From the initial webinar planning phase to the webinar content development and overall management of the final live production, there’s no doubt that webinars are a heavy time investment for SMEs. If executed well however, they can be a really valuable demand generation activity for your business.
Depending on the level of engagement you have with your target audience, you may find that it’s challenging to get repeat registrants for your webinars. It’s therefore important to consider how you can keep your brand front-of-mind after a webinar is over, and continue guiding your leads through the buyer journey.
There’s one tried and tested way to achieve this - lead nurturing.
Lead nurturing is an automated way to stay in touch with your leads in a way that aligns to their buyer journey stage, typically via email. You can use lead nurturing to gradually educate your leads and encourage them further down the buyer journey until they are ready to talk to sales.
Warming Up Leads for Sales
Depending on how specific your registration qualification criteria are, and how laser-focused your acquisition marketing is, webinars can often bring in a mixed quality of audience.
This is especially the case if your webinar is on a topic that could draw in a more diverse audience that may not necessarily be your ideal buyer.
73% of new B2B leads are not yet sales-ready, and only a portion of the rest are actually a good fit to purchase your product/service. With that in mind, lead nurturing is a great way to ensure a higher quality of sales-ready leads and filter out leads that aren’t a good fit.
Warm up your leads with educational content that fits the context of the subject matter that initially drew them into your marketing funnel. When your lead nurturing comms is relevant and useful, you’ll be having more meaningful sales conversations with higher quality leads.
As a bi-product of that, it will be the leads that understand your service/product and know it's a good fit for their business that you’ll be having conversations with. Your lead nurturing will have assisted in that qualification process that filters out unsuitable leads.
Seize the Opportunity to Be More Personal With Leads
What's the first thing you should do with the pool of leads that your webinar generates? Understand more about them!
It's no good treating everyone the same. Factors like job titles, seniority, industry and sales readiness all need to be considered when communicating with your leads.
Unfortunately, it's often the case that time-constrained marketers take the easier option of sending a big email blast to a whole list of people with different profiles. When comms lack personalisation and context it kills conversion and harms your future relationship with the prospect.
You should be taking advantage of the multiple ways you can collect data from your webinar audience that can help you segment them and find out where they are in the buyer journey. For example:
- Pre/post-webinar surveys to gauge customer needs and sales readiness
- Polls throughout the webinar to get more information on your audience
- Q&A to help you identify the warmest leads
When you’ve got the opportunity to collect this kind of data, you should use it to nurture your segmented audiences in a more personalised way, ultimately helping you to close more quality deals.
Improve Webinar ROI
Webinars are an expensive time investment for a business, especially those where the subject matter is aligned to the beginning of a buyer journey because you’re less able to guarantee a return on that webinar any time soon. Add in a tranche of media spend used to acquire leads and achieving ROI begins to get a bit challenging.
This is where lead nurturing comes to the rescue in two different ways:
Staying Engaged With Webinar Non-Attendees
Usually, only around 35% - 40% of registrants actually attend webinars. So what happens to all the non-attendees?
Don’t let them just disappear into the ether. By registering to your webinar they have still shown intent. So use lead nurturing to stay on their radar and provide them with useful information they would have missed out on, and more. This way, you’ll still have an opportunity to make a return on your investment.
Maximising Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)
Leads are worthless if they never turn into sales opportunities.
The first step is to use marketing budget wisely to acquire webinar leads, but equally you need to have the mechanics in place to get a return on that spend. Your webinar is just a part of that, but lead nurturing is just as important.
Lead nurturing maximises the return on your ad spend by giving you the opportunity to communicate useful information to webinar attendees and non-attendees, and ultimately help you turn your ROAS into a positive number.
Establish Brand Authority
With lead nurturing, you'll be able to set the narrative for how your brand will be portrayed to your webinar leads.
Some webinar leads who are in the early stages of the buyer journey may have had very little contact with your brand before. Their understanding of your brand and business may be confined by the topic of the webinar that they attended.
Lead nurturing gives you the opportunity to express your brand identity and build credibility over time, especially if you are consistently providing your prospects with useful and relevant information, like sharing blog posts or inviting them to other webinars.
Increase Sale Value
By building brand authority and educating your leads well, not only will your sales team be having a higher proportion of quality conversations, but you can help increase the sale value of your opportunities.
This is especially the case if you have more than one service/product offering that could be of interest to your prospects which they perhaps wouldn’t have known about without lead nurturing.
When trust is established, and prospects are given a better understanding of what they can gain from your business, nurtured leads are more likely to have a higher sale value when it comes to closing a deal.
Some Guiding Principles of Good Webinar Lead Nurturing
When you do set up lead nurturing for your webinar leads, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
After your webinar goes live, it’s best practice to send all registrants an on-demand recording of the webinar, whether they have attended or not. Attach a quick post-webinar survey that can help you gain more information about your audience and gauge how useful your webinar was to them. This should be your starting point for lead nurturing. After that, keep that drip of communication going.
When you write out your lead nurturing comms, be sure not to sell right away. Lead nurturing is primarily for those that weren’t ready to talk to sales yet, so focus on building trust and educating prospects over time until they are ready.
Be purposeful about the materials you share with prospects, and when. These could be guides, blogs, videos, case studies etc. But whatever it is, make sure it’s useful to the prospect, keeping in mind their current buyer journey stage and their persona.
Be personal - ditch the one size fits all emails. As much as you can, make sure the way you communicate with them keeps in mind their persona, and their previous level of engagement with your company or website.
Nurturing your B2B webinar leads is a no brainer, especially when webinars give you an opportunity to gather audience information that can help you accurately segment what may have been quite a mixed-bag audience.
While it does take some upfront investment to segment your audience and set up an automated lead nurturing system that is sufficiently personalised and educational, you'll be getting more high quality sales-ready leads at a better ROI, and establishing a foundation of trust for a long term relationship with your customers.