This week, marketers from across the bay area flock to On24’s second annual Webinar World conference to discuss strategies and best practices for using live content. The event features talks by leaders from companies like Gimlet Media, Salesforce, SiriusDecisions, and IBM Cloud, speaking on topics related to marketing strategy, webinar best practices, and webinar execution.
The event speaks to the standing of live content in the business world, which is becoming more ubiquitous as a key tool for the modern marketer. At this point, 73% of marketers (majority B2B) say that webinars are the best way to generate high-quality leads. 57% of marketers say they have live video in their content schedules for 2018. According to GoToWebinar’s 2017 Big Book of Webinar Stats, companies in industries from tech to real estate are producing as many as 23 webinars a year, on average, and seeing a huge impact on lead generation.
You can spend next to nothing to stream from your phone, or hire an award-winning production company that will create an Oscar-caliber web series. There are tons of production companies who now specialize in live streaming. Some specialize in fashion, others in tech, music festivals, or webinars. You name it and there is a company who can do it. The question is, of course, what is your budget, what are your goals, and what does your audience expect from your industry? A typical one-camera shoot with a decent production company will run anywhere from $5000-$8000. A multi-camera shoot can range in the tens of thousands, and a midsize music concert starts at quarter million. On the other hand, as more and more brands are shooting compelling content on mobile phones, the cost of production is edging towards zero.
Chances are you already know what your audience expects from your industry. If not, check out what your competitors are live streaming. Are their streams shot from multiple angles? Do they have mics on their speakers? If you stray from the standard, be sure you’re adding value. Being the first to produce a well-lit and mic’d fireside chat when most of your industry is streaming Q&As from their laptops could give you a competitive edge.
A typical viewer will drop off after 3 seconds if the content does not “speak to them”, so your digital story must be compelling – interesting, funny, relevant, useful, entertaining and hopefully all of the above. We’ve seen B2B marketers have a lot of success with the following forms of content:
A. Demos – Hosting a demo of your product allows potential customers to see what the product looks like and how it performs, foster interaction between your business and customers by allowing them to ask live questions and drive instantaneous interest. Couple that with a “buy now” button that links to an e-commerce backend and you’ve got instant conversions.
B. Educational Webinars – Reach new audiences by answering questions and addressing their professional challenges through educational webinars. Offer industry trends, new technologies, or new strategic insight, and establish your product as a solution.
C. Backstage Passes at Conferences – Major user conferences today are becoming more like concerts or festivals in terms of attracting dedicated customer fans. Give your users and leads a glimpse behind the scenes, with interviews and close-ups/exclusives with your most well-known speakers.
D. Product Launches – Similar to live streaming demos of your product, live streaming product launches can give users an opportunity to see your product and buy it all in the same place, without leaving their desk.
E. Industry Specific Thought Leadership – Enterprise companies such as Microsoft, Dell and GE are embracing live streaming at conferences and virtual events to showcase their thought leadership on topics such as data security, cloud computing and even drone engineering.
The universe of online video platforms expands beyond Facebook Live, Twitter, and YouTube. Platforms vary in terms of features, scalability, and target audience (for more information, check out Eight OVPs You Need To Know If You’re Marketing With Live Stream). Some considerations here would be your target audience and your goals in terms of scale and format. Some companies have partnerships with AmpLive and can facilitate large-scale distribution and audience targeting from within their platforms, while others will require an extra step. Other platforms are built for smaller, more intimate webinars that are mainly slide-based. For a B2B audience, just sticking to social media may not be your best option.
If you’re putting on live virtual events and using live video, you probably already know that it’s tough to count on people to tune in at a specific time. B2B audiences in particular are busy, and it’s not always easy for them to discover your live stream on Facebook or Twitter during work hours. At the moment, the most common way to drive tune-in is still to send out invites to your email list and hope that people register and show up to your event. However, with marketing email open rates hovering around 18% across all industries and landing page bounce rates around 90% for most registration pages, this method is clearly not the most efficient. As live streaming becomes more ubiquitous, live content distribution companies have emerged, helping broadcasters find the scalable live audience for their content – in real time, regardless of their engagement on existing channels. Distribution tools (like AmpLive) help make sure you reach your target audience, even if they bounced or forgot to attend.
Now that you’ve got eyeballs on your live stream, your job is done, right? No. It has only just begun. Who are these viewers? What do they like about my content? Do they want to hear from me again? Will they buy my product? These are all questions that can be answered with data collected from the moment the viewer engages with your content. Optimize your content strategy over time to deliver content that converts more efficiently. After the initial live stream, re-target your audience to drive them further down the sales funnel to result in conversions.
So, this is what matters in the end. You must back engagement with quantifiable results to prove ROI, and it all comes down to CPA (Cost Per Acquisition). How much do I have to spend in marketing dollars to get a paying customer? With growing live video distribution capabilities out there, you now have the tools to not only increase your reach, but retarget your audience based on engagement or segment, which can increase your chances of converting new leads through your live content.