Updated Jul 11th, 2022 by Nicolas Zenker
In many ways, we’re living in a virtual world — especially when it comes to working. The good news is that there are undeniable benefits to this when it comes to building your brand and reaching new consumers.
The past few years have seen a wide variety of events move online, from meetings to conferences – even wine tastings!. So it’s no surprise webinars, and webinar marketing have exploded in popularity. After all, a well-run webinar offers marketers the ability to engage and educate new audiences, all while generating promising leads.
What’s a webinar? We’re glad you asked. The word “webinar” is a combination of “web” and “seminar,” which is another way of saying that a webinar is simply a seminar that’s hosted online.
Like a seminar, a webinar typically has a host, a presenter who gives a presentation with some form of visual media, and an audience. The host introduces the session, the presenter delivers their presentation, and at the end, a Q&A session typically allows the audience to ask questions about what they’ve just heard.
Webcast vs. Webinar
When it comes to webcast vs. webinar, there’s a pretty simple difference. Webinars allow for audience participation, typically through a closing Q&A session, while webcasts don’t. A typical webcast features a host or presenter “broadcasting” their talk online without interacting with their audience.
If it’s not already clear, webinars can be a powerful and unique marketing tool — but that doesn’t mean they’re easy to set up. There’s plenty of hard work and planning that goes into every successful webinar, from finding the right speakers to nailing down the technical aspects and acing your webinar promotion. Below, we’ve set up a guide to help you get the most out of your webinar.
1. Approach your Webinar with multi-channel marketing
You’re hosting a webinar because you want people to attend and learn more about your product or service, so don’t get lazy when it comes to promoting the actual event.
Here are some general tips and ideas for getting the most out of your webinar promotion:
These are just a few tips on how to promote webinars. Below, we’ll walk through a number of tips that will help make the webinar advertisement process a little bit smoother.
2. Spend time on the visuals
Your webinar should be clearly and thoughtfully branded. If your brand has an established visual tone, make sure your branding for the webinar marketing lines up with it. That might mean inserting your company’s logo wherever makes sense or using colors and fonts that align with your brand’s visual guidelines.
Most importantly, you should make sure to design an eye-catching and visually appealing slide deck for the webinar’s presentation portion. Slides with fewer words and more images are ideal for holding your attendees’ attention while increasing their engagement with the material. When using text, make sure it’s well-crafted and adds to the overall effect of the presentation. In other words, don’t make your slide deck an afterthought — in many ways, it’s the main game.
3. Focus on providing high-quality content
Don’t forget that webinars are designed to teach attendees something new — not just about your product but about your industry and its trends as a whole. Your webinar topic should be well thought-out and exciting. You’ll want to demonstrate your authority as a source of industry knowledge by providing relevant and insightful information about your chosen topic. And when it comes to choosing the right topic, don’t forget that specificity is key.
Choosing the right speaker or speakers for your event is also a huge part of your webinar’s success. You’ll want to find engaging, energetic speakers who can demonstrate strong expertise in the topic you’ve chosen. Thought leaders or experts in your industry can be great additions to any webinar. They’ll bring in specialist knowledge while also attracting new attendees thanks to their own follower networks. As a bonus, using external speakers can also open up opportunities for co-marketing ahead of the event.
4. Find a format that works for you — and your speakers
With a clear topic already chosen, you’re ready to focus on the structure of your event. As you do so, you’ll want to keep in mind how many speakers you’ll have and what their strengths are. Here are some general structures that you can experiment with:
Of course, these aren’t all the possible formats — you might simply conduct an interview with a prominent guest or conduct a product demonstration. You can even mix formats until you’ve settled on the structure that works best for you, your speakers, and your topic. Regardless of format, giving attendees the opportunity to do a live Q&A session before the end of the webinar is a must. Not only will this offer the highest level of engagement, it also allows attendees to contribute to the conversation and give you insight into exactly what type of content they find valuable.
5. Use your speakers’ social media to your advantage
You’ve chosen an exciting topic, organized the webinar, and invited speakers from other organizations to participate. So when it comes to promoting your event, you should feel comfortable taking advantage of your speakers’ social media followings, as well as those of their companies.
In advance of the webinar, as you’re sending out other promotional materials, make sure your audience is aware of the speakers’ social media information and can engage with them leading up to the event. Not only will this strategy make your event feel more personal — it’ll help expand your own social media following in the process.
6. Empower your host
Having a variety of speakers with different types of experience in your webinar is great for creating a lively and energetic conversation. At the same time, more speakers can increase the risk that the conversation loses focus.
If you’re planning to have multiple speakers, designate a clear host and make sure they have the tools they need to effectively guide the discussion. This might include giving them moderator powers, making sure they’re briefed on the other speakers’ areas of expertise, and preparing them to address any technical issues that might arise during the webinar. If your team bandwidth allows it, having a technical resource on the call for any issues is highly encouraged.
7. Take advantage of different types of media
Variety is the spice of life, as they say — and it’s also the key to a great webinar. Finding ways to incorporate different types of media into your webinar will help keep your audience engaged and learning. Here are some ideas for spicing it up content-wise:
It’s also important to consider just how attendees will be tuning into your webinar. Making sure your webinar is compatible with other formats like mobile can help maximize your attendance rate. Small things like making sure your visuals are large enough to be legible on a mobile device can help ensure everyone has the best possible experience.
8. Experiment with additional audience engagement strategies
Being prepared for the actual webinar and how you’ll continue to boost engagement during it is critical. There are a number of simple things you can do to maximize engagement during the event, including having questions prepared for the Q&A portion if the audience is less curious than you planned on. There are also additional online features you can take advantage of.
Most webinar platforms offer a number of ways for attendees to interact with the event outside of the Q&A session. For example, commenting in the platform’s chat feature during the event and responding to live quizzes and polls. To make sure your attendees aren’t entirely passive throughout the webinar, consider ways to incorporate some of these activities into your webinar plan.
9. Plan for the unexpected and double-check everything else
The last thing you want in the middle of your webinar is a technical problem or glitch. To minimize the possibility of this, you should make sure to perform audio and video checks in advance of the actual webinar.
If you can do a shortened run-through with everyone who will be speaking in the webinar ahead of time, we would highly recommend it. At the very least, the event’s main speakers should check that their sound quality and lighting are in tip-top shape ahead of time.
If you plan on sharing your screen or handing over technical control to another speaker, practice these ahead of time to make sure they run smoothly on the day of the webinar. Here are a few other things to keep in mind when prepping for the unexpected:
10. Find the right time
Last but not least, take a minute to think about the best time to host your webinar. You’ll want to consider different time zones to maximize attendance — for instance, if you’re on the East Coast, hosting a webinar in the early afternoon will allow viewers on the West Coast to tune in and vice versa. If you’re planning to attract attendees from other countries, consider what time zone those attendees are in and potentially offer multiple sessions.
In general, Thursdays are a great day to host webinars, and if possible, you should make sure that your prime audience can attend around 11 AM. Of course, offering a recording of the webinar after it’s over is standard practice and is a great way to get viewers who can’t make it to sign up for your email list.
Clearly, a lot of work goes into webinar marketing and hosting a successful event. If you plan properly, pay attention to the correct details, and nail your webinar promotion, it’s not nearly as difficult as you might think.
If you’re ready to take your webinar game to the next level and ensure you’re reaching the widest audience possible, check out AddEvent’s video conferencing integrations. We make it easy to share your events and collect webinar signups, all while getting your message out there.