If you’re an experienced marketer, particularly if you operate in the B2B sector, you likely know about the value of webinars to your lead generation content marketing efforts. Webinars continue to rank among the top inbound marketing lead generation tactics, even improving in effectiveness between 2013 and 2014.
You might also know that webinars play an important role in establishing your brand as a credible source of leadership within your industry. But did you know that you can take your quest for thought leadership even further with one simple strategic adjustment? Enter webinar series.
The Prevalence of One-Off Webinars
Considering their effectiveness, webinars of any type continue to be underused. But even among marketers who do take advantage of this type of content marketing, the vast majority choose the simple variety: single webinars, based on individual topics, that are relatively easy to plan and prepare.
Chances are you’ve seen these types of isolated events. But if you have not, here is a perfect example: The American Marketing Association offers some of the most sought-after webinars in its field, continuing to establish its position as a voice of authority within the marketing community.
Yet, a single look at its schedule of upcoming webcasts reveals a simple truth: each of them is focused on its own topic, isolated from the other events. Depending on their specific industry, marketers can sign up for one of the webinars, but due to the non-existent connection between the individual webcasts will have little incentive to sign up for a series of them.
Increasing Effectiveness with Webinar Series
Enter webinar series. As you might imagine, webinar series are a number of interconnected webinars that build on each other under one common, overarching topic.
Depending on your industry, you may want to create a series on the intricacies of the supply chain, dedicating each of its stages to one (or more) webinars. Or you could create a series on the importance of safety during home construction, aimed toward contractors. Compared to the prevalent one-off webinars, these types of series offer a number of distinct advantages:
- Establishing a Relationship. The above AMA example illustrates perfectly the pitfalls of one-off webinars. While they work well for lead generation, they offer little opportunity to ‘hook’ your leads with recurring content. As any inbound marketer knows, lead generation is only part of the equation. Nurturing those leads by slowly guiding them through the sales funnel on their way to becoming customers is just as essential. And whereas one-off webinars can help provide one piece of the puzzle to success, webinar series can make up a large part of the puzzle by themselves. In today’s increasingly democratized digital advertising environment, building a relationship with your customers is important, not only to nurture your leads, but also to increase repeat purchases – which, as you probably know, is a major revenue driver. And webinar series do just that, tying your leads and customers to a topically-themed range of events that will keep you in their minds once they nudge closer to a sales decision.
- Multi-Use Possibilities. Another significant benefit of webinar series is their use in more than just one area. Experienced webinar hosts know that while the live event is an important part the webinar experience, recorded webinar are just as (if not more) important. In fact, a 2013 study showed that only 16 percent of B2B customers preferred to watch a webinar live, while the vast majority either preferred the recorded alternative or did not have an opinion either way. Webinar series can live on your website as lead-generation machines long after the initial event. Of course, that’s not all that different from their one-off alternative. But here is something that is: turning your webinar series into a podcast. Podcasting is steadily growing to become a force in digital marketing, and spreading your brand identity to this medium allows you to tap your audience in new ways. And while one-off webinars are difficult to turn into effective podcasts, webinar series lend themselves perfectly to the changeover in medium. Potential listeners can subscribe to the podcast knowing exactly what to expect, as the entire series is focused on a distinct topic.
- And then, of course, there is the most distinct advantage of webinar series:
How Webinar Series Enhance Your Thought Leadership Efforts
We’ve come full-circle. By building a relationship with your webinar attendees and utilizing the series in a variety of ways, you ultimately pursue and achieve one goal: building thought leadership. In addition to establishing the necessity of relationship building, the increasingly democratized digital environment we mentioned above also comes with another side-effect: your audience will only trust you if you have established an aura of expertise and credibility within your field. And while you can establish thought leadership using a variety of methods, webinar series can go a long way toward doing just that.
For starters, you can use your series to invite established experts in your industry to speak on certain topics. Thanks to your webinar’s Q&A session at the end, your event will serve as an outlet for industry clients to get an in-depth look into each of the topics you cover. For real-life evidence, check out the case studies in this whitepaper by the Content Marketing Institute on webinar series