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What is a Webinar and How to Create a Great One? 2024 Guide

by Maxim Poulsen, updated on Feb 23, 2024

Every day, over 1000 webinars light up the online stage, dishing out uncapped knowledge to anyone eager to learn. Can you feel the magnitude? That's greater than the number of broadway shows produced in the whole of 2019! This guide is a comprehensive blueprint to understanding and creating engaging webinars that not only enlighten but enamour your audience. Welcome to the theatre of online learning - where the spotlight is ripe for the taking in 2024.

The Power of Webinars: What They Are and Why They Matter

  • Understanding the definition of webinars
  • The significant changes in webinars over time
  • The crucial role of webinars in the digital world

Definition of a Webinar

Webinars are interactive online seminars where information is shared and discussed in real-time. The term 'webinar' is a blend of 'web' and 'seminar' signifying its primary purpose: to host a webinar is to broadcast live and interactive meetings, presentations, discussions, or workshops over the internet.

It's a tool that has been used by businesses and individuals around the work to transform the way people communicate and engage with their audience, peers, and stakeholders online.

Webinar Formats

Webinars usually come in various formats:

And these formats can be watched in many different ways, allowing you to cater to your audience's preferences in content consumption:

Each format cater to different needs and expectations from the audience.

The Evolution of Webinars

It’s 2024. Zoom fatigue is a real thing. You can’t just put on a boring and un-engaging webinar experience and hope that it will drive new business.

Think of the content you watch today: Twitch, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and all the other platforms. These are nothing like your typical Zoom webinar. They’re modern, engaging, branded, customizable, and fun.

Modern webinar platforms provide a much more visual and engaging experience for their viewers: polls, Q&A's, slides, video sharing, and more. All of these interactive features help webinar hosts run amazing events.

Attention spans are going down and expectations are so high with all these new types of content we watch daily. Platforms like Zoom Webinars just aren’t made to create the type of content that people want to watch today - but you know that because you’re here looking to learn how to run amazing webinars in 2024.

Future of Webinars

Webinars are expected to continue evolving, adapting with technological advancements. AI and Machine Learning are potential game-changers, with possibilities of providing real-time subtitles, translations, transcription services, and intuitive audience engagement strategies.

The future is also in using AI to repurpose webinars into different pieces of content, effectively allowing you to increase the ROI of your webinar strategy by turning it into an infinite source of content for other teams.

Screenshot that shows a snapshot of a repurpose feature
Repurpose a webinar using AI
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Contrast just released their Repurpose AI feature, allowing you to transform a webinar replay into a week's worth of content.

The Role of Webinars in Today's Digital Landscape

Today, webinars are a quintessential part of the digital marketing space. They provide a platform for businesses to showcase their expertise, promote products, provide training, and foster connections. As the world continues to rely on remote working and digital interactions, the role of webinars has been magnified. They have become instrumental in bridging gaps and facilitating knowledge sharing in a way that is cost-effective and convenient.

Benefits of Webinars

Webinars are a cost-effective channel for businesses, eliminating physical constraints and allowing global outreach. They also offer real-time engagement, driving interaction and fostering connections. Furthermore, they provide data insights, enabling businesses to refine and tailor their strategies based on user engagement and feedback.

Webinars for Marketing

9 in 10 marketers consider that using webinars for marketing is a crucial part of their strategy.

The reason behind this is the flexibility of webinars and how it can have a positive impact on so many aspects of a business.

A successful webinar strategy will have an impact on so many webinar metrics:

  • Building brand awareness
  • Creating partnerships
  • Generating leads
  • Reducing acquistion costs
  • Closing new customers
  • Increasing retention
  • Learning about your audience
  • Creating tons of content

What are you waiting for?

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The Benefits of Webinars: Why You Should Incorporate Them Into Your Strategy

  • They're an inexpensive marketing and training tool
  • Enhance brand awareness and credibility
  • Generate high-quality leads

Stepping into the realm of digital marketing, you'll often hear the advice to "be where your customers are". With an increased preference for e-learning and virtual engagement, that place is webinars. To streamline the agenda further, here are the significant gains that leveraging webinars can bring:

Cost-Effective Marketing and Training Tool

95% of businesses consider webinars for marketing to be a key part of their strategy. With minimal investment, they offer the potential for significant ROI. Traditional marketing and training methods can often suck resources faster than a black hole, making webinars a worthy alternative.

But how so?

Low Upfront Costs

Think about the expenses related to organizing a physical seminar: renting a venue, catering, speakers' transportation and accommodation, to name a few. Eliminate all these by going digital with webinars. All you need is a good internet connection, a computer and webinar setup, and a free webinar platform, pretty much reducing your operational expenses to a fraction.

Evergreen Content

Webinars are not one-time events. They can be recorded, repurposed, and revisited, turning them into valuable evergreen webinars with long-term benefits. This ensures you continue to reap the benefits far beyond the webinar's initial run time.

Screenshot of Evergreen webinar on Contrast

Enhancing Brand Awareness and Credibility

Webinars can be a powerful channel to communicate your brand story in a personal, engaging way. But even beyond that, they can position your company as a thought leader within your industry, boosting your credibility significantly.

Demonstrate Thought Leadership

Webinars allow you to showcase your industry expertise, providing valuable insights and unique takes on relevant topics by inviting and interviewing guest speakers and experts. This can significantly elevate your brand's reputation, setting you apart from competitors.

Create Easy Engagement

The interactive nature of webinars allows for real-time interaction with your audience. When this is done through branded webinars, this helps in fostering relationships, increases your brand awareness and recogniziton, and gives a personal touch to your virtual presence.

Generating Qualified Leads

Numbers don't lie, but not all leads are created equal - and webinars excel at fetching the productive ones. Webinars have show to generate high-quality leads often translate to higher conversion rates, sealing their place as a prevalent marketing tool.

Acquire New Leads

Using webinars to expand your audience into new territories or topics can be a great way of increasing brand awareness. This will increase the total amount of people who are familiar with your brand - in turn having a positive effect down the webinar funnel.

Bridge Gaps

Webinars allow you to break down complex concepts or ideas into digestible chunks, directly addressing the audience’s pain points. This makes it easier for your prospects to understand how your product or service fits into their lives, bridging the gap between awareness and conversion.

Nurture Leads

A person who willingly signs up and spends time on your webinar is likely interested in what you have to offer - that's a warm lead right there! By offering insightful, value-packed content during your webinar, you can further nurture these leads, moving them closer to the buying decision.

Webinars are not just a trend in the digital world; they are a movement transforming marketing, sales, and education. With their inherent cost-effectiveness, their ability to enhance brand positioning, and their potential to generate high-quality leads, there's no mystery why they have become an indispensable tool in many a marketer's arsenal.

How to Create a Webinar: A Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Identify your webinar goals and your target audience
  2. Pick a topic that resonates with your audience
  3. Outline your webinar content
  4. Choose a dependable webinar platform
  5. Registration page & Green Room
  6. Promote your webinar
  7. Host the webinar
  8. Follow up after it’s over
  9. Repurpose your webinar

Setting up a successful webinar might feel like a daunting project. But, with the right plan, it doesn't have to be. Take it one step at a time, and you'll build a webinar that genuinely engages your audience and achieves your business goals.

Step 1: Define Your Webinar Goals and Target Audience

Knowing why you're hosting a webinar and who it's for is the rock-solid foundation on which you build a successful event. Are your goals to educate audiences about a new product or service, establish thought leadership, or simply generate more leads? Each goal requires a different approach in your webinar's structure and content.

When refining your target audience, get as specific as possible. Are they industry newcomers or veterans? What are their pain points? What language do they use? With precise audience knowledge, creating a resonating webinar becomes exponentially easier.

Step 2: Choose the Right Webinar Topic

Did you know that 73% of B2B marketers and sales leaders say a webinar is the best way to generate high-quality leads? It's crucial, however, to choose webinar topics that your audience finds valuable and relevant.

Innovation isn't always the answer. Go for what your audience wants to know. Survey your audience, analyze content they interact with, consider your most commonly asked questions – these can all steer towards a winning webinar topic.

Step 3: Plan Your Webinar Content

Well-planned webinars keep the audience engaged from start to finish. The key is structure. A general guideline is to spend 5% of your time on introduction, 85% on the main content, and 10% for Q&A. But that's not set in stone, adjusting as per your needs is always advisable.

Consider writing a webinar script to make sure you cover all the important topics during the live, this also can help reduce stress for guests and the host.

Break down your content into manageable chunks, each addressing a single point. Include captivating visuals or demo live to enrich your presentation further.

Step 4: Choose the Right Webinar Platform

Selecting the best webinar platform depends on multiple factors – number of attendees, required features, budget, user-friendliness.

Prioritize a platform that is reliable, offers excellent support, and has great reviews. It's also worth considering platforms offering analytical capabilities for post-webinar assessment.

Screenshot of Contrast review from Aurélien @Numeral
Contrast review from Aurélien @Numeral

Step 5: Set up your Registration Page & Green Room

Now that you've chosen the best webinar tool, these features are probably built-in.

Make sure you have set up your:

  • Registration page with information about the session, speakers, webinar content, etc.
  • Webinar Studio (or Green Room) where you'll be using the interactive features to engage your audience.
  • Registration, reminder, and follow-up emails for people who register to your webinar.

Step 6: Promote Your Webinar

You could have the best webinar content in the world, but without an audience, it's meaningless. Utilize every webinar promotion strategy available to you.

Some common methods are webinar invitation emails, shout-outs, website banners, or social media promotion. It's also worth teaming up with partner companies or influencers to widen your reach.

Step 7: Host Your Webinar

When it's showtime, ensure your audio and video quality are top-notch and keep an eye out for audience engagement. Having a co-host or assistant can take a load off by actively managing chat or solving technical issues.

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Don't forget to test your webcam and mic before going live.

Step 8: Follow Up After the Webinar

Post-webinar operations are as vital as the webinar itself. Send out emails to attendees with the webinar's recording, additional resources, and a post-webinar survey. Gathering attendee feedback is precious for improving future webinars. Keep the communication line open, nurturing leads towards your business goals.

Remember, creating a successful webinar takes more than just turning on a camera and delivering a presentation. It involves strategic planning, targeted promotion, seamless hosting and diligent follow-up. But with our step-by-step guide in hand, you're already on the path to success.

Step 9: Repurpose your Webinar

You spent so much time creating a brilliant webinar for your audience...to let it die once the live ends?

Make sure your webinar content works for you by repurposing it into different formats:

  • Blog posts
  • Short clips
  • Newsletters
  • On-demand replay
  • Social media posts

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Exploring Webinar Platforms: Choosing the Right One for Your Needs

TL;DR:

  • Understand what to look for in a webinar platform.
  • Discover the best webinar platforms of 2024.
  • Learn to choose the platform that fits your business.

Key Features to Look for in a Webinar Platform

Picking a webinar platform for your needs isn't a one-size-fits-all process.

First, you need to be familiar with the features that matter the most. Interactive elements like polls, surveys, and Q&A are essential for audience engagement.

Gif of Q&A sessions on Contrast
Q&A sessions on Contrast

Ease of use is crucial - the webinar platform you choose should be intuitive and user-friendly, with a gentle learning curve. Furthermore, the software should also support robust webinar analytics, helping you assess the success of your webinars, measure ROI, and improve future ones.

As we delve deeper into digitalisation, accessibility and mobile-friendly designs are becoming increasingly important. Chances are, several of your attendees will be joining your webinar from their mobile devices.

Top Webinar Platforms in 2024

As webinar usage continues to grow, so does the array of platforms available. From small-scale to enterprise-level solutions, there’s a myriad to choose from, each with their own features and benefits.

Contrast, Zoom, GoToWebinar, are a few examples of webinar platforms:

  • Contrast is the modern webinar tool build for branding, engagement and ease of use. Creating a webinar takes under 2 minutes and access all the engagement features on the free plan.
  • Zoom is the go-to choice for many companies that already have a Zoom licence, but the webinar capabilities are lackluster and attendees often get Zoom fatigue.
  • GoToWebinar, is a good choice for people who worry less about the visual appeal of their webinars and want to minimize cost.

Deciding which platform to choose involves a careful analysis of their offerings, level of support, their popularity and credibility in your industry, and of course, the price tag.

By weighing different platforms' key features and usability in line with your needs, you can effortlessly pick the platform most suitable for your webinars.

How to Choose the Best Webinar Platform for Your Business

Choosing the right platform for your business relies on understanding your specific needs. Map out your objectives and priorities for your webinars first - is it lead generation, customer engagement, or education?

For instance, if your goal is to generate leads, look for webinar platforms offering robust analytics and CRM integrations (HubSpot, Salesforce, etc.). On the other hand, for educational purposes, interactive features like whiteboards or breakout rooms should be prioritized.

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Looking for a webinar platform that integrates with HubSpot. Look no further you've found the top-rated HubSpot integration.

A clear understanding of your budget will help you avoid overspending on unnecessary features. Finally, always ensure you test out a webinar platform's customer service - after all, a platform is only as good as the support it provides.

The world of webinars can appear complicated, but these details will put you on the right track towards making a savvy choice. Your business deserves an efficient, cost-effective, and high-quality webinar platform tailored to meet your needs.

Webinar Best Practices: Tips for a Successful Webinar

  • Plan thoroughly and in advance.
  • Engage effectively through compelling presentations.
  • Maximize value from each webinar by analyzing and following up.

Planning and Preparation Tips

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this rings particularly true while planning webinars. Clear objectives and structured planning can make your webinar resonate more effectively with your audience.

Define Your Goals and Objectives

Before diving in, take the time to establish the goals you want your webinar to achieve. Are you aiming to educate participants about a new product, or generate leads for future sales? Identifying these aims early can steer your content and promotional strategies.

Craft a Clear Agenda

Ensure your audience knows what to expect by providing an articulate, detailed agenda. This serves as a guide to the flow of your webinar, and is also instrumental in retaining audience interest.

Presentation and Engagement Tips

Delivering an engaging and insightful presentation is the heart of every successful webinar. Capture and hold your audience's interest with these practical tips.

Know Your Material

Commanding an in-depth understanding of your material fosters credibility and allows you to provide thorough answers to participant inquiries.

Employ Engaging Visuals

Presenting your material in a visually engaging manner promotes comprehension and retention of information. Don't shy away from using graphics, videos or interactive slides to convey your points.

Include a call-to-action

During your webinar make sure to use the appropriate webinar call-to-actions (CTAs) to drive a maximum amount of engagement.

Follow-Up and Analysis Tips

What happens after the webinar is just as impactful as the event itself. Ensuring efficient follow-up and analytical processes can help maximize value derived from each session.

Screenshot of all email settings inside Contrast, a webinar platform
Pre-configured webinar emails and sequencing on Contrast

Send Out Post-Webinar Surveys

Gauging attendee satisfaction and gathering feedback soon after the webinar helps refine your approach for future sessions. Post-webinar surveys are the best way to do this — don't forget to leverage this feedback to improve future webinars.

Analyze Participant Data

Trawling through webinar KPIs can unveil crucial insights about your attendees, which can be applied for targeted marketing and personalization.

By deploying these tactics, you’re on your way to orchestrate a successful webinar that delivers value, maintains engagement and cultivates lasting relationships with your attendees.

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Webinar Engagement Techniques: Keeping Your Audience Hooked

  • Utilise interactive elements to keep your audience engaged
  • Encourage audience participation to boost retention rates
  • Leverage Q&A sessions for immediate feedback and deeper interactions

Interactive Elements to Include in Your Webinar

The key to a successful webinar isn't in presenting perfectly polished slides – it's about holding your audience's attention. Think about adding polls or surveys throughout your webinar to both engage participants and gather crucial data for future events.

Online quizzes can be another significant engagement source. They not only keep your audience active but also provide a fun way to reinforce your content and check the comprehension level in real-time.

Consider smaller elements, such as emojis or reactions in the webinar chat. Simple elements like these can empower participants to communicate their thoughts swiftly, increasing attendance rates and ensuring a lively and interactive atmosphere.

How to Encourage Audience Participation

Encouraging audience participation is no easy task. Start by making sure your audience can easily contribute. Enable chat boxes, and frequently affirm people for their contributions.

Adopt an inviting tone and actively create opportunities for engagement. One powerful method is the use of open-ended questions, which can stimulate thoughtful responses and deeper conversations.

Recognize that participation doesn't always have to be verbal. Audience members may prefer to express themselves through polls, reactions, or even through a dedicated Q&A section. The idea is to make participation comfortable and accessible for everyone.

Using Polls and Q&A Sessions Effectively

Q&A sessions are an untapped opportunity for engagement. To ensure a steady flow of questions, remind your audience throughout your presentation to submit their queries - do not leave them all for the end.

Consider assigning a member of your team to monitor and handle the Q&A box, ensuring it doesn't divert your attention from hosting. You might save some burning questions for the last, keeping your audience attentive till the end.

Lastly, don't forget to answer unanswered questions post-webinar. It shows your dedication and that every participant matters.

Polls are also an amazing way to drive more engagement with your audience. Make sure to pick effective poll questions to maximise the number of respondents, and show the results of the poll on-screen so you can discuss the results with the audience.

Screenshot of Polls on-stage with Contrast
Polls on-stage with Contrast

Wrap everything up without signing off, leave them excited for the upcoming Conclusion section.

Common Webinar Questions

How Long Should my Webinar be?

The average length of a webinar is about 1 hour. However the ideal length for your webinar can vary depending on your audience. Often, 45 minutes is the sweet spot.

When to Start Promoting Webinars?

Webinar planning should start at least ~4 weeks before D-day. Usually, this means you have 2-3 weeks to promote your webinar. Most attendees register the week of the webinar.

What is the Best Time and Day to Host a Webinar?

There is no best time and day to host a webinar. It depends a lot on your audience, their location, and their preferences. 11AM to 2PM in the attendee's local timezone seems to be what studies show as the optimal time.

Mastering webinars in 2024

Webinars are the beating heart of interactive business platforms. They blend education and promotion, facilitate global reach, and give businesses a chance to showcase their expertise. And let's not forget the fantastic potential to convert leads into clients.

Embrace the power of webinars. They offer high engagement, foster direct connection with your audience, and put your company at the forefront of digital knowledge sharing. It's a digitization journey, with its unique perks.

So why wait? Start planning your next webinar now. Define the topic, craft an interesting agenda, identify your target audience, and get your tech in order. Remember, quality content and seamless delivery are your game.

Ponder on this - how would your next digital conference look if you put these insights into practice? The digital world is at your fingertips; it's time to dive in.

Everything you Need to Run an Amazing Webinar (and a lot more)

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