How To Build Webinars That Drive Attendance And Make Money: Insights From A Unicorn
Are you a marketing professional struggling to boost your webinar-generated revenue? I am the Brand Webinar Producer for a prominent construction project management software company. Not only do I love my job, but I’ve turned our webinars into one of our top-five money makers. How did I do it? It all starts with building great content and great relationships, while investing in a reliable and scalable webinar marketing software.
Like it or not, the world is moving irrevocably toward a paperless world. Technology has fundamentally changed the way we do business and the only way to move forward is by embracing the enhancements in efficiency and communication that cutting-edge technology can provide. As the Brand Webinar Producer for Procore, I find myself at the forefront of that technological wave each and every day, and I’d be constantly frustrated without the assistance of a powerful tool like ON24.
As you can imagine, construction is a very paper-focused industry. Building plans, approvals, submittals and changes are happening all the time. It’s important that they’re communicated as they happen. That’s where Procore enters the picture. We’re a cloud-based project management platform for construction companies. Our aim is to help reduce the industry's paper trail while enabling instantaneous communication and built-in flexibility.
Procore has been featured in Forbes, reaching the coveted “unicorn status,” a designation for privately held companies that are valued at more than a billion dollars. It’s been really exciting, but working for Procore has also been one of those experiences where you can rise to expectations of a company that prides itself on shooting for the stars. I took over webinars, despite the preconceived notions about the limitations for what webinars can really do for marketing and sales. With an assist from ON24, I’ve been able to totally make the webinar channel my own and it has become a well-oiled machine. In 2015, we hosted 40 webinars. In 2016, we held close to 80. We are on track for 100 webinars in 2017. It’s an incredible feeling, but it’s a far cry from where I thought I’d end up.
A Marketer’s Journey
Originally, my dream was to be the General Manager for the Los Angeles Lakers (and anyone who knows basketball knows, that perhaps it is for the best that didn’t happen). That was the goal I pursued through high school and college. I even ended up earning a Sports Management degree from NYU. After college, I found myself working for the Golden State Warriors. Of course, this was 2011, and the NBA lockout saw me transitioning careers to more of a marketing focus and moving back to my hometown in Santa Barbara, CA.
I realized quickly that if I wanted to continue a career in marketing, I needed to expand my skill set. I began to train as a marketing project manager and from there I was led to the tech sphere. After all, that sector’s consistent growth shows that’s where the world is going. For a while, I worked for a small startup, which was a great learning experience. A startup requires people to wear a lot of different hats, so working there for over a year and managing everything from events to communications, I was able to figure out what I was good at, what I needed to improve on and perhaps more importantly, I learned what I loved to do.
A few of my former coworkers had gone to work for Procore and they turned me on to an opportunity to work for the company. The move to Procore was a no-brainer. I came out to interview and was sold on the dream.
Though my job title might sound a little weird, I’m essentially a project manager for our webinar channels. When I began, our marketing department had around 30 employees, but Procore focuses on such aggressive growth that our company has seen the marketing department and company double in size just within the year since I joined the company.
Making Money With Webinars
Overseeing the webinars for such a highly-valued and innovative brand is a big responsibility, because webinars happen to be a popular channel in the construction industry that resonates with both clients and prospective clients. More and more of our webinars are being approved for continuing education credit, which is really important for pretty much everyone in construction who has to complete a certain amount of credit hours. That consideration combined with Procore’s revolutionary purpose has made our webinars one of our most reliable ways to generate leads and new customers, as well as become a great sales tool for our world-class Sales Team. Here are some of my go-to tips for creating and engaging and successful webinar.
- Make It Easy to Use: Easy access and reliability are paramount to the webinar experience. Thankfully, with ON24, our only questions come from people who don't realize that they don’t need to dial-in to get to the presentation, and that the audio streams from their computer speakers. When it comes to working with ON24’s platform, we’ve never had any issues.
- Make It an Experience: My goal is to create an immersive experience in which the user feels they are a participant, not just a remote audience member watching with screen share. At Procore every interaction is part of the customer experience, with online channels being critical in that journey.
- Communicate, Communicate, Communicate: You have to be open to communication from the beginning. In fact, you should overly communicate until you figure out how your team members, your stakeholders, and your clients digest information.
- Get Your Team Actively Involved: You have to promote your webinars internally to express to your teammates why they’re important. Getting people to support your webinars and spread the word about them is a huge asset. One of the greatest tips I can offer is developing a strong relationship with the Sales Department, since they will help champion your channel, as well as leverage the channel for revenue goals.
These simple tips, along with the opportunity to talk about a world-class product has helped webinars become one of our top five of revenue-generating channels. As you can imagine, the expectations for our webinar content is extremely high as a result. Unfortunately, Procore’s rapid expansion and lofty goals proved too much for our previous webinar platform. We just outgrew their capabilities. So, when I joined the company one of my 90 day goals was to find a new webinar platform.
Procore needed a webinar platform that could meet all of our needs:
- Pre-loaded Presentations: That was huge for us, because the larger our webinars get the more bandwidth they take up on our network and the harder screen share becomes. When you start to get 500 and 600 people attending your webinar, that preloaded cloud-based feature is a necessity.
- Video Capability: There are few more effective ways to capture and keep an audience’s attention than by integrating some video into your webinar.
- Easy Email Integration: Email is the driving force behind webinars and the biggest source of driving registration. In terms of content, you need something catchy, but authoritative, concise but informative. Then you need your webinar platform to work seamlessly with your marketing platform.
- Reliable Platform: From start to finish, we want our audience to have the best webcast experience. We can come up with the best content in the world, but if your audio or screen share cuts out then your customer is not getting the experience that they deserve.
Luckily enough, ON24 meets all of those needs and then some. In fact, since Procore has made the switch, our webinar attendance has risen above the industry average of 35 percent. With ON24, our show rate is now more than 40 percent.
We have our webinars broken out into three phases: Internally hosted webinars for early stage content, sponsored webinars for brand awareness and lead generation, and late-stage customer focused ones with round tables and QAs. Those are my favorite because I get to hear how our product truly makes a difference in our customer's lives and can show the value to our prospective customers.
To further illustrate our success: Procore hosts one large scale webinar per month. We recently had more than 1200 people register. It was about 40 percent current customers and 60 percent prospective customers. At show time, we had more than 400 people attend. Since the beginning of 2017, we’ve been hitting more than 500 registrants for our large scale seminars, which is twice has high as last year.
We want Procore to be an exceptional experience for everyone at every touch point and webinars happen to be a popular revenue-generating channel in the construction industry. From start to finish, we want everyone to have best webcast experience possible, and we deliver that with ON24. I would encourage anyone looking to invest in a high-powered marketing webinar platform to check out ON24. This past year has been filled professional growth and adventures. I am grateful we adopted ON24 and look forward to continued success and pushing webinar marketing boundaries with ON24.