Everyone has dreamed of starting their own business at some point in life. But not everyone has what it takes to turn that idea into a reality.
The startup world is fierce. Competition is everywhere while profits are scarce. Getting smart about your early growth strategy is one way to ensure your startup makes it past the pivotal two to five-year turning point.
Webinars can be a crucial growth tactic for early stage startups, especially those in the B2B space. 95% of marketers use webinars to generate leads while a further 76% say webinars help them reach more leads.
For early stage startups with small budgets, webinars could be just the trick they’re looking for. According to On24’s webinar benchmark report, webinars can also be a cost-effective way to generate leads by reducing your cost-per-lead.
I’ve helped numerous eCommerce brands, SaaS companies, and startups execute effective webinars. Armed with my webinar knowledge and experience, I’m sharing how and why webinars can be a powerful early growth tactic for your startup.
Developing an early growth strategy for your startup
The average length of a SaaS sales cycle is almost three months. In the early days of your business, three months can feel like a long time. Investing in webinars early on ensures you’re filling your pipeline from the get-go.
This longer sales cycle presents an opportunity to continually nurture leads and turn them into converting customers. Trial periods, lead relationship building, and valuable demos are just a few of the ways SaaS companies sell their offering.
Sales and marketing go hand-in-hand. Webinars help bridge the gap between sales and marketing by providing valuable insights that help leads convert and fill your sales funnel.
If you want to develop a successful growth strategy for your startup, you’re going to want to invest in webinars.
Fun fact: The idea for one of the most successful blogs of my career came from a webinar Q&A section. It generated almost $9k in organic leads over one quarter.
The basics of startup webinars
Before going any further, let’s quickly recap the basics of webinars.
When people talk about webinars, they’re referring to online video events. These events are typically live but may sometimes be pre-recorded.
The word “webinar” is a shortened version of the term web-based seminar. Essentially, webinars are a place for virtual meetings or discussions.
Types of webinars
Webinars come in all shapes and sizes making them an effective tool for many businesses. You’ve got product demonstrations, new feature releases, customer onboarding webinars, lead nurturing events, educational webinars, panel discussions, partner webinars… the list goes on.
The type of webinar you host will vary depending on your goals, business, and audience. You can host as many webinars as you like on a variety of topics — as long as they relate to your audience, business, and goals.
Any webinar should follow a well-thought-out structure that prevents the session from straying too far from its intended purpose.
Typically, webinars will feature a warm introduction and overview of the key points to be addressed before leading into the main content. At the end of the webinar, the call will be brought to a close as it wraps up everything shared and leaves the audience with potential next steps.
Read: Learn everything you need to know about running successful webinars.
How webinars amplify growth for startups
Many startups are nurturing audience relationships through webinars. In their 2022 state of webinars report, TwentyThree found that 90% of organizations used webinars as part of their marketing strategy.
The project management startup, ClickUp hosts weekly live webinars to help their audience build powerful workflows. Meanwhile, the eCommerce marketplace startup, OnBuy, has partnered with many other eCommerce brands to present expert-led webinars and increase their authority in the industry.
When working with Deliverr, an eCommerce startup, I led their webinar strategy as part of their overall growth plan. I organized their virtual conferences in 2020 and 2021 and saw firsthand how these online events influenced their growth.
The beauty of webinars is that they are often evergreen providing you with rich content for months—or years—to come.
That isn’t the only benefit of webinars, though. Webinars are also a valuable growth tactic for companies wanting to strengthen partnerships and grow their business.
Webinars are a content production powerhouse
Any webinars you run can be repurposed for other marketing channels giving you a never-ending stream of content.
Repurposing your webinars extends the longevity of your sessions. Anything discussed during the webinar can be shared across other marketing channels or turned into new standalone content. Webinar Q&As, attendee feedback, and interactions might also highlight new content topics and ideas for marketing content.
Put your webinars to good use by repurposing the session content. This repurposed content amplifies visibility and strengthens your authority by making sure you’re shouting about your skills on all platforms.
Plus, repurposing webinar content saves you time during content creation. Instead of coming up with brand new ideas, leverage knowledge and insights from recent webinars.
Here are five ways you can use webinars to feed content production.
1) Clip your webinars for social
I’m sure you can get some amazing short clips from your recent webinars — perhaps a guest speaker shared an inspiring experience or the host offered up some valuable advice. Record any webinars you host and take short clips that can be shared across social media channels.
Use a basic video editing tool to trim your webinar clip and add subtitles. Short-form content works best on social media. So, aim for a video clip length of 20 seconds to 2 minutes. You could also add a branded frame to provide context for your webinar clip and further brand awareness.
Confluence, a team workspace app by Atlassian, uploaded a short clip from their Team ‘22 Keynote webinar to Twitter — making sure to add a branded graphic, captions and a link to view the full keynote on YouTube.
2) Upload webinars to YouTube
Putting together webinars is a grand operation. Make every cent of producing webinars count by uploading past events to YouTube.
Uploading webinars to YouTube expands the lifespan of your webinar. People who weren’t able to attend can watch the missed event. Attendees can rewatch old webinars to refresh their memories of key discussions and insights. Better yet, you’ll reach new crowds and get your webinar in front of even more people.
Sharing your webinar content on YouTube can increase the reach of your webinar, drawing in new potential customers. Be sure to take advantage of keywords and use an eye-catching cover image when uploading webinars to YouTube. You can even add timestamps to highlight key moments during the webinar.
Every month, the Prismic team hosts their Product Meetup webinar where their tech community can learn about Prismic’s latest features, hear from guest speakers, and connect with other tech enthusiasts. Once the show is over, Prismic uploads the webinar to their YouTube channel.
3) Add recordings to a blog
Another way to use webinar recordings is to add them to a blog post.
Take the theme of your webinar and turn it into a written blog post then upload the recording for people to watch.
If you recorded a webinar discussing the future of eCommerce, you could write a complementary blog post that shares the top 10 insights into the future of eCommerce. In this blog post, you can mention insights from the webinar and upload the recording for people to watch the session to further expand their knowledge.
Adding recordings to blog posts is a great way to make written content more immersive.
DuoLingo, a fun language-learning startup, wrote a blog post interviewing Linda Simensky, the head of animation and scripted content. At the end of the interview article, DuoLingo embeds a video from Linda’s talk at their online event, Duocon 2022.
DuoLingo’s use of video shows how you can use webinars as a way to immerse readers in related content.
Tip: Videos can improve search engine optimization (SEO) and engagement for your blog posts. Add videos to your blogs to break up written content and get a chance to rank with video content.
4) Use transcripts to create articles
Repurposing webinar content doesn’t just mean uploading videos to other channels. Use webinar transcripts as a method of creating new articles for your website or as guest posts for other sites.
On your own site, you can upload webinar transcripts to your blog making the webinar accessible for people who can’t watch the webinar. Uploading webinar transcripts allows even more people to access webinar content.
When uploading webinar transcripts, do some housekeeping to make sure the transcript is easy to follow. You might need to improve the webinar flow to suit the written medium. Look out for any errors and fix these in post-production too. It’s easy to misspeak during webinars so use the transcript editing phase as an opportunity to identify and correct any mistakes.
As well as uploading transcripts directly to your blog, you can review transcripts for new article ideas. Take key talking points from the webinar and pull out any topics that can be expanded upon. Turn these topics into standalone blog articles for your site or guest posts.
Deepcrawl, a SaaS technical SEO platform, shares on-demand webinars in their resources section. However, they provide more than just the webinar. They upload the recording, provide a brief summary, then use the transcript to write an in-depth article walking visitors through the webinar.
This write-up features screenshots from the webinar, links to related web pages, and turns the spoken webinar format into easy-to-read content that’s also great for SEO.
5) Pull shareable quotes
Another way to use webinars to feed your content funnel is to pull shareable quotes.
Listen back to your webinars and make note of any stand-out quotes. These quotes can be repurposed in a myriad of ways. You can include quotes in blog posts, share them on social media or use them as expert quotes for press features and guest posts.
Quotes are memorable. They can help spread the word about your startup brand and offer a glimpse into the knowledge and expertise within your team.
When one of their customers, Ken Kuperstein of One Door, discussed his click-through-rate results at the online MarTech Conference, Influ2 turned his quote into a shareable branded asset. This allowed them to extend the longevity of Ken’s presentation while showcasing some social proof for their marketing platform startup.
Read: Discover more advice and ideas for crafting an effective content strategy for your startup.
Webinars are a powerful partnership exercise
Webinars are a successful growth tool for any business. But collaborating with the right partner can make your webinar efforts stronger than ever before.
Build relationships with affiliated brands and companies by hosting joint webinars.
Leveraging webinar partnerships can be an indispensable strategy for growing your startup. Through the creation of strategic webinar partnerships, your startup can work with another company to boost brand equity and generate value. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship that elevates your business growth.
Webinars allow your brand to elevate valuable partnerships by:
- Expand your reach
- Achieve new partnerships
- Ally with respectable partners
- Grow your knowledge base through your partners’ teachings
1) Expand your reach (via your partner)
Webinar partnerships can help your startup break into new markets and reach more customers.
Strategically choose a partner that is in an affiliated niche or vertical without directly crossing over into your field. This helps your brand branch out into new markets where you can encounter new customers.
Look for webinar partners whose aims and audiences complement yours if you want to expand your reach through your partner. This reach expansion is a two-way street — your partner can increase their visibility through your audience too.
Further optimize the reach expansion capabilities of co-hosting a webinar by pre-agreeing to share lead lists.
2) Open the door to new partnerships
Once you’ve got a couple of webinar partnerships under your belt, securing new partnerships becomes even easier.
You can pitch to new partners and showcase the results from past webinar partnerships to demonstrate your value. Build a rapport with your dream webinar partner before cold-pitching them. If possible, ask a shared connection to introduce you or find common ground to open up conversation.
You can also ask previous webinar partners if they know of any other companies that would be interested in collaborating on future webinars. Reciprocate the favor by also putting forward recommended partners they could collaborate with on webinars too.
3) Elevate your brand by allying with respectable partners
Align your startup with trusted brands by joining forces on a webinar. Allying with respectable partners shows your audience that your brand can be trusted. If someone has had a good experience with your chosen partner, they’ll naturally feel positive about your brand too.
Webinar partnerships can be a great trust-building exercise to elevate your brand reputation. Developing a strong alliance with webinar partners can build value for your products or services due to brand associations.
When researching suitable webinar partners, look for companies that can elevate your brand reputation and awareness.
4) Grow your knowledge base with your partners’ webinar teachings
Strategically selected webinar partners can bring new insights and ideas to the event. Partnering with other industry experts helps you grow your knowledge base as you learn from your webinar partners’ teachings.
Find a partner who can bring unique value to the table. This value may come from industry expertise, projects delivered, challenges faced, or experiences encountered. Either way, they’ll bring new knowledge that both you and your audience can learn from.
Find partners you can learn from and use their knowledge as a chance to add fresh perspectives and insights to your webinars.
Read: Learn how to effectively execute webinar partnerships
Webinars are a good growth tactic
Webinars can grow your business in more ways than one. Not all business growth is about raising your bottom line. Sometimes growth comes in the form of increased subscribers, a glowing reputation, or a line of eager partners. Sometimes growth looks like having a well-stocked content bank and a clear direction forward.
Investing in webinars is a surefire way to grow your startup in more ways than one.
Grow your email registration lists
Webinars give you a platform to showcase your value. You can gather all your interested customers and target audience in one place to shout about the value of your startup.
One of the biggest advantages of hosting webinars for your startup is that it’s a goldmine for generating leads.
Encourage your audience to sign up with their email address to register their interest in attending your webinar. Every time someone signs up for your webinar, you’ll collect another valuable email address for your newsletter.
You can send these people highly relevant, personalized emails related to the webinar topic. Send them webinar reminders in the lead-up to the event. Post-event, send them relevant emails featuring tips, advice, and insights. Remember to keep them in the loop with future webinars too.
If you don’t collect emails for webinar registrations, work email collection into your webinar strategy by providing bonus materials for anyone who joins your email list.
Grow your brand reputation
Hosting webinars can build up your reputation as an industry expert.
Focus on delivering value through your webinars if you want to grow your brand reputation. Forget about sales, right now and just focus on the value you provide. You need to offer unique insights and perspectives. Sharing the same-old information that people can find elsewhere won’t be valuable enough to give your brand a competitive edge.
Webinars are designed to educate, inform, and engage people. So focus on doing just that. You’ll reach a much larger audience at various stages of the customer journey. With a solid number of expert-led webinars to your name, you’ll soon become the go-to name for your niche.
Choosing the right partner for co-hosted webinars can also amplify your brand reputation. Align yourself with partners with bigger names, more experience, or who are well-connected in the industry to elevate your brand reputation.
Grow your partner list
Become a reputable webinar host and you’ll instinctively grow your potential partner list. Other business leaders and brands will be lining up to be on your next webinar.
Working with webinar partners can enhance your reputation and put you in good standing for new partnership opportunities. So, choose your partners wisely and have a set process for managing partnerships.
Off the back of a webinar partnership, you may find brands you can collaborate with in other ways. What once started as a humble webinar partnership could grow into a brand affiliation, a co-branded campaign, or a collaborative product launch — the possibilities are endless.
Partnerships add incredible value to your startup so make sure you’re opening the door to new partnership opportunities with webinars.
Grow your content assets
Finally, webinars provide a treasure trove of content assets for future marketing materials.
Use webinar content as a way to build a bank of content assets for ongoing marketing content and campaigns.
Off the back of your webinars, you can create:
- Webinar highlight reels
- Short webinar clips
- Blog articles
- Mini webinar-series
- Email newsletters
- Webinar stills
The amount of content you can get out of one webinar is mind-blowing. Repurposing your webinar content fills your content library and expands the reach of your knowledge. Interested customers can dig deeper into your startup in their preferred format and you can touch base with your audience across even more platforms.
Growing your content assets will extend the life and value of your webinar.
Logo design company Looka turns its webinars into content for YouTube. Whether it’s uploading the whole webinar to YouTube or taking snippets from the video for short clips, Looka has recognized the potential behind repurposing webinar content.
One of my favorite creative uses of webinars is how illustrator Katie Chappell, works with brands to turn their webinars into live illustrations. Through her work, Katie Chappell captures the atmosphere and key talking points from the webinar in a digital illustration. Brands can use the illustration however they wish — some have used them on social media, in blog posts, or when sending post-event ‘thank you’ emails to attendees.
Tip: Consider providing the illustration as a giveaway or downloadable asset for those who signed up.
Wrapping up — Incorporate webinars into your startup growth strategy
Webinars should be a cornerstone of your startup growth strategy. Whether you’re looking to raise funding, increase revenue, or get more customers, webinars put your startup in good standing by amplifying your value.
Tap into powerful webinar tactics to position your startup for success. Run webinars effectively and you’ll see business growth in multiple avenues — from new email subscribers to a fully-stacked content library, brand partners, increased reach, and a glowing brand reputation.
Running effective webinars requires a solid plan. Frontload webinars with a robust execution process and you’ll maximize your chances of growth. Take a look at my webinar strategy guide to learn everything you need to know about running successful webinars.