Education should be one of the primary goals of any B2B content marketing strategy. Particularly in the B2B market when it comes to cloud, IT, and telecom services. 5G networks, cloud computing, containerization, identity management, cyber threat hunting, artificial intelligence, machine learning, predictive analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), and blockchain are just a few of the technologies that organizations are selling and ‘baking in’ to new solutions. Your target market can’t buy products from you if they don’t know the solution exists, or if they don’t understand how it works – at least at a basic level.
The same is true for technology companies that rely on channel partners to sell their products and services to end users. If those partners don’t understand your solutions or know the value of what you’re offering, how can you expect them to talk convincingly (or coherently) with potential customers? You can’t!
The Power of Educational Webinars
That’s where webinars come into play in the content marketing mix. Webinars are one of the best content vehicles for educating partners because they offer an informative and personal experience for prospects without the typical ‘salesy’ attributes of a product demo or other channel. Webinars are effective because they establish a deeper level of engagement and help solidify an organization as a thought leader in the industry while highlighting industry expertise and knowledge in a specific area or technology, making the company an attractive partner.
Best Practices to Implement
When building a webinar program businesses need to accurately educate partners, making it easy for them to understand and sell solutions into prospective and existing customer bases. To meet these goals, webinars should effectively break down solutions or technology and inform partners on the use cases, solution features, and pricing options. Armed with education, partners are well equipped to convey your messages to end users, uncovering valuable opportunities. But, starting a webinar program sounds daunting, right? It doesn’t have to be!
Follow these best practices and you’ll be well on your way to attracting high-quality partners that will better understand your solutions, and are enthusiastic about selling for you.
Build a webinar calendar
For a webinar program to work, you need to establish a clear message and cadence outlined in a webinar strategy. Start by mapping out a one-year plan for regularly scheduled monthly webinars, including date, time, and topics. Ahead of time, teams should also design an editable ‘template’ for all webinar presentations using the company’s brand and value propositions. With a ‘template’ in hand, it won’t be as daunting for presenters to come up with their own materials every month.
Promote the event and register attendees
Organizations should create a webinar attendee registration page and also promote the webinar as part of a larger email marketing program. Organizations can also promote their monthly webinar series from social media platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter. By tracking who’s signing up and attending webinars, organizations can gain a better understanding of their target partner audiences.
Choose a format – recorded vs live
The debate between recorded and live webinars continues to rage on because the reality is, both can work. Live webinars give presenters the chance to engage with attendees, assuming listeners ask questions. Recorded webinars, on the other hand, may be more convenient for the listener and for the presenter. Businesses should select the format that works best for them and enables their team to produce highest-quality, consistent webinar content possible. Regardless, all webinars should be recorded and offered ‘on demand’ as part of a content library for partners.
Select the right presenter
One of the biggest ways to alienate your audience and squash repeat attendance is to be unprepared as a presenter. When choosing a presenter, it’s important for that person to not only be knowledgable about the content but also be personable and engaging. The goal of the webinar is to engage with attendees – not put them to sleep. The presenter needs to be confident in the material they are presenting, able to quickly answer live or chat questions and have a good understanding of the webinar platform to provide a good experience for attendees.
Follow up with attendees (and those that didn’t attend!)
After each webinar, organizations should complete follow up activities to registrants to promote further interactions, using target emails and publishing the event on-demand on sites like Vimeo and Slideshare. Teams should pay close attention to the questions or themes uncovered during webinars to gain valuable insight into content areas that need further exploration. Are attendees struggling with installation guides, value propositions, or discovery questions? By answering these questions, companies can make smarter decisions about how they tweak content or approach partners going forward.
Next Steps to Webinar Greatness
Strategic educational content should provide answers to customers’ biggest problems, questions, and pain points. Webinar content that informs, educates and engages partners should be a regular part of the content mix for companies wanting to generate awareness and enthusiasm in the partner community. If you want help building out your partner webinar strategy, talk to us! You can also read our Carve Digital case study highlighting how we helped one of our customers – Broad Sky Networks – build a winning webinar program, fostering an environment of collaboration and education with channel partners.