On-demand webinars are my favorite type of video because of their return on investment (ROI). It is the video version of email — not particularly sexy or trendy, but makes you money on autopilot once set up.

What are on-demand webinar videos?

An on-demand webinar is a pre-recorded online training video that you can register to watch at any time and anywhere. The benefit for attendees is that it allows them to learn more about various topics in a cost-effective and convenient way. The benefit for you is that on-demand webinars tend to be evergreen content that can be used for months or years.

Image quote about the benefits of on-demand webinars

Benefits of on-demand webinars

You should seriously consider adding on-demand webinar videos to your marketing mix. Why?

I believe your prospects recognize that you’re putting extra work into your pre-recorded webinar, making sure you’re adding value for them. As a result, webinars and on-demand webinars have fantastic conversion rates.

You can boil the benefits of on-demand webinars into three buckets:

  • Lead generation 24/7
  • Flexible content type that can be re-used in email, social, blog, syndicated distribution and more
  • Eliminate the risk of broadcast problems associated with live webinars

At a previous employer, we generated more than $10 million in lead pipeline from on-demand webinars. And the on-demand webinars that I created continued to convert in the hundreds each month. Others have also found success with webinars and on-demand webinars. Adobe reported a solid 19% conversion rate, and Buzzsumo reported 20% of webinar attendees turned into paid customers. Brian Carroll, founder of Markempa and formerly of MarketingSherpa, reported 500% more people watched an on-demand webinar than watched their live webinars.

Now compare these phenomenal results with your typical 3-5% PPC conversion rate. Don’t stop there, compare the $300-$1,500 investment in an on-demand webinar that lives forever to the $9,000 to $10,000 monthly PPC spend by the average small and medium-sized company.

I’m not saying you do one over the other, but come on, there is a clear business case for investing in on-demand webinars. 

And if you still need convincing, I can tell you that most of the brands I researched over the years don’t prioritize their on-demand webinars, which means it is an opportunity for you and your brand. This essentially low-hanging fruit you can address this quarter and immediately make an impact on lead generation and revenue.

Where are on-demand webinars used in the sales funnel?

The short answer is that they can be used throughout the sales funnel, from awareness to consideration to final decision and closed/won sale. And yes, everyone says that of their favorite content type.

But seriously, pre-recorded webinars can and are used throughout the funnel. That is one of the best things about them. They are available for consumption whenever your audience wants to engage with them. It’s baked into the name: on-demand.

Most B2B brands will have a resources page, which then offers options for eBooks, success stories, blog posts, videos and webinars. You can group your on-demand webinars either in your videos library or in your webinars library. 

When a visitor comes to your site in the awareness stage, they are skimming around your site looking for signaling information that they’ve come to the right place, and that you’re a legitimate source for consideration. By having a library of on-demand webinars, you’re signaling to these visitors that your legit.

On-demand webinars are also used in the middle and bottom of the funnel.

I regularly use webinars as the call to action in the nurture and sales emails I write for my B2B clients (and I write hundreds of emails each quarter). For example the first email in a sequence may use an eBook as the call to action. The second email could then use an on-demand webinar as the next call to action. And I hope this makes sense. Each email and CTA should be helping the prospect move along to the next stage in the customer journey (or from the customer’s perspective, move along to the next question they have before making a buying decision).

How long should on-demand webinars be?

So, how long should your pre-recorded webinar be? As in most things in business and life, it depends on how much time you need to make your point.

Unlike live webinars where it is recommended they be at least 30 minutes long, for on-demand webinars I have tested various lengths and seen shorter webinars perform better as measured by conversions (folks signing up to watch), viewing time, engagement.

If you are repurposing a previously recorded webinar, I would recommend editing it down to 15, 20 or 30 minutes.

If you have attended a webinar, you know there is a lot of filler in them. In addition to shortening them to 15 minutes, I have also edited these down into one or five-minute ungated videos that I use to drive conversions for the longer on-demand webinars.

What makes a great on-demand webinar?

Creating a great on-demand webinar doesn’t have to be too complicated. In a nutshell, you want your pre-recorded webinar to answer one of the many questions your audience may have. 

This could be a how-to tutorial (how to create an explainer video for example). It could be an overview on a topic relevant to your industry (explaining GDPR or CCPA for example). It could be introducing new research or a new or more efficient way of tackling a regular problem. It could be sharing how others have found success (such as a case study).

Now that you have an idea of what types of on-demand webinars there are, you can start thinking about what you’ll need for your organization. This is where we have the conversation about your audience and buying personas. You need to know: 

  • Buyer personas paint points (what has triggered them to begin looking for help)
  • Questions they have, in general, about what could help them
  • Questions they have about how your product or service could help them

And if you haven’t already, you should create a customer journey map. This can be a simple flow diagram that outlines the path your customers would go from initial trigger event, to initial questions (awareness stage), to follow up questions they have (consideration stage), and then the final questions they or their buying committee needs to address (bottom of funnel). You then want to align the content (and content type) that you have to that map and identify any holes.

How to create a high-converting webinar?

In most cases, you’re starting with a previously recorded webinar that you would then upload to your video hosting platform and add a gate to it. And if that is all you do, you will drive some leads.

But to really drive engagement and fill your pipeline, I recommend making these 10 simple edits to that pre-recorded webinar.

  1. Set up the new edit as a full HD video (1920 x 1080)
  2. Convert the webinar deck slides into 16×9 ratio .png files and scale to match the video specs
  3. Cut all the up-front hold time before the webinar begins.
  4. Remove the moderator intro, and housekeeping info, and get right to the speaker
  5. Match the png slides to corresponding slides in the webinar
  6. Remove any dead silences in the recording, as well as any other stumbles
  7. Synch the slides to the audio (you will often see a lag one way or the other with slide advancement in a webinar)
  8. Cut off the Q&A (create a separate webinar for that)
  9. Update the end slides to include a CTA other than saying “Q&A” or speaker info
  10. Clean up and boost the audio as best you can (webinar audio sucks)

You don’t even need to have a webinar to create an on-demand webinar. You can just create a presentation and record it offline. I actually prefer this method because you’re going to get much better audio. Along these lines, while this isn’t a post about how to conduct webinars, you should spend a few bucks for a decent USB microphone. And you want to record in a space that doesn’t have a lot of reverb (sound bouncing off walls, floors and objects and back into the mic).

My final tidbits and recommendations for an awesome on-demand webinar video

As I said earlier, I strongly recommend trimming some of the fluff you normally have in a webinar and just focus on the value add. This will reduce that 45-minute webinar into a 30-minute or 15-minute webinar. There is always something that can be cut. And if it’s really important, you can just cut it into a separate on-demand webinar.

I also recommend getting a transcription of the webinar. You may already have it prepared as a script. You can consider layering the transcript as closed-caption text over the video. You can also re-use that text content to make a blog series or even an eBook.

When it comes to gating the on-demand webinar, only ask for the bare minimum. Preferably, I would limit it to first, last and email. If you use a marketing automation platform that has progressive profiling, I would use that.

And for measuring your conversions, I would also track watch time. Platforms like Vidyard will track individual watch times for the webinars. This can then be used in your lead scoring. If they register for a webinar, they get 10 points or 15 points. If they watch it all the way to the end, they get another 10 points and maybe a smaller percentage if less. And you will also want to learn from that watch time and see if maybe you should reduce the overall length of the webinar, or remove a particular section.

And, finally, you’ll also want to test at what time you are placing the gated form. I’ve found that just after the agenda has been successful, it may be something else for you in your industry.

If you’ve read this far, please let me know if you have any additional questions. Reach out if you need help preparing your on-demand webinars. And let me know if you implement any of my tips and how you did. Good luck!