It was an interesting online presentation last week—a webinar on webinars. I attended Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) “The Webinar Benchmark Throwdown, You vs. Your Industry Peers.” CMI Founder Joe Pulizzi moderated and Mark Bornstein, Sr. Director of Content Marketing at ON24, spoke at the hour-long interactive presentation that included quiz questions throughout the webinar to test attendees “webinar smarts.” The session centered on results from ON24’s Annual Webinar Benchmark Report 2013, a pretty extensive study of webinar utilization and performance metrics. I hadn’t read the report prior to the webinar, and I’ll give myself a B+ for correctly answering most of the multiple-choice quiz questions—based solely on my personal webinar attendance experience and behaviors.
Prior to getting into ON24’s report, they prefaced the presentation with a couple interesting stats; 65% of B2B buyers do self-education prior to engaging with sales and find 70% of their content on their own—through search, blogs, forums, communities, webinars, social media and what not—prior to making a purchase decision.
That we can attest to. As we’ve shared in our own 15-point overview What Makes Business-to-Business Different, we know B2B prospects conduct considerably more research, seek more information, evaluate references, research alternatives and seek opinions of third-party influencers to support and validate their decisions. SEO site analytics reveal how buyers now move through the purchase cycle long before you know who they are or the nature of their needs. You need strategies to engage them early and shape perceptions before the buyer’s short list is established.
Also from our What Makes B2B Different overview, B2B marketers typically experience a longer sales cycle and marketing to B2B prospects requires different actions, depending on what stage of the buying cycle your prospect is in. That position is shared in the webinar, where the awareness, preference and purchase stages in the buying cycle were aligned with various types of content—thought leadership, pain points and benefit, solutions, value and ROI and production demonstration content including “deminars”—as one moves along the buying cycle.
As the webinar moved into best practices, quiz questions asked about webinar registration responses and the correlation of timing with notifications. Most registrants registered within seven days of the event, with many on the actual day of the event. The remaining registered more than a week out from the event date. Most registrations were generated through email notifications.
Registration is one thing; attendance is quite another. Ideal registration to conversion data was shared. Same day registrants are more likely to attend and post webinar on-demand viewing significantly boosts additional attendance.
One quiz question I completely missed was the average time spent actually viewing a one-hour webinar. I was surprised! Although I did attend this one in its entirety, I often find myself “multi-tasking” while viewing or bailing out early unless the webinar is truly engaging and informative. It’s probably longer than you think.
The key takeaways here; use a steady stream of email notifications in the weeks before the event, notifications within the final week and include one on the actual day of the event to maximize registration and attendance. Include on-demand post webinar access to increase registration, attendance and leads. Research shared also reveals webinars are the number one lead generation tool, and as buying behaviors are changing, webinar use is occurring further down the purchase funnel. If webinars are included in your current or future content strategy, checkout the ON24 report and CMI webinar. There’s lots of detailed insight here to help you make your webinars more effective.
(image courtesy of NCSL)