With the more people working from home and obtaining their information online due to the global pandemic, webinars have gotten more popular worldwide. Even before COVID-19, webinars were becoming a staple for educating students and potential customers, lead generation for businesses and captivating large online audiences. From internal training to capturing leads, marketers and startups from various industries have used webinars for all purposes. A well-planned webinar is a win-win for both a business and its customers or prospects. It gives them a chance to interact with and sell to potential customers while also building value that other sales strategies couldn’t match. They are a powerful tool for businesses looking to market a product or service or even startups wanting to attract audiences and gain visibility.
In this article, we will look at:
1) What is a webinar?
2) The purpose of a webinar
3) How to create a webinar
What is a webinar?
From a broader perspective, a webinar is a way to share information through a live online educational presentation that allows viewers to participate by submitting questions and comments. They can be online events, video presentations, workshops, seminars, training sessions hosted and delivered online using webinar software. The common misconception is that webinars and webcasts are the same. On the contrary, they are two different things. Webcasts are pre-recorded sessions and videos that businesses create that are broadcasted online. On the other hand, webinars are live sessions that allow real-time interactivity between a presenter and its attendees. Webinars have proven effective because they are a two-way form of communication where attendees and presenters can give, receive, and share information in real-time.
We will touch more on this further in the article. Webinars have plenty of uses in a business environment, but the most important and most significant use case is educating and engaging an audience. An audience can be anyone from new or existing customers, industry peers, or students in a classroom.
The purpose of a webinar
Webinars can help with educating an audience about a business, building authority in an industry or niche, demonstrating a company’s products or services to customers, attracting new customers to their product, training both new and existing employees, and generating leads for a startup. Let’s assume a startup is creating a marketing plan, and their goal is to generate high-quality leads for their business consistently. In that case, webinars should be a crucial piece of their overall business strategy.
A significant benefit of webinars is that since they occur online, startups with a limited budgets do not need to rent out a physical location or deal with logistics that may arise from hosting in-person events. Webinars are also convenient because people can host and attend webinars from the comfort of their own homes.
While most webinars occur in real time, they can also be pre-recorded and played at any time for participants, making them easier to set up and repurpose. This also makes them more budget-friendly than in-person events.
Webinars can come in many forms with a plethora of customizable features. They also support various content formats like live video, which are the preferred type of webinar because they tend to garner the most engagement. These videos can also be pre-recorded, which is ideal for evergreen topics. This style of webinar allows startups to record their content beforehand and allow future audience members to register to watch the video whenever they want. Webinars also support the use of text: for example whiteboards can be used to draw out and explain important concepts. Surveys and polls can also be incorporated into webinars, allowing attendees to answer questions and helping the webinar host to organize all the information in one place.
1) Present a new product
To be more cost-effective, companies use webinars to present their product to end-users before fully developing the product. For a startup with a limited budget, product webinars are an excellent chance to transform the contacts they have obtained from their leads into brand ambassadors. By running a webinar, companies can ask their existing and potential customers what they love to use and what they expect from the product or service. During the webinar, startups can also do surveys to ask participants questions about the features that have already been implemented and the functions they plan to implement. Product webinars offer a great opportunity to gain valuable feedback about what customers like, which product features are redundant, and what processes are missing. Ultimately, this type of webinar can save both time and money which would otherwise be spent developing product features that no one wants.
2) Develop an expert position
Most startup owners cannot wait to tell the world about their newest product or service. However, before they start selling and retaining customers, they need to earn their future clients’ trust and build brand awareness. With webinars, startups can begin positioning themselves as industry experts and share knowledge that they already have and that their audience will find valuable. By running a series of webinar training, startups allow the audience to benefit from the expertise and experience related to their niche and product. Webinars can establish a brand as an industry expert and help the brand to build a relationship with potential customers.
Even a free webinar can offer a brand value. This is because companies can use these webinars to obtain information about their audience and develop trust by delivering valuable, unique, and exciting news.
3) Engage the audience
While social media posts and advertising are a dime a dozen, webinars are attractive because they are scarce. Live webinars provide a unique value above any other traditional marketing tactic. Because of people’s FOMO, the chances of them sitting through a live webinar and engaging with the host are higher. If these people know that the information is valuable, they won’t want to miss out on learning as much as they can from the webinar.
4) Find investors
Regardless of whether they are using their own money or relying on crowdfunding, every startup needs money to develop. Another way in which webinars can help startups is by giving them the ability to prepare an effective webinar presentation to show their future investors how they can benefit from backing a company. Startups can promote their webinar on social platforms to reach influencers, angel investors, or anyone interested in investing in the startup or project.
5) Find prospects
Webinars are also a great way to reach people interested in the overall brand, products, or services. Startups can do this by building email lists to reach their target audience through their email marketing campaigns. To get that information, startups can host webinars that showcase their product or service and also reveal features, benefits, or use cases in a given context or industry. Once the webinar is over, startups can add the contact information of attendees to their email list and ensure good communication after the event. Additionally, they can keep attendees engaged, share valuable resources, offer them a webinar recording and generally stay in touch with their audience.
How to create a practical webinar
1) Identifying the goal of the webinar
Webinars are distributed for many different reasons, depending on the brand’s goals. The first thing that startups need to do when planning their webinar is to identify their goals and set key performance indexes (KPIs) to determine how successful their webinar was once it is over. Once the goals have been set, it is time to focus on what the company is trying to provide to its audience. Just like any PR or marketing strategy, a webinar should be structured to keep the presentation engaging and organized for an audience. Whether it is sharing knowledge about an idea, product, or service, a webinar should be presented in a concise, informative, and helpful way.
2) Plan and outline webinar content
The second step of creating a practical webinar is to put together an outline and lay down the groundwork for the presentation. This outline should cover everything from inviting attendees, planning the event logistics, and deciding on an overall webinar promotion strategy. This outline should help the brand to be sure that every step of the execution will satisfy the audience’s needs. However, planning the final content, isn’t just about choosing a title that catches the audience’s attention or addresses their pain point. The outline should also effectively describe what type of content the webinar will cover.
A webinar outline can help companies stay focused on the topics they know their audiences care about and prevent the host from getting side-tracked. If a company is aiming for success with their webinars, they need a well-designed strategy.
It is essential to pay attention to the content of the webinar. The content needs to be fresh and existing and offer helpful information instead of being too self-promotional.
3) Know your attendees
In order to effectively develop a webinar focused on improving the lives of their attendees, the company needs to make sure they understand these people as well as their pain points. By asking who will be attending, what challenges/problems they are facing, and trying to understand their goals, companies will be successful with their webinar.
4) Think About Visual Branding
To truly connect with a brand, the audience needs to know that the brand is consistent. Not just with their content but with their personality. When designing the presentation for the webinar, companies need to make sure their brand identity shines through. By inserting their logo where it makes sense and using fonts, colors, and other visual elements that match their brand’s overall style, brands can make a memorable impression on their audience aside from offering them valuable information. While those details may not seem important, they are an essential part of creating a cohesive brand experience for their webinar attendees. They will also make a brand more recognizable, especially if they use the same visual style in their other content.
5) Keep Mobile in Mind
A successful webinar should be accessible on different platforms and devices, especially since not every viewer will watch the webinar on a desktop computer or mobile device. Since research shows that only 7% of webinar viewers prefer mobile over desktop, there is a chance that viewers will be watching on their phones or tablets. To give them a good experience, companies need to optimize their webinar by increasing the size of their text and visuals and choosing a webinar platform that supports mobile viewing.
6) Choose the right webinar platform
To ensure that technical problems on their webinar will not lead to poor feedback and rating, companies need to pick the right webinar platform. When deciding which platform they want to use, companies need to know whether the platform fits their budget, includes the features they need, how many attendees the platform allows, and whether they can record the webinar. Some popular webinar platforms include Zoom, Demio, EasyWebinar, GoToWebinar, and many more. These platforms are great because they also have features that companies might need to create their content, run analytics, and provide a better overall user experience.
7) Make sure to have the right and tools
Part of creating a positive webinar experience includes having the right tools to ensure that attendees can see and hear everything going on without the stress of having to strain due to outside noise, low volume, or poor quality visuals. According to skilled webinar creators, companies should have high-quality instruments like headsets or microphones, rather than solely relying on their laptop’s or desktop’s built-in microphone. Companies also need to ensure that their internet connection is stable so that they can run the webinar without interruptions.
Companies also should test their internet connection and gear before the webinar begins to make sure that they are equipped to deliver a high-quality webinar that people will remember. The best way to test it is to set up a trial webinar to test every feature they plan to use, starting with their audio and video recording equipment. From there, they can record a test clip and ask for the opinions of others regarding the sound and video quality and as well as other important elements. Also, once they decide to use a particular webinar platform, they need to familiarize themselves with all the platform’s features, like interactive features that can help increase engagement.
8) Marketing/Promoting the webinar
There is no point in going through the effort of creating a webinar if no one is going to attend it. Goal setting, competitor research, setting up webinar tools, and planning the webinar means nothing if no one understands the actual value. By using PR and marketing, startups can promote their event without having to stretch their budget. PR agencies like Pressfarm help startups and entrepreneurs create newsworthy content to gain earned media and promote their brand organically. Backed by a team of PR and media experts, Pressfarm helps startups to get the word out there about their brand as well as new developments. By creating quality content such as winning press releases, compelling feature stories, and creative media kits, the experts at Pressfarm can help any brand make a memorable impression in the public. Additionally, their PR professionals and expert writers can provide expert advice and insight into the best ways for a company to reach their target audience and promote their brand. Their understanding of the ever-evolving PR and marketing landscape makes them the ideal team to help startups gain the publicity they deserve. Ultimately, by partnering with Pressfarm, you can boost your online visibility with content which will help your brand to feature in relevant search results across different search engines. And, best of all, these services come wrapped in affordable packages. Sign up with Pressfarm today and create a buzz for your startup without breaking the bank.
How do you market your webinar?
i) Create a Webinar Landing Page
It is not wise to forget to create a landing page for the webinar. As opposed to home pages and websites designed for exploration, a landing page is customized to a specific campaign or offer and guides visitors toward a single call to action. Landing pages are designed to generate conversion. An effective landing page should have the topic of the webinar, the speaker’s information, the date and time of the webinar, and a summary of what the attendees will learn.
ii) Write a blog post about the webinar
A blog post is a great way to promote a webinar in advance. Much like the landing page, it should have all the essential information that attendees need to know about the webinar, while also using creative storytelling to retain readers’ attention. Even if a company does not have a large blog following, they share their content on their website, social media platforms, and email.
iii) Promote the webinar on social media
Promoting a webinar through social media is one of the best ways to boost attendance. Companies need to promote their webinar on their existing social media channels and leverage the power of hashtags to reach more people. A branded hashtag is a great interaction tool during a company’s webinar. With the hashtag, companies can develop a more straightforward strategy and encourage attendees to use their hashtags when asking questions or discussing the webinar. This tactic will increase audience engagement and extend a brand’s social reach by introducing more people to the brand.
iv) Promote the webinar via email
If companies already have an email database or have created an email marketing strategy, they need to make sure that they promote their webinar to their subscribers. The emails should be short, concise, and easy for people to read, with straightforward options for people to register for the webinar. Companies should also make sure that they send out email reminders to the people who have already registered for their webinar. Whichever method they use, they need to test out what works best for them and keep promoting any content that they publish for the webinar to get the most value out of their webinar possible.
v) Promote the Webinar via Popup
While there is a negative reputation for pop-ups, top-performing pop-ups actually have a conversion rate higher than paid display ads. To make sure that their pop-ups aren’t just annoying distractions that people click out of, companies need to be clear about what they are offering and make sure their audience wants it. Rather than simply displaying the pop-up immediately, companies can be unique by letting their brand’s personality shine through.
9) Start on Time
Once everything has been created and tested, it is time to start the webinar. The most important thing to remember is that people are busy and they have lots of distractions, especially at home. If the webinar doesn’t start at the scheduled time, companies risk losing attendees, potential customers, media professionals, clients, and subscribers. Once the webinar has begun, companies need to set the tone and capture their audience’s attention quickly to keep them engaged. To retain their attention, the speaker should avoid unnecessary, irrelevant details, get straight to the point as fast as they can, outline the audience’s pain points, make it clear that they will solve them by the end of the webinar, list everything the audience is going to learn, and demonstrate enthusiasm and excitement.
How to Use Webinars For PR
1) Host a free webinar and invite media professionals
As mentioned in previous sections, webinars can be crucial when a company launches a new product or service. From a PR perspective, companies can create a webinar specifically targeting media professionals by identifying an emerging trend in their industry that they need to know about. The webinar can offer statistics, resources, and story ideas that tie into the trend to train them on the topic. This training will help elevate businesses as thought leaders and experts. To gain the attention of media professionals, they can promote the webinar within LinkedIn Groups, on Twitter, in discussion forums for journalists, and industry-specific online groups.
2) Demonstrate how to use a new product or service
Another way to use webinars for PR is to host one for anybody who needs a solution to problems that the company’s products or services solve. Through the webinar, brands can demonstrate how to use their new software and products while also answering questions that consumers may have. A brand can also host a press conference in form of a webinar. Webinar-style press conferences can be especially valuable as a way to interact with your audience during this period of social distancing and stay-at-home orders. This style of press conference has the benefit of building anticipation or give people a chance to engage in conversation with the company.
3) Host free Q&A webinar for customers, ezine subscribers, blog readers
Q&A webinars are just that, a webinar format which allows people to ask questions and get answers from the company. In this case, speakers do not need to prepare a traditional presentation. They simply need to ask attendees to submit questions when they register for the webinar; this gives companies a chance to do a little research and have all the answers before the webinars begin. Depending on the intention, companies can create visuals like a quick PowerPoint slideshow giving step-by-step directions on how to do something, show-specific blog posts they have previously written that provide more solutions, and take people to specific websites which are good resources.
A webinar’s reach can go beyond any startup’s imagination. However, it is impossible to do that without fully understanding the importance and purpose by preparing appropriately. In order to truly be successful, a company’s webinar goals must be set, and the webinar must be promoted. Finally, the outcomes of the webinar must be measured afterwards. Whether on their own or with guidance from professionals, startups can generate publicity for their webinar and achieve their webinar goals.