How to Drive Results with Webinars in B2B Marketing

When your B2B marketing efforts need a boost, one way for you to drive results is something pretty simple: webinars. I know, webinars have been around for so long that they might not seem all that special or flashy anymore, but actually, they can be really great for driving qualified leads.

There are several things I love about using webinars in the B2B marketing mix:

  1. Flexibility. You can plan webinars within the space of a few weeks if you need to, to help give your sales teams a bit of a lift. If your budget is too tight to ramp up paid spend, but you have MQL or sales targets to hit that are falling behind what you planned, webinars can sometimes help fill that gap (presuming it’s not a huge one!)
  2. Versatility. You can target webinars toward the needs of buyers at various stages of the funnel, depending on where your numbers need boosting, by choosing topics accordingly.
  3. Longevity. Many webinars will keep delivering for you long after they’re recorded. If the content is valuable, you can put turn them into a gated asset, putting them behind a form if you need to, in order to drive more leads later on.
  4. Proliferation. You can use video snippets, featured quotes, and micro-content on social media. Sometimes, you can even generate an entire ebook or blog posts from the content of the webinar too. You can also repurpose the Q&A to generate new topic ideas for both content marketing and future webinars. In this sense, webinars can be a B2B marketer’s dream!
  5. Reciprocity. I love using webinars to do co-marketing with other companies. Not only can you double your lead volume, but you can build greater buzz with a webinar on social media, to raise awareness of both brands within multiple audiences that have overlapping interests.

Typical Conversion Rates for B2B Marketing Webinars

One of the best things about using webinars in your marketing mix is that the conversion rates can be pretty great. But how do you know what “pretty great” is exactly? I love having benchmarks to track against, so I’ll provide some for you here. But before I do, keep in mind that the typical conversion rate for webinars from lead to close will vary a lot depending on various factors such as the industry you’re in, the type of webinar you do, the quality of the leads that sign up, the effectiveness of the presentation, and importantly, the follow-up process with your BDR or sales team.

According to a 2020 report by ON24, the average conversion rate for webinars from lead to opportunity is 40%, and the average conversion rate from opportunity to close is 16%.

It’s important to note that these are just industry averages and individual results may vary, but these numbers ring true to me. In my experience, the conversion rate from lead to opportunity for webinars usually hovered in the range of 25% to 50%, so the ON24 findings sound about right to me, since that’s what I’ve witnessed too.

Because conversion rates are pretty high for webinars compared to many other B2B marketing programs, I typically assign a higher points value in my lead scoring system to webinars vs. other types of leads, to ensure sales teams will naturally prioritize them above others. That said, exact conversion rates will depend a lot on various factors. It’s essential to measure and track your conversion rates to understand the effectiveness of your webinars and continuously optimize your strategy for better results.

Conversion Rates for B2B Marketing Webinars by Funnel Stage

The biggest thing that influences the exact conversion rates of webinars, based on what I’ve seen, is which stage of the funnel you’re targeting. That in turn will determine what topics you choose for the webinar. Here’s how conversion rates for top-of-funnel, middle-of-funnel, and bottom-of-funnel webinars typically compare:

  1. Top-of-funnel webinars. These webinars are designed to attract new leads and introduce them to your brand. They are typically focused on broad industry topics, trends, or challenges, rather than specific products or services. Since attendees are often in the early stages of the sales funnel, conversion rates from lead-to-opportunity for these webinars are typically lower, ranging from 10% to 30%.
  2. Middle-of-funnel webinars. These webinars are designed to educate leads who have already shown interest in your brand or products. They are typically focused on more specific topics, such as product features, use cases, or customer success stories. Since attendees are further along in the sales funnel, conversion rates (again, for lead-to-opportunity) for these webinars tend to be higher than for top-of-funnel webinars, ranging from 20% to 50%.
  3. Bottom-of-funnel webinars. These webinars are designed to provide detailed information about your products or services and to help leads make a purchasing decision. They are typically focused on product demos, pricing, or implementation details. Since attendees are near the end of the sales funnel, conversion rates for these webinars tend to be the highest, ranging from 40% to 70%.

It’s important to note that these conversion rates are just general guidelines, and can vary depending on factors such as the quality of the content, the relevance to the target audience, the effectiveness of the promotion, and the strength of the follow-up strategy.

What to Focus On for Webinars at Each Funnel Stage

Planning webinars for top-of-funnel topics versus middle- and bottom-of-funnel topics requires a different approach, because they serve different purposes in the sales funnel. Here are some key differences to consider.

Top-of-Funnel Webinar Topics

Top-of-funnel webinars should focus on educating and engaging new leads and introducing them to your brand. The goal is to generate awareness and interest in your products or services, rather than making a direct sales pitch. Here are some examples of top-of-funnel webinar topics:

  1. Industry trends and insights. Provide attendees with valuable information about the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities in their industry.
  2. Best practices and tips. Share tips and best practices related to your industry or niche that can help attendees improve their skills or workflows.
  3. Thought leadership and expert opinions. Invite industry experts to share their insights and opinions on relevant topics.
  4. Educational content. Provide educational content that is relevant to your target audience, such as how-to guides, tutorials, or case studies.
  5. General overviews. Provide a general overview of your industry, product offerings, or services to help attendees better understand what you do.

By providing valuable content and focusing on building relationships with new leads, top-of-funnel webinars can help to increase brand awareness and generate new leads for your business.

Middle-of-Funnel Webinar Topics

Middle-of-funnel webinars typically focus on building relationships with leads and moving them further down the sales funnel. At this stage, leads are aware of your brand and have shown interest in your solutions, but they may not be ready to make a purchase yet. The goal of middle-of-funnel webinars is to nurture these leads and provide them with more information about your solutions to help them make an informed decision. Here are some key things to focus on:

  1. Address specific pain points. Middle-of-funnel webinars should focus on addressing the specific pain points of your target audience. Use data and insights from your previous interactions with the leads to tailor the content and address their specific concerns.
  2. Provide more in-depth information. At this stage, leads are looking for more in-depth information about your solutions. Use the webinar to provide a deeper dive into your products or services and show how they can solve the leads’ problems.
  3. Showcase thought leadership. Middle-of-funnel webinars should continue to showcase your company’s thought leadership and expertise in the industry. This helps to build trust and credibility with the leads.
  4. Provide social proof. Use case studies, customer testimonials, and other forms of social proof to demonstrate the value of your solutions and build confidence in the leads.
  5. Encourage engagement. Middle-of-funnel webinars should encourage engagement from the leads. Use polls, Q&A sessions, and other interactive features to keep the leads engaged and gather feedback.

By focusing on these key areas, middle-of-funnel webinars can help to build relationships with leads and move them closer to a purchase decision. It’s important to remember that middle-of-funnel webinars should be tailored to the specific needs and interests of the leads and should provide value to them at every stage of the sales funnel.

Bottom-of-Funnel Webinar Topics

Bottom-of-funnel webinars should focus on helping leads make a purchasing decision by providing detailed information about your products or services. The goal is to provide a deeper understanding of your offerings and address any remaining concerns or objections that may be holding back the lead from making a purchase. Here are some examples of bottom-of-funnel webinar topics:

  1. Product demonstrations. Showcase the features and benefits of your products or services and provide a live demonstration of how they work.
  2. Case studies and success stories. Share examples of how your products or services have helped other customers achieve their goals.
  3. Pricing and packaging. Provide a detailed overview of your pricing and packaging options, and explain how they can provide value to the lead.
  4. Implementation and onboarding. Explain the implementation process and provide guidance on how to onboard new customers.
  5. Q&A sessions. Provide a forum for leads to ask any remaining questions they may have about your products or services.

By providing in-depth information and addressing any remaining concerns, bottom-of-funnel webinars can help to nudge leads towards making a purchase decision and can increase the likelihood of converting them into paying customers.

Overall, the key difference between top-of-funnel, middle-of-funnel, and bottom-of-funnel webinars is the focus. Top-of-funnel webinars are focused on generating leads and raising awareness. Middle-of-funnel webinars are designed to help strengthen your company’s relationships with those leads and nudge them further along in the purchase decision. Bottom-of-funnel webinars are really the ones most focused on sales and conversion. You’ll likely need a mix! By tailoring your approach to the specific stage of the sales funnel, you can create webinars that are more effective and relevant to your target audience.

Tips to Maximize B2B Webinar Success

When planning a B2B webinar, there are several tips that marketers tend to overlook, but that can make a big difference in the success of the webinar. Here are some commonly overlooked tips:

  1. Choose the right time and day. The timing of your webinar can have a big impact on attendance rates. Be sure to schedule the webinar at a time when your target audience is most likely to be available, and consider time zones if you have a global audience. I’ve sometimes run the same webinar at two different times of day, in order to ensure maximum possible reach, but to ensure fairness to sales teams in various global locations.
  2. Set clear expectations. Be clear about what attendees can expect from the webinar, including the topic, format, and length. This can help to manage expectations and increase engagement. Beware of over-promising, and make sure that whatever benefits you plan to provide them during the webinar are things you can actually deliver.
  3. Promote the webinar early and often. Don’t wait until the last minute to promote the webinar. Start promoting it several weeks in advance, and use a variety of channels (such as email, social media, and paid advertising) to reach your target audience. More on this below!
  4. Provide valuable content. While product demos can be a valuable part of a webinar depending on the funnel stage, be sure to provide other valuable content as well, such as industry insights, expert opinions, or case studies. This can help to build credibility and increase engagement.
  5. Follow up with attendees. After the webinar, follow up with attendees to thank them for attending and provide additional resources or next steps. This can help to build relationships and increase the likelihood of conversion.
  6. Test your technology. Make sure that your technology (such as your webinar platform, microphone, and camera) is working properly before the webinar. If you’re working with outside presenters, make sure to do a dry run in advance. This can help to avoid technical difficulties that can disrupt the webinar and decrease engagement.

When and How to Promote Your B2B Webinar

The ideal time to start promoting a B2B webinar can depend on various factors, such as the complexity of the topic, the size of your audience, the length of the webinar, and even the time of year. One general guideline is to start promoting your webinar at least two to three weeks before the event date to give potential attendees enough time to plan their schedule. However, if you’re planning one around a regional holiday season, you might need to have a longer window for promotion.

Here are some examples of how you can promote your B2B webinar in the lead-up to the day of the event:

  1. Email campaigns. Send targeted email campaigns to your existing leads and subscribers, highlighting the benefits of attending the webinar and including a call-to-action to register.
  2. Social media. Promote the webinar on your social media channels, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, using dedicated hashtags, visuals, and short video teasers to create buzz.
  3. Paid advertising. Consider using paid advertising channels, such as Google Ads, LinkedIn Ads, or Facebook Ads, to reach a wider audience and drive registrations.
  4. Blog posts and guest articles. Publish blog posts and guest articles on relevant industry blogs and publications, promoting the webinar and including links to the registration page.
  5. Partner and influencer outreach. Collaborate with partners or influencers in your industry to co-promote the webinar and reach their audiences.
  6. Webinar landing page. Create a dedicated landing page for the webinar, highlighting the key benefits and including a registration form, countdown timer, and social proof elements such as testimonials or past attendee numbers.

By using a mix of these promotion channels, you can increase your chances of reaching your target audience and generating registrations for your B2B webinar. While webinars can be stressful to pull off due to so many moving parts, and admittedly, they cannot be scaled indefinitely, they tend to be a really great way to generate leads for your business that tend to have a high conversion rate. They can also give your company a boost during times when numbers are falling slightly behind. I hope these tips help you, and will encourage you to include more webinars within your B2B marketing efforts!

Bonus: if you’re are addicted to benchmarks to evaluate the performance of your own marketing efforts like I am, this list has a ton of stats on B2B webinars that can be super helpful in determining if what you’re seeing is average at every stage, from how many people sign up, to how many are no-shows, and much more.