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May 29, 2019 | By

The Power of the Live Webinar Panel

Are you getting the most out of your live webinars? 75% of sales and marketing leaders say webinars help generate quality leads. This represents a huge opportunity, but there is an art and science to getting webinar right.

The power of the live panel

One of the most powerful indicators of a high-quality lead is engagement. The more someone engages with your content, the more educated they become. Live webinars—more specifically, live panel webinars—are a great way to encourage deep content engagement, educate buyers, and build relationships.

Live panel webinars are effective because:

  • They make for great top-of-funnel content
  • They are a source of thought leadership and brand awareness
  • They encourage your audience to develop a personal connection with the speakers since there are fewer (or no) presentation slides.
  • They help brands to develop rich partnerships with others in their space.

In today’s on-demand economy, building meaningful relationships is crucial. But trying to be ‘human’ in an increasingly digital world is tough. Savvy buyers see right through surface level personalization like, “Hi, {fname}!” Live webinar panels help you truly connect with and educate your audience.

Live webinar panels give your audience a voice.

A live panel gives you the opportunity to include interactive and real-time elements like Q&A, polls, and social feeds. Giving the audience a smorgasbord of ways to get involved not only gives them a voice but empowers them to use that voice in the way they prefer.

Including live comment and social feeds also gives your audience the chance to connect with one another. So instead of a two-way dialogue, your webinar becomes a group conversation everyone can feel a part of. Plus, live chat content is great inspiration for follow up blog content.

There are so many options available to incorporate into your live webinar so make sure to take advantage. While most marketers are using Q&A (78%), only 15% currently incorporate polls into their live webinars. This represents a big opportunity to give audiences more ways to get involved. After all, everyone loves options!

Live panels create genuine interactions.

Panels often feature thought leaders from other companies in addition to your own, sharing their unique opinions. Right off the bat, this helps the webinar feel less “salesy” and builds trust between you and your audience.

Plus, as with any human-to-human interaction, live video leaves a stronger impression.

Live panels not only help build relationships with your audience, but you’ll strengthen your partnerships along the way too.

For example, when planning live panel webinars at PathFactory, I’m in constant contact with our partners. Beginning with a one-on-one video call and continuing with weekly email updates and then a ‘dry run’ where all panelists can test out their tech and ‘meet’ each other. Finally, we wrap up with a personal thank you to every partner along with the reg list and final stats. (Bonus: These partner relationships have branched into other content and campaign collaborations as well!)

Live panels become on-demand, evergreen content.

Running a live panel webinar not only makes a big splash on the day of the event but also lives on as on-demand content for as long as it’s relevant. This provides B2B sales and marketing teams the opportunity to get the most value out of it as possible.

From a marketing perspective, video content, in general, has legs. So, think about where you can share your webinar recording. This may include nurturing, targeted ad campaigns, organic social content, or your website– basically anywhere that might help educate your buyers.

The proof is in the pudding.

We run a lot of webinars here at PathFactory and have found success with the live panel format. In early 2018, we ran our first live panel webinar called The Great Gate Debate. Where we brought together experts to look at the question “to gate or not to gate?” and wrestle it to the ground. We could not have predicted how successful this campaign would be:
The audience was  222% larger than comparable programs that quarter, and it generated 307% more pipeline compared to similar programs.

Since the Great Gate Debate was a success, we decided to run a series of live panels over Summer 2018 called The Channel Panel. Each panel featured different experts discussing one B2B channel and how to best leverage it for marketing success.

Considering, 75% of B2B marketers listed generating higher quality leads as their top priority, we knew this would resonate strongly with our audience and try to drive engagement during a typically slow time (summer). We were right. We saw a combined attendance of 475% more than past summer webinars. Not too shabby for a typically slow time for B2B marketing.

When building webinars into your content strategy, you should definitely consider running the live panel format as part of your content mix. Not only for the reasons listed above, but live panel webinars are also really FUN to create (as you can tell from the smiles on the faces of the panelists for the Website Channel Panel above.) And when you are having fun, it’s more likely your audience will enjoy the experience and stick around.


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