Natural Products Online Trainings and Webinars Rank High in ROI

They are not sexy. However, when it comes to ROI, they rock. We’re talking about online trainings and webinars.

Natural products companies tend to shy away from these online marketing tactics. They prefer in-store training with store staff. It’s part of the brick and mortar heritage of the natural products industry.

We are not talking about replacing these in-store tactics but rather about taking a look at webinars and online training as a way to educate and influence retailers.


Things have not changed much in four years. Back in 2011 the natural products industry hardly utilized live webinars as a tactic for engaging its retailers, brokers and, in some instances, consumers. The same is true today according our Natural Products Marketing Benchmark Report 2015. Webinars ranked 15 out of 20 for online marketing tactics used. It’s hard for retailers to schedule time during their busy days to catch a live feed. However, live webinars have an afterlife when they become on-demand webinars.

We found that larger companies are more likely to host webinars in order to increase brand awareness and drive sales than smaller companies. On-demand webinars are becoming a better option for online training, as they provide the opportunity for people to access the webinars whenever they want. As an added bonus, the on-demand webinar generates great search results for your website.

Because webinars are used to impart information, it’s not surprising that supplement companies were more likely than average to use webinars (30% of supplement companies compared to 15% of the overall group). And in terms of ROI, companies over $5M in revenue tend to estimate the ROI of webinars as higher than companies under $5M (27% versus 3%). Out of the 20 online marketing tactics we included in our Natural Products Marketing Benchmark Report, it is tied for #7 in estimated ROI.

Educational Online Training 

A subset of the webinar is the online training. Since 2011, natural products companies have been investing a bit more into developing online training for educational content (10% in 2011 versus 15% in 2014). And those that do are happy they did, as it ranks #1 in ROI for online marketing tactics!

Larger companies tend to use this tactic more frequently than do mid-size and smaller companies. They use online training to drive sales and increase brand awareness.

When comparing in-person training with online training, in-person training takes the gluten and gluten-free cake in terms of usage in the natural products industry. However, in-person training only ranked at #7 in terms of estimated ROI of traditional marketing tactics, so while fewer companies are practicing educational online training, those that are may be getting more bang for their buck. It’s something to think about when you’re considering undertaking the expenses of getting a trainer, educator, or well-versed rep out in the field to train store staff or customers versus a implementing a similar program online!

If you’re interested in more on the subject of ROI and natural products marketing tactics, be sure to check out our recent webinar, The Real ROI of Natural Products Marketing.