Webinars – The Iron Man of Marketing ROI

Webinarsthe Iron Man

of Marketing ROI

Marketers bristle at growing pressure to calculate return on investment of every marketing dollar. One standby formula states: Every one dollar in marketing expense should return four dollars to the top line. Of course, outcomes like this depend on which industry, which country, and which product we’re talking about, and what you want your marketing to achieve. Brand-building? Leads? Sales?

The fact that there are more marketing avenues than ever—traditional and online— puts heavier pressure on limited budgets to perform well. And in this sputtering business climate, no one can afford waste.

Are you spending your limited marketing dollars in the right neighborhoods to find and close new sales opportunities for your organization? And how do you know?

The most effective methods for generating B2B sales leads are outbound marketing (telemarketing, virtual/remote sales), event marketing (tradeshows, and seminars), and online marketing (email newsletters, websites, search, and blogs), according to a July report by InsideSales.com, based on a survey of 423 B2B professionals, most with marketing budgets under $500k. May be a bit steep for many professional services firms, but it’s smart to benchmark to the big guys.

Now, savor these webinar ROI numbers shared digital marketer Rob Peterson’s site:

INSPIRED MARKETING―sells digital materials and online training programs for marketing. “In January 2011, we had sales of $250,000 from just seven GoToWebinar events,” said PresidentLewis Howes

LUMEDX―a small healthcare technology company with 100 employees and tough competition used webinars to build awareness and connect with more than 500 clients, booking $600,000 in annual sales as a direct result.

PINPOINTE—an on-demand email marketing automation services firm needed to increase awareness, leads and sales. When webinars were added to the mix, 1000 new leads arrived, 25 converted to sales of up to $75,000 per month.

SEAGATE—a major staff technology company wanted to market a new product directly to end users. Webinars attracted 1,500+ attendees pushing the initial sales unit goal by 300 percent, doubling sales forecast within a week of product launch. Once on YouTube, the webcast generated a viral marketing effect of 38,800 leads only four months.

These are just a few quick stats on webinar ROI I pulled up in a digital universe of thousands more. Now take a glance at the chart below and you’ll see how well webinars carry their weight in the race for new business.
When you hit upon a successful marketing strategy and program, it’s like finding that beautiful off ramp in the midst of Friday night traffic on an urban freeway maze. Ah-h. Simplicity. Trust webinars to be your off ramp.

Webinars offer a destination for your marketing dollars that won’t fail you. Let’s talk about where they fit in your company, and how to make them effective and distinctive from the stream that hit your inbox weekly.

I’ve conducted webinars for 20 years. At first, my company was one of the few. None of our competitors used webinars in marketing. With all the tools available now, webinars are easy to host. How do you do it?

I’d like you to take advantage of these SEVEN TIPS

    1. Start by asking yourself, What’s the goal of this webinar?Generate leads or build brand awareness or thought leadership? Each is important and will determine your target audience, layout and metrics to measure your success.


    1. Who do you want to reach? If you don’t own adequate and updated prospect contact information, you’d better get busy creating it. If you don’t own an efficient CRM system for your existing clients, fix it now. Both IT assets will make or break your success at webinars.


    1. How will you invite attendees?Once you’ve determined your audience, vetted your list, understood what they know, and tailored your message, do an attractive email invite with a touch of graphic appeal. Personalize. Entice them to register now by piquing serious interest. You can send out on your own or use a good email provider such as Mail Chimp or AWeber.

Don’t just email, post webinar details to social networks Twitter and LinkedIn. Co-sponsor the webinar with another firm or expert to expand your list. In my experience, out of 100 people who register, 60 percent actually attend, which is good turnout. Follow-up on the other 40 percent to keep them active on your list.

    1. Supercharge your webinar. Be sure to get more mileage beyond the live broadcast. Even though 60 people may attend, hundreds more will download your recorded version. The recorded webinar can be used in other marketing campaigns. Add the link to your website, post in your social media network and hyperlink in articles and blogs. What’s more, use the webinar content to develop white papers, use at live presentations, and email to prospects.


    1. Make the webinar a great experience. Participants will multi-task during your webinar. So it’s critical you make every minute worth their time. Follow these ideas and your participants will thank you:
      • Don’t use the webinar as an opportunity to lecture or pitch product. B-O-R-I-N-G.
      • Don’t feature yourself or your product
      • Your message must be about your audience and what they need to solve
      • Organize content so attendees self-discover your solution; content should lead them to your product verses the webinar lead with your product
      • Like any successful meeting with prospects or clients, make webinars interactive. Do less talking. Set up a panel. Encourage Q & A.
      • Let attendees know upfront they can download the webinar
      • Tell them you’re recording it and will post the link on your website

Good example of a great experience in a webinar:

  1. Tell stories verses reading PowerPoint slides. Story telling helps to hold people’s attention. Rather than read your PowerPoint slides, (huge mistake) give real examples. A great example of how to take a somewhat boring, old news subject can be found in a TED Talk― “The Walk from No to Yes” given by William Ury. Watch how he ignites the subject. Suddenly, 19 minutes flashed by before I even knew it.
  2. Best practices of successful webinars. Today, very few people will commit one hour of their time to participate in webinars, unless you offer a clear reason to stay and pay attention. Here’s a few:
  3. Provide a written summary up front
  4. Limit the webinar to 17 to 30 minutes
  5. Make sure your content is relevant
  6. Get to the point quick for an early payoff
  7. Interact, conduct polls and answer questions
  8. Tell true stories
  9. Invite Q&A at the end or earlier if audience jumps in


Be sure to reach out to those who signed up but didn’t attend. Send a friendly email with a copy of the presentation, calling out points of interest. Direct them to the pre-recording at your site. Offer something that invites a response, perhaps a study or white paper mentioned in the webinar.


For attendees, I also offer something of specific value to them. Write a personal thank you note, send a relevant news article. I often send out a post-event survey. Feedback sharpens your presentations and focuses attention on client/prospect desires. Your attendee list now merges into your data base for newsletters, white papers and events. Recipients have “met” you and will be more disposed to a new relationship.

Webinars are excellent ways to communicate information to a large group of people more easily, directly and cost effectively than any other means. Time to flex your muscles.

See you on the upside, Bill

P.S. For an excellent paper on webinar effectiveness versus other lead generation tools, check out GoTo Meeting’s ROI Calculator on the last page where you can compare the costs of trade shows, in-person seminars and webinars.

News Alert

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