Are webinars the right tool for me?

Written by Craig Bowers

You may have noticed that webinars have become crucial to many a digital marketing strategy over the past year. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, just 46% of video marketers used webinars. But in 2020, unprecedented events saw that percentage rise to 62%. Now, as a marketing channel, webinars are here to stay.

Even without real-world events driving their usage, webinars offer real-time connectivity and interaction and are an excellent way to generate leads. They can be highly effective for retaining customer relationships and keeping up to date with your audience. Webinars allow you to target your audience, establish your credibility, and move prospects down the funnel, while also gathering information about those prospects from registration data.

You can use webinars as a tool to position yourself as an industry expert by sharing your knowledge and addressing real-time questions. They can also be used for:

  • Promoting brand awareness
  • Thought-leadership discussions
  • Product demonstrations/training
  • Internal presentations

How do I create a webinar?

All you need to do is follow our six simple steps to create a great webinar:

1. Choose the right topic

If you’re looking to gain leads from your webinar, the topic needs to engage your target audience. You’ll likely already have a few topic ideas in mind.
However, ask yourself:

• Is the topic useful for my audience?
• Would I watch this webinar myself?

Peoples’ time is valuable, so you need to pick a highly relevant topic that will interest your audience and generate registrations.

2. Pick your webinar format

There are several ways you can host a webinar, so try and decide which works best for your topic:

Single/dual presenters

Webinars can be hosted with a single presenter. However, having dual presenters can offer a more natural conversation flow.

Interview style

This format allows you to bring in an industry expert and ask relevant questions around your topic. It often sparks a good amount of audience participation.

Panel of experts

A moderated panel discussion on a specific topic can offer a variety of voices and perspectives for a dynamic discussion. However, this talk-show style webinar can get a little complicated, so they do need to be well organised.

Q&A webinar

The audience has the opportunity to send in questions via social media or an online chat, and you can then give live responses. This offers a way to interactively engage with attendees.

Product demo

If your goal is to promote a product, then why not put it front and centre with a demo or tutorial format?

3. Choose a webinar tool

There are many different webinar tools for you to choose from.
Your options include:

  • GoToWebinar
  • Webex
  • Zoom
  • Livestorm

Whichever of these tools you choose, it’s important that you’re comfortable using it. You want to be able to run things smoothly and ensure all speakers know their way around the platform.

4. Produce the content

Many webinars come in the form of presentations, but you may decide on alternative content such as pre-recorded video or a livestream. Preparation is key, so whatever you choose, make sure all speakers are familiar with the content to avoid any confusion on the day.

Interactive elements such as polls are great for getting your audience more involved. And remember to save time at the end of your presentation for a Q&A – this engagement with your audience is one of the key features of a webinar.

5. Select the right day and time to host your webinar

Research has shown that Wednesdays and Thursdays are the days when people are most likely to attend a webinar. The best times for engagement are late morning or early afternoon, with midday best avoided. Remember to factor in time zones if you’re catering to an international audience.

6. Promote your webinar

To ensure you maximise attendance, try and promote your webinar well in advance. More than 30% of registrations happen 2-4 weeks ahead of a webinar. You can then do a final push on the week of your webinar as that is when 69% of registrations occur – and nearly half of those occur on the actual day of the webinar between 8am and 11am. Take advantage of this and send invite reminders on the day so they’re at the top of inboxes.

Email campaigns are the most popular form of promotion with 57% of emails driving webinar registrations. Alternatively, a social media campaign can also provide high visibility for both early and last-minute promotions. Regardless of your platform, it is good practice to send reminders to invitees who did not register or interact with the initial promotion. They may be interested and simply have missed it the first time.

Five tips for running a smooth webinar on the day

Even if you feel fully prepared, the unexpected can still happen. Here are some final tips to ensure you create the best webinar experience possible:

Prior to starting your webinar connect the internet by ethernet cable instead of Wi-Fi.

This will ensure there is no drop off and it’s a smooth broadcast.

Use a good quality headset or microphone to present.

There is nothing worse than poor-quality audio through a phone speaker. A headset can provide a clearer audio and prevent you from having to keep repeating yourself.

Prep your office space.

You don’t want any interruptions, whether from office colleagues, household members, or even pets. Turn off your computer/phone notifications and find a quiet space where people know not to disturb you. If you’re appearing on-camera, make sure the background looks professional and won’t distract from what you’re saying.

Turn up early.

Make sure you are prepared and have joined your webinar at least 10 minutes before it’s scheduled to start. This will ensure everything is working and ready on time – plus you’ll feel more relaxed.

Understand that something may still go wrong.

Don’t worry about it – there can often be problems with live events and people will be understanding. If there is a technical issue, simply stay calm and keep everyone in the loop.

Final thoughts...

An engaging and well-organised webinar can do wonders for brand awareness and relationship building. But it’s worth remembering that a webinar does not exist in isolation – and can in fact hold value long after you stop recording. Webinar recordings can live on as gated content to generate leads or be reformatted to create other content assets. You’ll also want to make sure you have a strong follow-up strategy in place for both attendees and no-shows post-event. Find out how we incorporated webinars into a successful demand generation campaign here.

Like all engaging and valuable content, a good webinar will have a long shelf life if handled strategically.

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