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Using Webinars to Tell Science Stories – PART I

Using Webinars to Tell Science Stories – PART I

Image credit: vladwel/Shutterstock.com

In recent years webinars have seen a resurgence within many scientific sectors. They form a great platform to bring together technically minded individuals to explore more complex topics. Equipment manufacturers use them as a cost-saving alternative to tradeshows giving more control over the conversation. If done well, webinars can be a powerful sales tool to help qualify potential customers and move them further along their journey towards a purchase. They also present marketers with an excellent opportunity to attract new visitors and leads to their websites. We spoke to Andy Henton, Founder and Director of InsideScientific, about the benefits of using webinars and what it takes to create the finished product.

Can you start by telling us a bit about InsideScientific and why you started the company?

The idea for InsideScientific sparked in 2010, when I was experimenting with various online marketing techniques…one being educational webinars. Our webinar initiatives were extremely successful and pushed my personal interests into content marketing.

I saw an opportunity in the preclinical research market to provide turn-key marketing programs, which proved to be a great fit. Many life science instrumentation companies are small-medium sized operations, heavy on engineering and sales personnel, but short staffed in marketing and business development.

These companies responded well to outsourcing their marketing to experienced professionals that knew the industry and could appreciate the scientific basis of the technologies they offered and the unique research applications they served. In addition, we wanted to help distribute valuable content to researchers that would help them do their best science!

What was the initial positioning?

Our positioning was straightforward – partner with InsideScientific to produce educational webinars and other marketing programs aimed at product education, lead generation and brand awareness, enabling you (our client) to focus on other essential business tasks. The bonus was that InsideScientific was building its own brand and following within the preclinical research community, which meant that our content could reach a larger market than our clients could alone.

Why is it important for scientific companies to use webinars as a platform for explaining and marketing their products?

It’s a natural fit. Scientists of all backgrounds are hard-wired to research topics of interest and form opinions or positions from their own point of view. Scientific communities, innovation and discovery all operate on the principles of sharing knowledge. In particular, academic researchers create and share their science as a core function of their job. InsideScientific webinars enable just that: educational sessions focused on the application of technology in the lab, how and why to leverage these technologies and methods, and what other scientists are discovering by doing so.

Of course, the other big win is that webinars create an opportunity to genuinely help scientists in the lab. They can influence experimental design and planning decisions, improve product use, promote best-practices, improve scientific outcomes and help researchers in their pursuit of scientific discovery, publication and therapeutic application.

Associating one’s brand, products and services with the above is what great marketing is all about!

AZoInsights: The average life science webinar attracts 270 registrations, with an average attendance rate of 42%. (Data source: InsideScientific)  

What are the benefits of choosing this method?

Webinars are a cost-effective, high impact method for targeted lead generation and brand building.  Some key considerations include:

  • Webinars have no geographical restriction, letting a company sell a niche product to a global audience
  • Webinars create authentic engagement with prospects and clients
  • The webinar recording, slides and supplementary materials continue to provide immense marketing value after the live event
  • Webinars create an opportunity for increased frequency of communication with your contacts
  • Webinars are a great sales enablement tool – they give your sales people something of value (other than your product) to share and talk about with leads and customers

In addition to the points above, webinar content is also beneficial for SEO. The online content we create is new and keyword rich. When optimized correctly, video and slides can very quickly establish an online presence and be leveraged to bring prospects to your website and social platforms.

What is the general feeling amongst your clients about the effectiveness of webinars as a tool for driving qualified leads?

Our clients continue to provide extremely positive feedback on webinars as a tool for lead gen and many have adopted this approach as a fundamental part of their on-going marketing strategy – right beside exhibiting at scientific conferences. In my opinion, the success of attracting qualified leads through webinars can be attributed to three key points.

First, educational webinars (of the kind we see in the life sciences), are specific to research applications, procedures and associated technologies. Furthermore, they are typically longer in duration (45-60 minutes). Anyone who registers is, therefore, a prospect – that being someone that marketing and sales should investigate as a potential customer.

Second, the registration process — and other data intake opportunities during or following the live event — allow webinar hosts to ask questions that help classify prospects. For example, it can help to know a registrant’s position in the lab (and if they influence purchase decisions), if they are experiencing issues that your solution is designed to solve or if they are associated with an academic, government or privately funded institution. Data allows webinar hosts to put registrants into buckets, or apply personas, and tailor their follow up strategy.

Finally, webinars are effective at driving qualified leads because there is an opportunity to show technology, scientific procedure and the impact these can have on the prospect’s science. This is hard to achieve by phone, email or other static content. Through video, prospects can better understand the nuances of the instrumentation, research methodology and ultimately get excited about adopting the technology in their own lab.

It can seem like a daunting task setting up a webinar. What does Inside Scientific do to make this process easy for your clients?

Our standard process includes white-glove, full-service project management throughout the webinar process. We begin with a client strategy meeting to map out objectives, content focus, timing and key personnel that will have a stake in the webinar. If our client wishes to include guest speakers, we offer support with recruitment as well. Once a framework is in place, InsideScientific pulls together all fundamental components which include developing a landing page and registration form for the webinar, preparing associated marketing collateral and executing an email marketing and social media strategy. Leading up to the live event, we conduct technical checks and practice sessions to ensure the live event goes smoothly. On the day of the live webinar, we host and moderate the session and immediately afterward prepare a recording of the live event, slides and associated resources. We wrap up our service with the delivery of a market intelligence report and client debrief to help extrapolate key findings from the project and expedite post-webinar strategy.  

AZoInsights: A recent ON24 webinar benchmarking report stated that the average viewing time for a webinar was 56 minutes1.

Where do you see webinars gaining ground in the next few years?

I see webinars becoming increasingly popular in science and technology, and I think the format will become a staple marketing and outreach activity for companies of all sizes (startups through to large enterprise). In addition, I see webinars playing a larger role within research societies, in particular as a means for user-group meetings and smaller congresses to disseminate training and continuing education programs.

Do you want to learn more about webinars?

Or, email InsideScientific at [email protected].

About Andy Henton

After completing an honours degree in Medical Science at Western University (Ontario, Canada), Andy spent 8 years working in the preclinical research instrumentation market, focused on commercialization of miniaturized catheter-based technologies for cardiovascular research. He has filled various roles focused on sales, marketing and business development.  In 2013, he co-founded InsideScientific, an online environment built for life science researchers focused on producing educational webinars, workshops and digital resources that help researchers do their best science. Insidescientific’s mission is to augment discovery by facilitating and continually improving the exchange of scientific information.

References

1 – https://www.on24.com/resources/assets/webinar-benchmarks-2018/

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