically than those that are presented to them.

With a firm understanding of what ails them in either their personal or business life, prospects are now able to seek their answers on the world wide-web, whether that occurs on search engines or through social media.
Webinars work best when promoted as solutions to problems.

Since the internet has become the go-to source for problem resolution, it makes all the sense in the world for marketers to position themselves online via webinar platforms.

Before a customer or prospect gets the answer that they are seeking, there is a process of information sorting. In most cases, they have to go through the process of educating themselves on the depth and nature of their problems as well as the available solutions. Once that process has been completed, these same future customers can evaluate the solutions that are going to be worth their time to purchase.

In this new context customers are selling themselves on what will work best for them. This has become an everyday occurrence for consumers solving personal problems. The proliferation of websites that have various user ‘review’ sections are evidence of this expectation from buyers for more pre-sale information.

With an abundance of reasons why producing webinars should be at the top of a marketer’s list, here are a few more specific reasons why marketing team should be producing webinars, now:

1. Webinars are easier to digest.

In the past, the only choice that interested parties had in learning information was to drive across town, cramming into hot and crowded hotel conference rooms, while paying a steep fee for the privilege. Or, they were forced to purchase plane tickets to experience conferences across the country.

Webinars eliminates the travel hassles that often keeps interested parties away from much-needed industry information. What’s more, the availability of the webinar democratizes the process of obtaining information. Anyone (consumer or industry expert) with an internet connection can consume the information featured in the webinar via any electronic device available.

2. Webinars establish branding and authority.

It’s said that webinars increase the consumer’s understanding of a brand or product by up to 74%! Those percentages can’t be ignored, and it behooves teams to consider this when they consider whether it’s worth the time or the effort to produce a webinar.

What’s more, producing an educational webinar that improves the lives and the thought processes of interested parties automatically positions the producer of the webinar as a trusted industry authority. Simply put, others will perceive the webinar producer as a teacher who clearly understands what they’re talking about, and whose words and products should be invested in.

3. Webinars are excellent lead generation tools.

Many brands use webinars as lead-capture tools, to great success. It stands to reason that consumers and other interested parties would want to learn more about the brand, and the brand’s products and services.

After watching the seminar, the participants are often lead towards the steps of receiving permission-based marketing media via email. Participants will gladly surrender their information, because trust has been earned.

Terri Scott

Terri is a content marketing storyteller and strategist. She teaches marketing and entrepreneurship through stories for marketers of all stripes. Her specialty is creating narrative and she writes essays and memoir in her spare time.

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