Webinar | What is a webinar ?
Webinars can be an important part of a content marketing strategy for a company. Especially in 2020, with the current restrictions, webinars can be a good tool in order to communicate, educate and inform your customer base and prospects.
This standard way to create marketing content is currently trendy since companies are adapting to COVID-19 by introducing as many solutions as possible that make it easier to work from home. Some of our customers switched from physical events to online webinars and increased their event registration by 400%.
What is a webinar ?
A webinar is the digital form of a physical event known as a seminar. The definition of a seminar is: “a meeting for giving and discussing information”. A webinar is therefore the contraction of web-based seminar and is defined the following: “an occasion when a group of people go on the internet at the same time to study and discuss something”.
Webinars are usually held in various format such as a simple video presentation, seminars, workshop, training enabled by a dedicated webinar conferencing software.
Already in the webinar definition we can see that what makes it interesting is the two-way communication that is enabled between presenters and attendees. During webinars, information can be shared freely, easily and in real time. Depending on the number of attendees you have in a webinar, the event can be highly collaborative and rich in learnings for all involved.
How does a webinar work ?
In order to launch your webinar, you will rely on a dedicated webinar software or platform. Usually, no matter the provider basic features include document sharing, an easy to use interface, audio, video, and other data sharing capabilities. Depending on the type of software, you will launch your webinar with, features can be more specialised. Webinar hosts and organisers usually can access easy to use login credentials that will enable them authorised access to the meeting space or location.
On the market currently, webinar providers are using software and platforms that are targeted for webinars that aim to educate and engage an audience. Depending on your business and industry you will be able to target very specific or very broad audiences. Our customers make very specific webinars about specialised medical practices, but also internal general business information webinars are common. Webinars can help you in reaching the following communication targets: educating, build authority, demonstrating, onboarding, training, or generating leads.
In general, webinars are dedicated to a small audience of attendees (fewer than 100), are free and have a duration around an hour.
Why create a webinar ?
Webinars are a great way to provide high quality content directly to your audience and that’s why we recommend doing webinars. If we take the marketing side out of the equation, webinars still make sense from a business point of view.
Since a webinar is a digital event, it is very cost effective especially if you compare it to a standard seminar. With physical events you are looking at venue hire costs, catering and drinks at a minimum which can drive up the costs very quickly.
Webinars are great because their only limit is your broadband network. Physical location is no barrier to attend which is a great advantage if you want to organise events across the country. Organising a webinar will make it easier for all attendees to make it.
Even though it is always great to meet your colleagues face-to-face, shifting the conversation online can make it easier to involve everyone. Especially if you include live Q&A, live poll and chat during the webinar, the number of interactions can spike dramatically.
Even though it is technically possible to record a physical event, it can cost a lot to do so because of the equipment needed: camera, microphones, sound crew, editing table etc… A webinar can be recorded by everyone attending the event. This way, your webinar can be made available on a video platform for everyone to binge, just like Netflix. We have a guide for you on how to record a webinar.
Live everything that’s digital, webinars are way easier to measure than physical events. Your attendees are already online and in front of their computer. You can track preferred speakers, get ideas for future event topics, measure engagement via online poll responses and so on. They’re very accountable. In most cases, it’s much harder to collect the same information from physical event attendees.
Webinars allow you to be more creative in how you present as well. Since a webinar is a digital medium, you have a range of options on how to present: live streaming webinar, pre-recorded, whiteboard, slide, and others. Most webinars out there will be either live webinars or pre-recorded with slide deck presentation.
Presentations with slides will have different functions depending on the webinar type you choose. If you want to create an audio webinar then your slides are the most important visual element in your event. If you want to create a video webinar, then your presentation is merely a visual aid for the attendee to follow the presentation.
Every topic and industry are different, there is therefore no mainstream presentation to follow. Nevertheless, there are some guiding principles on how to create a webinar presentation. Webinar slides should therefore aim to be concise, visually uncluttered, focus on key facts, summarise, load quickly, brand specific and readable at a glance.
In order to be more efficient in your webinar presentation preparation, it’s better to follow an overall framework. First you can focus on content and more specifically what do you want to say. For that you can write down your content outline, break it down in core topics, break each topic into key points and include a slide for each new idea.
You can also think about how to engage with your audience. Everybody likes a good story and you can start your presentation with that. This will help get your audience the attention needed for your webinar. Focus on strong visuals that support your ideas since it will be easier for people to remember your concept thanks to this.
In order for your presentation to be compelling you need to make sure that your visual elements are consistent across your webinar. When you choose a consistent look and feel it is easier to play around and fine tune smaller elements of your presentation.
Don’t forget to proof the copy and the visual elements of your presentation to ensure it’s consistent and makes sense. Rehearse the flow of your presentation, moving through your actual slide deck to ensure it works the way you expected it to.
How to structure my webinar ?
Since a webinar can be hard to plan and organise, you can consider it like a collection of moving parts. We can see 15 different elements that are part of a webinar anatomy. When breaking it down you learn that a webinar is not that complicated.
The body of your webinar is the content. Finding an interesting topic for your audience is a major point to run a successful event. The best way to make sure that it will be a success is to tie your webinar content to your overall content strategy.
Each webinar needs a registration page. How to create a webinar registration page is easy but there are few elements that you need to follow. This page needs to have all relevant information linked to your event and your readers should be able to see at a glance what it’s all about.
You also need to promote your webinar which is an important part of the process If you want a lot of people attending. The minimum you can do is sending an initial email inviting people to register and a reminder. You can promote the event on your social media channels, on your website and on other channels you may own.
Of course, choosing the right webinar platform technology provider is also a big part of the process. You may decide to go with a do-it-yourself platform and present remotely, in which case you need to be confident driving it yourself and troubleshooting any internet connectivity issues.
You can also decide to broadcast from a studio for a more professional look, reliable internet and a green-screen background, in which case you’ll need to choose a webinar provider that can manage the event for you.
After the webinar, you can send post-event surveys in order to request a topic, speakers and format rating so you can collect some data on what your audience thought. This can make it easier for you to improve the creation process in the future. Make your recorded webinar available on demand which will make it easier for other people to access the content.
Finally get all reporting linked to your webinar from your webinar provider to learn about the event. You should be able to get data such as the number of live and on-demand attendees, any details you collected in your registration form, average viewing time, number of people who voted or asked a question and who accessed your online resources.
You can access our resource on how to plan a webinar on our website.
What are the trends in webinar marketing in 2020?
Since we are a webinar provider, we have done a research study which can help you understand the current trends in the industry.
In 2020 marketers plan to spend more in webinar programs than last year and this was before the COVID-19 restrictions. 47% of marketers said that their webinar program was very or highly effective which shows that this medium can help your business grow.
In our experience, all industries are involved in producing webinars, but some sectors are more prolific at publishing this type of content. Our study shows that the financial sector, the education sector, the software sector as well as the healthcare sector are the leading industries on the market.
Most marketers that already do webinars will run between 6 and 50 events this year which shows the involvement behind the decision to run webinars.
Surprisingly, webinars are run to target customers and prospects for lead generation purposes rather than employees for learning purposes. Even though lead generation is the main reason for running a webinar, the favourite types of events are still educational, training and product updates.
Our research shows that marketers understand that it’s worth going the extra mile to ensure it’s as engaging and interactive as possible to avoid audience drop-offs during the broadcast. Half of respondents have at least 2 presenters to make their webinar more entertaining.
The features that drive most engagement according to marketers are enthusiastic and knowledgeable presenters, good content and visually rich presentation slides. The king formats are still presenters + slides with video and presenters + slides with audio.
In terms of promotion, most respondents use email and their website to promote their webinar. Organic social, using the sales team and paid social advertising are also used for promotion.
The marketers on our report tend to measure success by evaluating the number of attendees, the number of registrations, the number of leads acquired as well as the average engagement score.
In terms of time to host a webinar, our research shows that most attendees prefer to attend midweek with Thursdays and Tuesdays the biggest days. The time of day preferred by attendees is generally mid-morning and mid-afternoon. In terms of duration, the favourite length is around 30 to 45 minutes which means that people tend to prefer short and snappy webinars over long format.
Which webinar tool should I choose?
Choosing the correct webinar provider will be critical to your effort. Make sure the provider suits your needs and especially your resources. You don’t want to be stuck with a provider that let’s you manage everything on your own when you don’t have the resources. Webinar tools can be free and can get expensive if you want high quality content.
Free tools like Facebook Live and YouTube Live exist and can be used to organise live streaming. These platforms are perfect when your needs are simple since these tools do not allow strong audience interaction, dedicated registration pages and webinar specific features.
One of the providers that should be well known by now is Zoom. Zoom can be a good solution if you are looking for a small investment and if your needs are not too high. Although Zoom is not that expensive for the basis, costs can rise if you are using a lot of add-ons. Zoom is also known to have a few connectivity and audio/video quality issues which is normal if we consider the number of people using Zoom daily.
Higher-end providers like GoToWebinar, Redback Connect, WebinarNinja and Webex also exist and they offer a large range of features. Although those providers are great when you want to go to the next level with your webinar production, Redback Connect is the one we prefer since they are not software based.
This means that you don’t need to install anything in order to use their tools. You also have complete freedom since they don’t lock you in fixed contracts. They also have a dedicated project management team that can support you throughout every step of the process.
Finally, Redback Connect is an Australian hosted company which means that you will have less worries on where your data is going. This is also a problem that was reported with Zoom for instance.
Create great webinars thanks to our team of experts. If you need any help, please reach out on 1800 733 416. Webinars.com.au is an Australian hosted company that manages around 50 webinars per week for all types of companies.