Are webinars an effective marketing technique?
The concept of webinars has yet to take a REAL hold in Australia, especially when compared with the US. What are your views and experiences, do you use them? Would you use them?
I think there are two reasons why webinars been slower to take hold in Australia:
- most of us are congregated in a few large cities. You can run 3 face-to-face events and reach a significant part of the market. Compare that to the US and think how many cities you'd have to front up to!
- most international webinars are at quite horrendous times of day since we are not the primary market. It has to be really good to get me up at 4:00am! On the other hand, I often register knowing I won't attend and hoping a recorded version will be posted online for me to enjoy later.
I've never run a webinar, but I have attended many. From my experience, they can work, but bear in mind the following:
* you'll need to promote to a lot of people to get any significant number of attendees.
* expect a high no-show rate even if you have people registered. In a past life, I ran conferences people had paid thousands of dollars for, yet the no-show rate was 10% or so. For free webinars, I wouldn't be surprised if it was 50% or more no-shows.
* make sure you record the webinar and post it online afterwards. Also it should be premium content - behind a registration form or password-protected, so that you get the contact details of anyone who wants to see it.
* go ahead even if you've only got one attendee. Since you're recording, you'll be creating a piece of rich content for your website anyway.
* Finally (and it should probably have been first) make sure you have good, valuable content. Not just selling - respect people's time even if they're not with you in person!
I'd be interested to know if you go ahead, and if so how it works out.
Webinars seem to attract small numbers but I feel like they are still quite effective in terms of a B2B setting. Simply because a lot of these webinars are selling products that are high value/consulting type services so even if you get 15 attendee's and get 1-2 long term customers it is worth it.
For lower priced products I can see how it will not be worth the effort.
Last time we ran a webinar, it was really worthwhile in my opinion. Even just priming your marketing by educating them. I feel that people are more receptive to information when it's via a webinar vs. just an article or video.
The most important thing is known your conversion rates because like all online marketing the actual conversion rate after you have shared it, a small percentage of people signed up, even a smaller percentage actually turn up, even after multiple reminder emails.
Just have a attendee goal and use realistic conversion rates to see how many people you need to market to to get your end rate. A general example just from what I've experience make look like this:
Email marketing -> 20% open rate on emails -> 8% click through rate -> 3% sign up rate -> 1% turn out -> 0.2% conversion
Usually you'll lose the majority of people on the sign up landing page, and then get about 20%-30% of your list turning up.
Although the numbers may look a but depressing, it's fairly standard in terms of online conversion figures. Hope this helps :)
I think there are a number of things to consider:
- IMO Australian's tend to be more cautious (that could be the right word) when it comes to 'being sold' .... and I think that has an impact as to whether businesses will use webinars or not...
- As Bridget says, in person events are likely easier to organise (and attend) however, for those who are situated remotely, an online learning environment is a blessing
- Access to technology and the cost of that access - using the well known, trustworthy webinar systems can be expensive (particularly when the Aussie dollar tanks). The other systems around may be cheaper, but they can be more problematic - so the cost to running a webinar becomes a major consideration
- Internet access - to be able to run an webinar, high quality internet access is a must and for many Australians, this just isn't available. I'm in a 'metro' area and my Internet access drops out regularly mainly because I'm too far from an exchange.
- Bandwidth costs - even if you've got good Internet, sometimes the cost of the bandwidth to allow you to do a great webinar can be prohibitive.
I use webinars to conduct to training Nationally and Internationally - with the right tool set I can share screens and also 'see' what my attendees are seeing. I think it's highly effective however, I like to be totally organised. As Trish says, there's a lot to running a successful.
Anyway, just my $0.02 worth.
I run a pre-recorded, ongoing (everyday) webinar from my website - I use Google & FB advertising to send traffic to it. Your webinar needs to offer great content - mine is about How to get found online - and you need to have a goal for the webinar - don't just run it to build a list (although that's not such a bad thing) try to make sure it's part of a funnel - have them take the next step at the end of the webinar. Then follow up with the recording for those who missed it or want to watch it again.
That's just the nutshell - obviously there is a lot more to running a successful webinar.
I have participated in webinars by Flying Solo and by Australian Businesswomen's Network.
I work from home and am on my own most days. I enjoy the "connectedness" aspect of the webinar format, plus its a low-cost way for me to learn about running my own business.