With tech innovations and disruptions happening everywhere around us, webinars are still a big deal for businesses.
When businesses first started using webinars about two decades ago, they were nothing more than simple video conferencing platforms. Businesses used them as a one-to-many presentation tool to generate leads, share files and applications, and conduct virtual training sessions for users who couldn’t physically attend training sessions.
Today, they are still used for the same purposes, though their role within the marketing department has grown significantly.
For instance, recent years have seen more B2B marketers – 76% in 2017 to be exact – using webinars to make purchasing decisions. And, according to the ClickMeeting infographic below, the number of attendees went up by about 16%, with as many as 32% of attendees logging in via their mobile devices.
Infographic Courtesy of ClickMeeting
However, as the number of webinars goes up, so does the number of terrible webinars. Businesses have resorted to hosting webinars just because everyone else is doing them, forgetting that these tools are not a one-size-fits-all trend.
As a result, many webinars out there fail to inspire and enlighten audiences, leaving hosts with zero points for engagement. That said, here are a few innovative ways you can create engaging webinars to help you grow your brand.
1. Set it up right
One of the biggest turn-offs for webinar attendees is a disorganized and unprofessional setup. If you were attending a webinar that frequently cut out, the presenters weren’t audible, or there was too much background noise, you’d most likely lose confidence and find yourself doing everything else apart from concentrating.
A good webinar starts by organizing your physical space and communication infrastructure. Ann K. Emery, an information designer and independent consultant, suggests setting up a Webinar Command Center to help control your environment during the webinar.
Setups can come complete with multiple laptops with distinct functions, a notebook and pacing schedule to keep tabs on FAQs, glitches, and other issues that might present themselves during the webinar.
2. Select a relevant topic for the right audience
Topic selection is another crucial prerequisite when preparing a webinar, one that many hosts often forget to think through. The topic you choose will determine the audience demographic that will draw value from your webinar.
When researching for topics, consult potential attendees for themes that they’d like to see in the webinar. For instance, you can use your social media platforms to ask followers about topics or have them vote on a curated list of topics. Additionally, always remember to select topics that can be discussed within an hour, the average duration of a webinar. Themes that require substantial back-and-forth or lengthy explanations might lose your audience.
3. Don’t use just any moderator/speaker
Solo webinars or one-to-many presentations are awful for everyone. If you’re the host, you’ll probably get tired of listening to your voice halfway through the presentation, no matter how good you are.
For the attendees, it’s even worse – they’ll lose concentration even faster, with many of them opting to check emails or log off altogether after about 20 minutes of monotony.
Still, don’t just settle for any moderator or co-host. Use an active one who can ask questions and interact with the audience dynamically. Plus, with advances in technology, you can have your moderator or speaker receive and answer questions in real-time, integrating some of them in the interview. This also gives you the opportunity to separate audiences into distinct groups for follow-up after the webinar, giving you a bigger opportunity create custom interactions with your audience.
4. Promote dialogue and networking
Lastly, always remember that the effects of your webinar linger long after the presentation is off-air. Create an environment that lets participants interact and grow their networks. Allow participants to exchange contact information before, during, and after the presentation, which lets them continue the conversation with their professional networks with you at the center of each new connection.
When run properly, webinars are among the most potent tools for teaching, lead generation, and general communication in and out of the office.
When done poorly, however, they can result in a waste of productive time and resources. So, always be on the lookout for new ways to make your webinars attention-grabbing to help you make the most out of your webinar.