During the past week, I’ve been highlighting the benefits of using webinars to generate sales leads.  But even those who regularly use free or even paid webinars in their sales and marketing processes make common mistakes that limit the full potential of a successful campaign. Converting a webinar registrant to a customer takes more than a powerful presentation on the day of the event.

Common Mistakes in Using Webinars for Lead Conversion

Mistake #1: The focus is only on the lowest-hanging fruit

The typical lead conversion process looks something like this:

  1. Invitations are emailed to prospective attendees in an effort to entice them to register for the webinar.
  2. A subset of the registrants attends the event.
  3. The sales team of the webinar sponsor follows up with all attendees and those who didn’t but asked to be contacted.

Believe it or not, that process actually drives acceptable results when viewed under an ROI microscope. However, there is a major flaw.

Let’s examine the numbers. Take an event with 200 registrants. According to the industry average, only 33% of registrants will actually attend the webinar.  In this “industry average” scenario, you are left with 66 people. The sales team works on the most interested attendees and if you assume that 1 in 10 is ready to buy you are left with seven new customers.

Do the math and seven new customers for the dollars spent on a typical webinar seems a great return for most business-to-business companies. A closer look at the numbers, however, suggests otherwise: 193 potential customers are left on the table. What is the plan to cultivate them? Surprisingly, often there is no plan.

Solution: If someone takes the time to respond to your promotion, fill out a registration and give you their contact information—odds are they have a need that your company can potentially solve. Focus on the big picture, and lay out a longer-term strategy to address the needs and opportunities of all your registrants.

Mistake #2: Only the event is interactive

Marketers and sales professionals love webinars because they are personal and interactive. However, the event itself is only one element of what should constitute a comprehensive interactive experience.

Most webinars are educational in nature because registrants have come to learn more about a problem or issue. As the instructor in this process, think of it as your responsibility to deliver the right information to your audience. Why not offer white papers and relevant case studies before the event so attendees are better informed?

Delivering a quality presentation is an obvious requirement, but think about what your attendees may need to help them frame their business challenge in the context of your offer or solution before the event. Finding out what your registrants are looking for is simple. Just ask them when they register for your event.

More importantly, give it to them. Deliver focused information—case studies, customer examples, relevant articles based on the data collected so that the content can be personalized as much as possible.

Solution: Registrants are coming to you, raising their hand and asking for knowledge and help. Have a plan in place to engage and deliver to address their needs before the Webinar campaign gets started. You will find higher attendance, more satisfied participants and higher conversion rates if you execute properly.

Mistake #3: Considering the management of webinars an administrative task

Maximizing the opportunities a webinar presents can deliver immediate results and long-term payoffs.

Developing and managing a process and system to deliver, engage and convert your audience relies on resources from marketing, sales, and IT groups. As with any opportunity, the results depend on the investment that you make. What is a single customer worth to you?

As a cost-effective way to generate more leads, webinars enable you to better qualify leads and give your sales team the important information they need to close more sales. Holding an online event can tap into and compliment your current marketing plan. It can even accelerate your sales cycle. Therefore, you can’t leave any details to the unknown.

So, before you even consider hosting a webinar, understand this: the best webinar is only a means to an end. No matter how good the presentation is, how smooth the speakers are or how wiz-bang the features are, the only thing that really matters is what comes out of the event.

To learn more about Lead Generation Webinars, view the video replay of “Generate Quality Sales Leads Using Webinars”

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