How to Convert Webinar Attendees into Customers

How To Convert Webinar Attendees
Into Customers In 5 Easy Steps
Presented by
Sponsored by
Executive Summary:
Marketers tap a wide variety of communication and engagement channels to
Progressive B2B marketing teams are
build relationships with prospects and customers. Webinars, in particular, are a
establishing thought leadership and
great tool to compete in today’s buyer-driven market. Nearly half (46 percent)
engaging with prospective buyers by using
of marketers surveyed cite webinars as a primary content marketing tactic,
webinars as a channel to share information
according to the CMI and MarketingProfs report B2B Content Marketing: 2012
and advance purchase decisions.
Benchmarks, Budgets & Trends.
Webinars help marketers establish this
More marketing teams are realizing the significant value of webinars as part of
necessary dialogue with prospective
an overall strategy, as the report also noted a 25 percent increase in marketers’
buyers and ultimately create that
usage of webinars or webcasts in 2012, compared to 2011.
relevant, valuable experience to offer
As B2B organizations are increasingly challenged to get “permission” to interact
with buyers, webinars offer a unique opt-in opportunity. A webinar registration is
in many ways a declaration of a prospect’s desire to engage and interact with a
solution or service provider.
Industry research shows a
25% increase in marketers’
usage of webinars in 2012,
compared to 2011.
- B2B Content Marketing:
2012 Benchmarks, Budgets & Trends,
CMI and MarketingProfs
richer interactions that supersede the
typical content offer.
Industry research shows that companies conducting multiple webinars per year find
them more effective in generating quality leads than those who conduct fewer
webinars, according to MarketingProfs, as nearly half (47 percent) of marketers
indicate that webinars are most effective in helping generate quality leads.
How To Convert Webinar Attendees Into Customers In 5 Easy Steps • 2
“Looking back at my 20+ years of B2B marketing experience, I would consider
webinars as one of my top three most effective lead-generation tactics,” noted
Kelly J. Waffle, Director, Account Strategy, Marketo. “Webinars also are very
This E-book will highlight 5 steps to successfully convert
webinar attendees into customers:
effective at increasing brand awareness, building relationships and credibility,
nurturing leads, delivering product training, and providing on-going customer
1.Segment For Success
education. Live webinars appeal to many as it creates a forum for interaction
without having to travel.”
2.Stay in Touch and Nurture
Marketers can take advantage of this online relationship to extend the value of
their solutions and services and present value across a variety of touch points,
3.Leverage Opportunities For Lead Scoring
including email, social and the web.
This E-book will explore the strategies progressive marketers are employing
4.Integrate Your Systems To Optimize Data
to improve webinar conversions, scoring and nurturing tactics, in addition to
enhancing overall webinar content production and impact.
5.Accelerate The Sale
How To Convert Webinar Attendees Into Customers In 5 Easy Steps • 3
Step 1
Segment For Success
The most successful webinars extend beyond meeting the simple criteria of
The company’s nurture campaigns
having “compelling content.” Webinars that create impact and ignite prospects’
are aligned to lead stage and score
interest have knowledgeable speakers with respected titles and credentials, all
and each has a specific theme, so the
directly relevant to targeted audiences.
webinar content delivered is always
most popular on-demand
appropriate for the buyer stage and the
webinars in long-term
theme being promoted. nurturing campaigns
or third party analyst or source. To tailor webinar content specifically to a target
Experts advise that it’s important to
to provide early stage
audience, marketers can enlist case study or anecdotal use case scenarios to
develop content that is focused and
validate the information being highlighted.
refined, converse to the broad blanket
education on key topics.
Webinar experts advise to drill down subject matter that can be brought to life
not only by your individual organization, but also perhaps by a valued partner
By bringing on trusted experts and third-party resources, marketers can take
advantage of their partnerships not only for thought leadership expertise, but
also to leverage additional contact and database lists.
Eloqua uses some of its
approach that many marketers might
The company’s nurture
assume to be more effective for
campaigns are aligned to
appealing to a bigger audience. To do
lead stage and score.
this efficiently, it’s important for marketers
While professional insight is a key component of webinars, experts advise
to segment their databases, as well as
marketers to consider the tone and language used to resonate with attendees.
personas, to develop the right message,
content and offers.
“Don’t let your own knowledge impact how you deliver your message – not
everyone knows what you know so don’t assume they do,” recommended Elle
Segmenting your audience into groups based on key attributes, such as
Woulfe, Senior Marketing Programs Manager, Eloqua. “Be detailed, speak in
industry vertical, geography or specific preference, enables you to refine and
normal, conversational language, tell stories and be interesting… don’t just drone
craft messaging to resonate with the most impact. Segmenting also helps you
on. Match your content to your channel or target your invitations to people who
understand what prospects are most likely to convert and why. Segmenting can
you know have expressed interest in your topic. Don’t cover too much – go
help reduce list decay and shorten the buy cycle.
deeper rather than wider.”
Additionally, supplementary thought leadership content, such as an
For example, Eloqua uses some of its most popular on-demand webinars in
E-book or Executive Briefing, can help enhance webinar value and extend
long-term nurturing campaigns to provide early stage education on key topics.
prospect communication.
How To Convert Webinar Attendees Into Customers In 5 Easy Steps • 4
Step 2
Stay In Touch And Nurture
Webinars are a great way to “stay in touch” with prospects and customers by
Each week a new topic and/or product
offering a perfect outlet for education-based drip marketing. Because the buyer
functionality was explored. This helped
journey involves a variety of critical factors, such as relevance and consistent
the company demonstrate value in many
communication, timing is not the only element of essence.
different areas of business, and attendees
“A great way to encourage an ongoing communication and relationship with
your customers and prospects is with a combination of live and on-demand web
presentations,” noted Ken Molay, President of Webinar Success. “Live webinars
can include canvassing of wish lists and priorities for enhancements, features,
and ‘ask the expert’ help sessions. Recorded presentations can be posted on a
regular schedule to introduce new enhancements or to show demonstrations of
use in different applications.”
By utilizing other
automation functionality,
looked forward to learning more about
marketers can have
the next topic.
greater visibility into what
“When trying to ‘stay in touch’ with
stage buyers are in. They
target buyers through webinars and drip
can then build drip email
email campaigns, I consider four factors:
campaigns to help move
buyer role, buying stage, content, and
those webinar leads from
timing,” noted Waffle. “For buyer role,
prospects find content targeted to their
one stage to the next, and
Marketers are utilizing webinars to cultivate
role or industry much more valuable
progress to conversion.
loyal relationships by educating and assisting
that generic content. You may want to
prospects with tips and tricks to optimize the
have one webinar for managers and a
use of their products or services. For example,
separate webinar for technical users. You may want to have a series of seminars
one marketing software company hosted a
that address various vertical industries such as financial services, healthcare,
webinar workshop series that spanned across
government, etc., depending on your business plan.”
several weeks.
How To Convert Webinar Attendees Into Customers In 5 Easy Steps • 5
The Dos & Don’ts For Webinar Conversion
Waffle reiterated the need for marketers to consider where the target buyer is in
the buying cycle in order to drip content and offers accordingly. For example,
educational content works well during the early awareness stages. Analyst
reports and buyer’s guides work well as prospects start looking for solutions. For
prospects that are engaged in an active buying cycle, solution-oriented and
company-focused content may be more effective.
By utilizing other automation functionality, marketers can have greater visibility into
what stage buyers are in. They can then build drip email campaigns to help move
those webinar leads from one stage to the next, and progress to conversion.
Additionally, by understanding average buying cycle length, marketers can
change up their initiatives with corporate emails, personal emails from a sales
rep, phone calls and maybe even direct mail.
“Depending on your average buying cycle, your drip campaign may run over
many months,” Waffle said. “Try to increase the frequency of the outbound
communication as the prospect enters the later stages of the buying cycle. If
you are using a marketing automation platform, you can offer the prospect the
option to ‘accelerate’ and receive information more often.”
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“Whats Working in Webinars:
A look inside the Best Practices
of Power Users”
Most webinar marketers make mistakes at the front end and back end of their
webinars. To optimize the value of webinars as a conversion tool, experts offer
these “Dos and Don’ts” for converting webinar attendees into customers:
• DON’T treat the webinar registration page as a sales
qualification tool.
• DO frame information in terms of your audience’s very personal
and selfish self-interests.
• DON’T think so hard about the facts and data you want to present;
• DO think about how your audience would use the data and
why they’d care about the information.
• DON’T get caught up in the product specs, functionality or
competitive advantages.
• DO convey why they should be enthusiastic about the concepts
you are presenting.
• DON’T present the usual company overview information in the
beginning of the webinar.
• DO realize that this doesn’t so much establish credibility as it
violates expectations. The audience has signed up because
they were promised specific value propositions for them.
Company background should almost always be a part of the
sales process rather than the marketing process.
• DON’T underestimate the conversion power of the archived webinar.
• DO take advantage of the many ways to promote an archived
webinar and the archived webinar is probably the best way to
reach a global audience.
How To Convert Webinar Attendees Into Customers In 5 Easy Steps • 6
Step 3
Leverage Opportunities For Lead Scoring
Having visibility into the buyer’s journey has become an integral component of
If marketers record the questions
successful marketing initiatives, and therefore marketers are utilizing webinars
asked by attendees during a webinar
and the intelligence they provide to help determine the sales readiness of each
and then later integrate that data
buyer. This tactic helps sales and marketing teams develop processes to prioritize
into a CRM or Sales Force Automation
and engage with the right leads.
system, this can provide sales with
For example, in-session webinar polls offer a great way to gauge an attendee’s
current objectives and strengths, as well as understand their weaknesses. This
knowledge provides marketers with the information they need to modify or
maintain their current messaging to most effectively resonate with buyers based
on their key attributes.
“Interactive polling during a live webinar can point to key areas of interest
among prospects,” Molay said. “This can help to focus further marketing efforts
and give you ideas for future webinar topics. Many webinar technologies allow
you to drive attendees directly to post-webinar surveys, which can give you the
deeper intelligence and context for
follow-up calls, and help to further
qualify that opportunity.
Webinar platforms that integrate
with marketing automation, sales management or customer relationship
management (CRM) software enable marketers to include attendance and
registration data in their prospect profiles. Additionally, marketers can in some
cases export key information, such as comments or questions typed during the
webinar, to enhance the current prospect file.
opportunity to ask some of the qualification questions you previously tried to put
To increase the value of marketing automation and improve the performance
on registration pages. If people feel they have just received value from you, they
of campaigns, marketers are realizing it is imperative to integrate their
are more likely to reciprocate in a meaningful way.”
marketing automation platforms with their databases. With an integrated
data process in place, marketers can improve key performance indicators
(KPIs) in their campaigns including open, click through and conversion rates
from leads to opportunities.
How To Convert Webinar Attendees Into Customers In 5 Easy Steps • 7
Step 4
Integrate Your Systems To Optimize Data
Webinars help marketers automate their lead nurturing and scoring campaigns
to improve the conversion rates of new inquiries to qualified leads. In order to
increase efficiency, marketers need one central database to store and share
updated lead and contact information.
Using APIs To Enhance Data Collection
Marketers also are using application programming interfaces (APIs) to add
Ideally, the information collected in this database should not be limited to
flexibility to their data collection methods, to optimize the information available
webinar engagement data, but should be integrated with intelligence on form
from a variety of sources, including social platforms, mobile, email and web
submissions, page views, web site sessions and email engagement, among
sites. This helps integrate customer touch points and develop seamless data
other attributes.
management processes.
If marketers have their databases fully integrated, they can take campaign
initiatives a step further and calculate which activities either before or after the
webinar contributed to higher lead quality and close rate.
By integrating webinar platforms with a marketing automation solution, marketers
While many marketers use webinars as a means of demonstrating thought
leadership, experts warn that just because someone made contact and engaged
with an organization by attending a webinar, they may not be a prospective
buyer. In many cases, unqualified buyers are looking for valuable, free educational
content. Scoring helps marketers separate the leads from the rest.
can ensure that webinar leads meet agreed upon qualifying criteria, before
passing them along to sales.
Integrating automation systems with webinar platforms also connects what
was once a series of separate, time-consuming, manual data-collecting
steps. These steps can now be integrated together for webinar invitations,
registrations and follow-ups.
“We also use webinars to wake up segments of our database or to re-engage
“Without scoring the names generated from webinars, your sales team will have
to place a lot of calls to bad leads, which hampers productivity and harms
the relationship between sales and marketing,” Woulfe noted. “Many of the
names sourced through webinars are early stage – they might not be ready
to engage with sales today but lead nurturing will ensure those names are
cultivated over time and scoring will ensure that once they’re ready for sales,
they automatically get routed to the right person for follow up.”
them,” Woulfe said. “We align the content to core challenges our product
can solve to help prospects understand how our solution could be used in the
scenarios described in our webinars – without making them product pitches.”
How To Convert Webinar Attendees Into Customers In 5 Easy Steps • 8
Step 5
Accelerate The Sale
Webinar follow up is a critical point in the conversion process. Similar to initial
personalization and batch signatures
points of engagement highlighted earlier in this E-book, a prospect’s impression is
to make it more of a one-to-one
dependent upon the offers and value proposition demonstrated after a webinar.
communication,” she said. “This also lets
“At the end of marketing webinars, you advance conversion by giving the
audience one and only one explicit and concrete call to action,” Molay
a good lead start a direct dialogue with
the rep.”
“Don’t paralyze them
with an abundance of
choices as to what they
can do next. Drive them
noted. “Don’t paralyze them with an abundance of choices as to what they
The company also offers additional,
can do next. Drive them to a single web page that focuses on whatever
ungated, value-added content
to a single web page that
you were talking about. Or tell them you will be contacting them within the
collateral, such as an analyst report,
focuses on whatever you
next week and you would like them to read the email or take the phone call
guide or video, that is paired with some
were talking about.”
because they can get additional value. Pick one thing and make that a clear
product information, typically an online
expectation of their next step.”
demo. Leads are then scored based on
According to Woulfe, Eloqua has a standard, automated webinar follow up
process, which is typically the same process for online and in-person events. The
company automatically sends a relevant follow up email based on someone’s
attendance status, their lead
their behavior as soon as it’s recorded.
Ken Molay
Webinar Success
Sales reps follow up with the marketing
qualified leads (MQLs) and the other
leads are entered into nurture programs.
stage (including opportunity
“Webinars can be very effective, especially for vertical marketing,” Woulfe
stage) and their account
noted. “If you have a very targeted message for a finite group of prospects, a
type. “Everyone gets a version
webinar is a cost effective way to deliver that information. Similarly, for target
of the same email but it’s
accounts, you may want to do something more high-touch, like demonstrate a
tailored to them and we use
specific use case on a private webinar.”
How To Convert Webinar Attendees Into Customers In 5 Easy Steps • 9
Understanding The Journey To Conversion
Marketers can leverage automation platforms to understand which phase
Marketers should pay close attention to
webinar leads are in the buying process, as well as conversion time between
the conversion rates of webinar leads
each phase. They can then build programs to accelerate the conversion
at the various buyer-cycle stages to
times if necessary. Marketers can also see how many webinar leads became
understand KPIs such as:
opportunities with a CRM platform and what the potential revenue will be.
become sales opportunities;
Similarly, Waffle noted, marketing automation also should show marketers multitouch attribution on an opportunity. This helps marketers understand, for example,
how a recent deal that took nine months to close actually evolved. “Organizations
a given period of time; and
path to become a deal,” he said. “A marketer can see where a specific webinar
data at a program level to see how much influence a specific webinar or webinars
How much revenue has been
generated from webinars over
can see all the times marketing ‘touched’ or ‘influenced’ an opportunity along its
played a role in the success of that deal. Marketers can also see performance
How many webinar leads have
Which webinars were the most
“With this dashboard view,
marketers can spend more
of their time developing
strategies to improve
conversion rates and
rollout more webinars.”
Kelly J. Waffle
Director, Account Strategy
effective for particular buyers.
in general had on a corporation’s revenue pipeline.”
“With this dashboard view, marketers
can spend more of their time developing strategies to improve conversion rates
and rollout more webinars,” Waffle noted. “They also are better prepared to
show the overall influence of marketing on revenue and have more informed
discussions with management to justify budget and headcount increases to
support webinars. Knowing the impact of marketing on revenue is a key tenet,
regardless of the marketing medium.”
How To Convert Webinar Attendees Into Customers In 5 Easy Steps • 10
Case In Point:
Webinar Platform Helps Inspired Marketing Drive Conversions & Revenue
One classic example of how webinars can help influence conversions
else because they allows us to
and drive revenue is Inspired Marketing LLC. Based in Columbus, OH, the
‘introduce’ ourselves to potential
“Webinars are an
company sells digital materials and online training programs about using
customers for a longer period of
incredibly efficient way
social networking tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
time and help us close the sale more
to generate business. In
effectively,” he added.
January 2011 we had sales
Marketing offers free, educational webinars on social media strategies,
Another new area for Inspired
of $250,000 from just seven
its core business, and also presents fee-based training webinars for
Marketing is the use of automated
GoToWebinar events.”
client companies. Webinars are recorded and made available as
webinars. Recognizing that live
home study courses.
events are far more effective
Co-founded in 2010 by Lewis Howes and Sean Malarkey, Inspired
In 2010, the partners presented more than 300 webinars (both their own
and through other people), and the platform has helped the company
grow its business to a projected $2.5 million in sales for 2011.
“Webinars are an incredibly efficient way to generate business. They are
extremely powerful tools. For example, in January 2011 we had sales of
$250,000 from just seven GoToWebinar events,” said Howes.
The partners attribute their high conversion rates to live, online training.
Lewis Howes
Inspired Marketing
than recorded trainings, Malarkey
explained that they have found
a way to offer what appears to
be a fully live webinar yet seamlessly
incorporate a recorded segment.
By scheduling the event for a specific time and providing a live
introduction and question and answer period, they retain audience
interest while sparing themselves from having to present the same
material over and over.
“Webinars increase leads and help us convert better than anything
How To Convert Webinar Attendees Into Customers In 5 Easy Steps • 11
7 Best Practice Webinar Tips For Conversion
Webinars offer marketers a unique opportunity to engage with prospects on an
To optimize the value of webinars as a key conversion tool, Woulfe offered 7
exclusively opt-in basis. Cited as a primary lead gen tool for many successful B2B
tips for marketers:
organizations, webinars also are very effective at increasing brand awareness,
building relationships and credibility, nurturing leads, delivering product training
logging into the platform is clearly explained and easy for the user.
and providing on-going customer education.
To enhance the impact of marketing initiatives, many organizations are
into targeted campaigns based on the events for which they registered, whether
or not they attended and other common factors. Marketers can then create
targeted marketing messaging based on a prospect’s exact interests.
Use ICS, or iCal-compatible files, so users can easily put the date in
their calendars.
integrating their technology systems with webinar platforms to align webinar
data with email and drip marketing efforts, automatically segmenting prospects
Make sure your webinar campaigns include a few reminders and that
Use pictures instead of words to show, rather than tell, your story. No one
wants to see slide after slide of bullets.
Use anecdotes, make it relatable and don’t use lots of jargon, to keep
people engaged.
Marketers can effectively cater to today’s time-starved B2B buyers, who now
expect interactive content and seamlessly integrated engagement at every
Your follow up should account for lead stage and should be prompt.
possible touch point. By integrating the reporting and intelligence from webinar
Send a follow up campaign as soon as possible and don’t use a one-
platforms with marketing automation systems, progressive marketers are realizing
size-fits-all message. more efficient means of “connecting the dots” between campaign efforts,
content offerings and driving real conversions.
Personalize your follow up messaging for customers, people who registered
but didn’t attend, people who did attend and contacts who already have
open opportunities. 7.
Use the follow up as an opportunity to convey a relevant message to each
group and provide a piece of value added content instead of making it
just a “thanks for coming” message.
How To Convert Webinar Attendees Into Customers In 5 Easy Steps • 12
About GoToWebinar® Webinars Made Easy®
About DemandGen Report
GoToWebinar is an easy-to-use do-it-yourself webinar tool designed to increase
DemandGen Report (DGR) is a targeted e-media publication spotlighting
market reach by enabling presenters to connect with up to 1,000 attendees
the strategies and solutions that help Business-to- Business (BtoB) companies
online. With GoToWebinar, you can reduce travel costs, generate more qualified
better align sales, marketing and disparate teams to support growth and drive
leads at a lower cost and enhance communication with customers, prospects
revenue. DGR content and news coverage focuses on the sales and marketing
and employees. All You Can Reach® – for one low monthly flat fee.
automation tools that enable companies to better measure and manage
multichannel demand generation efforts. DemandGen Report is the only
information source directly focused on this rapidly emerging business discipline.
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How To Convert Webinar Attendees Into Customers In 5 Easy Steps • 13