What is a Webinar and How does it Work: The Full Guide

Discover what is a webinar and learn how to make engaging webinar content that converts your audience.

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What is a webinar?

Webinars are workshops, video presentations, or lectures hosted online.

It is a virtual presentation in which the hosts share valuable information with their attendees—like an online seminar.

Most webinars are business-related and allow webinar hosts to share knowledge, expertise, or tips with a vast global audience.

Webinars are a smart addition to your content marketing strategy. They are great way to build brand awareness and authority.

They're interactive, engaging, and with the right webinar guests or key-note speakers, they can be highly informative.

As an added bonus, webinars are easy to host, especially compared to in-person events. Instead of renting out a large venue and paying for flights and hotels, an online conference just needs a reliable webinar hosting platform and a set time.

How does a webinar work?

Webinars can be live-streamed or accessed on demand. To host a webinar you need a video engagement platform that allows people to join remotely through their web browser or download the recording.

The webinar host (or guest speakers) will share a virtual presentation with attendees, where they explain the topic at hand and emphasize the most important points by going through a slide deck.

Afterward, the webinar attendees typically have the chance to raise queries. A strong webinar platform will have a Q&A function and question upvoting to help you manage audience questions.

Get an introduction into webinars

In this video, we explain:

  • What you can expect from a webinar
  • Who to involve when running a webinar
  • How to create a webinar presentation

What are the benefits of webinars?

Now you know exactly what webinars are, here are some of the benefits of webinars, of the reasons they are so popular in the business, education, and marketing communities.

Showcase your product

Webinars are an excellent way to demo a product in front of an interested audience. Features can be highlighted, ensuring your prospects understand your product’s value.

Webinars provide companies with a great way to showcase their products. They can be used to educate your existing customers about a new product or features.

Hosts can learn from potential through polls and interactive chat. The data from the polls and questions asked are added to the post-webinar analytics and can help shape future webinars.

Engage, educate, and onboard customers

A user onboarding webinar is an excellent way for companies to engage users and help them achieve their "a-ha moment" with your product.

Video is proven to help users retain information, which is essential for services with a steep learning curve.

Modern products can be pretty complex, so helping users understand how your product can help them solve their pain points is a vital point for adoption.

Generate new leads and marketing opportunities

Webinars are a great way to get high-quality leads. Webinar attendees are people who are interested in your niche and open to your product.

Webinar registration can provide you with the names and contact details of warm prospects. And if your webinar is valuable, they could be very receptive to your outreach.

Additionally, webinar platforms provide detailed analytics about who attended, how long they watched, and whether they watched the replay.

This information can give you further insight into which leads are the most interested in your product or service.

Learn how we do it here at Livestorm

Increase your authority online with webinars

Webinars provide an excellent way to showcase your expertise through unique and valuable content. They allow you to speak specifically to a problem that prospects are facing and then provide them with the solution to their problem.

Webinars allow you to demonstrate that you understand the problem, know the solution and are able to help implement it.

Read more on how You can see how Recruitee used Livestrom to build their authority.

Improve internal business communication and employee training

Of course, webinars aren't just limited to customer outreach. They can take the place of traditional internal business meetings, which is especially valuable in the age of remote working.

The versatility of many webinar platforms allows you to go from 1:1 meetings to large-scale company events.

Additionally, you can use webinars for training sessions and employee onboarding. Video can help your remote employee onboarding process by connecting your team no matter where they are in the world.

Webinars benefit marketing teams

A web seminar or virtual event is an excellent way to engage with an audience or your actual customers.

By providing attendees with valuable and useful content, you can build up your engagement funnel or generate warm leads. Of course, webinars are about more than just marketing.

You can use them to educate the public, help with user onboarding, or share thought leadership on a wide range of products.

Webinars are an effective tool in your marketing strategy, to reach a global audience or engage a remote workforce.

Whether you've got interesting things that you'd like to share, or you want to use webinar marketing to boost sales or awareness, this exciting video conferencing tool allows you to communicate and engage with anyone around the world, as long as they have an internet connection.


Livestorm’s Guide to Webinars

Get the most out of webinars. Learn how to set up great webinars, promote them, and follow up on your leads.

What are the different types of webinars?

There are lots of different webinar formats or webinar types that you can use to get across your message or reach your business goals. Some of which include live webinars, paid webinars, on-demand webinars, evergreen webinars, and more.

Live webinar

Live webinars are online presentations that take place in real-time. These live events are interactive and the audience can engage with the content as it actually occurs. Live webinars are the most engaging kind of webinars.

A live webinar is usually interactive and attendees have the opportunity to ask questions or share comments.

On-demand webinars

Just like on-demand screening services, on-demand webinars allow users to access an online seminar when they want. Once someone registers for the webinar they can watch it on-demand.

Paid webinars

Some information is too valuable to give away for free. A paid webinar can be your entire business model, with attendees tuning in just to hear your message. Some integrations can facilitate payment walls for your webinars.

Evergreen webinars

An evergreen webinar is a great way to attract qualified leads because they are always relevant, no matter what is happening in the news or pop culture.

The key to producing evergreen webinars is selecting content that is relevant for a long period of time.

Learn more about Evergreen Webinar

Evergreen webinars are a great way to communicate information that can be available to your audience either on-demand, where it's available 24/7, or as an automated webinar that can be pre-recorded and scheduled at a certain time or even on a recurring basis.

How to successfully plan a webinar?

A successful webinar requires good planning and even better content.
Here are some tips for your webinar, to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.

First, you need to lay out your webinar skeleton. Choose a topic and format, truly know your audience, approach guest speakers, and sort out the technical requirements. Here are all the steps to plan a webinar:

  1. Plan and outline your webinar
  2. Define your target audience
  3. Choose the topic that will interest your audience
  4. Invite guest speakers
  5. Pick your format
  6. Choose your webinar platform
  7. Create your webinar presentation
  8. Get high-quality video and audio
  9. Define your goals
  10. Webinar conclusion and action plan

Plan and outline your webinar

You are planning your first webinar? The first thing you need to do is define what you want to get from your event.

Is it about brand awareness? Generating new leads? Educating customers or employees on a new product?

Always understand what you want to achieve from each webinar and use this as your North Star Metric to guide and define the KPIs or business goals you want to achieve.

The next thing to consider is the script. While you may not be giving the talk yourself, you'll need to work out what needs to be said by way of introductions or between each speaker.

Then, decide which guests you'd like. Remember, valuable guests are often busy people, so contact them well in advance so their schedule can accommodate it.

Finally, your webinar will need a host. It could be you, or in some cases, a hired presenter.

Get to know your target audience

The most important part of planning any type of marketing intervention is to get to truly know your audience.

You need to be able to tell:

  • If they prefer a live or on-demand video webinar
  • At what time they’re more likely to join the live streaming
  • What’s keeping them awake at night and how can your webinar solve that problem
  • If they’ll be willing to attend or would rather consume any other form of content
  • What are the type of problems they usually encounter at their jobs and personal lives

Plan your webinar content

Use your published content to define your webinar title.

Review your social media and blog analytics and spot the topics that perform best. Look at your social media comments and user feedback to plan your webinar content.

Another idea is to center your webinar around industry trends or news. Make it specific, e.g. instead of presenting “marketing trends for 2023”, host a webinar on “TikTok trends for promoted content in the first quarter of 2023.”

Learn how to create and host a webinar

Webinars are growing in popularity, and for good reason. Compared to live, in-person events, they're easier and cheaper to plan, and allow audience members to connect from anywhere. If you're interested in getting started, this video is for you!

Reach out to partners and guest speakers

Your speakers are one of the most important parts of your webinar. They should be subject matter experts and have an existing audience of their own that will be drawn to register for your event. Choose experienced public speakers to entertain (not bore) your online event attendees.

List out all of your potential guest speakers and start contacting them in order of preference. Also think about any partnership you would do with other companies.

If you have a flexible date, stick to your first or second option and adjust to their agenda.

Choose a webinar format

Webinars can happen live or on-demand. Choose which one suits your purpose best.

Host a live webinar if the content you’re presenting is:

  • Likely to generate doubts that you don’t want to leave unanswered
  • Designed to facilitate idea sharing, brainstorming, or networking (e.g. in breakout rooms)

Plan your event to be accessible at any time using an on demand webinar software if:

  • The content is pretty straightforward and you can anticipate most of the questions
  • It’s an introduction to your product or a topic in which you’re an expert

Take time to determine other considerations such as:

  • The number of speakers
  • The flow of the presentation (panel, Q&A session, standard presentation)

Pick the right webinar platform

To ensure your presentation goes smoothly, you'll need a reliable webinar platform.

Look for a webinar software that lets you:

  • Host your expected number of attendees without crashing
  • Record your session and create on-demand links that you can gate for lead generation purposes
  • Create custom registration landing pages
  • Invite people on stage so only they can speak
  • Automate the start and end of an event, e.g. use this feature to play an intro and closing video
  • Send automated email reminders
  • View and export all your attendees' contact information and spot the most engaged ones

Livestorm is webinar software for companies of all sizes that lets you plan, promote, and host all kinds of virtual events, from webinars and sales calls to internal meetings.

Plus, this automated webinar software can help you follow up with all registrants via integrations with CRM tools like HubSpot and Marketo.

Create your webinar presentation

To keep your webinar engaging, visually interesting and to increase the impact of your talk, it's a good idea to have presentation slides to back up your talking points.

Prepare them well in advance and even do a run-through to identify and solve any potential issues you might run into. You can do this through screen sharing or integrated presentation software.

Our 5 tips for webinar presenters

In order to stand out from the crowd, optimizing your presentation and engaging your audience is key.

From incorporating storytelling into your webinar presentation, to finding moments to interact with your audience, don't miss these 5 tips for webinar presenters!

Make sure your video and audio tech is high quality

Organize a set and pick your hardware to present your audience with good audio and video experience.

There are several technical issues that can affect your webinar. Echoes, choppy sound or video, invitation emails not being sent. If you want to do things right, choose a professional webinar hosting platform.

If you plan to be on camera some or all of the time, make sure you have a webcam that works and outputs a decent picture.

You'll need to think about sound too. A decent microphone will offer a crisp, professional sound at a reasonable price.

Buy or rent a high-quality 4K camera that’s compatible with your webinar software and use an external microphone. Don’t rely on your computer-integrated options and have a backup in case a device fails on the event date.

Define goals and success measures

Set yourself specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound (SMART) goals. Define what a successful webinar looks like and how you’ll measure it.

For example, if you’re on Livestorm, you can use the analytics dashboard to measure things like attendance rate, audience retention, and poll engagement.

See how your webinars stack up on our webinar statistics page

Webinar conclusion and action plan

Once the webinar is done, it's not over. There are many actionable insights that you can get from your audience.

These can be on your presentation itself or the product or service that you are using the webinar to promote.

Additionally, conducting a webinar post-mortem is crucial to learning the lessons which will improve your next webinar.


Build the best webinars

Create engaging webinars with Livestorm and delight your audience.

How to create a webinar?

You have well planned your webinar strategy and now you’re ready to create your webinar!

Create your webinar registration page and invite people to join.

Determine other crucial steps regarding branding and logistics of your webinar marketing. Follow these steps:

  1. Pick a date and time
  2. Design your registration form
  3. Set automated emails
  4. Invite others
  5. Promote on social media
  6. Share resources with your speakers
  7. Brief your moderator
  8. Host a dry run

Confirm the date and time

Confirm the date and time with all the key stakeholders. Manually block the time in their calendars after they’ve confirmed.

Then, invite them to the webinar event and let the platform send them automatic email reminders. If you’re inviting a global audience, be mindful of the different time zones before setting a time.

Build your registration page

Create your registration form for the audience and embed it on your webinar landing page.

With Livestorm, you can build your registration form and add custom fields to gather as much information from the attendee as you need. Automatically include that form in your registration page and customize your branding.

Check your email cadence

Email cadences are important to ensure a high participation rate.

Depending on your webinar platform, you might need to set email reminders manually in your customer relationship management (CRM) system.

With Livestorm, these are set automatically as soon as you create your registration page. Every attendee that joins gets a series of automated messages:

  • A “thank you for registering” email
  • A reminder email X days before the event
  • Another reminder email X hours before the event
  • A post-attendee email with the webinar recording link for them to watch on-demand
    Adjust the cadence and delivery time to your liking.

Send out invitations

It’s time to invite your potential attendees by email. Rather than spamming everyone on your mailing list, segment your audience and reach out to the ones that will find it interesting.

You can also use personalized fields to tailor each invitation to the recipient. Generic emails that aren’t relevant will irritate your audience and make them unsubscribe from your email list.

Promote your webinar

The next step is to promote the event. You should have some idea of who your target audience is and where they congregate.

If you have a mailing list, that's one of the best ways to get the word out. Additionally, social media is a great tool to find people who are interested in your online events.

Use your social media channels to promote your webinar. Don’t stick to your mailing list alone, find communities where a potential audience is already engaged and reach out to them.

This means joining and participating in Facebook and LinkedIn Groups and eventually promoting your webinar (watch out for specific group guidelines). You can also pay for influencer marketing or Facebook Ads.

11 ways to promote your Webinar

Looking to promote your virtual event across all marketing channels? Check out this video for 11 tips to promote your online event via your website, email, social media, and through collaborative marketing.

Share resources with your speakers

Share the final presentation and any other relevant resources with your speakers ahead of time.

Give them a how-to-join booklet if your platform isn’t intuitive enough, or choose a platform like Livestorm that has one-click browser-based access.

You can also provide them with audience insights like pain points, motivators, and desires to help them tailor their presentation.

Brief your webinar moderator

A webinar moderator works behind the scenes to make sure the entire event goes smoothly.

While the moderator won’t be on-screen during the presentation, they’re an important member of the webinar team. Brief them on the flow of the event, the speakers, and the actions they’ll need to handle for you.

Test your software and hardware

Schedule a practice run for your webinar several days before the actual event. Run through the slides and script with the speakers and ensure that the moderator is aware of all their responsibilities.

Ask your team members to use the webinar tools to test the microphone and camera. Consider this your webinar training for organizers.

Make sure that everyone involved with hosting the webinar is comfortable with the technology and software you’ll be using. If you run into any issues, take care of troubleshooting before the big day.

What are the webinar mistakes to avoid

People will forgive you for being nervous, making mistakes, and even a few technical glitches on one condition: that you provide valuable content.

Good content is paramount. It needs to be helpful, fresh and provide audiences the sorts of insights they can't get elsewhere.

Otherwise, some of the other webinar mistakes you'll want to avoid are:

  • Under-promoting the event: A lot of organizers send reminders a week before. But don't be afraid to up the cadence.
  • A boring presentation: A little interactivity goes a long way. Polls, live Q&As, and group chats are excellent ways to keep your audience alert and absorbed.
  • Too sales-focused: While the focus of your webinar might be to sell products, your audience shouldn’t feel like they are being pitched. Try to help people solve their problems. Again, offer valuable content.
  • Poor quality video or audio: Try and make the best product you can. Avoid presenting from a mobile phone, test your equipment beforehand, and present from a room with good sounds and no echoes.

Learn all the webinar best pratice in our dedicated guide

How to find new webinar topics?

To keep your customers engaged and use webinar marketing to generate leads, you'll need to produce great content frequently. Here are some tips that you can use to develop ideas that will resonate with your audience.

Customer feedback and questions

Your own customers are one of the most valuable and rich sources of potential content. As the end-user of your product or service, they know and understand the pain points your product solves.

There are several ways to get customer feedback, from open-ended surveys, product reviews, social media, etc. Look for interesting questions that come up a lot. These are often the subjects your audience wants to hear about.

woman with a bun on tan couch working from home

Key website and marketing data

Use your website and marketing data to evaluate which topics and areas engage your audience the most. It could be the pages or products on your website that drive the most traffic, your most downloaded ebook, or even your most liked or shared posts on social media.

Online research

We are living through the information age. There are resources for every type of niche or discipline you can imagine, no matter how arcane. Subscribe to industry newsletters, website feeds, follow thought leaders on social media, and read relevant magazines and websites to stay up to date on the latest news, and you'll never be short of ideas.

man looking at computer holding pen

Attending other webinars

To keep your finger on the pulse, you should occasionally attend webinars by competitors or adjacent industries. You'll pick up ideas, new approaches, and strategies that you can use to power or improve your own webinar.

What are the key webinar features?

There are many webinar tools available, and some are better than others. If you want to start creating webinars, you'll need a webinar tool packed with features that can keep your audience engaged.

Below, we list some of the things you should look for when choosing the best webinar software.

Avoid cumbersome, featureless webinar solutions

The best webinar software is browser-based, meaning they don't require you or your attendees to install software to access the event. They should be end-to-end platforms, that will allow you to organize, promote, activate and report. Additionally, you should look for a webinar solution that captures analytics.

a magnifying glass laid over a chart and some graphs

Webinar landing page

A webinar landing page will help you attract as many attendees as possible. After all, it's the best place to describe your event and turn page visitors into registrants. Webinar tools like Livestorm allow users to create a landing page with one click and easily customize them to fit around your brand identity. Additionally, you can even manage and send promotional emails straight from the dashboard.

Activation features

An effective webinar engages the attendees. But it can't just fall on the guest speaker or webinar host to keep the attendees interested. Interactive tools like chats, polls, and emoji reactions are an excellent way to get feedback and build a relationship with your audience. Automated page redirects and CTAs during your webinar are great ways to drive conversion.

man laughing while sitting down and wearing headphones


Integrations allow you to extend the functionality of your webinar platform even further.

CRM and Marketing automation integrations are also very important when creating a webinar in order to pass the data from your webinar platform to your CRM. The Livestorm app marketplace provides integrations for more than 1,000 apps, such as Google Analytics, Google Calendar, Zapier, Slack, Salesforce, Marketo, Pardot, and hundreds of others. You can also connect Livestorm with HubSpot by using the native integration within the two platforms.

Whiteboard presentations

Digital whiteboards are another powerful webinar tool. They allow you to present ideas and collaborate with your attendees. Users can enrich their webinar content with text, drawings, shapes, and more. These compelling and creative tools will add a professional edge to any presentation.

young woman using a whiteboard

The most important features of a great webinar platform should help you to plan, host, and follow-up after your webinar. All-in-one solutions will give you the tools you need to create powerful marketing tools.

>> Find out how Untapped New York used Livestorm to increased attendees by 84% and save time

Livestorm, the best webinar software for video engagement

When it comes to hosting webinars, video engagement is absolutely critical. An audience that isn’t engaged with the material won’t retain the information and they probably won’t take any meaningful action after the webinar is over. They won’t sign up for a product demo or schedule a follow up call or any other action you want them to take.

Livestorm is designed specifically to help you keep the audience engaged before, during, and after a webinar.

  • Automated emails make it easy to invite contact lists and remind registrants to attend
  • Pre-built registration pages can be customized to meet your exact needs
  • Polls, chat tabs, Q&A, emoji reactions, and virtual backgrounds help to activate attendees
  • Automated recordings take the guesswork out of following up with registrants

These features, along with others, allow you to make your webinars far more engaging than they would be otherwise. And higher engagement almost always translates to better results down the road.


Discover the world's first video engagement platform

Create the most engaging webinars with the world's first video engagement platform.

What is not a webinar?

By now, you might be wondering what is not considered to be a webinar. Since there are so many different ways to communicate online, some clear distinctions need to be made.

Webinar vs. online meeting

A webinar is like a live event or conference. They typically happen on a much larger scale. Online meetings, on the other hand, are typically smaller, more collaborative events. They are a lot more like a typical office meeting.

Webinar vs. webcast

Webinars generally have attendee limits. A webcast is something more like a television broadcast. TedTalk is a good example of a webcast. People are free to watch these casts, often on-demand.

Table of content

Livestorm’s Guide to Webinars

Frequently asked questions about webinars

Is there a free webinar service?

Livestorm offers a free version of its software with some limitations on lengths and attendees. A paid version of any webinar platform will come with significantly more features and overall quality.

Can people see you in a webinar?

If you are the webinar host, you can choose to let your audience see you. If you are attending a webinar, other attendees won't be able to see you unless you are invited "on stage" by the guest speaker or other team members.

How to schedule a webinar?

Scheduling your own webinar requires a few considerations. What day (Wednesday and Thursday traditionally have the highest attendance), how and where you'll promote the webinar, and how long you plan the event to last are all factors to contemplate. 

How to record a webinar?

Webinar software tools like Livestorm come with an option to record the webinar automatically. You just have to set it and forget it. It's good practice to offer an attendee or a registrant a link to a recording after the event.

How to be more confident during your webinars?

Public speaking is a big fear for many people. But like everything, practice and preparation will go a long way to becoming a more accomplished speaker at a webinar or similar event. Just relax, breathe, and focus on the topic at hand. 


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