Webinars are a wonderfully robust and lively marketing tool, and an effective way to reach your prospects or buyers.

Or, rather, they can be.

study by Business.com found that a whopping 67% of business leaders who rely on social media for business information seek out relevant podcasts or webinars.

That stat screams opportunity, doesn't it?

Why do webinars rock? Because they are...

  1. Interactive and social. Done right, webinars feel like real-world classrooms or conference rooms. Participants get a chance to ask questions and chat with the speaker, the moderator, and each other.
  2. Less intimidating. Maybe your prospects aren't quite ready to field a call from your sales team, but they are happy to hear what you are all about in a no-pressure webinar in which they are one of many.
  3. Affordable. As online conferencing technology has evolved, the cost of the platforms has been steadily coming down.
  4. Broad-reaching. Instead of inviting a few prospects to an in-person event, you can invite hundreds to a virtual one.
  5. Geographically neutral. It doesn't matter whether the people you are trying to reach are in Dubuque or Dubai. They can be accommodated.
  6. A team player in the content mix. Webinars can be "reimagined" as many things in your marketing mix: Interview the presenter in a podcast prior to the event to build up interest and excitement; release handouts or transcripts or, after the fact, answer unanswered questions from your audience.
  7. Effective. Remember that earlier stat from Business.com? Further research from RAIN Group backs it up: Event or conference presentations rate second to referrals and personal awareness as the top method for how professional services companies initially identify the firms they work with.
  8. Door openers. Webinars give you a reason to reach out to prospects by phone or email both before and after an event.

Sounds great, right? So if webinars are so awesome, then why do many tragically underperform?

A MarketingProfs and Junta42 study that polled 1,100 North American businesses found that 42% of businesses use webinars as part of their content marketing mix—but only 30% of surveyed businesses consider them effective.

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Ann Handley is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author who speaks worldwide about how businesses can escape marketing mediocrity to ignite tangible results. She is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, a LinkedIn Influencer, a keynote speaker, dog person, and writer.