Webinars are not new, but they have been a proven method of achieving great results for many companies. What is a webinar? What kind of companies could benefit from webinars? Let’s take another look.
A webinar (or web seminar ) is an live online conference and presentation. These webinars are interactive and allow participants to ask questions, get information, and discuss in real time.
Webinars are used by many companies to build brand authority, connect with new customers and demonstrate expertise, or promote a launch. You may also target existing customers for training and onboarding as an additional value or upsell.
Webinars are best for bloggers, small business owners, or B2B.
E-commerce companies tend to use other marketing strategies, but B2C businesses that offer larger-ticket items and services might also benefit from the webinar format.
What is the purpose of webinars?
A webinar is similar to a seminar or workshop in person. It usually has one presenter or a group of participants who present live for between 30-60 minutes.
Chat and messaging are available for attendees. Some webinar hosts allow participants to use their microphones during Q&A. The majority of webinars have less than 100 participants, with most having fewer then 50. It is not uncommon for webinars with 500 viewers.
Although webinars are usually free, they can also be paid for. Although webinars are free, the main benefit is lead generation. However, they can also be used to onboard or train.
Even though the actual number of attendees may not be high, well-publicized webinars can generate hundreds or even thousands of leads. Bloggers and thought leaders with a niche audience that is interested in learning from them can make a lot of money by hosting paid webinars. These are the top tips for a successful webinar, regardless of who your audience is.
Take into account the schedule of your audience. A B2B audience is unlikely attend a webinar on weekends, but Wednesdays or Thursdays are good days. You should aim for somewhere in the middle if you have a diverse audience. The U.S. prefers 11am and 2pm local times. Do not get too obsessed with scheduling — most viewers will prefer to watch a replay rather than attend live.
Make sure you are prepared
It’s crucial to prepare for a webinar so that you don’t stumble over words or miss key points. However, you don’t want your presentation to read blandly from a script.
Instead, create a plan of what you want to cover. Make sure you have plenty of time for audience interaction and questions. A dry run should be done at least once, preferably in the same software you will use. You should take the time to familiarize yourself with the software before you start using it.
What do you want to accomplish?
Do you want to grow your email list? You can provide qualified leads to your sales team. Adopt new customers Promote your product Payed registrations can generate revenue. Your goals will dictate the structure of your session and the content that you include. This will also affect your promotion strategy.
Take the time to ask questions
92% webinar attendees desire live Q&A in a webinar. Make sure you pause for questions and/or to leave time at the conclusion. You can make audience interaction a part of your session by including chat, polls, and surveys.
Surprise the audience
People love surprises! Promoting a surprise is a great way of generating interest and registrations. Invite a surprise guest and offer a free download (ebook or worksheet) or a discount for a limited time.
Take one big bite
Make sure you are clear about what you want your audience to take away. You can share a handout, a worksheet, clarify next steps or end with a call to action depending on your goals.
Your webinar’s success is directly related to how you promote it. Promoting your webinar early and often is the key. Remember that 15% of registrations will take place well in advance of the event, around three to four weeks before it actually happens. However, 33% of those who register won’t wait until the event day, so keep reminding them until that day.
Even if you do everything right in terms of promotion, it is possible that only 25% to 30% of those who register will attend. It’s okay! By registering, they have already identified themselves as a lead and signed up for your email list. After the event, you can contact them with additional offers or a link to the recorded webinar.
These are the best marketing channels to promote your webinar.
The majority of marketers mention email as their primary channel for promotion. Make sure to send invitations to your email list. You can send emails again to recipients who haven’t opened them in the weeks before your event.
You don’t need an email list to register for webinars. This is a great way to increase your email list and get warm leads.
Social media channels
Promote your webinar via your social media channels at least two weeks in advance. Send out sneak peeks of the information attendees will be learning and encourage your followers to ask questions. Consider offering special discounts to your social media followers if you are hosting a paid webinar.
Your website should contain information about the webinar and links to register. Most webinars have two main purposes: to onboard new customers and/or generate demand through marketing and demand generation. Your website is the ideal place to spread the word for both of these objectives.
You can drive interest and registrations with pop-up and banner calls to actions, blog posts, videos and dedicated landing pages.
Video can be embedded on your website, landing page, in an email blast or shared on YouTube or social media. This will increase your click-through rates and ultimately drive registrations for your webinar.
Best webinar software
Although sharing valuable and unique content is crucial for a successful webinar it is not the most important decision. It is important to choose the webinar software you will use.
Webinar hosts will not be pleased if they have to deal with technical issues that stop them from providing the information their audience paid for.
There are many great webinar software options available at all price points. You’ll see that choosing the right software depends on your budget, how many attendees you expect and what features you require.
YouTube Live and Facebook Live are free
Although these are not the most common platforms that you might think of when you hear “webinar”, we would be remiss if we didn’t include Facebook Live or YouTube Live. These live streaming services can be used for hosting a webinar if your features are straightforward and you prefer a more casual session. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of hosting your webinar via social media.
- No cost
- No additional software required.
- There is no limit to the audience size
- Limit on duration (240 minutes on Facebook, 36 on YouTube)
- Potentially huge audience
- There are no barriers to participation such as registration or downloading an extended
- It can be hard to manage live chat functions — you will likely need another person to answer questions
- The interaction with the audience is very limited. There are no surveys or polls.
- No registration pages means fewer lead development opportunities
- A custom-branded, branded webinar room has a more professional and polished appearance.
- There are no webinar-specific features such as join by phone, Q&A tool, automated email or CRM integration
Although Facebook can be used to host webinars, YouTube’s specific features make it more powerful if you have to choose one. However, it is possible to stream both simultaneously on both.
Another option is to choose web-based webinar software that integrates with YouTube and Facebook. This offers both the best of both worlds: all the tools you need and the huge reach of social media.
Zoom – Low-cost
The popular conference software can be used to host webinars. However, there might be some limitations depending on your requirements.
- For up to 100 participants, it is free (but calls can only be made for 40 minutes).
- A $14.99/month plan allows you to remove the call duration limit, and provides other useful features like reporting and a meeting ID.
- All plans include whiteboarding, messaging, chat, raise hand and other traditional webinar features.
- To join a Zoom meeting, participants don’t have to create an account
- You can stream simultaneously to both YouTube Live and Facebook Live by integrating with YouTube Live or YouTube Live.
- Zoom lets you have multiple active participants for no additional cost — great for webinars or panel discussions with multiple hosts
- No limit on the number of free calls
- Zoom’s pricing structure can be confusing. If you have a lot of add-ons, the cost can quickly mount up.
- The cost of the webinar-specific add-on is $40/month. This puts it closer to the more expensive competitors
- There is no built-in monetization. However, Zapier integration allows you to charge registration fees via PayPal.
- Some reviews mention connectivity and audio/video quality issues
While it is possible to host a webinar using the basic or free plan, you might find that you require additional features that quickly increase the cost. You might choose a tool specifically designed for webinars.
Myexpopro features compelling features designed for webinars.
- There are many webinar formats available, including live, simulated, on-demand and automated.
- Interactive tools for audience interaction include chat, polls and Q&A.
- Marketing features built-in include email invitations, registration and customized landing pages. Custom branding is also available
- Built-in monetization lets you sell tickets to your webinar
- No downloads required
GoToWebinar was created by the same company that developed the popular GoToMeeting conference calling platform. It offers some of the most advanced features for webinar hosts. These features come at a higher price.
- Robust audience interaction features include polls and Qs, whiteboarding and more
- Branding, custom registration pages, automated email messages, reporting, and analytics
- Integration of CRM and email for lead management
- Simulated live webinars are pre-recorded sessions that feel just like real ones
- Advanced features include mobile webinar management, practice sessions and many more
- You can join by phone or online
- 7-day free trial
- It is expensive. The lowest pricing tier costs $89/month (billed annually for 100 participants).
- To join the webinar, users must download software. This can prove to be a barrier if they are having trouble downloading or don’t want it.
- Comparable to other platforms with a more modern look, the platform’s interface is less dated.
After the Webinar
Don’t let your webinar pass you by after the event. You can share the recording via the same channels that you used to promote the event, such as email, social media and recaps on your site.
You can also repurpose webinar content in other formats, such as ebooks, training materials and videos.
Remember that 84% B2B customers would prefer to view a replay of a webinar over a live one. Make sure you send your recording to everyone who registered for your webinar. Not just the ones who attended.