In many high-tech industries (especially software), Webinars have become the de facto standard for information delivery and lead generation. Planned and executed correctly, a Webinar can yield outstanding results for your technology commercialization marketing efforts. If you are interested in generating increased leads from your webinars, try these tips below. We’ve found that following this process has incredible results.
Know Your Audience
Targeting your audience and understanding their needs will help you select a compelling topic. Understand where your targets fall in the value chain-are they raw materials providers, vertical integrators, or end-users? In general, your target audience will be that group that best represents prospective licensees. However, recognize that to be most effective, you may need to host multiple Webinars targeted at different levels of the value chain.
Selecting the Topic
People are busy and generally won’t attend any event that is strictly a sales pitch. Talk about a topic that has tangible, stand-alone value to your prospects, however, and you’ll get a great turn out. You can further enhance the topic by offering prospects a take-away deliverable that has value independent of the technology that you are marketing. The take-away might be a checklist, template, process guideline, white paper or similar deliverable that is specific to their industry and business needs, but independent of your technology.
Beware of offering give-aways such as gift certificates or raffle prizes. You may find that your participation numbers increase significantly, but the quality of attendees and leads decreases. Offer a give-away that has very real and relevant value to the topic at hand-such as a two-hour consultative session with the inventor-and you may increase both quantity and quality.
Allow for at least eight weeks of planning before the actual event. You’ll need this much time to interview the inventor, select a topic, design a take-away and/or give-away, advertise the session, identify prospects for invitations, and create your presentation materials. Press coverage is extremely helpful in generating additional participants.
Consider tag-teaming the inventor with a business person from your office. Inventors are generally great at talking about the technical details, but may lack the industry and business perspective that will enable participants to fully understand the value of the technology.
Because your audience will be from multiple and possibly competitive organizations, participants will generally want to remain anonymous. To avoid distractions, you’ll want all participants but the presenters to be on “mute.” Leverage the features of your Web conferencing tool (e.g., WebEx) to enable communication between the anonymous participants and the meeting facilitator.
Adding interactive polls (generally available through your Web conferencing tool) will add interest and interaction to an otherwise one-way presentation. Be sure to record your presentation so that you can post it to the Web after the session.
Use your take-away and/or give-away as the first-level follow-up after the session. Be sure to reach out to those registrants who were unable to attend, to engage their interest. Make the Webinar recording available on your Web site but, as with the live session, require interested parties to register to access it. Diligently follow-up in a timely fashion, before leads go cold.
—By Karen Hiser