Hear from Dan Smith, Head of Digital at Growth Capital Ventures, about why webinars have become integral to his inbound marketing strategy.
I’ve worked in digital marketing for over a decade and during that time I’ve utilised a range of tools and products. Having a huge focus on the experience a customer has with a brand, I’ve always aimed to use the tools that are going to have a long-term impact on the customer; tools that are going to be genuinely beneficial to their experience with the brand.
Webinars have been one of those tools that’s been at the forefront for me for some time now. I can’t think of any brand or project I’ve worked on where they haven’t been a key consideration at the very least.
And so when I began working with Growth Capital Ventures (GCV) and their equity co-investment platform GrowthFunders in 2017, one of the first things I did was to introduce webinars.
Just short of 12 months on and webinars have become a staple part of our marketing toolset. The first few months are always interesting as it’s about understanding exactly what our audience best respond to and how we can further build on this to ensure future webinars are even more successful, but we’re at a point where webinars are a de facto option when we’re discussing marketing campaigns.
And I can generally summarise the reasons behind this into seven areas:
1. We’ve improved our investor communications
I joined GCV at an explosive period of growth. We went from a headcount of three or four to 20 in a matter of months. The company has been built on a strong network of personal relationships and investors into our opportunities were often communicated with via personal phone calls, emails and meetings.
Without a doubt something that had to continue, we appreciated that as we scaled, we needed to introduce new ways to communicate with our investors, both active and potential; ways that would allow us to continue getting our personal approach across but in an improved - and arguably more efficient - format.
With the introduction of webinars, we can talk to numerous investors at once but still with that personal touch. Our Chief Operating Officer, Craig Peterson, can discuss about property investing to existing investors who wish to diversify. Our Investment and Operations Director, Jordan Dargue, can explain all about one of our latest startup investment opportunities.
And the fact it’s not just a one-way communication method - we ensure we have a live Q&A as part of every webinar we host - is fantastic.
Plus, the ability to have on-demand recordings available immediately after the live webinar has finished means our often busy investors don’t need to join us live but can still get the benefit from hearing from one of the GCV team.
2. They provide great evergreen content
As a digital marketer, my main focus is content. I love it. Content of all varieties. When we break every customer journey down into the most basic of formats, it’s all about content. In whatever format it may be, we want to digest and engage with content that meets our needs.
With evergreen content the pinnacle of brilliant content in many ways, as it provides value at the point of going live and continually, we’re finding webinars are a brilliant way to generate such content.
We undoubtedly deliver webinars that are time-sensitive - such as around live startup investment opportunities - but we have numerous that are as relevant today as they were when we first delivered them many months ago.
Uploaded to our site and supported by a number of blog posts and organic social media activity, we’re developing a suite of webinars that we can push out to a new audience regularly, providing engaging content that requires a time and resource investment from our side once, but which has continued benefit.
3. They allow startups raising investment to truly get their passion across
Our business is generally split into two areas - facilitating the investment process by providing investors with the platform to invest into opportunities, and working closely with high growth startups to ensure they offer the most suitable investment opportunity possible to our investor network.
With every startup investment opportunity we have live, we deliver a marketing campaign to showcase the startup and their opportunity to both our existing network and to new, potential investors. Our blog is a great starting point for this activity and our blog posts offer some really insightful details, but it can be difficult to truly convey the passion a startup has.
We can talk about the facts and figures in blog posts all day long - and it’s important we do this - but as many investors will attest to, it isn’t until you actually hear from the startup owner and the team themselves that you get a genuine insight into who they are and what their actual vision is.
And whilst there’s a lot to consider when investing into a startup, many invest largely based on their belief in the company’s team more than anything else, something that a webinar can help portray perfectly.
4. Our lead generation process has been enhanced
We have a real focus on inbound marketing at GCV. We want to provide our audience with content that they find genuinely useful and as such, want to find out more about the work we do and the services we offer, be that from an investor or a startup point of view.
Once someone does decide to make contact, they then go through a nurturing process, much of which is automated with HubSpot’s workflows. Receiving guides, blog posts and resources relevant to them, webinars have proven to be a brilliant addition to this process.
By providing an additional way for individuals to engage with GCV and learn about our brand and people, it offers something different to more static content, such as blog posts and guides. This is something we’ve been working on more recently as we look to offer alternative ways to engage with us - we’ve started to introduce audio versions of our blog posts, too, for example.
Tie this into my point above about evergreen content and some components of our nurturing processes can remain largely unchanged, allowing us to focus our efforts on encouraging more people to enter the top of the funnel.
5. We’re able to introduce and showcase the wider team
This is something I’m particularly keen to do, as we have a brilliantly knowledgeable and experienced team at GCV. In the world of investing, face-to-face relationships are often so important as they can help instil confidence, something as an investor - potentially parting with large sums of money - you need.
Over the course of the last few months, our webinar attendees have been able to hear from Norm Peterson, our CEO, Craig Peterson, our COO, and Jordan Dargue, our Investment and Operations Director. I preside over every webinar, and so with other team members having been involved previously, it’s been possible for attendees to get a good understanding of both our individual and collective knowledge and experience.
6. They’re providing us with an introduction to video
As a growing - and ambitious! - marketing team, we’re keen to implement as many tools and approaches as we can. There are so many brilliant ways to attract and engage with an audience, the most difficult decision to make is often deciding what to implement first!
Aiming to heavily integrate video into our marketing campaigns over the coming months, webinars are giving us the opportunity to effectively get started with some of the initial processes, so we can hit the ground running as much as possible.
For example, when we’re preparing a webinar we need to have a quality slide deck and, to some extent, a script. We need to feel confident presenting it during the live session. Similarly, we need to have prepared in advance and carried out at least one or two run-throughs to make sure everything goes as smoothly as it can on the day.
And sure, whilst recording webinars is arguably easier than recording a video - at least for us, as we tend to make use of the slide deck and audio style webinars primarily - we can’t deny that it’s preparing us for the integration of video in the coming months.
7. The ability to integrate seamlessly with HubSpot is fantastic
I’ve had the pleasure of working with WorkCast in various capacities over the last couple of years, and have been on both sides of the fence, having worked within the WorkCast team and as a customer. One thing that’s always appealed to me - and which has made them stand out amongst some of the most notable customers - is their seamless integration with marketing automation platforms.
As users of HubSpot at GCV, the ability to setup a webinar for GrowthFunders and have the entire webinar process - from registration through to on-demand availability - to be possible without someone having to leave the GrowthFunders website is extraordinary.
Landing pages, forms, emails, workflows. There is no need for a visitor to have to download software or use a third party service. It’s a first-class user journey. The entire experience is on-brand and fully manageable, giving us an entire insight into, for example, which parts of the process are working better than others, ultimately allowing us to amend and develop our process to make it as effective as it can be.
Read more about Growth Capital Ventures and their webinar journey in our case study.