(15 min read)
Webinars have changed a lot over the years, both in intent and presentation. And they are being used for a wide range of purposes, from training to marketing. Webinars are a powerful tool for brands — it’s a way to instantly connect with your customers — and meet them at the journey stage they’re at.
This guide will give you everything you need to plan and execute your best webinars yet. We’ll cover:
Now that you know what’s in store, let’s get started!
Webinars (web seminars) are easily accessible live, interactive events that can be used as a workshop, presentations, lectures or Q&A, or demonstrations. The goal is to build a relationship through sharing knowledge and answering any questions your audience may have.
In short, webinars work by offering an engaging platform for speakers to deliver their message to a wide audience online. Attendees can interact with the presenter by submitting questions, participating in polls, and using other interactive tools, making webinars a collaborative and dynamic event – making them an effective tool to reach a target audience, spread your message, and build fruitful relationships with your audience.
As the demand for engagement is increasing, attendees are seeking webinars to be more interactive, entertaining, and high in value. For example, attendees may seek opportunities to connect with other attendees in more than one way and expect the content to be actionable, replete with high-value knowledge that helps them solve their problems.
Webinars are used for engagement, online training, community building, and business growth. It’s a way to nurture leads with targeted content that meets them where they’re at in the funnel. Some of the top use cases include:
Webinars let brands demonstrate their expertise while interacting with attendees. By sharing content that’s valuable and shows that you’re a thought leader, you are able to generate leads. But it’s important that you’re offering content that meets the customers’ needs. To do that, make sure that you:
Build brand awareness and gain advocates using webinars. Leverage webinars for brand building by:
Make your webinar product demo more interesting with storytelling. This approach feels more personalized, especially if it reflects the pain points or needs of your audience. More importantly, it’s effective. Research suggests that people retain nearly 70% of a message when wrapped in a story compared to 5 to 10% of the facts in a typical sales pitch.
Give your product demo a narrative by:
Webinars are an excellent format for virtual training and virtual workshops. It also gives you the power to attract more people from across the globe — and even give others a way to view the content even if they can’t attend the live webinar. Successful webinar training and workshops have well-planned content designed to meet the audience’s needs and help them gain new knowledge and skills.
Use webinars to onboard, engage, and retain customers. You might do this by:
Webinars can be used for several HR purposes. For example, recruiting, hiring, workshops, or training about compliance topics.
There are several ways to host a webinar. Three common types include:
Automated webinars are scheduled pre-recorded webinars. The webinar is created beforehand, and you’ll promote its day and time. It’s simulated to act like a live event but without the host.
A pre-scheduled event with a host and attendees. The content can be more flexible since you’re able to pivot topics during a live webinar.
On-demand webinars are pre-recorded and people are able to play them anytime with the click of a button.
Webinars come in a variety of formats. The key is understanding your audience and choosing a format that engages them. It’s also about incorporating opportunities to connect and build trust in your brand. Some of the most successful webinar formats are:
This format covers a broad spectrum of webinar ideas. For example, a presentation might be sharing thought leadership ideas or talking about industry trends. In essence, pick a specific, audience-centric webinar topic and build content around it. You want to inform, persuade, motivate, and inspire people.
Choose a dynamic expert in your industry to interview. Think of it as talk-show style. Your audience is there to be engaged by your interaction with the expert. Have a poignant set of questions, and allow the audience to chat, comment, react, or take polls throughout. The interview topics should feel meaningful and authentic.
A panel discussion can be a lively, informative event when done right. Your audience and what they want should come first. From there, create a group of excellent panelists who will inform without sounding like a sales pitch. The host can moderate, but your panelists should have the experience to navigate a discussion and make clear and valid points.
Give attendees the chance to find out everything they want to know about your brand and products. A Q&A webinar is wonderfully customer-centric and allows you to showcase your expertise. You can easily engage the audience, go more in-depth and elaborate on certain topics, and let you gather feedback on the spot.
Think of a virtual workshop as a way to master a topic or skill remotely. When done as a webinar workshop, you’ll choose a skill based on your audience’s challenges or needs, and provide them with the solution. You can share files, offer chat, and other ways to interact or ask questions.
Create your demo content with the intent to offer highly actionable insights. Your audience should walk away knowing what they can do with your product and be excited to try it. A compelling story makes product demos more engaging. And ensure it’s about the audience — not the sales pitch!
Customers love proof. And they want to hear how something was successful as a solution. Case studies are designed to do both of these things. During a case study webinar, provide strong stats and proof of ROI, along with the real-life scenario in which your product succeeded in.
Webinars are increasingly becoming a part of the marketing and retention strategy of brands. According to CMI (Content Marketing Institute), 61% of B2B businesses use webinars and webcasts as content marketing tactics, and over 70% of businesses believe it’s the best way to generate high-quality leads.
However, there’s a catch: webinars need to be done in a modern, fresh, and interactive way. Historically, webinars were one-way, tedious PowerPoint presentations. The new way is audience-centric, with more meaningful and engaging content.
Business goals first, attendee second
Attendees come first, good things follow
Webinar focused on lead generation
Spans across the entire funnel
Poorly designed content around a sales pitch
High-value content that builds relationships and earns trust.
Engaging, dynamic, and interactive
Hyper-targeted webinars that resonate with people on a deeper level
Brands that want to host successful webinars need to up their game for their future webinars. The competition is producing personalized, attention-grabbing events that target audiences where they’re at in the buyers’ journey. To elevate your online event, and host an effective webinar, utilize the following webinar trends:
To do a webinar that brings results, your attendees’ goals and motivations should be front and center in your strategies. People know the value of their time and are more careful about how they invest it. Your webinar must be something that provides an excellent return on that investment.
Here’s how to get into your target audience’s mind:
Ask the what, why, and how: Put yourself in the attendees’ shoes by asking:
Attendees are looking for better experiences that resonate with them on a deeper level. They’re not just there for information, they want to be inspired. This often happens through connection, being able to relate or empathize, and authenticity. It’s about stirring emotions.
Use the HAAAM framework to help you move hearts. The HAAAM framework describes the 5 emotions attendees want to feel:
To do effective webinars, your content should produce these feelings. Virtual event attendees will be drawn to your live event by seeing a list of content that reflects how they feel. For example, instead of describing your content as “see how our product works,” use a story. Something like, “see how Mary’s life changed, and how yours can too.”
You need to promise potential customers more than what they could read in a book or learn in a course.
Webinars can be used at any point in a customer’s journey: From thought leadership and strategy discussions to weekly live demos, webinars are dynamic. Using them can help move prospects down the funnel from the first touchpoint in a customer’s journey to the purchase — and beyond.
Webinars have the potential to generate high-quality leads. They remain a great tool to identify sales-ready leads. When someone registers for your webinar, it provides a pathway to reach out and collect data that a sales team can use to create personalized outreach down the line.
People don’t want to be passive observers anymore; they want to participate and be actively involved. They’re seeking live interactions with real people and industry experts. They want a chance to feel heard and seen — and get answers to their most pressing questions from an industry leader.
Aligning the webinar experience, format, and content with your audience brings better results. You can tailor the experience according to the stage of the customer journey, demographic, industry, location, and even budget.
Small, hyper-targeted webinars can also keep the momentum going after the main event. And drive people further down the funnel.
With the right strategies and tools, your next webinar will be a standout event that has the potential to connect you with high-quality leads. Here’s a step-by-step look at how to create and host your next webinar:
It’s difficult to measure the success of your webinar — or even create it — without a clear goal and outcome in mind. What is your intent with this webinar? How do you want to serve your audience? How will you do it? And what do you hope comes from engaging with your targeted audience?
Define your KPIs, and determine what topic, webinar format, and platform will help you reach your goals.
Use customer personas, or create some, to get to know your audience better. It should let you target where they’re at in the buyer’s journey and what type of webinar content works best for them.
While creating a webinar plan, ask questions like: What are their pain points? What value are they looking for? How much time do they have? What incentives will entice them to attend your webinar?
The more information you have, the more fine-tuned your webinar will be.
Approach your webinar format from two sides: What works best for your content and your audience? Decide what features you’ll need, what supports off-site experts, how much you want your audience to interact, and how.
By better understanding the formats, you’ll naturally gravitate to the one that best fits your webinar.
Your webinar platform should fit within your budget while providing the features you need. Look at how much support you’ll get, as well as the maximum number of webinar attendees. If possible, take a webinar software for a test drive to see if it’s user-friendly.
What’s an optimal date and time for attendees, your experts/host, and your team? Another thing to consider is if the topic is pertinent to your timing. For example, if you’re hosting a webinar about maximizing sales on Black Friday, are you doing it in a time frame that fits?
Get any speakers or partners on board at least 3-6 weeks before the event. This optimizes promotion efforts and lets you fine-tune your content even further.
Promote your webinar through several channels, but primarily the ones that fit your audience. You may:
On the day of your webinar, make sure your platform and content are set to go. If you have any files to share, ensure that they’re on hand. Double-check the link and test the technology you’ll be using.
Have fun, be authentic, connect, and make sure to follow up with attendees and guest experts post-event.
There are several clear do’s and don’ts in the webinar world. Here are seven things you should (or shouldn’t) do to deliver a better webinar presentation.
Have you ever ended up in a one-sided conversation where it’s all about the other person? It’s not fun or engaging. As a brand, you have the opportunity to interact with webinar attendees. So talk with them, not at them!
Use GIFs, prompts, and other appealing visuals to enthrall and keep the audience interested. Be deliberate in your visuals, and design them for optimal impact.
A host that clearly loves talking with their audience is much better at capturing their attention. If your presentation is dull and bland, it’s unlikely to keep people entertained and invested in what you have to say.
Attendees come with certain expectations, and your content needs to solve their problems effectively.
People want to relate directly to your content, and stories and personal anecdotes are a great way to help them do that. By sharing real-life experiences, you’re saying, “Hey, we’ve been there. We understand your pain.”
The worst thing you can do is keep someone waiting. They’ve set aside valuable time so honor that by being there when you say you will.
Fun serves a variety of purposes. It elevates your mood, makes you more receptive, and helps connect you with others: In other words, it’s engaging. If your webinar lacks pizzazz or entertainment of any kind, it loses memorability.
Here are some ways to bring a bit of flair into your webinar and keep attendees engaged throughout.
Get to know your audience and let them get to know you. You can:
Get the competitive juices flowing with some social media challenges or trivia and quizzes. You can even offer prizes to make it even more exciting. Other gamification options are webinar contests and using leaderboards to keep score.
The more creative you are, the better. But make sure the fun and games fit the audience.
Anything that’s unique and of high value will be a can’t-miss moment. This can include things like:
Interactive activities can help the audience network and allow you to get to know them better. Try:
Chat is a great place to let people know you’re there and want to hear from them. Respond to queries, comment, and ask questions. Offer insightful thoughts when it adds to the conversation.
Entertainment can give attendees a breather or be a great way to start your webinar. It doesn’t have to be long, but should be something your audience will appreciate. Consider:
Networking adds value, especially in B2B communities. To enhance the value of your webinar, promote networking sessions.
Sometimes, the best way to get webinar ideas and form strategies is through successful real-world examples. Here are 5 examples that set the bar high for effective webinars:
What you do after a webinar can be just as impactful as the webinar itself. It should start with a thank you to anyone who had a hand in your successful online event. Send an email or thank you card via mail, but also give them a shoutout online.
Follow up with your attendees as well. Ask them to post their experience or participate in a survey. Send out follow-up emails with an overview and any resources they may like. Find out what kind of webinar they’d attend in the future and what topics they want more of. Keep the engagement going, especially if it’s well-received.
Another action to take after hosting webinars is to measure and analyze the success of your event through a variety of KPIs. For example,
If you find challenges, make sure to find ways to address them moving forward.
Your webinar platform adds or detracts from your success. Choose one that best fits your needs, budget, and audience and helps you avoid any technical difficulties. Here are five of the best webinar platforms for 2023.
Loaded with features, Airmeet offers it all. Use powerful tools that let you gamify, create networking opportunities, and brand and customize your webinar experience. Track important data while providing a memorable experience. With Airmeet, it’s easy to create webinars that go beyond traditional. You’ll find thoughtful elements designed to truly make your webinar audience-centric and successful.
GoToWebinar is a great webinar tool that offers several features, like a custom registration page, event management, webinar templates, video sharing, surveys, audience management, and more. It works both on mobile devices and a computer.
Demio works to create a streamlined webinar experience that lets you captivate attendees, track engagement, and gather data insights. You’ll also have features to provide resources and let your audience interact during chats and Q&As.
No, Zoom isn’t simply meeting software. It is a webinar hosting platform too. Zoom promotes itself as simple, secure, and reliable and allows you to connect a large number of people on multiple device types. Additional features include webinar branding, recordings, and seamless integrations.
Webex offers a scalable webinar platform that lets brands easily direct the show. Add interaction, branding, and integrations, and make your webinar accessible. With Webex, you can host up to 100,000 attendees with real-time translations in 100+ languages.
Most of the top webinar platforms give you the power to host unforgettable webinars. The key is to find a user-friendly fit that offers you the level of support you need. Explore each platform and find the one that gives you the edge. And while free online webinars are great, it’s also worthwhile to invest in platforms that take you from good to great.
Airmeet wants to show you how we’re different. For free. Sign up and use our platform to create and host a dynamic webinar with up to 500 attendees. You’ll be able to try our fun and engaging features and gain deep insights and data on every attendee. Go ahead…try Airmeet. You have nothing to lose!
What’s the purpose of a webinar?
A webinar is a marketing tool that lets brands connect more quickly with customers at any point in the funnel. Webinars are known for generating high-quality leads when done well.
What’s in a webinar?
Webinars are presentations that cover a variety of topics and purposes using a multitude of formats. From panel discussions and product demos to Q&As, use webinars to create rich content that solves customer challenges and offers value.
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