Using Webinar Formats To Their Full Potential
In our Ultimate Guide To Annual Webinar Schedule Planning we stated that Webinar Formats play a key role in your strategy for an effective and successful webinar schedule. Webinar formats are an often-forgotten aspect which we will put the spotlight on in this article.
We’ll show why the use of different webinar formats is so important, what opportunities they bring to your webinar program, how your audience will benefit from them, and how you can use them in line with your own strategic goals for audience engagement, lead generation, and pipeline generation.
If you look at your own webinars, you may find that the vast majority follow the same (or at least very similar) format. This format is likely to be:
- Quick introduction
- PPT presentation
- Screenshare demo (if you work for a tech company)
Are we close?
Granted, there may be the occasional variation with a panel discussion or other change, but generally speaking the vast majority of webinars available today follow this format.
Make no mistake, this format is so prevalent because it works. And the reason it works is because it hits the sweet spot where a significant volume of prospects meet a high enough level of interest in attending a webinar about your product or service.
Or if we express this as a simple formula: lead volume + interest = attendance
But what about the prospects and market segments that are smaller, or where there is less interest in the content of this “standard” format?
As marketers, we are well aware of the fact that we have diverse audiences with different levels of maturity (in terms of their knowledge about our products and our organisation). So, we can’t treat all of them the same and expect the best outcome. Different audiences have different content requirements and therefore need to be served differently.
The solution, therefore, is that we need different webinar formats for different levels of audience maturity, interest, and engagement.
While we don’t believe in the linearity of the classic sales funnel, consider the wide-appeal content needs of a large Top-of-Funnel audience versus the specific-appeal content needs of a smaller Bottom-of-Funnel audience.
For example, imagine a prospect who has a particular need and knows your organisation may offer a solution, but doesn’t know much about the subject matter, your organisation, or your particular product yet. This prospect will likely be in need of thought leadership content.
Imagine this scenario (totally made up, a little tedious, and probably not true to life, but you’ll get the point):
A good friend tells you that combing your cat’s fur improves the health of your cat. You don’t know if this is actually true, or even what kind of comb to use. But you love your cat and want to find out more. In the first instance you’ll want some general information validating what your friend told you. In other words, you’ll need some general Thought Leadership content
Once you buy into the subject, you’ll want some more specific information about what type of cat comb to use. This is your product content (i.e. specific info and perhaps a demo on a real cat).
As you really get into the subject matter, you’ll want some more specific details. So, you go looking for some deep-dive content of specific cat combing methods and the proven strategies to avoid being scratched by your cat. This is your deep-dive content.
The point is this: There is no point presenting content on cat scratching to someone who wants to find out whether cat combing is even something that improves their cat’s wellbeing.
Or in non-hypothetical terms, there is no point presenting deep-dive content to someone who needs thought leadership content.
Think of webinar formats as steps on a (content) journey
You have heard the saying “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey”. To a degree, this applies to marketing in general, content specifically, and not least of all webinars too. By using different webinar formats, you can offer your audience a content journey.
Each format (or part of the journey) addresses specific requirements. In doing so, you are able to:
- Increase audience attendance conversion
- Increase content relevance
- Increase content recall
- Increase audience engagement
- Increase call-to-action response
- Increase audience loyalty
- Increase return attendance
Importantly, journeys are seldomly linear (top of funnel to bottom of funnel). The availability of a range of webinar formats allows for the journey to be self-determined by the audience. It doesn’t matter where a prospect enters into your content ecosystem. If you offer them the ability to select to go “back” to an earlier (i.e. more general) piece of content or indeed take the next step to a more specific piece of content, you are able to track their journey based on their self-selected path.
By combining the insights from the prospect’s path with behavioural insights from interactivity (polls, questions, surveys etc), you can build up a picture of a prospect for lead nurturing and improved sales engagement. This approach ultimately leads to sales acceleration and improved lead generation results.
You have a choice of webinar formats. And making the right choice will make you stand out from the crowd. Remember that different audiences have different content requirements. Either you serve those requirements or someone else will. Take your audience on the content journey they crave. In doing so, you engage your audience, create loyalty, and gain valuable insights into their preferences, behaviour, and interests. By offering a range of webinar formats, you will lay the foundation for improved lead generation, sales engagement, and audience satisfaction. With webinar formats you can create a conversation, using the scale medium of webinars and digital events.
Get in touch to find out more, or simply let us know which formats you are intending to use over the next 12 months. We love talking about formats and all kinds of other webinar geekery. If you enjoy doing the same, we’d love to hear from you.
More information on Digital Event and Webinar Strategies
For more info on Digital Event, Webinar Strategies, and how WebinarExperts can help you can head to:
- The Ultimate Guide To Annual Webinar Schedule Planning
- Our article on why Modern Events Both Online and In-person
- Check out The Webinar Excellence Manifesto
- Follow WebinarExperts and Lev Cribb on Linkedin for latest news, ideas and updates.