057 | Build Better HealthTech Webinars | Ashley Levesque, Demio | Studio CMO

Podcast by | July 23, 2021 Content Marketing, HealthTech

Today’s marketers wear many hats—when it comes to webinars, they have to build the slides, run the software, and follow up.

Despite the reputation and stereotype of marketers being extroverted and performers, many don’t like being on stage or camera.

The purpose of a webinar is to bring your attendees/audience closer to what they need.
In this podcast episode, Ashley Levesque from Demio walks us through the power of webinar platforms, building engagement, and how to build a webinar funnel and KPIs for HealthTech applications.

About Our Guest

Ashley Levesque is passionate about building teams and strategies that empower employees and transform businesses. With a soft spot for small businesses, she welcomes new opportunities and challenges, even (especially) when the pathway forward isn’t clear. Having run hundreds of webinars in her career—and with a bunch of degrees in Theater and Performing Arts—she’s the expert in how to make webinars not terrible.  As the Director of Marketing at Demio, she spends her time making marketers’ lives easier.

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Show Notes

When we’re not building a relationship, we’re not marketing. We’re just not. —Ashley Levesque, Demio

Maximize Your Webinar Platforms

The power of webinar platforms has been fundamentally misunderstood.

The webinar platform is meant to:

  • Engage your attendees.
  • Invite them to participate.
  • Invite them to contribute to the experience that you are sharing with them.

As you review platform options—even if you are using one right now—experiment with engagement. How can you make your webinars a conversation instead of a monologue? Where can you cut fluff (or maybe even content) to make room for interacting around audience response?

Building a Better Webinar

Who is Your Audience?

How well do you know your audience? Within your audience are many smaller audiences. Which audience do you want to target with a single webinar.

Ask yourself: What do they need?

The answer is probably not your product or service. 

Ask yourself: What is their desired outcome?

Build your content and engagement tools toward that end.

Who is Your Communicator?

There are two options every company must wrestle with.

1. Train the subject matter expert to be a great presenter.

This option requires intentional effort and will take some time. You must determine whether it is worth the investment. Which is more valuable: time working on presentation skills or time focused on what he or she does best.

2. Train your best communicator to be intimately familiar with the technology.

This is the more often preferred path.

If you decide to use your subject matter expert, consider only bringing him or her “on stage” for a few minutes at the end of the main section of content and the Q&A portion.

What are You Trying to Accomplish?

What business goal is this webinar supposed to impact?

Ashley says, “If I don’t consider my business goals, all of the energy will be wasted and none of our goals will be furthered. We won’t be generating more leads, shortening the sales cycle.”

How can your webinar further and impact a single goal?

What Should You Include in Your Presentation?

Communicate the purpose for the webinar.

If you were taking a few co-workers for a journey, you wouldn’t just ask them to get in the car and start driving. You would tell them where you are going. Do the same with your webinar.

Set your expectations.

How much time are you asking for? What are you going to ask your attendees to do?

Review the platform.

Describe the different ways you will invite involvement how will you invite involvement? (chat, polls, open mic, etc.) Tell them how you will respond to them during the webinar?

Ashley uses polls to direct the content of a webinar. She will use the poll tool in Demio to find out what the most desired direction is. Then she will shift her presentation to address the one or two that her attendees identify.

An Example of a Webinar Funnel

Goal: Acquire new clients over the course of a few webinars

AWARENESS > CONSIDERATION > DECISION

An Awareness Webinar

Purpose of webinar: Introduce ourselves to unaware prospects

Webinar goal: Convert webinar attendees into email subscribers

Webinar content: This is your pain, here are some salves for your pain.

The emails received by the attendees who convert will draw them into the next stage of the funnel where you will present another webinar.

A Consideration Webinar

Purpose of webinar: How to solve their problem with your solution.

Webinar goal: Attendees to sign up for a one-on-one demo of the product.

Webinar content: Use case for a single application of your product. Here’s what it looked like before your product. Here’s how easy it was to implement. Here’s what happened after. Demonstrate the “from/to.”

Those that don’t sign up for a demo from the consideration webinar continue to get emails for a third webinar.

A Decision Webinar

Webinar goal: Attendees to sign up for a one-on-one demo of the product.

Webinar content: Fill this one with stories from happy customers. If you can get a customer to be a part of the webinar with you, do so.

My goal for each individual webinar is to bring my attendees a little closer to where they want to be. —Ashley Levesque

Transcript

John Farkas:

Finding ways to have really impactful conversations with your buyers is super important. There’s a number of different channels and methods that you can use toward that end. But one of the clear emerging channel that I think is really important for people to be able to understand, and master is the art of the webinar. That’s what we’re going to be talking about today, on Studio CMO.

Mark Whitlock:

Welcome to Studio CMO. You’re listening to the podcast, where we help HealthTech marketing executives wrestle with market positioning, and learn how to build demand generation programs that change lives, not only the lives of their patients, but the lives of their companies themselves. We’re talking about demand generation, today. We’re talking about one of the key pillars in a demand generation program. So my name is Mark Whitlock and I’ve attended way too many webinars in the last year. My cohost is Anna Grimes. She’s one of the account directors here. Anna, I know that you’ve been helping some of our clients with webinars over the last few weeks.

Anna Grimes:

Oh, many, many. COVID hasn’t quite ended yet webinars.

Mark Whitlock:

]Our host is the CEO and Chief Storyteller for Golden Spiral, John Farkas. John, I know that you and I have worked on a couple of webinars in the past and you feel that the opportunity to speak directly to the customer is very important, especially in our niche of HealthTech.

John Farkas:

It really is, because anytime we’re looking at a HealthTech solution, we’re typically looking at a pretty complicated story. There’s a lot of different elements, there’s a lot of facets that are left to nuance. Any kind of validation that you can bring in the context of telling the story is really important. That’s hard stuff to do, when you’re not having a dialogue, when you’re not having an interactive element. There’s so much rich information that can be communicated, when you’re having a in-person interaction that is different than what you can bring to life with words on a page. We try and we do a good job of getting great messaging and frameworks together. But at the end of the day, this is about leading people on a journey from a way that they are understanding the world right now to a new way of seeing and engaging the world.

John Farkas:

That’s not a simple journey. So anything we can do on the path to leading them from where they are to where they need to go is important and an interactive framework, an interactive forum, where that can happen is really valuable. That’s why I wanted to have this conversation today. Because, I think that webinars are a great way to do it and I’m excited about where we get the chance to go today.

Anna Grimes:

Today we have talking about all of that is Ashley Levesque. Ashley Levesque is psyched about building teams and strategies that empower employees and transform businesses, with a soft spot for small businesses. She welcomes new opportunities and challenges, even and especially when the pathway forward isn’t clear. Having run hundreds of webinars in her career, and with a bunch of degrees in theater and performing arts. She’s the expert in how to make webinars not terrible. Not only is she the expert, she is the VP of Marketing at Demio. That’s where she spends her time making marketers lives easier. So welcome Ashley.

Ashley Levesque:

Thank you. Such a pleasure to be here. Really excited.

John Farkas:

Ashley, I knew we shared some common thread but my undergrad was in theater. So we have the common link.

Ashley Levesque:

What are we if not storytellers. I mean, isn’t that really-

Mark Whitlock:

Right.

Ashley Levesque:

The connection from theater to marketing, it’s one long string, John.

John Farkas:

That’s right.

Ashley Levesque:

Just telling a story.

John Farkas:

That is exactly right. Part of what I value most about my backdrop in theater, which is a lot of what we’re going to end up talking about in one form or another, because a webinar at the end of the day is a theatrical production. One of the things I value about that backdrop for me is it did teach me what it means to frame a story arc, to help people along a journey of understanding, along a journey of empathy, along a journey of indoctrination into a different way of seeing the world. It’s a great backdrop and it really makes sense that you’re doing what you’re doing in light of some of that backdrop in your world. So Ashley, let’s dive in. I’m just going to ask a 101 question. Why webinars? Why are webinars an important tool in our world today? Especially, knowing that live events are coming back. There’s a lot of different ways to engage. But webinars have an important place and why is that?

Ashley Levesque:

Yeah. Such an important question. Actually, I’m going to touch a little bit more on our theater background here, to make this analogy or this metaphor. The other important piece that I learned from my theater training, apart from the beautiful words that you just shared John around empathy, and storytelling, and having a beginning, a middle and an end, is that the audience is a part of your conversation, right? When I’m on stage, rehearsing a scene, it is a very different performance than when I’m on stage doing that exact same scene, and there’s an audience there.

Ashley Levesque:

It’s because the audience is an actor on stage with you, right? That’s part of what we learned in theater training, is that the audience is an actor on stage with you. In the same sense when marketers are focused on marketing tactics and I’m using quotes here, because I know we’re on an audio setting. So I’m putting this in quotes. When marketers are focused on marketing tactics that are one way channels, we’re not building a relationship. When we’re not building a relationship, we’re not marketing. We’re just not. Today’s marketers who are closer and closer to sales than have ever been before, we have a responsibility.

Anna Grimes:

That’s very true.

Ashley Levesque:

Isn’t that true, Anna? We have a responsibility to bring engagement to the center of our marketing strategies. There is no two way communication and engagement channel like events, like webinars. What we’ve seen here, even in the face of… Thank goodness in-person events are coming back. I mean, honestly, are we not all ready to just be in the same room together, again?

John Farkas:

Absolutely.

Ashley Levesque:

Even. So, businesses have fundamentally changed because of COVID. Right?

John Farkas:

That’s true.

Ashley Levesque:

Hiring practices have changed. Companies that used to focus on this small of a hiring pool, those just within your demographic are now remote, right? Anyone can apply to work here, sales and marketing processes have changed, where John, the sales rep used to have to get on a plane and fly to California to close the deal, John no longer has to do that. Because of that accessibility, the way that john sells is different. So we are in a world now where the conversation isn’t virtual or in-person, the conversation is, if my key responsibility as a marketer is to drive engagement, relationships and connection, then my holistic strategy needs to be all of the above; in-person, virtual hybrid, anything that allows me to build relationships with my audience.

Ashley Levesque:

That’s why webinars aren’t going away. They’re they’re part of the foundational, like it or not friends, they are part of the fabric now that all of our businesses are running on. Not only did businesses who pivoted who were really required to pivot to virtual events, not only did they survive, many of them thrived. They actually grew revenue. They actually grew their audience, right? Because webinars are not just a band-aid, they’re actually a powerful revenue solution. But, we have to do them right. That’s what we’re going to get into.

John Farkas:

I was just going to say, they’re a powerful solution when they’re done powerfully. There’s nothing worse than a bad webinar. It can mean death. You have to understand anytime you put something out there that is interactive, that if it under-delivers, you’ve just diminished your brand.

Ashley Levesque:

Yeah.

John Farkas:

It’s really important because we’re talking about an interaction. We’re talking about communicating the essence of who you are as a brand. This is especially true for business to business solutions. They are not just looking at a solution provider. They are looking at a business partnership. Part of what they have to know and understand is that these people that I’m considering linking arms with have the potential of elevating our brand. They have the potential of bringing us to a better, stronger higher place. So if in that interaction, and maybe it’s the initial interaction or having with you past your website, if that initial interaction is a webinar, and it’s a snoozer, you just closed a door.

Ashley Levesque:

Game over.

Anna Grimes:

You have a higher hill to climb.

John Farkas:

On the other side of that continuum, if you put some time, effort and energy into making that experience remarkable, in a world where they’ve sat through so many crappy webinars, the fact that you’ve taken the time, effort and energy to create something, and I’m telling you the difference between a crappy webinar and a really great webinar is something but it’s not a whole lot.

Ashley Levesque:

No.

John Farkas:

It’s not a big difference. It’s some time, effort and intent. It’s involving some people on your team, different than maybe some of the usual suspects. But if you structure it well and right, it can really be a transformative tool that elevates your brand in ways that you wouldn’t have the opportunity to do with a blog article, or with your website, or with a stagnant media. This is an interactive opportunity for relational and emotional engagement. If you understand the power of that, and are willing to invest in it, we’re talking about potential for transformation.

Ashley Levesque:

Absolutely, right. I want to touch on something you said, John, which I think is so astute, which is the opportunity is high and a lot of marketers feel that risk as also high, which is, I don’t know how to do this. I am not an actor, I was not trained in the theater. I don’t even like being on camera. So how am I going to set myself up for success by building a strategy, being vulnerable. In many cases, marketers are wearing a lot of hats. They’re building the webinar, they’re running the webinar, they’re making slides, they’re doing a million other things. We hear a lot at Demio. Marketers who come to us and say, “This is too much. This is actually too overwhelming.” It doesn’t have to be. This is part of why we need to reframe the way we think about webinars, the way we conduct webinars what it actually means to run an interactive webinar. And of course, this is why it’s so important that you choose a solution that actually helps you and not something that is going to make your blood pressure skyrocket.

Ashley Levesque:

I have been on platforms before. This is not specific to webinars, this is specific to any kind of technology. We’re just seeing the interface. I break out in hives a little bit. There’s so many buttons, and it doesn’t help me. So this is why we talk a lot about wanting to help marketers. We have to help marketers derive these relationships, because today’s marketers are responsible for revenue.

John Farkas:

It’s really a great point. I mean, what you were just saying about some of the simple things. We had a meeting scheduled earlier today with a client. They are on a different teleconferencing platform that… I have lots of opinions about teleconferencing platforms. But, I knew the moment I logged into their frame, I said, “I’ve got to ask them if we can do this on our teleconferencing platform. Because everything about this is going to be so fundamentally distracting to me that I’m not going to be able to have a clear head and be focused. Because I need to first of all, trust that it’s going to work and I don’t trust that this platform is going to work.

John Farkas:

It has to function in a way that is going to free me up to bring my best. I knew it wasn’t going to, so I took that moment to say, “Okay, this is risky. I’m going to take charge. I’m going to ask if we can hop platforms.” Everybody was fine with it, and it worked. But that’s really important. You have to understand what setting yourself up for success means. A lot of those externals are really important because if it doesn’t fit, if it doesn’t work, if it’s not intuitive, all it’s going to be is a distraction and in that moment, you need to ensure that you’re at your best and bringing your best frame.

Ashley Levesque:

I guarantee if you feel distracted, if you are having hives and moments of panic, your attendees are feeling that x30.

John Farkas:

Especially if they’re theater majors.

Ashley Levesque:

Oh my gosh, can I tell you the number of webinars I have been on where I’ve been like, “Come on, people. Let’s just pull it together. Cringe, cringe.” But this is another important part of this conversation, which is the purpose of a webinar is to bring our attendees, our audience closer to what they need.

John Farkas:

Well said.

Ashley Levesque:

That requires us as businesses, as webinar hosts, as presenters to stop thinking about ourselves so much. Honestly, this is marketing 101. But it is hard to do that, when marketers only have one-way channels to push. Right?

John Farkas:

Yeah.

Ashley Levesque:

They’re on a stage, I’m going back to my theater metaphor analogy, they’re on the stage without anybody in the audience to communicate with. They’re marketing inside of a vacuum.

John Farkas:

Yeah.

Anna Grimes:

Yeah.

Ashley Levesque:

Can’t do it, people. That’s not what marketing is. That’s why we have to make sure that webinars are actually designed for the people that we’re trying to build the relationships with. That’s the entire purpose of engagement marketing, right? That’s the entire purpose of building an event that is a two-way communication platform, is for you to leverage it. You can’t just get on a webinar and run through your slides quickly and never look at your chat. It’s just kind of a robotic. Then you might as well be doing a blog post, right? You’re not leveraging what the platform is meant for.

Mark Whitlock:

Excellent point.

John Farkas:

Unpack that a little bit. The platform is meant for blank.

Ashley Levesque:

The platform is meant to engage your attendees, invite them to participate and contribute in the experience that you are sharing with them.

John Farkas:

How have you seen that be fundamentally misunderstood? And how would you coach, somebody looking at a webinar strategy, to think about the content they’re putting forward, to think about the structure of that content, to help promote the right way to engage?

Ashley Levesque:

I’m going to ask for your feedback on this. You tell me if this rings true. Have you ever been on a webinar, where at the very beginning of the webinar, the presenter says something like, “Tell me where you’re from in the chat.” You go in and you type, “I’m from Boston.” Everyone types, “I’m from wherever. I’m from wherever.” Then you never go back to the chat again, you never return to that fundamental threaded opportunity for you to talk to each other, engage with each, other ask questions, answer questions. Every single webinar platform has a chat function. It’s the easiest opportunity to drive and invite that participation and that contribution from your attendees.

Ashley Levesque:

So when I run webinars, let me explain a little bit about what I do. I run webinars, and I say, “Here’s the expectation I’m setting at the beginning.” Everyone goes through the little housekeeping things. We did that when we got on here today, right? “Here are some things about the platform, here are things you might see, just so that you’re aware of what’s happening.” I say, we are here together to share an experience. I’m going to say things that might require you to think differently about the way we think about webinars. Because this might be the first webinar you’ve ever been on, where it’s going to be a conversation and not a presentation. That means I’m going to ask questions. I’m going to wait and actually read the answers. I’m going to respond to your questions and I’m going to invite you to actually contribute to this experience that you’re sharing.

Ashley Levesque:

So one of my favorite little tricks that I do, on Demio’s platform, we have polls, where you can set up opportunities to ask different kinds of questions, multiple choice questions, and then people can kind of vote for their answer. I like to use polls to actually inform my webinar content. So I will say something like, “Here are four options that we could talk about next. Here are four kinds of examples I could provide.” What’s most meaningful for you? Where are you going to find the most value? Because should I be choosing? You know what I mean? Is it about me? Or is it about you? I can’t tell you when I do polls like that, and I get a majority of like 95% all choosing one option, what would have happened if I chose the other question? I just lost my opportunity. It went [inaudible 00:19:36]. Even if they don’t leave the webinar, when that happens, even if they don’t actually bail, I’ve missed an opportunity for that two-way. So we just have to start building that in, to the way we think about webinar content. That’s the very first step.

Anna Grimes:

I think that’s a good point. A really good point. I would say it boils down to you’re inviting people to share an experience versus do something. Do something is, “Oh, we have to check this activity.” We have to say, “We have done this webinar, and this webinar had this many attendees, and it had this many slides, et cetera and we’ve done something.” How much richer is it to say, “No, we invited people into a conversation and we structured our webinars so that it was a shared experience.” So, I think your choice of words is… I think experience gets thrown around quite a bit, in marketing. But I think here, it’s right on the money.

Mark Whitlock:

So we’ve covered why webinars are important to brand? What they can do for your brand? We’ve talked about how you have to be audience first and our regular listeners know that is something that we care passionately about. You’ll hear it again at the end of this episode. Third, we talked about the need if the customer, if the audience is first, the desire, the need, the almost critical nature of that interactive ability keeps the audience engaged and actually does demonstrate that you’re putting them first. So let’s pull back. I’m a marketing executive at a HealthTech company and we want to have customer-focused webinars that forward our brand, advance our brand. How do we choose what topic to cover? How do we even begin this process?

Ashley Levesque:

Yeah, really important. Really important question. I have a little checklist I go through. I’ll just start at the very top. When I build my own webinars, and this should scale across all industries across all sizes of organizations. The very first thing I ask myself is, “What business goal is this webinar supposed to impact?” Because if I decide as a marketer, “I think I want to do a webinar today, but it doesn’t really tie to anything else that the business needs, or that my department goals are designed to track against.” I’m already off the mark. I’m already not thinking about my audience, I’m already not thinking about how webinars are supposed to drive revenue and close sales cycles and make them shorter and speed up velocity, because I’m already too far away. So the very first thing I say is, let’s build webinar goals that are designed to support business goals. That’s where we start. That might require a reframing and thinking about the way we design business goals. It might require some businesses to start setting up business goals.

John Farkas:

I wish I could say I have never experienced that. I wish I could say that. But you are absolutely right. It does require some of those conversations.

Ashley Levesque:

Same here. Listen, for all my marketing executives out there. In order for you to be successful in driving impact for your business, you have to know what your business goals are. So let’s get those executives in a room and let’s figure that out. You can’t be successful without first knowing what the business is driving toward. Right? Okay, so that’s number one. Then the second part of that is, great, I know my business goals, I’ve got some ideas of how my webinar goals could impact that, right? I’m thinking about some metrics, I’m thinking about some KPIs. Now I’m going to think about my target audience. I’m going to think about, “Okay, who’s my ICP? Who’s my persona?” Whatever the little buzzword is that we want to use. Who are the people I want to target? What do they need? The answer to that question is probably not your product or your service.

Ashley Levesque:

Let me give an example. I’ll put this in real time. I work at Demio. We are a webinar hosting platform, we are the best one on the market. I target to other marketers, right? That’s my ICP. When other marketers that I target wake up in the morning, the thing that is going to help them do their jobs best, the thing that they need, that they want, the internal driver for them is not a webinar hosting platform. It’s just not.

John Farkas:

I’m shocked. I am shocked.

Ashley Levesque:

John, day one. I was shocked too, let me tell you. But again, what we’re aiming for here is congruence over what are we marketing? And what is the target audience that we are marketing too? What do they need? Right? By focusing on them, we’re focusing away from ourselves, which is what we need to do to put on a great webinar. So here are a couple things that I’ve learned about our target audience since being at Demio. We work with a lot of smaller marketing teams, we work with a lot of big marketing teams and no matter the size, one key theme comes up a lot, which is confidence.

Ashley Levesque:

Our marketing teams have a requirement to do their job, right? Their job is to run marketing campaigns that drive revenue. Today’s modern marketers, that’s what their responsibility is. Right? So they need to do that in a way that helps them feel successful, while also feeling confident. A barrier to that for them right now, is what we talked about before, which is, “Webinars are really overwhelming. I don’t want to be on camera, there’s so many buttons, where do I start? I have to make slides. Oh, my gosh. What am I going to talk about?” Right?

John Farkas:

Right.

Ashley Levesque:

So my job is to show them a pathway for them to get promoted, for them to make quota, for them to feel good for them to look good in front of their executive team. The way I know they can do it, is through webinars and through this incredible platform that we built. But my focus is on them. So now that I know that about them, think of all the webinar topics I can create. I know this about them. So let’s just brainstorm some. I can create topics on how to look good in front of the camera and feel more confident. I can create topics on how to create webinar content in less than a day. How to build a webinar funnel that converts quickly and easily. How small marketing teams can actually drive your bottom line with webinars. All of those topics are going to resonate with that target audience.

Anna Grimes:

That’s true.

Ashley Levesque:

Right?

John Farkas:

It sounds like we have… How many was that, Mark? We have four more episodes, we need to go create-

Mark Whitlock:

We have four more podcast episodes, we got to record.

Ashley Levesque:

Exactly right. That is step two. Okay. I’ve got webinar goals. I’ve got my target audience. Part of that target audience is knowing what they want. I call that the desired outcome, right? That’s their desired outcome. What they need, what they want to get. Now I can build a topic. Now we can build five topics, we can build 30 topics. Now the thing to know about when we’re building a webinar on one of these topics is going back to our webinar purpose. Because we think about this, and I’ll be honest, when I run webinars, I actually document number one and number two, right away. I write it down on paper. Because otherwise, if I don’t write it down, I’ll start thinking about topics. I’ll start creating webinar content, and I’m getting farther and farther away from my audience. You know what happens, when that happens? Your webinar becomes a product demonstration.

John Farkas:

Yeah.

Ashley Levesque:

Now, webinars that are product demonstrations totally fine if your target audience and where they are as part of their customer journey with you, their desired outcome, their place within your funnel, if they’re there. If they’re ready for a product demo, beautiful, show them one. If they are not, then they’re going to need one of those topics we already talked about, right? My job over the course of the webinar is to bring them a little bit closer to where they want to be. Not all the way. This is where we need to reframe webinars. If this is the first time this target audience has ever heard of me, I’m not selling to them on this webinar. I’m bringing them a little closer to where they want to go and my webinar goal should reflect that.

Anna Grimes:

Right.

Ashley Levesque:

That’s it. Now I’ve got a topic. I know who my audience is. I know what they want. I know what keeps them up at night, what their internal drivers are and now I got to create content. Right now I got to promote and do all that stuff. But I’ve got my topic. Those are the things that we do to lead up.

Anna Grimes:

We actually just went through this experience with a client where they finally landed on, “No, we’re going to make this an invite only webinar. Because we’ve identified X number of folks that we think are ready to hear, not a full product demo, but a more elevated focus on a particular solution.” That they’re rolling out. I mean, it is slated for later this month, but I’m really interested to see how this works. But it came out of a discussion. Just about exactly what you’re talking about where they’re like, “Wait, we know we have the solution. But is this really the best way to talk about it?” Maybe what we need to do is step back and say, “No, this really needs to be almost like a demo, but to a specific audience.”

Ashley Levesque:

Absolutely. This is the beautiful thing about webinars as well. They show up in all parts of the funnel.

Anna Grimes:

They do.

Ashley Levesque:

Top, middle, bottom and post-acquisition. We have customers at Demio that are using onboarding lunch and learn type webinars and are converting it, 60%.

John Farkas:

Wow. Great.

Ashley Levesque:

They show up in all parts. Because what do we know about what it means to close business? It’s about relationships.

John Farkas:

Yeah.

Ashley Levesque:

Right? Are blog posts closing deals? I don’t think so. None that I’m reading, anyway.

John Farkas:

Especially when you have a solution, when you have land and expand opportunities, right? If you’re in and your opportunity is to expand share of wallet, helping them into a more advanced understanding of what it means to embody more of your solution is a great opportunity. You’ve got an audience that already is far down the road with you. So you get a chance to continue to build that relationship. You know a lot about them, already.

Ashley Levesque:

Absolutely.

John Farkas:

Because you’ve got a level of familiarity and interaction that is uncommon. I think that’s a great, a great underscore and an important thing to keep in mind.

Mark Whitlock:

John, she brought up the ICP, and the first thing that went through my mind was that Insane Clown Posse. I know that’s not what you meant. So that ideal client profile and at Golden Spiral, we work with our clients to make sure they have a buyer matrix, which is an empathetically driven way of looking at who their target customers are, and the questions our customers are asking, the needs our customers have. I’ve heard you say a million times that if you understand your client and the problems they’re facing, from an empathetic point of view, you have all of the content you will ever need at your fingertips.

Ashley Levesque:

Yes. This requires marketers. You got to start talking to your customers. This is really what I think about when I think about engagement marketing, which is that sales and marketing are coming closer together, right?

Anna Grimes:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ashley Levesque:

Today’s organizations have revenue-generating departments that cover sales marketing. We know as marketers, and as salespeople that, before someone is ready to buy, they’ve already seen what is it? Five to seven invisible touchpoints that we don’t even know. Right?

Mark Whitlock:

Right.

Ashley Levesque:

So, we’re blending this. We’re coming closer and closer together. So where marketers historically have depended on sales for field data. Tell me what you’re hearing. Tell me what you’re talking about. Tell me the objections that are coming up. We have to get in there.

Anna Grimes:

Yeah.

Ashley Levesque:

We have to have conversations so that we are as familiar with our audience as our sales people are. That will enable sales and marketing to not only have a better relationship, which we know historically has also been tricky to say the least. But it actually empowers sales and marketing to drive toward the same revenue goals, which is what marketers should be doing. John, echoing what you said earlier on in our conversation, which is less about how many registrations that I get, how many attendees, how many clicks, how many opens, how many eyeballs and more, how am I impacting at a more holistic level?

John Farkas:

Let’s back up a step and say, okay, I am new to webinars. We’ve done a couple they weren’t very successful. I know that this is an opportunity for us to do more better. For this purpose, let’s say that we are working with new client acquisition. We’re really working to build awareness in the context of the funnel. Where do we start? How would we walk through the process of putting that into place and bring that alive?

Ashley Levesque:

So here’s an example of what a webinar funnel might look like. Let’s say we have a standard marketing sales funnel, which is something like the awareness stage, right? The consideration stage here in the middle, and then the decision stage at the bottom. So let’s say we have a business goal of acquiring new clients. Client acquisition, right? I think, John, that’s what you said. And we recognize that in order to introduce ourselves to a new client market, maybe it’s a new industry, maybe it’s just a new list of targeted companies like an ABM list, that we have to get ourselves in the door first, because we’re at that top funnel, stage, right? We’re at that awareness stage. So this is where I would maybe build a webinar goal on converting a certain number of webinar attendees or registrants into email subscribers, for example.

Ashley Levesque:

So I have a very specific goal for that top-of-funnel webinar that is going to bring me closer to the client acquisition business goal, right? We’re going to do a larger funnel, so we’re going to do one webinar at the top, that is going to be something similar to one of the topics that I mentioned in the beginning, which is something focusing on an internal driver for my clients. What are the main pain points? What’s keeping them up at night? Not a product demonstration. Not so much about, “Here’s who we are, here’s what we can provide for you. We are the solution to all your problems.” But rather coming from a place of, “We hear you, we see you. Just join us. Let’s have a connection, let’s meet each other.”

Ashley Levesque:

Then maybe the attendees registrants who have signed up for the newsletter through that first webinar, maybe you invite them to webinar number two. Maybe they move down into the funnel, into the second webinar. Maybe the second webinar is a little bit more product-focused, maybe depending on lead scoring and MQL definitions and all these other great tools that marketers have at their disposal. Anna was talking about identifying intent, right? Maybe there’s a way that we’ve identified in our business, “Okay, they’re ready for this, right?” So we bring them on to a middle stage, which is a little bit more of a product demonstration, a little bit more of, “Okay, we talked about these big problems you’ve got at the beginning. Let’s get tactical about those. Let’s actually walk through a solution that we provide that’s going to help you with this.”

Ashley Levesque:

Maybe that closes it, maybe we need one more webinar. That is customer stories, customer successes. Here’s some real life examples. Bring some customer guests on, talk about their experience. Bringing on my Demio customer I just mentioned who’s got a 60% conversion rate. What a powerful story for people who are ready to hear that kind of thing at the decision stage, because they’re considering us between somebody else and they’re like, “I don’t know.” Ooh, that story is really powerful. That’s an example. It’s a three-webinar funnel and it’s very basic. There’s a lot more opportunity within there. But the idea of webinars throughout the whole funnel, is that webinars help you identify who’s most engaged in your conversation? Who might be ready to talk to sales? Who might be ready for the next step? Because again, you’re communicating with them the whole time.

John Farkas:

Super helpful pointing there. Let’s shift the conversation a little bit to some of the practicals about production. Because, again, thinking through how we’re going to present the material. Thinking through, who is going to present the material? Because, who is very important. Obviously, somebody has to be in there that knows what it is we’re specifically talking about. But if the person on your team, who knows exactly what we’re talking about is not necessarily the best personality to carry to the day-

Anna Grimes:

Ooh, yeah.

John Farkas:

What then?

Anna Grimes:

Let’s talk about some of those practicals, about producing a really good webinar.

Ashley Levesque:

I love it. We have two options when it comes to who is going to run the content on your webinar? It certainly depends on again, what’s the topic? Where is it in the funnel, all of that kind of stuff. But generically speaking, we have two options. You can either train your subject matter experts on how to be great presenters, right? How to be engaging? How to keep the conversation going?

Mark Whitlock:

Right.

John Farkas:

Which is worth saying, that’s an intentional effort that takes some time and some fundamental belief that, that’s a worthwhile investment making. Because that can be a big, intimidating challenge for some people, but can be a very worthwhile investment and it’s not an impossible hill to climb.

Ashley Levesque:

Absolutely. Absolutely agree. The other option is that you train your best communicator on the subject.

Anna Grimes:

Yeah.

John Farkas:

And they don’t have to be really deep, because that’s where you can involve other people in the conversation, that are much more adept at answering a question and responding than they are at eloquently presenting something in a way that’s clear and concise.

Ashley Levesque:

Yes.

John Farkas:

So you can get your technical subject matter experts who are really ready when that question flies, and they’re there to say, “Well, you handle it these ways and that ways.” And obviously that’ll result in this and we’ll make that happen and instill that kind of confidence, which shows your depth of bench, right? So you’re putting your best foot forward as far as how you’re presenting the subject and you’re showing that you’ve got people on your team that can really come behind it and provide value.

Ashley Levesque:

Absolutely right. I always recommend that you go with your best communicator, teach them the subject. If it requires a subject matter expert, a more technical expert to answer questions at the end, leave time for Q&A and bring that subject on stage with you at that time. Because-

Anna Grimes:

That’s a really good point.

Ashley Levesque:

If you go the other way, if your subject matter expert runs the show, but is not engaging enough to keep them on, you’re going to lose them throughout the course of the webinar.

Anna Grimes:

Right.

Ashley Levesque:

But if I’m up there, I’m engaging, I’m talking to people, I’m going to get them to stay to the point where they want to ask questions to my technical expert.

Anna Grimes:

Yeah.

Ashley Levesque:

Right? That’s what we need, we want to get their questions answered.

John Farkas:

This is so important and a place where I see so many entities fall short, and why webinars get bad names. Because people don’t understand at the end of the day, and that’s why you’ve got two theater people talking to you now, that happen to be in marketing. That’s what people don’t understand. I mean, there is a theatrical component to this. We are after the opportunity to engage people in an interaction and you have to have people who know what that means, is and looks like.

John Farkas:

If you don’t, you’re going to put people to sleep. What that means is they’re going to tune out and you’ve just lost them, you’ve diminished your brand and you have a problem. So I think it makes sense what you said, Ashley, take the step of finding somebody who’s a great communicator of finding somebody who’s a great upfront personality. If it’s somebody that knows your product, phenomenally well, phenomenal, but it’s rarely the case. I can tell you from experience, in working with a number of technology companies, the people that know it best are typically the technologists, they are typically going to go down rabbit trails and dark holes that you have no business going to, in a coherent presentation and they’ll lead it into a place it’s going to put people to sleep, you can’t afford it, you have to stick to a message that’s going to elevate the brand, elevate your importance and understand what it means to lead them from where they are in a point of understanding to where they ultimately need to go.

John Farkas:

You have to have somebody understands that trajectory and is comfortable, in communicating down that path. So don’t be afraid to make the investment of training somebody who you know and are confident is going to represent your brand really, really well and equip them to tell the story. It’s pretty straightforward. That’s not an infinite time horizon. We’re talking about a limited time horizon, by the way, Ashley actually good length for webinar. What should we be targeting in the initial presentation?

Ashley Levesque:

I like to do 30 minutes of prepared content, and leave 10 to 15 minutes for questions.

John Farkas:

Okay, so we’re talking about a half an hour window. It’s not an eternity. That’s your basic message point, iterated. With a little bit of color, here and there and some stories struck in. That’ll fill 30 minutes really well and if you tell that story well, you’re going to have people at the end there ready to ask questions, because you’ve brought a lot forward, you’ve done a good job of communicating, and they’re ready to start applying it into their world. Or asking how they apply it in their world, which is exactly where you want them.

Ashley Levesque:

People want to buy from people. We have to let the people shine.

Anna Grimes:

I might add that there’s one other thing. We’ve talked a lot about the need to have that empath, who is the host, the narrator versus the narcissist, but enough about me.

John Farkas:

Be careful.

Anna Grimes:

Yeah. But, I think, absolutely, but you can also be focused on the needs of the audience. But I think what the person running that webinar needs more than anything is an attitude of curiosity. Tell me more. I want to know more. Now, obviously, in that 30-minute block, you’re going to be saying things and you’re essentially giving a talk. But, I do think that shaping the presentation with an attitude of curiosity, what would my audience… Not just what does my non-audience need, but what do you think they’d be interested in? What’s going to grab their attention? And what’s going to ask them in the Q&A part, “Tell me more about X.” Or, “You said this about Y.”

Ashley Levesque:

Exactly right. That’s why we need to reshape the way we think about webinars from being something presentational-

Anna Grimes:

Right.

Ashley Levesque:

And robotic, to something where they are contributing. They are a part of this and we need to invite, give room. Right?

John Farkas:

So a great platform is an important component. Tell us about a great platform. What have you all put together and why is it particularly strong and intuitive and a great thing for people to consider.

Ashley Levesque:

Our mission at Demio is to make marketers live easier and happier. That’s what our business mission is about. One way that we do that is by providing a seamless, easy platform that was built for marketers. We were built with marketers in mind. We were built to help marketers run events that actually convert, to help marketers look at analytics, learn where they went wrong and get better the next time, so that they can crush their next campaign and grow and learn and get promoted and run the business. Right? That’s a sidebar. But, that is what we aim to do. So every feature, every update is built with marketers in mind, and from marketer’s feedback. Saying, “I need this integration.” For example, engagement. Our platform is built on the tenets that you are supposed to engage and invite participation from your attendees.

Ashley Levesque:

So we have multiple ways to do that inside our platform. And yet, the platform is clean, easy, intuitive, and can be set up in moments. Because marketers don’t have time for anything more. We are truly looking to make marketers as successful as possible and every single thing that we do supports that.

John Farkas:

So if people are wanting more information about a great webinar platform, what would you tell them to do?

Ashley Levesque:

Exclusively go to www.demio D-E-M-I-O .com. We have a free 14-day trial, no credit card required for you to test this out yourself. Seamless.

John Farkas:

It’s really important because the platform does make a difference. Like we said, being comfortable. Having to be intuitive, and seamless is really essential. The fact that we’re looking at a tool that was built for conversion, that was built for people taking action is really important. Because if that interface is lesser than, it translates directly into the effectiveness of your event. So keep that in mind and check out what’s going on at Demio.

Mark Whitlock:

Ashley Levesque. Thank you for being on Studio CMO and we can’t wait to have you back.

Ashley Levesque:

Thank you for having me. What a pleasure. I can’t wait to come back. I’m ready to dig in already. But we’ll save it for next time.

Anna Grimes:

Sounds like a plan.

Mark Whitlock:

When you head over to demio.com, in case you’re curious, we will connect to Demio from studiocom.com/057. So the show notes will be at studiocmo.com/057. We’ll have the outline of the things we talked about today, to get you ready to dive into webinars for your HealthTech company. I had the privilege of watching Ashley in action.

Ashley Levesque:

Oh, wow.

Mark Whitlock:

Before we invited her to talk with us. She practices what she preaches. One of the things she didn’t say and I’ll just say here, Demio is a no-download platform. It’s a click and you’re in the webinar and the interactive tools work. I’ve put it through its paces and probably like you, dear listener, you have been through so many webinars that unfortunately you got to the end and you wanted to quote Shakespeare when he said you speak an infinite deal of nothing. That hopefully will not be the case when you practice what Ashley’s taught here today and you’re using the Demio platform, you’ll be able to reach that customer, as we always talk about on Studio CMO and Ashley did such a great job of echoing well. We want to understand our buyers problems.

Anna Grimes:

Lead with an empathetic and sometimes very curious understanding.

John Farkas:

And always work to make your buyer the hero.

Mark Whitlock:

We’ll see you next time on Studio CMO. Studio CMO is produced by Golden Spiral, market positioning and demand generation for HealthTech. We are an agency dedicated to help you realize your market potential. Our music is from Bigger Story Music, BMG Music Library. Whatever story you’re trying to tell, Bigger Story has the perfect music to make it better. Really check them out at biggerstorymusic.com