Leveraging Webinars for Retention Marketing in 2023
While automated user onboarding can help with a scaleable and self-serve way to educate users, more complex products often require more guidance. This is where webinars really come in handy. In this post, we’ll show you how to specifically use webinars as a part of your overall customer retention marketing strategy.
Let’s dive in!
As usual, here’s a short wrap-up of the post you can read in less than a minute!
- User retention marketing focuses on existing customers – it aims to help users discover more value in your product.
- You can use webinars to effectively increase customer retention among the basic, power and advanced users, as well as those who need a nudge getting to activation or are slipping away.
- User webinars shorten the distance between the company and the user and can help you engage your customers in real-time conversations, educate them about your product and share success stories.
- User webinars can be used at every stage (primary onboarding, secondary onboarding etc.), creating strong relationships, and making your customers feel taken care of. Invitation-only webinars especially, can feel exclusive.
What is the customer retention rate and how to calculate it?
Retention rate, churn, webinar marketing – what do they have in common and what do they actually mean? Before we dive into how to leverage user webinars for retention, let’s take a quick refresher on how to calculate it:
Retention refers to a company’s ability to keep its customers over time. It’s calculated by taking the number of customers who have left (churned) in any time period from the total number of customers and dividing it by the total number of customers in that specific time period.
Retention is particularly important for subscription-based businesses because acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing one.
What is retention marketing?
Retention marketing is a strategy that focuses on existing customers.
More specifically, it aims at bringing back those who have already invested their money in your business.
It’s easier and cheaper for a company to re-engage those who are already familiar with your services.
Retention marketing is the opposite approach to an acquisition marketing or growth strategy. The latter builds brand awareness and converts leads into customers, but that’s all. It focuses only on gaining new prospects no matter if those prospects will find long-term value in the product or are likely to be upsold.
- Retention marketing happens throughout the customer lifecycle. If a user has jumped out of the sales funnel, it aims to put them back on track. Then it nurtures existing customers to keep them engaged with the brand and, by doing so, convinces them to make more purchases.
- Managing user retention can also help you make the most of Customer Lifetime Value (a prediction of the total profit generated by a user over a particular period). This study shows that 65% of your sales will come from existing customers alone.
Research shows that increasing customer retention rates by 5% can increase profits by 25-95%. Customer retention is also key to budget planning, leading to long-term profitability and eventually consistent growth to close the circle of life.
The impact of user webinars on retention
Now you know why retention is so important and how to calculate it, let’s look at how to use webinars to improve your user retention.
Retention is usually associated with the later stages of the customer lifecycle, but you can use webinars to manage user retention at any state of the user journey. After all – Day 1 retention, week 1 retention, and month 1 retention have the biggest impact on your revenue since you will not have the chance to recoup your CAC if the customer churns within the first month.
New user webinars enable you to improve user retention at the activation stage and adjust your video content to basic users and those who might be slipping away.
Some companies, like Userpilot, already use this strategy to increase their customer retention.
According to Elise Marengo, Head of Customer Success at Userpilot:
“We are continuing to push the webinars to be something that all of the users come through at some point or another, because it is truly super valuable. There are three main reasons for it.
Firstly, I believe that if our users were more informed on the theory behind our product, they would be more successful using our tools. Therefore they would get more benefit from Userpilot in general because a lot of users that churn aren’t using the product appropriately. If they misuse the function of different tools, they start to think “I don’t understand why my activation numbers aren’t higher”. With a webinar they would actually get taught how to do anything, because you can just show them where everything is.
We’ve also launched the resource center and native tooltip to teach about the theory of secondary onboarding and reactive onboarding.
I think that a huge part of the value of webinars comes from engagement. Users are really feeling that they can get their questions answered. Sometimes they ask if we will send out a recording (which we do, so they can re-watch it later and use our tips) but I think people really benefit from being active participants in the webinar rather than just passive listeners.
Plus – we run them to create the opportunity for users that perhaps signed up a long time ago, but never really figured out how to use it, because they’ve never had an onboarding session. Also, whenever a new player comes into the customer’s organization I always encourage them to participate in a couple of webinars as well, because I think it’s valuable to familiarize with the tool.”
Webinars for new users – Day 1 retention at the activation stage
Reduce TTV with onboarding video meetings
Webinars are a perfect method to keep your users engaged and shorten the distance between your brand and customers. They also help with reducing another metric – Time To Value (TTV) – the time it takes before a customer sees positive results from using your product and can justify their investment. The specific time differs according to the service you offer.
There are numerous benefits of this, such as:
- Customers choose your products over other goods and services, so the faster they know their investment is profitable, the better for your brand. If it takes them a long time to see any benefits, they might be willing to switch to your competitors and never return.
- Do you offer free trials? You need to show the value of your product immediately or else no one will upgrade to the paid version.
Scheduling a video call to show how everything works can help your users learn to use your product quickly and smoothly. If they use its features effectively, they will be able to see the benefits of their purchase faster and have a better user experience.
If you’re planning to run the webinar live, you may want to choose a reliable platform like LiveWebinar or Zoom that enables live video streaming as well as recording.
Improve day 1 retention with on-demand webinars
But as a self-serve SaaS with a low ARPU and hundreds of signups from different timezones per day, you will not be able to organize a live user webinar for every new signup of course!
That’s why you need to implement on-demand pre-recorded webinars to improve that Day 1 Retention. A Localytics study shows that one in four users will open an app just once before they churn. When it comes to other products, it might be because they didn’t get the value they expected from your service.
To reduce Day 1 Retention you could create an evergreen webinar, which is an on-demand pre-recorded webinar. Your goal is to show the value of your product to new customers quickly so they have that ‘Eureka’ moment as fast as possible. Don’t make it about your product in general, but instead focus on the key activation points that will lead your users to the ‘AHA!’ moment and activation.
What to include in user webinars for the activation stage?
- Specify a few key points that are the most important for new customers and will get them to activation (key activation points).
- When you run an onboarding meeting, reduce friction during the process. Don’t force them to download an app, allow them to join the webinar with a single link. Share your screen to make a live presentation and let them ask questions about the features of your product.
- For those who are using your product for the first time, offer a pre-recorded video to get to that ‘Eureka’ moment quickly. When you create an on-demand webinar, you can take it to another level by making evergreen content. This means that whenever a user wants to play your video, your rep can be present and answer their questions via live chat in real-time to boost engagement.
- Inform participants if you’re going to record a webinar and ask if they agree to it, then send them the recording after the event so that they can benefit from it later. You can recycle your webinar content!
User webinars for basic users
Now your customer has had that ‘AHA!’ moment and has activated, they are probably using a basic paid version of your product.
Good news! With a strong customer retention strategy, you can turn basic users into advanced ones who eventually become loyal customers.
But to do that – you need to be consistent in your onboarding efforts throughout the customer lifecycle. Onboarding is more like a long-term committed relationship versus a fleeting holiday romance.
Secondary onboarding is key to showing your users the value they can get from upgrading their plan and becoming the so-called power users. You shouldn’t stop activating them, but keep pushing them along the customer journey, engaging them with more features, and showing additional ways in which they can benefit from your product.
What to include in user webinars for a basic user?
If you can make power users out of basic ones, you’re just one step away from getting them up to the advocacy level.
To get to the next stage, try the following tips when planning and running a secondary onboarding process:
- Always make it personal. To tailor your video content, you can create a short, real-time survey and show it at the beginning of the meeting. Sometimes people ignore surveys that companies send in emails, this way, you can increase the probability that attendees will answer your questions. Ask them about the features they use and relate only to those which seem most important to them. Then during the webinar, show them precisely how much additional value they can get from your product.
- When speaking about any upgrade benefits, include other customers’ ‘wins’ in bullet points or progress indicators so that you can present the value based on real data. Mention success stories/ case studies of your other customers if you can.
- Save time for questions and make sure to cover their concerns or frustrations.
Retention marketing: webinars for users who are slipping away
If users aren’t engaged with your company and product, there’s only one way to prevent them from churning – a re-engagement strategy. Tailored webinars targeting the specific reasons why your customers are churning (if you manage to get slipping-away users to attend them, of course).
There may be several reasons why your customers aren’t using your product regularly – and you need to identify why and segment them accordingly before inviting them to a webinar to make sure the content is really relevant to their problem.
You can investigate the causes of disengagement through product analytics.
Most product analytics tools will help you define the key activation points and funnels (events that need to occur in the right order) and then identify the users who fail to reach some of these critical points in their user journey.
Watching heatmaps or session recordings can also help you find the pain points of your users.
What to include in user webinars for users who are slipping away?
Only after you find out the specific issues can you refer to them and convince the customers that are slipping away that your product can truly help them.
Maybe they don’t use your product properly or at least not to its full potential.
Suggest a video call during which you can listen to the customer’s feedback, and show them what they may be missing. Keep in mind that qualitative research is more user-focused, so besides just a product analysis try an interview with the customer.
User webinars for power & advanced users
We’re finally here! Power users and advanced users support the brand, use the product frequently, and pay for it regularly. They provide you with sales and marketing value, so you don’t want to lose them.
Your goal is to build an even stronger relationship with them. If basic users are your friends, power users are like family. They should feel appreciated and special. Maybe you should come up with an exclusive offer for them, such as a series of invitation-only webinars that are tailored for their needs specifically.
Or better yet, schedule one-to-one video meetings with someone from your team who can answer any questions or show them any new features that might help with their use case.
What to include in user webinars for power & advanced users?
- You might call it a third or just continuous onboarding process, but this could be a regular session. Offer your advanced users the possibility to attend individual 1-1 meetings, during which you can show them the potential of what is included in their pricing plan. Add tips that explicitly relate to their business. You can provide them with how-to guides later, for example in an email following the meeting.
- Organize a webinar with a special guest and make it invitation-only to create a feeling of exclusivity. Send access to the email inboxes of your power users and stress that it’s a closed event. With LiveWebinar, you can assign the roles of presenters, co-hosts, and attendees with one click and send them the right link accordingly.
- Consider offering a personal support session. If any of your “best users” have a problem with anything, they can book a meeting and quickly learn how to fix it. It’s a more personal approach and faster solution than waiting for an answer via email or even live chat, through which you can’t share your screen like is possible during the video call.
User Webinars and Retention Marketing – Wrapping Up
Webinars are a great way to prevent churn and increase user retention. You can better engage with users and show how important their feedback is.
Webinars can refresh your existing customer retention strategies. No matter if you run a one-to-many webinar or a one-to-one meeting, provide attendees with knowledge and experience so valuable that they are compelled to continue using your product.