- Contest Factory
- July 8, 2019
Conferences are a great place to learn about products, trends, techniques, and industry insights to advance your knowledge in your career and perform better on the job.
Though employees love to attend conferences throughout the year, there is only so much time and budget for conferences. With that in mind, this is where webinars raise the bar in B2B acquisition.
The word webinar comes from “online seminar” or “web-based seminar”. A webinar is an online, live-streamed event consisting of educational or instructive sessions that include audio and visual communications between speakers and attendees. Webinar software enables the presentation of slides and interactive participation through chat boxes and Q&A features.
Webinars give attendees the opportunity to learn about their industry as they would at a conference, trade show or seminar, but with the advantage of allowing people around the world to participate live from the comfort of their home or office.
What is the Purpose of a Webinar?
The goal of a webinar is to educate, instruct, or demonstrate a product, technology, or service through instructor-led training sessions. These training sessions can be live with Q&A sessions and recorded for viewing at a later time. Webinars are the most commonly used marketing tactic in B2B for acquisition, up-sell and loyalty marketing.
The commercial industries that produce the most webinars are software and technology companies at 26%, while travel and tourism only produce 2% of webinars, with non-profits at just 1%.
Webinars do share common traits with other live events, such as a predetermined date and time, attendees, and interactive participation.
In order for an online event to be considered a proper webinar, they must contain all of the following seven elements:
- Live Event
- Just as all live events have a predetermined date and time, so must a webinar to live-stream content. This creates a sense of urgency, pulling from other known marketing tactics that work.
- Many companies will make the video recording of the webinar available on-demand for some time after the event. This may be a double edge sword if you let folks know in advance, they may be less likely to “show up” and your theater may be empty. Consider offering the recording as a value to something else or available for sale.
- Online Attendees
- If a webinar happens and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? As with any event, webinars require an audience to make them happen. GoToMeeting cites that 66% of webinars have less than 50 attendees. In order to increase attendance, companies try to schedule the best time and day to host their webinars for the largest sections of their audience, who may encompass several time zones around the world.
- Offering incentive to showing up is another tried and true marketing tactic that continues to deliver. “One lucky attendee will WIN a FREE consultation, tickets to an event, or a valued give-away like a gift card.
- Interaction and Participation
- Webinars always have a way for attendees to interact with the hosts. The capabilities of the software being used, will often determine the different types of interactions that can occur.
- Live chats are the best way to hold question and answer sessions. Chats allow all attendees to see all of the questions and answers and engage in dialogues with the hosts and other attendees.
- Polls and surveys are another common interactive element of a webinar. These are usually a set of questions predetermined by the host and the attendees are given a couple of minutes to respond. The questions are not open-ended, and the results are immediately shared on screen.
- Consider adding a sweepstakes element where the attendee must be present to win. Or use an interactive Instant Win game to engage the audience and provide multiple winners during your webinar. Gamification always delivers on engagement.
- Social media sharing may also be encouraged during the live webinar which also increases participation across multiple social media platforms. Create a hashtag to follow each of your webinars.
- Streamed Video of Speaker
- In order to have webinar educate its attendees, you must have a speaker that is an authority on the topic.
- However, just because it is a live streaming video, this doesn’t mean that the speaker can see all attendees — it is usually a one-way streaming video.
- Slides are a crucial element to every webinar as they are your main visual aid. A slide deck makes your webinar engaging. Graphs, charts, and other visual representations on slides always help make concepts clearer and increase the learning comprehension of webinar attendees.
- Consider using powerpoint to really engage the audience with engaging movement and imagery – infographics are entertaining and sharable. You can encourage sharing in social media, elements that you make available to your audience.
- Along with the visual elements of a webinar, attention to audio quality is also of great importance. Attendees need to be able to clearly hear what is being said at all times. Speakers should always use a high-quality, professional microphone so that attendees can understand what the speaker is saying. Low-cost computer microphones should only be used with caution as their sound quality is often not optimal. Poor sound will be easily noticed by everyone and can create a bad impression of the entire webinar and the host company.
- Webinar Software
- Webinar software is required to create and host a webinar in order to execute all of these elements and enabling live interactions from attendees around the world.
- Depending on the software, features can include:
- Screen sharing
- Polls and surveys
- Live Chats
- Q&A tools
- Pre-recorded voice and sound
- Invitation to attendees from the software
- Multiple presenters
- Calendar notifications
- Registration reminders
Webinars are a great tool to increase brand awareness and educate your customers and prospects. They have a beneficial purpose for both the hosts and the participants.
Stay tuned to this blog for more webinar insights.