The short answer? Absolutely, but the right way.
Webinars are one of the most powerful marketing tools for businesses in the digital age.
They give companies the opportunity to reach a much larger audience than ever before, present them with professional visual and audio content, and generate leads at a fraction of the cost of traditional seminars.
However, it’s not a one and done deal if you want to truly reap the benefits.
Companies should be using a combination of live-webinars, as well as always-on webinar strategies as a component of their overall lead and demand generation program.
When executed properly, webinars can solve a lot of problems for marketers around generating leads, building pipelines, and creating unique content to grow their audience. Let’s dive deeper into why and how they can serve as an aggregator for growth.
What is a Webinar and How Do They Work?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you probably know what a webinar is. Also referred to as a web seminar, a webinar is an interactive, online presentation where a host can share slideshows, audio, video, and documents to an audience anywhere in the world.
Commonly used by businesses, webinars serve as a way to present new products, offer training courses, network, and generate qualified leads.
Webinars allow a real-time conversation to occur between hosts and audience members, using interactive tools to spice things up such as live chat, surveys, polls, and hand raising gestures.
What’s the Purpose of a Webinar?
Webinars allow marketers an easy and affordable way to bring people together in the same space to reach many objectives.
Common reasons to host a webinar include:
- Generate qualified leads and demand for product
- Build pipeline
- Nurture prospects
- Drive growth and revenue
- Increase brand awareness
- Positioning your company as a industry expert
What are the Different Kinds of Webinars?
A webinar can be as simple as a basic slide presentation or as complicated as a live interactive workshop.
It could be a live audio conversation between two people, similar to a podcast. Or it could be complex and highly produced, similar to a television show with pre-made segments.
Webinars aren’t limited to hosting virtual seminars. Companies use webinars in a multitude of ways to reinforce their marketing, sales, branding, education, and customer success goals.
- Education: Webinars eliminate travel costs and other traditional training expenses, allowing educators — including brands and organizations — to reach more people.
- Product Demos: Webinars allow marketers to show off their product to a room full of prospective clients simultaneously. Product demo webinars help generate buzz around a product, gather feedback on a product before it’s launched, and collect leads.
- Employee Onboarding: Companies use webinars as a cost-effective way to conduct onboarding training exercises for their employees, particularly for team members working remotely.
What are Typical Elements or Features of a Webinar?
Great webinars allow for a controlled, two-way communication to take place between the presenter and participants. Below are the most common features included in popular webinar platforms:
This is the most important feature of the webinar, the ability to talk directly with your audience and share slide presentations, video, and documents.
Many presenters opt to make their presentations personal, using their webcam to speak directly with the audience.
Text-based chats allow participants to ask questions in live time, creating a more engaging conversation for all involved.
Surveys and Polls
Keeping the audience engaged is crucial for hosting a successful webinar. Use surveys and polls to gather information from your audience to gauge their interests and collect data.
Capacity to Host Numerous People
Webinars have the capacity to bring hundreds to thousands of people together in an organized way within the same virtual space, regardless of their physical location.
Analytics and Reports
On the presenter’s end, hosting a webinar allows for seamless email integration and analytic reports on engagement.
This data is useful in understanding which participants are the most interested in purchasing a product, or in determining webinar success by measuring key performance indicators, such as how many times participants raised their hands or reached out with questions.
What Are Live Webinars Vs. Pre-Recorded Webinars?
Simply put, a pre-recorded webinar is a regular webinar that was recorded and then uploaded for anyone to watch, on demand. In fact, they are also referred to as “on-demand” webinars or “evergreen” webinars, because they are always available to watch, at any time.
The key difference is that live webinars happen in real time and are sometimes more effective. They’re interactive, allowing for participants to ask questions, answer polls, and give feedback during the webinar.
Companies should use a combination of hosting regular live-webinars and uploading the best webinars as on-demand offerings to take full advantage of the content and reach the largest audience.
The 5 Webinar Best Practices You Can’t Do Without
1. Promote the Webinar Beforehand
If you promote it, they will come. There are numerous ways to get the word out about your webinar:
- Set up registration pages
- Create email marketing campaigns, sending reminders weeks and days in advance
- Create paid ad campaigns through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google
- Cross-promote with key speaker’s platforms for maximum exposure
- Create social media giveaways
Looking for more ideas? Check out 12 Event Promotion Strategies To Attract The Right Audience And Grow Your Business.
2. Use a Webinar Hashtag
Create a hashtag specific to your event. Begin using the hashtag weeks before your event. Encourage participants to use this hashtag on Twitter and Instagram, and reference these sites during the webinar for useful questions or talking points.
Likewise, use this hashtag to post interesting points from your webinar in live-time to further promote it.
3. Create an Attractive, Professional Presentation
Put extra effort in making sure your presentation is branded professionally and contains a blend of text, pictures, video, and audio to keep the webinar engaging and easy to consume.
4. Consider Having More than One Presenter
If your platform allows for it, consider having more than one presenter in the webinar.
Is there a thought leader or influencer who’s interested in helping you present? This could be a great way to cross-promote using their existing fan base to build your audience.
5. Make Sure Audio and Video Work Before Hosting
This is a huge one. Many webinars can become bogged down by technical issues, both on the presenter and participants’ sides.
As host, make sure your camera and microphone work properly before going live. And encourage participants to download or log into the webinar platform a day or hour before the presentation starts to minimize connectivity issues.
What Kind of Equipment Will I Need to Run a Webinar? What Solution is Best?
First and foremost, you’ll want to choose a webinar platform that will integrate smoothly with your existing CRM and marketing automation tools.
SpotMe will help you create a digital experience that’s easy to host, set up, and will be loved by your audience.
Repurposing Webinars: The Secret Sauce of Awesome Webinar Strategies
Here’s the secret: Repurpose your old webinar into tons of new pieces of content for your company.
We already mentioned uploading pre-recorded webinars as on-demand content, but here’s a list of other ideas that will help you recycle your existing webinars to fuel other content marketing initiatives.
Transcribe Your Webinar for SEO
Upload a transcribed, text-based version of your webinar as a blog post that will attract readers organically through improved SEO to your website.
Create a Downloadable PDF for Email Generation
Summarize the webinar into a downloadable PDF that readers must enter their email to receive. This will help build your email marketing list and ultimately nurture leads.
Create an Infographic
Condense information into an infographic to put on your website. Be sure to include branding so that you get credit when it’s shared online.
Create a Highlight Reel
Take the best parts of your webinar and create a shareable video that can be inserted into future promotional email and social media campaigns.
Take Your Webinars Further With SpotMe
Request a free demo to explore SpotMe Express and begin building your perfect webinar.
Are you still somewhat new to virtual event platforms and want to learn more? Be sure to check out our virtual events comparison chart for 2023 to help you better understand your options.