What is a webinar, you ask? It's an online video presentation that you deliver to an audience over the Internet.
It can include narrated slides, screen sharing, video footage, or people talking on camera. Typical webinars have a main lecture component followed by a Q&A session.
You can use webinars to host live events, conduct interviews with experts in your field or share information about your products and services with potential customers.
And best of all? Webinars are very inexpensive when it comes to cost per viewer.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about webinars:
How to host them, what are the best practices, what are the most popular features and then it links you to awesome resources so you can drill in deeper if you want to learn even more!
Disclosure: Although I receive affiliate compensation at no additional cost to you to support this site that compensation in no way influences my recommendations, which are strictly informed by my 10+ years of online business experience consulting for clients large and small. My aim is to always recommend tools that offer the best return for your investment (for more details, read my Affiliate Disclosure).
Why should you host a webinar?
Webinars are a highly effective method for reaching out and targeting audiences all over the world at a minimal cost.
For example, if you want to target business owners in Australia but you live in the U.S., you can reach out to this audience by hosting a pre-recorded webinar that only plays in their time zone.
You can also use webinars as an incentive for prospects to subscribe to your email list generating leads for future sales, or for demonstration purposes to educate participants on your product or service.
While there are many reasons why you should consider hosting one, these are the 7 most common reasons why businesses host webinars.
How to create a webinar?
A typical webinar begins with a brief introduction from the presenter followed by the main content.
Although it’s very common to use slides with narration throughout the presentation, you could also speak without the use of slides (this is referred to as a “talking head”). Or use other visuals, like a computer screen, with your talking head over imposed in one of the corners.
After your main content section, you always want to include a Q&A section so the instructor can answer questions from the audience. In general, you want to allow for a 70/30 ratio: 70% presentation and 30% questions.
If this is your first go as a host, here's an article with 10 super-easy webinar creation steps you can follow.
In it you'll find great resources, like the best webinar platforms on the market, the required equipment, a webinar content creation plan and best practices for webinar hosts.
How to plan a webinar?
An effective webinar plan must begin by addressing the following questions:
- What will be your message?
- Who are you trying to reach?
- Why should your audience listen to you?
Once you have these answers, there are two major areas that you’ll need to take care of: 1) webinar development and 2) promotion.
To learn how to create a webinar from A-Z, follow these 10 planning steps, which include everything you need, from defining your format to outlining and then creating your slides to rehearsals and final presentation.
How to engage with your webinar audience?
There are a number of tried and true techniques used to engage with your webinar audience. Some are dependent on the host and others are facilitated by a number of features in your webinar hosting software.
Clearly, your first opportunity to engage with your participants is before you get going by telling them what the topic is about and why it's important for them to watch.
For example you might say, "Have you ever been on a diet that keeps your weight off six or more months after you end it?" followed by impressive statistics about your product.
Beyond this initial hook, a popular strategy is to ask close-ended questions to entice yes-no answers from your audience via chat.
Another widely used technique is the use of live polls and surveys. If you want to take things to the next level, here’s a list of pro tips for webinar audience engagement.
What are the most commonly used webinar features?
Most popular webinar hosting platforms are loaded with great features.
From marketing outreach, to follow-up reminders, to fully customizable registration forms, to audience engagement features, to pre-recorded webinars, to time zone-driven scheduling, and many more.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that there are so many features that you may feel overwhelmed.
To make this process as painless as possible, I’ve compiled a list of the 5 most useful webinar features so you can slash your learning curve and get down to the business of creating your webinar as fast as possible.
Ready to test the waters? Try WebinarJam, our Editor's Choice, for a full 14-days for just $1 with the special link below:
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I participate in a webinar?
Once you fill out a webinar registration form, you will get an email with an access link.
On the date and time of the event, just click the access link and you’ll go to a waiting room where you’ll be able to access the webinar.
What is the best way to prepare for a webinar?
Practice, practice, practice! Rehearse it in front of peers to get their feedback so there are no surprises.
Also, rehearsals will make you feel more comfortable dealing with the pressure of a live presentation.
Can I do a webinar on my phone?
Yes. All top webinar hosting platforms offer a seamless mobile experience both for presenters as well as attendees.