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Improve Online Webinars in 5 Steps

by Emily Iwankovitsch Social Media Marketing Manager

“Webinar” might sound like an outdated term, but it’s decidedly not. 67% of marketers in 2020 increased their investment in webinars. Viewers in 2020 watched three times more webinar content than they did in 2019. The global webinar market is estimated to reach 800 million by 2023, up 253 million from 2015.

And as virtual events have ballooned during and following the pandemic, so have webinars: 167% according to one report.

Thomas Davey writes, “A webinar is a virtual event in its own right, but with the development of technology virtual events now cover a lot more than just a presentation-style digital conference.” (True. Check out a blog post all about best practices for virtual events.) “What we’re now seeing is a physical event being replicated online, meaning multiple sessions with multiple elements such as networking rooms, virtual booths, and information desks.” And a webinar? That could be a video presentation, seminar, lecture, or workshop hosted online by a speaker or small group of speakers.

But let’s be honest: Some webinars are just… Well, they shouldn’t be webinars in the first place. Is it a minor product release? A broad, ‘content thin’ general topic? Maybe reconsider the webinar. Additionally, in a survey last year, 47% of marketers say they’ve increased focus on emotional and human-centric content — quite a few less are emphasizing logical, product-centered content (31%).

Keeping the above in mind, what are some important steps you can take to improve your online webinar?

How to Improve Your Online Webinars in 5 Steps 

First, a little background on webinar conversion stats (AKA, why it’s a good idea to improve your online webinars and make them great — and well attended!): ON24 reports “76% of marketers say that webinars help them reach more leads, 75% say it extends brand reach, and 69% say it helps scale marketing efforts.” Let’s jump right in, then...

1. Promote your webinar early and often

After you’ve determined your topic is genuinely worthy of a webinar (check out this “How Not to Suck at Webinars” article) and scheduled it, start promoting… and do send reminder emails.

Hubspot writes, “Getting people to attend your webinar requires lots and lots (and lots) of registrant reminders. People often sign up for webinars weeks in advance, so it's critical that you're making an effort to keep your webinar top-of-mind during that time.” Webinars typically get 44% of pre-registrants to attend the live event. So how many registrants do you want? Keep that number in mind. Hubspot would know, as they attempted to break the Guinness World Record for webinar attendees (10,899 people)!

Another company, LiveWebinar, details their strategy: “Behind every successful webinar there is a well-thought out promotion strategy. Plan a promotion campaign, including specific targeting and segmentation, which will help you reach the preferable audience. Start implementing your promotion strategy at least 2 weeks before the event. The earlier you begin, the more opportunities you will have to grab the recipient's attention and build anticipation for your seminar. Create a user-friendly landing page and make sure that signing up for your webinar is effortless. Run social media and email campaigns in which you remind users to sign up and highlight the benefits of attending your webinar.”

2. Communicate your content clearly

With a webinar, you are scaling your company’s communication... so it should absolutely be clear. This includes how you organize the content and how you present it — both verbally and visually.

It may go without saying, but we wanted to mention it still: Choose hosts who are confident and energetic public speakers. “Public speaking is difficult, and it scares a heck of a lot of people. Don’t believe that because a host can’t see their audience that they won’t feel the same discomfort (panic?) presenting a webinar as they would if they were on a stage.” Oh, and practicing is important, too.

And although you don’t need fancy equipment, it helps immensely to have a solid internet connection and good microphone (here’s a post with more recommendations). More about the audio component shortly...

3. Entertain your audience — give attendees something special

This comes back to the content aspect, but we felt it is important enough to highlight specifically.

“Try to think of things that will get people excited, feeling special, talking with colleagues, and remembering their experience on your webinar in the future. Excited registrants turn into excited attendees. We’ve given away tickets to events, free marketing assessments, and ad spend coupons to Facebook and LinkedIn. We’ve also inspired the audience by asking them to be a part of something huge, like breaking a world record,” Hubspot shares.

Don’t forget: 47% of marketers say they’ve increased focus on emotional and human-centric content. What could be something specifically awesome about your webinar? Another suggestion: You could note in the promotional and reminder emails that attendees are getting a "special 25% discount on X," and include that discount code in the final slide of your webinar.

4. Create polls or include Q&A to get attendees involved

Engagement is crucial, and polls or Q&A are a great way to get attendees involved. Polls are also a valuable source of feedback and audience insights, too. 

“Once the webinar has started, include polling questions throughout the discussion. It’s interactive and will capture attendees’ attention more than just talking all the way through. You want to make sure that the questions are, of course, relevant to your audience.” Here are a few other best practices to keep in mind: “Only ask one question at a time to avoid confusion, use plain language and simple questions to get the most accurate answers, and write questions that benefit attendees as much as they do you."

Another benefit of a webinar Q&A? “Providing information during a webinar Q&A can establish your credibility on any given topic as well as build trust (another key ingredient to developing brand identity) with your participants.”

5. Use the best software tools — and integrate spatial audio

Our final piece of advice, and we think the most important. “The content of your webinar might be unparalleled industry insight, but it isn't nearly as valuable if your attendees can't easily access and listen to the event.”

There are many reliable videoconferencing and webinar software platforms to choose from: ON24, LogMeIn, Cisco Webex, Click Meeting, and PGI, to name a few.

And what’s this spatial audio? As mentioned earlier, it’s imperative your audience understands you clearly, and when you have multiple speakers talking on a panel (or attendees chatting afterward), spatial audio helps people understand each other far better. You can read more about the technology here, but the main idea is that spatial audio delivers sounds so each source comes from a defined location in space. More natural sounding conversations (that sound like they would in real life) are a huge plus for being able to easily understand people.

Spatial audio actually also reduces communication fatigue by decreasing cognitive load, while improving speech intelligibility.

Virtual events platforms and social audio apps (like Clubhouse) are already starting to integrate spatial audio, not to mention other apps and businesses like Apple, Netflix, and more.

To conclude, we'll leave you with a short video showcasing the power of spatial audio. Put on your headphones for this one.

Do you have a webinar software platform and are curious to investigate what it'd sound like to integrate spatial audio? Learn more below...

Published by Emily Iwankovitsch October 19, 2021

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