Recalibrating Webinar Marketing for a Post-Normal World

Gabriel Lim Avatar

Gabriel Lim | 11 August 2020

How can B2B marketers recalibrate their webinar marketing strategy for the post normal world?


In this Saleswhale Masterclass session, we cover the following topics with Tim Johnston:

  • Everyone is doing webinars right now, how do you stand out?
  • How do you drive more pipeline and sales for your sales team with webinars?
  • ON24 has a ton of data -- what makes the best webinars stand out?

Bio

Tim Johnston is Director of Demand Gen at ON24 (APJ), one of the leading webinar marketing platform providers. Tim has over 10 years of experience in B2B marketing and demand gen; but most importantly in this post-normal world, he has been in the center of the explosion of demand for webinar marketing and webinar marketing platforms alike. In late February 2020, ON24 announced that they crossed $100m in annual recurring revenue (ARR). In this special session, Tim joins our CEO, Gabriel Lim, to discuss what has ON24 and Saleswhale learnt about webinar marketing in 2020 so far.


Speakers

Tim Johnston, Director of Demand Generation @ ON24 APJ

Gabriel Lim, CEO @ Saleswhale

 

Full transcript below

Gabriel Lim:

Hi, everyone. This is Gabriel, co-founder and CEO of Saleswhale, and I have here today Tim Johnston who is director of demand generation at ON24. So, welcome to today's Saleswhale master class. I'm super excited to have you guys here with me.

Gabriel Lim:

Tim is a good friend of mine, and he is a Webinerd, where we often have very interesting conversations about webinars, the data behind webinars, driving pipeline from webinars. Yeah, throughout these interactions with Tim over the years, I always learn something new when I talk to him. So, I thought that it would be interesting to have him on our Masterclass to share with you on how you can recalibrate webinar marketing for what's essentially a totally different world. From where we were three, four months ago.

Gabriel Lim:

Yeah, so today's session would be around... everyone is doing webinars right now. How do you stand out? How do you drive more pipeline and sales for your sales team with webinars? This is the part that I'm really excited about -  ON24 and Tim, they have a ton of data. From a qualitative and quantitative perspective what makes the best webinars stand out? 

Before we jump into this, just some housekeeping. We have a quiz that's going on, on what are you doing right now to help your webinars stand out?

Gabriel Lim:

Throughout this webinar, feel free to enter in what are you guys doing now on your webinar front? We will select the 10 best answers and send them a Webinerd T-shirt, which I don't have right now. That's on the quiz. I guess, and also before we start, Just to help us get polls on where you guys are at in your webinar journey and how COVID-19 has affected things. I would love for you guys to take this poll, and share with us how has COVID-19 changed your approach to webinars?

Tim Johnston:

Lots of good responses in there. I'm putting my money on one of them which I will tell you in a minute, but yeah, I think this is a very crazy world that we're in right now. With the physical event play disappearing right in front of us, we are left with very few options to engage our audiences. So, it will be interesting to see what the results are here. Go ahead, put your responses in there. Are you producing a lot more? Are you forced to get started with some sort of digital engagement strategy now? Maybe it hasn't really impacted you at all, and maybe you're just running the exact same webinar program that you were running pre-2020.

Tim Johnston:

Or maybe you're thinking about it, maybe you're holding on thinking that maybe we'll return soon to the normal world, or maybe you're intimidated. Maybe you're thinking, "I'm not even going to play in this space because there's every second email right now is an invitation to a webinar." So, get your responses in and let's see what the audience think. Cool. All right. Well, let's have a look. Here we go. Yep. Right on the money here, producing a lot more webinars was the number one response.

Tim Johnston:

So, I mean, it's obvious, right? We all have a pipeline goal, a way to keep moving the business forward and we have to get creative and find those ways to engage with our audiences. So, not surprising that 64% of our audience is actually producing a lot more webinars in that fact. Some of us have been forced to get uncomfortable. Many of us operate in a very traditional marketing approach, maybe leaned very heavily on the event world, and that's a quiet score of 23% of the crowd. It's interesting to say that there's some that it hasn't been impacted at all, 6%. But it looks like everyone's got skin in the game here. Everyone is playing, at least with our live audience today, everyone's playing in the webinar space in some shape or form. Very interesting.

Gabriel Lim:

Yes. I just won a bet from a friend, because I had a friend who told me that “People are going to stop doing webinars because everyone is doing them right now. So I'm not going to get started.” We had 0% of our attendees who actually selected that.

Tim Johnston:

Yeah, exactly. I mean, I think you've got to have skin in the game. You've got to find a way to engage your audiences. If we're going to do this right, we've got to find a way to stand out. I view this session today as hopefully inspirational for you, and hopefully you get a couple of tips. I've been doing this for the last four years now, and hopefully you can add some inspiration and find ways to stand out for your event as well.

Gabriel Lim:

Right. So, let's jump right in. Based on the poll, right?

Tim Johnston:

Sure.

Gabriel Lim:

23% of our attendees are new to the channel.  They're starting off doing webinars. So, I guess a good place to start is just... maybe we can start a little from the basics, right? Get the training wheels on, and then we dive right into all the advanced and interesting stuff that's backed by data.  I guess my first question for you, Tim, for the benefit of those who're just new to webinars, what are some of the basics and the fundamentals that marketers need to get right when putting on a webinar?

Tim Johnston:

Yeah, look, I'm still surprised that it's 2020 and many marketers that are coming to us today are still dabbling in it for the first time, right? It is this COVID pushed us, forced us in this direction, but I think it's a good thing. Typically, what I'd say is that a successful webinar program is kind of like a tripod. There's kind of three legs to the experience. The first two are really in your control. It comes back down to content marketing 101 stuff, right? So, you've got to find the topic that's going to deliver value, right? It's going to be a solution to people's problems, and you've got to architect something that's topical, that's trending that's really going to attract and bring an audience in.

Tim Johnston:

I think the key when you're thinking about your content is really around you want to provide a unique perspective. You want to say something different. So, think about that, but that's in your hands, your control, what you talk about, your thought leadership, but that's only a portion of the battle, okay? You might have this great content but you've also got to find somebody that's going to deliver with enthusiasm, energy, passion, right? And entertaining webinar is also all about the delivery as well. So, you've got to merge those two together, and you've got to get those elements right, but I'd say that the number one thing that most marketers would be forgetting about, and particularly that are new to the space, they think that the job is done when you find a topic, you craft a story and a narrative, and then you find a speaker to present it.

Tim Johnston:

But what they miss out on is the experience. Here at ON24, we think about webinar as being ... We don't even like to call them webinars, because I think there's negative connotations with webinars. It's like, "Here we go again. We're going to be slapped over the head with a PowerPoint slide and somebody just rumbling on for an hour." The most engaging type of webinars today are experiences, and you should think about them as experiences, right? And design and experience. It's not just about the content and the speakers. It's about how do you bring your audience into the conversation? So, much like what you just did there, Gabe, bringing them into the conversation, having them feel included. It's a two-way dialogue. That would be the advice I'd start with. Don't forget about the experience element, and design accordingly.

Gabriel Lim:

I couldn't agree more, Tim. The worst webinars I've been to is like a 45-minute session where the speaker is just running through PowerPoint slide after PowerPoint slide, and then the webinar just ends abruptly.

Tim Johnston:

Yeah. Yes.

Gabriel Lim:

So, I guess something that we can double click into, which is interesting, would be how then do you generate or come up with ideas, right? For content that you feel entices your audience, right? Maybe I can share a bit from my perspective, right? For Saleswhale, we are really new to the webinar game as well, right? Prior to April, we have not done a single webinar, right? The very first webinar that we did, we actually drove more than 1,000 registrations and more than 200 live attendees, right?

Gabriel Lim:

So, I guess the secret to that, and something that I learned along the way, was that when the lockdowns began, we or rather I called up 100 of our customers, as in I'm not shitting you. I'm not sure I can blurt this right here but, but I called them up, and I said-

Tim Johnston:

[crosstalk 00:08:54].

Gabriel Lim:

... and I had like a 15 minutes talk with all of them like, "Hey, you know what's going on now? What are you going through? What's top of mind for you? What are you looking to learn right now? Where are you [inaudible 00:09:04] your business, right?" We kept a log of every single one of these responses into a spreadsheet, and from there it's very obvious what trends and clusters start to pop up, and that's where we are able to craft really compelling content and topis around this that we know would resonate with our audience.

Tim Johnston:

Yeah [crosstalk 00:09:24]-

Gabriel Lim:

So, I'm not sure about what you think about. Yeah.

Tim Johnston:

I love that. I love that. I think it's a customer-first approach, and making sure you're developing content that's specific to their needs. One common tactic that we see all the time is that people are using webinar as a finger on the pulse as to what people want to hear about. If you think about webinar as, yes, it's a delivery of content in itself but it's also an amazing collectable point. It's an experience where you can start to learn about your audience's wants and needs.

Tim Johnston:

An example of that is where people are sent a poll during the webinar around certain topics that they want to hear about next. It could be just like what we're intending to do today. We'll throw out some questions, we'll hear what your challenges are, and then we can go off and create content off the back of that. The most popular responses can warrant its own stream of content. I'm a big fan of see where brands are starting to use these experiences to collect and learn more about the audiences and create more relevant and personalized content for their needs. That's a winning strategy for sure.

Gabriel Lim:

Absolutely. Absolutely. Cool. So, let's dive right into the second question, which is probably something that's closer to my heart, right? You as director of demand generation for ON24, you guys are on a webinar platform, you must see a lot of webinars in your role, right? So, using data, can you share more about what sets the best webinars apart? Anecdotally, if you can share examples, right? About something that stood out to you, that would be really, really interesting, I guess, for the audience and for myself as well.

Tim Johnston:

Yeah, I think when we run webinars on ON24 platform we do naturally have an advantage as to understanding the success of a webinar. Typically, most would look at maybe an attendance rate or how many attendees or how many registrations as a success metric. We look a little bit deeper at engagement scores and engagement levels throughout a webinar so we can get really deep in terms of all the interactions that somebody has on a particular webinar, and how that influences an average engagement score. The platform is pretty neat, and I won't talk about the platform, I promise. But the platform aggregates a lot of information, and gives you an engagement score, a simple score between one and 10. It gives you every attendee, that score, but also the webinar as a whole.

Tim Johnston:

What we start to look out when we say, "What does a good webinar look like, and what are those marketers doing to drive higher levels of engagement?" There's a couple of key ingredients that I always talk about and recommend when people are approaching webinar design. It goes back to that first question that you asked about what they had to get right. It's the experience side of things. How do you design for interactivity so you're getting people to do things, you're getting people to engage with you, right?

Tim Johnston:

When I think about, and I know you've asked for an example here. I don't want to offend many of the customers that I'm close with and isolate one, particular one, but the common trait across all of them is they get five key things right. The first is that they are branded experiences, okay? Number one, they are reflective of the brand. So, much like today what you've done in this webinar I gave, it's reflective of your brand. It's a very immersive different experience. This is one way that you can stand out from a crowd. It's not like this Zoom call. It's different. People can interact with multiple elements as part of this experience.

Tim Johnston:

We've made a bonus content available. We've got a nice video. We've got some nice branding. We've got a little competition for you. It's going to be an interactive session today, which brings me to the second point, which is that webinars have to be interactive. It can't be something that is just a passive experience where your audience sits back and just watches a presentation. You're going to send people to Snoozeville if you do that, and you're going to put a lot of emphasis on getting your presenter to engage people but also your content to do the heavy-lifting.

Tim Johnston:

So, find ways to sort of embed those moments of interactivity throughout your webinar. It's what a lot of successful webinar producers do. I also like to think of them as we are now in 2020, and we shouldn't be ever considering a audio-only webinar. I still see probably a good 40% of webinars just leading with an audio feed. In some instances, depending on the market that you're in and the bandwidth availability, some markets are horrible in terms of Internet speeds, but when you can, you need to lead with multimedia rich experiences.

Tim Johnston:

So, much like today, you can see my face, you can see Gabe's face, and you want it to be a video-led experience, which is really key in this day and age. But the other two points I'd really touch on here is that you want them to be ... I always look at this as a market you think, "Okay, I've got a webinar and that's one touch with my audience." But the beauty of a webinar is that the average viewing time of a webinar is in often 50 minutes. You can download our ON24 benchmark that contains all this data. It's a really rich report which we've made available in the bonus content section. I'm just going to highlight that for you now [crosstalk 00:15:08]-

Gabriel Lim:

I read it. I like it. Yeah.

Tim Johnston:

Yeah, it's a great one to keep in your back pocket as to how to benchmark your performance and what to do, but the benchmark tells us that there's over 50 minutes worth of engagement minutes in an average webinar, so many people are trying to condense their webinar today, which I do agree with. I think there's a lot of value in having a 30-minute website and condensing and trying to prioritize your best content to deliver value in a shorter amount of time, particularly when the world is going mental for webinars and there's a lot of digital noise at the moment.

Tim Johnston:

But if you keep that idea of you've got 50 minutes to engage just one, yes, that is one touch if it is a passive experience and we're just talking to you, but if you want to ... Think about this as a content-binging experience, right? So, you make multiple pieces of content available, you get them to do multiple things with you, you unlock that multitasking aspect to your events, and it becomes a multiple touch content experience.

Tim Johnston:

So, when you put that in the lens of driving towards the buyer's journey and that process from lead to revenue. There's a number of analysts out there talking about how many touches it takes to get from lead to revenue being north of 15 in some industries. Think about what a webinar can do for you if you have multiple touches of content throughout at different stages of the buying journey as well; case studies and thought leadership articles, guides, blog articles. People can start to binge on your content throughout that [outlined 00:16:38] experience. We're very used to multitasking. I don't know about you guys but I sit on the couch at night every night watching television, I'm doing emails, and I'm on my phone. We're good at multitasking, so don't worry about distracting your audience. People love it.

Gabriel Lim:

Yeah.

Tim Johnston:

You want them to be multitasking with you.

Gabriel Lim:

Yeah, [COVID 00:16:54], that's me. Yeah, all of us are really good in multitasking.

Tim Johnston:

Yeah. Yeah.

Gabriel Lim:

Yeah.

Tim Johnston:

The last point I will touch on there just in terms of what a successful execution looks like is there should be human experiences. I think us as marketers, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to live up to a standard. A lot of marketers that come to me talk to me about, "Well, I don't have a studio, and what sort of camera gear do I need for a webinar?" It's not so much about the quality of production. It's about just being real with your audience. There's a lot of talk about authenticity and just being real. I think if we look at COVID and what has happened, it's awful but one of the positives that come out of this is that marketers have had to lower their standards, present from home, and you can see some incredible real moments with people just being people.

Tim Johnston:

You have dogs jumping up on people's laps, licking your face, and babies in the background. You get another dimension of your speakers and the brand, and you start to connect with what's in the background, and the comic books on the shelf or maybe there's a poster on the wall. You start to connect more. One thing that we've seen is that brands are connecting better than ever with their audiences because it's more real, and it's that human aspect to it. We don't need to have those high glossed studios and productions. People like this sort of format.

Gabriel Lim:

Yeah, absolutely. I couldn't agree more. I guess before we jump into the next segment of questions, right? Just to help us understand a bit better just so that we can tailor our questions, right? To what's useful for the audience, right? Shall we jump into the next poll?

Tim Johnston:

Let's do it. I love polls.

Gabriel Lim:

Yeah.

Tim Johnston:

I love polls.

Gabriel Lim:

Let's do it.

Tim Johnston:

I always say-

Gabriel Lim:

Let's do it.

Tim Johnston:

... get a couple of polls in every webinar. It's the most underutilized function that most webinar platforms have. Get the polls in. They're really interesting.

Gabriel Lim:

Yeah. So, just for the benefit of the audience, I literally have a list of questions prepared for Tim, but obviously we're not going to have the time to run through all of these questions, so depending on your answer, right? It's going to guide the rest of the session, right? On the kind of questions that I ask Tim. So, would appreciate your submissions for the poll. Let us know what you want us to dive deep into.

Tim Johnston:

Yeah. There's a lot of challenges, and many of us are doing this for the first time, but I've got a couple bets on this one as well, Gabe, and I think I know where this is going to land, but I could be surprised. So, put in your responses. Is it, are you driving with audience engagement? Is it technical challenges? Is it, "I just don't know how to build an audience and nobody attends my webinars?" Is it maybe finding content and speakers? We touched on that a little bit before. Converting webinar leads, maybe that's your problem, or maybe you simply just don't have the budget, the expertise or the resources to really support a successful program? So, it looks like we're getting a few responses in now. Let's have a look. Or if you've got another challenge, why don't you just pop in the Q&A section there and we can have a look at that as well?

Gabriel Lim:

Yeah.

Tim Johnston:

Or at least-

Gabriel Lim:

We will take a few questions. Great. Sorry, go ahead, Tim.

Tim Johnston:

Yeah. Let's say toggle over. Here we go. Okay.

Gabriel Lim:

This is surprising. This is surprising. Interesting. Tim, do you want to take us through the ...? Yeah.

Tim Johnston:

Here we go. So, majority of the crowd that we have with us today is challenged with driving registrations and attendance, okay? I think this is very relative to the situation that we're in. Consumers, your audiences have a lot of choice today, right? They've got endless amount of webinars that they can attend right through the business day. This doesn't surprise me, and even pre-COVID marketers were challenged with this aspect. I can't tell you how many times we'll say, "Well, only 30% of people rock up to my webinar. What are the other 70% doing? How do I get them there?" It's [crosstalk 00:21:18] right? I love to see ... So, I think we structure some of these questions around getting your audience engaged, let's touch on this idea of-

Gabriel Lim:

That's great.

Tim Johnston:

... driving registrations, and then let's also talk about how you can get more out of webinar leads, right? How can you convert more of them and generate conversations off the back of your webinar activity? So, let's dive in from there. That was really interesting.

Gabriel Lim:

Perfect. It sounds good. I think I'm just probably going to ask you two questions around this, and then let's jump into the audience Q&A. I see some really good questions there. Okay.

Tim Johnston:

Great.

Gabriel Lim:

First, I'm going to ask my question with regards to the poll, right? Given that driving registration and attendances, the number one, right? Like 56.5% of our audience actually put that. So, for those of our audience who are challenged in driving more registrations and attendance, what advice do you have for them? How do you build an audience today in the hundreds, in these thousands, especially if you're just starting out, right?

Tim Johnston:

Yep. Yeah. I would just caution everybody in terms of setting your goals around registration. I think it is nice that when a brand can appeal and find a topic that is relevant. It is a signal of success, right? Don't get me wrong, but I think it goes beyond just a vanity metric of how many people have signed up, right? I think there's not a lot of substance behind that. I just caution everyone not to get too caught up in the actual registration volume. Yes, you want a healthy attendance to your content, but it's really about the quality of audience that you're getting there.

Tim Johnston:

I don't really look too closely about or focus too heavily on how many registrations we get. I focus on who we've got there, and is it aligned to the sort of audience that I want to be talking to for that particular topic? Let me just frame the conversation that way first, okay? And I'll also say that if you downloaded a copy of that benchmark report you'd also see that when we looked across 20,000, I think specifically for Asia PAC. I know this is a global webinar but when we looked across the 20,000 webinars that are run every year on our platform, we saw that the average audience size sits roughly between 100 and 200 attendees.

Tim Johnston:

Okay, so that's where the sweet spot is, and of course there's some companies that are driving much higher numbers than that, but I don't want to just give you the political answer here. I want to give you some substance as to what are some of the tactics and techniques that we used? We're going to get a little bit meta here, but some of things that are different that stand out for us and have worked really, really well and changed the game for our registration and our promotion driver.

Tim Johnston:

The first one that I'd say is this idea of inexperienced registration promotion. Just like if you looked at today's experience as an example, many companies are using this spae that you have with your audience, this thick screen that people are staring at for up to an hour, to promote. They're using it as real estate to promote your next webinar. We see a huge uptake of migrating one audience into the next experience, of the next webinar, just by simply promoting it, right? So, whether it's in housekeeping or you're using a visual ad, this is a very powerful way. People are engaged and they're listening to you, and they want to take that next step.

Tim Johnston:

You know that saying draw a horse to water? It's a fantastic way just to promote your next session, right? For us, in this case, if you're enjoying today's topic and this sort of content, and you're looking for a way to stand out, well guess what, we also have an event coming up on the 25th of August, and you can attend that. That's the APAC ON24 virtualized event that's coming up. We've got our customers talking about some great executions of webinar marketing and digital event executions that you might be inspired by. So, I'd like to invite the whole audience today to attend that.

Tim Johnston:

That's just one example of how you can drive audience and migrate. If you think about cost per leads and trying to acquire new audiences, it's expensive to do. So, why not move people along that journey with you and invite them whilst they're in a live experience? It's very effective, so if you're not using that tactic today, I highly recommend it.

Tim Johnston:

I've got two more tips, okay? Two more golden nuggets, so hopefully you've got your notepads out and you're taking some notes because I want to make this as actionable as possible. The other area of success that we've had and we encourage all of our customers to think about as well, is again in that sort of pre-event experience, so the registration page. Now, there's far smarter people out there that can tell you how to optimize your web pages for conversion. So, same principles apply for webinar registration page. You need a very catchy headline, something that's going to make a promise that you're going to solve all the problems and be a good use of their time. But the biggest change that we've made is the elimination of friction points in our pre-event registration process.

Gabriel Lim:

Boom.

Tim Johnston:

So, what do I mean by that? One of the things that we've experimented with, and I know Gabe you probably have an opinion on this as well, but people don't like forms, okay? People hate forms, and it's a conversion killer. We all know this. So, one of the things that we made a change maybe a year or two ago is that for the known audiences who were engaging database, we know them. Why on earth do we want them to fill out a form? We know them. We don't need to do this. There's a technology out there, we use Marketo as an instance, but it allows us to do a one-click registration, okay? That's very powerful, and it's drives a huge uplifting conversion.

Tim Johnston:

For the unidentified audiences, okay, we're going to ask for some information because we need that, okay? But we're not going to ask you for a lot. We're going to ask you for a little bit of information, and progressively over time as you enjoy our content and you come back over and over again, we'll progressively profile and ask maybe a new question. Maybe there's a strategic data focus that we need, and we have to get your mobile number, we get something else, your address so that we can send you a hamper or a goody pack. But don't ask for unnecessary information is the message here. If you have the smarts, you have the technology to help drive that point to that frictionless registration process, whether it's through a chat box. I know Drift, they're doing pretty cool things.

Tim Johnston:

You've got Marketo, you can do one click form fills, or even some of the tools that Gabe is starting to beta and prototype around draft registrations through conversational email. There are so many techniques but think about that friction point because it's a huge way to really accelerate registration volumes for sure.

Tim Johnston:

The last point that I will make on this idea of driving registration, and there are so many. I've actually got a webinar that's dedicated to this topic. Actually, I think it's scheduled for next month even. Alexa, you might want to drop a link in here for the audience so they can register for this, but it's this idea of if email is the number one driver of promotions, of registrations for your webinar, we have to get this right. Everyone is doing it, so my advice is run emails to your database. It is about being human and applying a personal invitation approach to your webinar.

Tim Johnston:

So, every webinar that we run, as an example, we would always have a personal note from our speaker or from the brand or from someone in our team that is inviting the audience to attend that webinar. It uses a lot of language like you'll learn from me, I will share this. It's not a glossy HTML email. Guess what, it's just a plain text email. It feels like it's a speaker that is sending an email to just you in a personalized way to invite you to his show. We do that, and that is by far the most impactful and effective registration top of email that we use. I would encourage you all to play around with that technique as well. So, it's not from ON24. It could be from timjohnston@on24, and I'd write a little note as to why I think that you should attend this webinar. That's a very powerful way of encouraging nominees to attend.

Gabriel Lim:

Nice. I couldn't agree more, Tim. So, on our side that resonates a lot with me because when we will first getting started, right? I would send core emails, right? To everyone in my network to personally invite them for the webinar, right? For some people I call them influencers like our investors, people with huge networks. I would actually ask them for a favor, "Hey, do you mind if you share this, right? On your social? Do you mind if we share this with your portfolio companies?" That second order referral actually drove a lot of registrations for us, right?

Gabriel Lim:

To your point about no forms, I couldn't agree more, right? The last thing you want to do is to be a jerk, right? You email the person that, "Hey, can I invite you to my webinar?" And when they reply you send them a link like, "Here's a form, go serve yourself," right? It's just not cool, right?

Tim Johnston:

Yep. Yep.

Gabriel Lim:

So, I couldn't agree more with you. I guess maybe just one more point, maybe the fourth nugget for the audience on my side, at least what has worked for us is this new feature by LinkedIn called LinkedIn Event Pages. The beauty of LinkedIn Event Pages is that when you create this event page for your webinar, you can actually invite your first degree connections, right? To your event, and it will actually appear as a connection request to your first degree connections. What you can then do is to operationalize this and get people in your company or rather you can force the people in your company to invite their first degree connections as well. You can see how this quickly help your ... It becomes viral really quickly, and you get a lot of leverage from this. We have seen a lot of successes with leveraging the LinkedIn Event Page as well.

Tim Johnston:

Nice. I love that, and I think there's so many new challenges popping up that just help us remove that friction and just different approaches. I encourage everyone to experiment with these new channels to see what works for your brand. What works for us may not work for you, but experiment, learn, and if you haven't always on ongoing program particularly as it relates to webinars, you can learn a lot every time that you just experiment with a different tactic, a different channel. We do a lot of testing ourselves as well.

Gabriel Lim:

Absolutely. So, let's dive right into the next question before we go into Q&A. We have 21% of the audience, they were saying that converting webinar leads is a huge challenge for them. So, I guess we are all hurting today, right? Because COVID has left us with a huge hole as marketers in our demand generation effort, especially for conferences, face-to-face events, right? How do we drive pipeline from webinars, right? As head of demand generation for ON24, right? How do you effectively manage your lead followups, or how do you convert people who registered for your webinars or attended your webinars into sales pipeline?

Tim Johnston:

Yeah, it's a big question. It's a big question, and let me do my best to give you some structured guidance here that I'd start by saying that webinars traditionally, and most marketers still think that webinars are a top of funnel execution marketing strategy that is designed to bring in new leads, new names into your database. You get a very broad topic that attracts a wide audience, and webinars can be great and very powerful at doing that, but I think the best advice that I can share here is that we need to start thinking from a demand gen perspective more holistically about the buyer's journey and accommodating and building a webinar strategy that, yes, brings in new names into your flow, into your database to nurture and work towards that point of purchase.

Tim Johnston:

But it's about designing the programs at different stages of the funnel. You're basically building your experiences everywhere to accommodate for the different stages. And it's not just from thought leadership into maybe you've got a best practice series that helps your audience to consider your category or your products, but it's also you want to start working down the funnel as well. We do a lot of customer spotlights, and that works very well as a validation for our audiences. That's probably a mid-funnel sort of execution. We also have a very effective strategy that's focused at the bottom end of the funnel that is a perhaps demonstration. It's like an autopilot of a demo of our solution.

Tim Johnston:

That is one of the most effective channels for us right now. It's a webinar program, but the point is that we start at the top and we start to invite people through to the different stages, the different programs that we have all the way through to that demo piece and beyond. We don't just stop at that consideration point with, "Okay, is this the right platform for us? Let me get into the details of how it works."

Tim Johnston:

We also in post-purchase, we design programs that are designed to upsell and cross-sell, but also help customers get the best out of their investment with us. So, my advice is at the high level is design a program with multiple aspects that work their way through the actual funnel itself, okay? You naturally say that this nurturing behavior and this movement, it's a powerful, an accelerator. At ON24, we eat our own dog food and we live and breathe this, and we've put webinars at the center of our marketing and digital strategy, but we've seen many customers even outside of the tech industry, the software space, taking the same approach with a lot of success.

Tim Johnston:

So, think holistically but maybe more at a tactical or a meta level. We can actually look at this and say, "Well, if you design experiences in a way, and you approach it," I'm going to loop it back to our conversation at the beginning, Gabe, "is design for the experience, right?" But more than that, design strategically around what you can do. You've got a canvas in front of you, and the type of information, the poll questions that you ask, the surveys that you make available, the types of discussions that you have or just maybe some of the resources that you make available in the bonus content. All these are amazing signals for these marketer or the branch, right?

Tim Johnston:

So, think about when you're designing those experiences that you're maybe providing a little bit of everything across a buyer's journey. Maybe you've got a nice blog article that's very thought leadership focused, it's top of the funnel. Maybe you're going to invite people to a demo, because we know that that buying journey is not linear, right? And just because you host a webinar and you think that it's a middle of the funnel webinar, it doesn't mean your audience is going to see it that way as well, right?

Tim Johnston:

So, I encourage at the strategic level that you're designing a full funnel strategy, but also at the execution. For every webinar, think about the different touch points and the signals that you can generate when maybe one of your attendees click on a case study that you've made available, or maybe they've responded to a poll in a certain way, or maybe in that end-of-webinar survey you just simply ask, "Do you think we can help? Can I offer you a free consultation?" Yeah, pretty cool. And you get these signals, right?

Tim Johnston:

When it comes to how you then work with sales, I often think about I've got this image in my head of the American Football where you see players tipping over the Gatorade tubs over a coach. It's sort of like this effect where it's the same for marketing and sales. It's like, "Hey, sales, I've just run a very successful webinar. Here's 500 leads that you have to go and work your way through." That is not effective. That is not effective.

Gabriel Lim:

[crosstalk 00:38:13].

Tim Johnston:

Whilst your hot engaged leads are in there waiting for a phone call, they're cooling off. You've got a window to strike, and what we always recommend is that you lead your sales followup off the back of these marketing activities based on engagement, and based on an engagement score or based on signals. So, we build this idea of engagement-led data that informs our lead scoring model. Just because you run a webinar with 500 attendees doesn't mean that 500 attendees were leaning in listening to every word and engaged and a potential buyer for you. You have to read into the engagement data and score them appropriately.

Tim Johnston:

So, maybe 500 attended but maybe only 25% of them showed up engagement score of five and above. You can start to isolate them and prioritize those for your sales team. I think we have an obligation to our sales team to help them find the more engaged leads. I call it finding the needle in the haystack. Sales people aren't looking for more hay. They're looking for more needles, so we need to find a way to deliver those needles.

Gabriel Lim:

I couldn't agree with you more, right? I especially love the analogy of pouring a Gatorade and over your sales team. This may be controversial, right? But I believe that if you hand over a list of webinar leads to your sales team for them to call after a webinar, you are doing it wrong, and your sales reps will hate you for it. It just kills all credibility that you have as a marketer, right? After a while. We have to be thoughtful about this.

Tim Johnston:

Yeah. Yeah.

Gabriel Lim:

Right?

Tim Johnston:

And I think-

Gabriel Lim:

Go ahead, go ahead.

Tim Johnston:

I was going to say I think the way that you can maybe prioritize them, I see a lot of people particularly with marketing automation and a lead scoring model, they start to look at engagement based metrics from a webinar, and they prioritize those interactions or those scores to make sure that only the engaged leads are going through, or maybe they've hit a valuable piece of content that's a good signal for you. Those sort of leads will go through and get scored higher than someone who just maybe sat there passively and didn't do much. Maybe they attended but they weren't asking questions, responding to polls. So, I think that's a really good way to filter out some of that stuff and do a favor for your salesperson following up on the other side.

Gabriel Lim:

Absolutely. Yeah, so that has worked especially well for us as well. Basically, it's having a compelling content offer that's relevant to webinar content, right? And then you lead with first, so you lather them up the ... They see the interaction and engagement with your company, and then from there you can actually segment them and see who you want to convert into pipeline, right? I guess we are running out of time, so I would love to dive into the Q&A, right? I see some really good questions-

Tim Johnston:

Let's do it.

Gabriel Lim:

... in there. I want to ask you one from Jacklyn, right? Jacklyn, and then she asked, "How do you repurpose your on-demand content?"

Tim Johnston:

Yeah. I love that question. I think that's a rock-solid question, because so many people come to us and say, "Do people actually watch webinars on-demand? The answer is yes, they do. Particularly in this region, we have an enormous appetite for on-demand viewing, and we watch ... We're in this now economy where people are conditioned by services like Netflix and Grab and Uber Eats and these sorts of services, right? That deliver instantly. I think there's a huge market for on-demand.

Tim Johnston:

In some cases we even have customers just producing to on-demand just recordings, and it's they're producing episodes in their favorite TV show and creating their own Netflix channel for their contents, right? So, when it comes to repurposing on-demand, I think if you don't have an on-demand strategy for your webinars, and finding ways to repurpose and find new eyeballs on your webinars, you're missing out on a ton of engagement. I'm not just talking about sending an email after the event saying, "Hey, you missed that. Here's your recording link." That's very short-minded. You need to think longer term, I bet you, on-demand strategy and how you maybe centralize your on-demand assets to almost create like a hub, like a Netflix channel or something similar for your brand and encourage new eyeballs to come.

Tim Johnston:

There's plenty of ways to repurpose and find new audiences, whether it's working with associations or other partners in your space to reuse the same content and present it in a different way with a different flavor. There's ways that you can cut them up into bite-sized pieces. I know Gabe was kicking around some ideas around what we do with the content from this. It's a rule. It's a [minefield 00:43:10]. There's so much that you can extract from a webinar, little tidbits, video recordings or whitepapers. What if you start to go, "Wow, these are great. I just did this interview with one of our thought leaders. What if I took all those pieces and developed a guide or whitepaper on how to stand out on webinars?" That's an example, right?

Gabriel Lim:

Yeah.

Tim Johnston:

What about social posts? Using some of these poll results to fuel social clips and say, "Hey, did you know in Asia Pacific the biggest challenge was driving registrations? Come and learn how we address this at this webinar." So many different ways to use little micro bits of content within your webinar and bring them back into the recording? There's a number of tactics, but yeah, I'm a big fun of getting creative, chopping it up and finding a way to get new eyeballs on your content.

Gabriel Lim:

Perfect. I love it, and I couldn't agree more, right? At least from my point of view, I think the future, especially with COVID and everyone just working from home, multitasking all the time, right? I think we are entered the scrolling economy. So, basically people are just scrolling, right? On their newsfeed. I think the maximum that you can buy anyone's for is really like seven seconds to 30 seconds, right? So, what we're going to do after this webinar, which it really matter, right? I'm going to chop up some nuggets that you said into seven-second or 30-second pieces, right? And then put them on social.

Gabriel Lim:

When people see that, right? There's a link to the full on-demand webinar, the 45 minutes webinar, and then after that there will be a content offer. So, basically how to re-level them up, right? To eventually engage with our brand. I do think that that is the future of consuming, I call them micro-content, micro-moments. I think that's going to be huge in the coming months ahead.

Tim Johnston:

Absolutely.

Gabriel Lim:

Yeah, so let's grab another question from the audience, right? So, I have this guy called Marco, who actually said, "Hey, we managed to drive a lot of registrations but attendance rate is low, 5%, 15%, right? How should we be thinking about this, right? Should we be focusing more on the post-webinar experience, improve the in-webinar experience? Is this something even that we should be thinking about or worried about?"

Tim Johnston:

Yeah, so it's a common question, those. Typically, I'd say, look, if you're in the sort of 30% to 40% range, you're with majority of webinar producers in terms of attendance rates. You can see that in our benchmark report by the way. But yeah, look, I think there's a number of tactics. I think the first, if you're not doing it, it's kind of a hygiene factor, but you have to get on the business calender. It's number one, so every opportunity you have in your reminder emails, your post-signup experience, you need to be putting that in their calendars, because if you're leaning on them to just attend and remember what they've signed up to and not getting those reminders or relying on email, it can be quite heavy.

Tim Johnston:

So, you've got to have that ... I'm seeing some brands even use things like website reminders. There's social strategies as well reminding when event's about to start. There's a number of ways to lift that but I'm going to revert back to what I was just talking about. Don't worry about your live attendance, okay? It is important and there's probably around 51% that will always attend live, and it's that sort of idea of there'll be people that, "If I don't attend this, I'm going to miss out." But more and more we're seeing this number change that on-demand consumption is where people are spending a lot of time. Up to 41 minutes in fact.

Gabriel Lim:

Wow.

Tim Johnston:

You've got to get on-demand strategy right, and don't worry too much about the performance because you'll get a second bite at the cherry. Don't worry. You can always drive more audience to that recording and provide a similar experience. So, in today's event, if you missed it or you're attending on-demand, one thing you'll notice is that it's exactly the same experience as live. You can still respond to the polls. You can ask your questions, and guess what, those questions will come back to me and I'll get back to you. Don't worry.

Tim Johnston:

It's all about replicating that live experience and trying to minimize that gap, but it's a preferred way of viewing, almost the number one way of viewing these days is on-demand. Live is still tilting but I won't be surprised in the next few years we start to see on-demand being the number one viewing source, because people are busy. People are busy and there's a lot of competition, and kind of a catch-up on the valuable webinar sessions when you've got the time.

Gabriel Lim:

Perfect. Sounds good. Nice, I think we have some really fantastic question from the audience today, really interesting poll results. I think we are out of time. So, I just want to wrap this session, and I'll thank everyone for attending this webinar. Tim, you have been great. I felt that I learned so much from this session with you today as always. So, I guess as the next steps, right? For you guys if you haven't already filled in your quiz questions, please fill them in so that we can send you a ON24 Webinerd T-shirt, right? As well as if you enjoyed this session, right? It's part of a ongoing Saleswhale master class series where we actually interview the world's leading experts in marketing and demand generation, right?

Gabriel Lim:

So, the next session we have them tonight is with this guy called Mike Volpe, who used to be the CMO of HubSpot. We will be talking about how has inbound marketing changed in the last 13 weeks and 13 years. So, if you're interested, sign up at saleswhale.com/masterclass. Yeah, Tim, I wonder if you have any parting words for the audience.

Tim Johnston:

Yeah, it's been a lot of fun today, Gabe. Thank you for inviting me onto your show. Yeah, I encourage you all to think about that experience, don't forget about that element. You guys are the new TV producers of the world. Think about producing content trends for your brand. Think about how you can replicate that B2B Netflix, and have fun with it. Be human. Be real, and keep producing awesome webinars, guys.

Gabriel Lim:

Right. All right. Thanks, Tim. Thanks, guys. See you. Take care.

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Gabriel Lim

Co-founder & CEO at Saleswhale


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