Webinars are a super-powerful demand generation tool for niche publishers.
Offering sponsored webinars is a no-brainer: they extend your advertiser’s brand cost-effectively while creating a new revenue stream.
But there’s a catch — you’ve got to do a webinar right in order for it to be effective – from targeting and attracting the right audience to keeping them engaged and continuing the conversation after it’s all over.
Webinar expert Mike Agron is leading a session on webinars at the upcoming Niche Digital Conference in Nashville this fall and is leading Niche Media’s first-ever webinar July 11 on how publishers can use webinars to make money and build audience (and why they don’t have to suck). We checked in with Mike to get his take on what’s happening with sponsored webinars and why niche publishers should take advantage of this add-on revenue stream.
Niche Media HQ: What are the three most important things for publishers to remember when setting up sponsored demand generation webinars?
Mike Agron: First, as trusted advisers to their readers, they should recognize that they have an incredible opportunity to monetize the sales of sponsored webinars by adding high value for the sponsor AND high impact for their audience. It’s bringing people together across multiple geographies and time zones to discuss and share insights, innovations and best practices. What’s important to recognize is that much of this information is probably timely content from industry experts and thought leaders that they are publishing or going to publish. A webinar is a great vehicle to “breathe life” into ordinary content such as research reports, case studies, and white papers, etc.
Second, publishers are aware of changes in industry standards and compliance and can use webinars to inform their readers. Think educational tool vs sales pitch to be successful.
Third, there is a big difference between reading a white paper on a website and participating in an interactive webinar with Q&A. Webinars engage people in the learning process and create conversations, making them feel they are part of the experience in real-time.
Niche Media HQ: What ways can sponsored webinars be directly measured back to ROI? Can you give us some examples?
Mike Agron: In demand are lead generation webinars that use timely info to attract an audience. If a webinar is done right, all three of these components will be included. You also are able to gather very useful information and feedback from your audience that you don’t necessarily get from other sales and marketing efforts. The intelligence gathered before, during and after the webinar accelerates the sponsors sales and marketing teams to learn about which of the attendees are ready to have a sales conversation, which might need some longer term nurturing and which aren’t a good prospect. A webinar is an ideal sales platform for delivering this type of valuable information. For example, we have a niche publishing client that is able to bring an audience to their webinars and educate them, and between 40% – 75% of those who attend have the authority to make a purchasing decision.
A good webinar:
1) Attracts sales leads
2) Promotes thought-leadership
3) Enhances the value of your brand
All of these have an impact on ROI.
Niche Media HQ: What are some good ways to keep the audience engaged after the webinar is over?
Mike Agron: By having attendees register beforehand for the event, we learn the current, updated information about the attendee—plus job title, etc and what they want to learn. We then gather information on how they vote during the webinar on specified topics. All this intelligence helps us to conduct a targeted survey after the webinar to get even more valuable feedback.
Niche Media HQ: What’s coming next in regard to sponsored webinars? What innovations do you see coming?
Mike Agron: Smart organizations are going to realize they can create a fresh new revenue stream by developing entire marketing strategies around offering sponsored webinars that focus on unique topics such as industry standards, compliance updates case studies, and discussion of trends by thought leaders.
Bells and whistles on the horizon? I see the use of video and more use of social media as an emerging trend. However, a well produced demand generation webinar is like a radio show, but with pictures. This format done in an hour or less will serve publishers well today and for the foreseeable future without having to invest in a lot of extra bells and whistles such as video, etc. The best enhancement is providing value to your audience, and that comes from investing in the development and creation of engaging, relevant content and ongoing thought leadership series for audiences.
Niche Media HQ: Bonus Question: What is your favorite guilty pleasure food?
<>Mike Agron: Mud pie!
Editors Note: Register here for our July 11 webinar for niche publishers on how publishers can make money, build audience, inform, and entertain with webinars.
About Mike: Mike Agron is Executive Webinar Producer and Co-Founder of WebAttract. He and his team produces and moderates informational webinars for global industry brands, emerging B2B firms, and niche online and print publications.
Niche Media has created super niched-out events specifically for magazine publishers for over 12 years. We’ve helped pave the way for the era of boutique events that connect specific audiences and provide great educational, friendly and super-fun environments!