First used commercially in 1998, the term “webinar” combines the words “web” and “seminar”. Therefore, a webinar is a conference or seminar that is based 100% online. The speakers and the audience are not in the same location, but they can interact through a question or chat feature built into the webinar software.
Much like their physical counterparts, webinars are designed to be educational. Attendees are given training or information related to specific topics.
Educational videos or recorded presentations that you can find on the internet don’t qualify as webinars. For an event to be considered a webinar it must have a predetermined date and time, attendees, and streaming video. Most webinars are also gated with a registration page that collects information from attendees. They are also commonly distributed in a live-stream. Many webinar presentations include visual aids like slides or videos. Hosts can share their screens with the audience, which lets attendees follow along. Multiple speakers can share their webcam at once, making it possible to have panel discussions.
There are three main types of webinars.
Live webinars are webinars that occur in real-time. The audience experiences everything that occurs as it happens.
On-demand webinars are self-serve webinars that were recorded at a previous date and time. And automated webinars behave like live webinars in that they have a set start date. Attendees need to register for automated webinars before this date.
Automated webinars mimic a live webinar from the perspective of the viewers. No host is required to run them, and automation can be added to webinars even if they do have a host.
Hosting webinars is useful for the folowing purposes:
Webinars are often used for marketing purposes, especially for content marketing. Webinars help to establish hosts as experts, which builds trust among audiences. This is also why some marketing teams use webinars to build brand image.Recorded webinars can be repurposed later for other uses.
Webinars can also be used to qualify leads during the sales process. Registrants and attendees are qualified leads, close to conversion. These prospects may be close to making a purchase decision, but not qualified enough to merit a 1:1 sales call. Lead nurturing webinars can help companies gather information about their leads and move those leads on to the next step in their discovery process.
Webinar tools make onboarding new clients easy. On-demand webinars made in advance help scale the client onboarding process, making it easy for clients to access product walkthroughs when they need them.
For high priority clients, customer relationship managers can host live webinar training courses. Features like screen sharing allow CRM’s to explain how a product works, step by step. Virtual whiteboards can be used as a way to map upcoming updates.
Human Resources departments use webinars for employee onboarding or corporate communications. Large groups of new teammates can be trained at a time, which helps scale the process. Webinars are especially handy for displaced teams, and can even be used for hiring sessions.
Universities create online courses with webinars, making instruction more accessible. Live events can be joined from anywhere in the world, and engagement features make sure that students are actively involved.
Customer success teams can use webinars to answer questions during live sessions, present a product roadmap, or share news with customers. Building personal relationships is possible through regular check-ins and updates.
Webinars are excellent tools for scaling businesses. The increased engagement of webinars strengthens customer relationships. Webinars continue to help you access markets, even after they are over. Webinars can have thousands of participants, depending on which tool you choose to use.