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What is a Webinar? Everything You Need to Know

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

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  • In this guide

    What is a webinar, and how does a webinar work?

    First, to make sure we're all on the same page, let's answer the question: what is a webinar?

    Webinar

    Webinars are workshops, video presentations, or lectures hosted online. Most webinars are business-related and allow webinar hosts to share knowledge, expertise, or tips with a vast global audience.

    Webinars are a 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.

    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!

    What are the benefits of webinars?

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

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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. You can see how Recruitee used Livestrom to build their authority in this article.

    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.

    What are some online webinar platforms and 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

    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.

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    Build the best webinars

    Create engaging webinars with Livestorm and delight your audience.

    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

    Plugins and integrations

    Plugins and integrations allow you to extend the functionality of your webinar platform even further. For example, a plugin could allow you to take payments during the webinar or allow participants to use GIFs in the chat box.

    The Livestorm plugin SDK allows you to easily create a custom plugin that you can use during your webinars. The app marketplace provides integrations for more than 1,000 apps, such as HubSpot, Google Analytics, Zapier, Slack, and hundreds of others.

    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

    What type of webinar can you host?

    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, on-demand webinars, evergreen webinars, and more.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Evergreen webinars: the what, why, and how

    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.

    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.

    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.

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    Discover the world's first video engagement platform

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

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    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.

    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

    How do you create a webinar your audience will love?

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

    Plan and outline your webinar

    Sucessful webinars are well-planned. 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.

    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.

    people gathered around a desk looking at computers

    Promote your virtual event

    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.

    Get the right tech and webinar software

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

    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.

    Hosting your online event

    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.

    hand holding a pen hovering over a piece of paper

    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.

    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.

    woman working on a computer wearing glasses and a blue shirt

    Frequently asked questions about webinars

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Webinar tools like Livestorm allow you to choose a background before the event or change a background during a live webinar by clicking the Audio/Video settings button. It’s a great way to look more professional.

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    Supercharge your marketing with webinars

    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 for reaching a global audience or engaging 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.

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    Create a better experience for your attendees and less stress for your team. You’re just minutes away from building engaging online events.

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