4 tips to create an effective webinar strategy for churn reduction
Keeping customers can cause concern for customer-centric companies. For SaaS companies, in particular, the recurring revenue model means that every lost customer represents months of lost revenue. Reducing churn is critical to growing your business. Otherwise, you’ll spend more time replacing the revenue lost from churned customers than growing.
The top two leading causes of churn, according to Retently, are poor onboarding (23% of churn) and weak relationship building (16% of churn). Presenting quality webinars can address both of these causes, plus many more.
In this article, we walk through why and how you can develop a webinar strategy that builds relationships between you and your customers, promotes loyalty, and keeps customers around for life.
Improve Onboarding and Customer Education
Poor onboarding often leaves customers feeling lost. They don’t know what their next steps are, they don’t see the value in the product, and they usually end up giving up their fight to make sense of your product – resulting in churn. The effects of poor onboarding are far-reaching too. Customers who weren’t set up for success early never find their footing and can end up churning months later. Webinars can improve onboarding by providing an evergreen resource for new customers to refer to. Even if your webinar isn’t presented live, customers can be guided through setting up their new accounts and be given a virtual tour of your product. It’s a great starting point for building customer engagement too – after a webinar, connecting customers with their customer success manager or the customer support team can help launch a productive working relationship.
Webinars can also introduce new features to existing customers improving product adoption. By always giving your customers more value, you reduce the chance they will even consider walking out the door. Why leave when it keeps getting better?
Building Better Relationships
68% of customers have reported leaving a company because they didn’t feel the company cared about them. Building a close relationship with your customers provides more opportunities to show you care. Webinars can help bring people together.
How often do your customers actually talk with a member of your team? Sure, they might write an email, or exchange a few tweets, but face-to-face discussions are rare in the SaaS world. Webinars give your team a chance to get in front of the camera, show their personality and connect with customers in a new way.
Plus, webinars are a chance to give back to customers and your community with no expectation of purchase. Best practice webinars or professional development opportunities give value to your customers. This act of kindness is repaid through increased trust and long-term customer loyalty. If customers see you as a source of knowledge, they will be much more inclined to stay with your product for the long haul.
Creating a webinar strategy for churn reduction
Reducing churn with webinars requires a well-developed strategy and effective execution. You need to first decide which causes of churn you’re hoping to target, promote the content to the right audience, then create and deliver a thoughtful webinar. Follow the steps below to make sure you’re hitting all the right notes:
Identify causes of churn
While webinars can help with many aspects of customer loyalty, knowing what is causing customers to fail will help you be more targeted in your approach. There are many ways to determine why your customers are leaving, including:
- Include a question in the cancellation flow asking why they are canceling, or if there was anything you could have done to keep them around.
- Contact customers who have churned for post-cancellation interviews. This can be over phone or email. The response rates are typically low, but the information can still be valuable.
- Look at customer usage data and the timing of when they churn. Is there a pattern to customers who churn? For example, are most cancellations occurring directly after the first bill is sent?
If you don’t know the cause of customer churn, it will be very difficult to address it, whether with webinars or any other techniques.
Define the purpose of your webinars
Once you know why some customers churn, you can start planning out your webinar series. Webinars are particularly effective in:
- Building relationships between your customers and your company by putting a face in front of your brand and engaging customers in conversation
- Educating customers about features they may not be using to their full advantage.
- Providing value to customers beyond the product, like sharing industry best practices and helping them get better at their job.
- Onboarding new customers to get them up and running more effectively.
Depending on the causes of customer churn in your business, the purpose of your webinar will vary. Try to be as specific as possible. If you’re starting with a series of three webinars designed to improve onboarding, identify exactly what customers should learn by the end of the webinar. By being specific you can be more targeted with your campaign and more effectively determine your impact on churn.
Promote to the target audience
By defining a purpose for your webinars, you can define the ideal audience. Rather than trying to appeal to everyone, segment your customers into personas that are trying to accomplish specific tasks. For example, many webinars are offered to help desk administrators and individual agents. By separating product-specific webinars from general best-practice webinars you’ll be able to segment these two groups so that you aren’t wasting anyone’s time delivering irrelevant content. While the existing customers might be interested in learning how to get more value from their help desk management system, it wouldn’t be relevant to the non-product users.
Promote your webinar to your defined target audience through email, social media, and in-product. Let your agents know about upcoming product webinars so they can share them with customers who are asking about specific features.
Remember, people need to actually attend the webinar in order for it to be effective – so don’t skimp on the promotion! Allow for at least two weeks of promotion before the day of the live webinar, so that you can build up a big attendance list.
You’ve made a plan and promoted it. Now it’s time to execute on your vision and share some knowledge with your customers.
- Perform a test run with all presenters to make sure mics are working, slides are in order and everyone knows their role. A poorly organized webinar won’t build any trust with your customers and they likely won’t come back to another one.
- Don’t be afraid to showcase your personality! By showing that there are real humans behind the brand (whether it’s a product manager, a support agent or your VP of marketing), you start building connections with customers.
- Offer an opportunity for customers to ask questions, either through the webinar software you’re using or on social media. Follow-up with every single question, even if you don’t get to them live.
- Record the webinar for anyone who couldn’t attend as well as future customers. By presenting the webinar once, you’ll gain a valuable resource for customers you can reuse and recycle.
Warning: webinars should not be self-promotional. If you lure customers in with the promise of learning and then start heavily pushing upsells, they will leave. The purpose of webinars is not to sell, it’s to educate.
Follow-up and measure success
After delivering your webinar, follow-up with everyone who attended to keep the conversation going. Deliver more resources so they can continue to learn on their own. Match them up with the customer support team if they have any further questions.
In order to see if your webinar strategy worked effectively, monitor the future actions of any attendees. Do they churn at a similar or lower rate than the average customer? Do they purchase more, or become more active users of the product? Measuring the return on investment of webinars can help you decide if you need to offer more or if they aren’t an effective strategy for your audience.