27 July 2015

Military Marketing: Webinars/Webcasts

David Yoo, RallyPoint Civilian Careers.


Webinar Marketing to the Military


What is a Webinar/Webcast?

A webinar is an online presentation that engages with those who are tuned into your session. In webinars, you are employing slides, audio, pictures, etc. to interact with consumers who are interested in finding out more about your business. The presenter uses a computer or telephone to speak directly to his guests. Questions can also be asked in real time through the interactive webinar interface, and the presenter can immediately answer any questions that his audience may have while going slide by slide to incorporate visual imagery. 

A webcast, on the other hand, is the broadcast of an already recorded presentation over the Internet. In this particular session, the transmission of information is one-way only, from speaker to audience. Because they are recorded sessions, webcasts can be viewed at any time. 

Thus, the main difference between a webinar and a webcast is that a webinar is live and interactive, while a webcast is a transmission from one to many (with limited interactivity). 


Why Use Webinars?

According to the Content Marketing Institute, "42% of the B2B Content Marketing participants use Webinars/Webcasts and they are quite pleased with the results, placing the tactic in the top 5 for effectiveness." So why do many businesses think Webinars are so effective, and why should defense contractors or business marketing to the military take advantage of this medium?/

1. It's immersive
Webinars are truly one of the most immersive content experience aside from meeting clients face-to-face. There is no other interaction that creates an environment in which a business can interact with a set of attendees for 45-60 minutes. As mentioned above, the interactive user interface allows for attendees to ask the presenter questions live and participate in an informative dialogue. The interactive nature of webinars make the experience more memorable and will help your business retain and close deals with leads who are interested in your service. 

2. Sends customers through the sales funnel
Webinar Sales Marketing
You can generate marketing leads with an informative, engaging, and successful webinar. If someone signs up for your webinar, he probably already has respect for either you or your company, which you can leverage over time to convert them into customers, as they have already have a proven interest in what you do or offer. Your self-selected audience means that you have to do very little heavy lifting in terms of educating them about the importance of your service but rather allows you to spend more time to talk about the specific details about your service. With a successful webinar, you will be able to convince your attendees that you know what you're talking about and you understand how your product can be of use to your target. In doing so, you will inevitably be able to close close deals and create a positive business relationship with those who were compelled by your presentation. 

3. Add value to your brand by using webinars as post-sale educational tools
Business marketers often use webinars to display and showcase products/services as well as to educate prospective consumers and generate leads. But one great way to employ webinars aside from mobilizing individuals up and down the sales ladder is by using webinars and webcasts as a way to educate your existing customers. Having your experts lead virtual learning webinars and educate your customer base about upcoming innovations in the market, overcoming typical challenges in the business space, or industry trends. Doing so will help you position your company's brand as a sincere and customer-centered organization as well as a reliable industry thought leader. Not all webinars have to be sales pitches, so remember that you can manipulate the nature of your online broadcast to suit the needs of your consumers and to provide them an extra reason to come back to you when they want or need something. 

4. It's cost effective
Webinars Easy Military Marketing
Webinars are cost-effective for both business marketers and consumers. The costs associated with creating a valuable, informative, and engaging webinar are far less than producing or attending a large, live event where virtually the same information would be used to spread awareness of the company's services. In other words, webinars give you many of the same rewards of an in-person seminar without the large price tag associated with renting venues, travel, and other necessary expenses, including time, which you can instead use to focus more attention on creating memorable, engaging, and valuable content for your attendees. Consumers incur no costs either, since signing up to attend a webinar is free. Keeping an archived video of your webinar can also allow anyone interested in your topic to find your presentation unless you decide to remove it, making it a worthwhile investment. Brian Carroll, CEO of InTouch Inc wrote that “We've been able to show that 300% to 500% more people watch a recorded webinar than attend a live one...If you don't record it, you're missing out on more than half of your audience.”

5. Improves Search Engine Optimization
As we've mentioned in our previous posts about the relationship between content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO), we've stressed that you have to create valuable content. Webinars can do a great deal if individuals interested in the subject matter that you're presenting are going to be coming back to your webinars for more information and to seek your expertise. Archived webinars on not only your website but other social media channels can help you gain visibility with the search engines, as the video broadcast will link back to your business if viewers find the webinar valuable. Post the slide deck you used to social sharing sites like SlideShare.

Next Steps

The Content Marketing Institutes highlights three particular points about webinars: 
1. Webinars make an excellent call-to-action or follow up offer to other forms of content, such as ebooks, white papers, enewsletters, etc. 
2. You benefit twice: first, from the live event, then from the people who download the archived event. 
3. A successful Webinar requires an aggressive promotions strategy, typically via your Website, blog, enewsletter and other media or social media channels.
Once you understand those key points, start brainstorming ways for you to begin your webinar. HubSpot provides excellent step-by-step insight into how you can get your webinar marketing off the ground and running.

To sign up for our bi-weekly RallyPoint webinar about the services we offer, click here.

For more information about creating valuable content for marketing to general audiences as well as for specific military audiences, check out some of previous blog posts about content marketing and using video campaigns.

Check out some of RallyPoint's unique Business Services here and have access to more than 740,000 members of the military and former military on our social network.

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