Investing time to compare webinar platforms is one thing. After you have chosen the best software for that, clarity on how to host a successful webinar remains an entirely different challenge, especially if you want to explore this modern marketing medium for the first time.
While there is no guaranteed perfect way for hosting webinars, following the steps in this guide will put you on the right path to success.
Regardless of your industry, business model, or job title, hosting a live webinar has many interesting benefits. Possibly, there is a chance that you have experienced webinar marketing benefits in action, not as a host but attendee. And now, you want to explore how an engaging webinar could help accomplish your business goals.
According to Demand Saga, webinar content was reported to be delivering an average of 67% conversion rate to businesses investing consistently in it. Besides boosting conversion rates in a marketing context, there are many other advantages of using the best webinar platforms to reach and engage varying audience segments.
Now let's look at how to host a good webinar to get specific business results.
Spend time on webinar planning
More than many other variables, the time you spend planning a webinar will impact the eventual success you'll get out of it. Hence, planning is the very first thing you have to do. However, how much time to spend in the planning stage often varies from one context to another.
If you are planning for a relatively large audience (100 -1,000+ webinar attendees), you may have to spend more time planning things out. In such cases, the involvement of multiple stakeholders or presenters could make things a little more complex.
When multiple presenters are involved, you must get them to agree on a mutually convenient date, as well as a rehearsal day. Irrespective of the audience size, here are other steps toward planning and hosting a successful online event.
Define your target audience
As part of the planning process of hosting a webinar, you must define your target audience. What type of audience do you want to engage during your virtual event?
Interestingly, a higher level of clarity in this regard will make other processes relatively easier for you. In a situation whereby your audience is not defined, and you are responsible for hosting a webinar on behalf of your company, you may find yourself in a maze of time-wasting confusion.
Here are some pointers on defining your prospective attendees before you begin hosting webinars.
Industry: What specific industry do your target attendees belong to? For example, you may want to host a live event for potential customers for people working in the health, finance, or technology industries.
Business Model – Inside the finance niche, for example, you'll find different business models like financial advisory services, private equity firms, venture capital firms, consumer fintech apps, and mortgage loan institutions.
Job title: Regardless of the industry, niche, or business model, you should also consider your audience regarding their job titles. These people will respond to your webinar promotion strategy and attend your event. If you don't have clarity in this regard, especially at the point of promotion, your click-through rate will be very low.
Size and stage of business: You should also look at the target prospects based on the size of the business, current growth stage, and other related variables. Understanding these factors will help you create an effective webinar. On the other hand, misalignment will lead to poor results.
Free trial users: Especially for software companies offering free trial access to their products, you can leverage live or webinar recordings to convert some of these people into paying users. Again, try to define your audience from that perspective if you are marketing a software product.
After clarifying what you want to attend your event, here is the next step in the webinar process.
Choose a webinar topic
Your webinar topic is one of the most important variables determining whether the target prospects will care enough to register or pass. The webinar title influences a prospect's decision before they see your registration landing page. That's why you should give enough thought to the title of your online event. As the marketing rule of thumb goes, you should be able to help every prospective attendee answer within split seconds – what is in it for me?
Unfortunately, dull, generalized topics won't get you the best results. And that's another reason you should spend time defining your audience before anything else. Below here are some pointers on how to create attractive webinar topics.
Prospect's job title
Even when your webinar content is aimed at different audience segments with varying job titles, it is better to be specific to make your topic more attractive. Interestingly, calling out your prospects in the webinar title will make it more relatable and attractive. Check out the examples given below.
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Relatable pain point
If you want to create a webinar with exceptionally attractive titles, this is a key factor you must research more than others. The reason is that most humans often respond fast to perceive the promise of a solution to a real pain point than the promise of pleasure. What specific problems are your products or services solving for the event participants? Bring that into your virtual event presentation title.
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Being clear on the business model operated by the prospective attendees you want to attract is another angle for creating attractive titles. Especially in the B2B space, your webinar content title should answer what is in it for me, not based on the job title but on a business model. The key point is to tell prospective attendees within seconds how your product, service, or webinar content will help their business save money, grow faster, acquire more customers, and eliminate wasteful marketing.
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Topic of interest
Through keyword research, you might be able to uncover some interesting topics that bring your ideal buyer personas to search engines like Google. Sometimes a pain point or business problem moves them to search for specific information around selected topics or product categories.
And that's another angle from which you can create attractive webinar content titles. If you select keywords with high search volume, that might be what you need to create webinar topics that will give you the highest click-through rates.
However, you must ensure that the topics of interest align with your product and audience purchase intent.
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What will the prospect benefit from spending 45 – 60 minutes attending your webinar? Answer that in your title with measurable benefits. And that's how to create webinar topics that will get high click rates.
When you think about every prospective attendee you want to attract, there are probably a thousand other things competing for their attention at any moment. How will you break their attention patterns and get them to click your title instead of your competitors?
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Get into setting up a webinar goal
According to steven covey, the author of 7 habits of highly effective people, 'All things are created twice, first in the mind, and then second in the real world.
While your webinar goal cannot be described as an object of creation, starting with the end in mind is important. You cannot intend to travel to the United States while using a map of Estonia. In this case, setting a webinar goal will give you clarity, direction, and a path toward fulfilling business accomplishments. However, some people often ask questions like, what are examples of goals for a webinar?
For you to accomplish anything worthwhile during and after your webinar, the goal has to be specific and measurable. And that's how you'll be able to accomplish the main goal of hosting a successful webinar.
Here are some examples of webinar goals to get you started.
#1: New lead generation
Regardless of how you want to promote your webinar, generating high-quality leads is one of the most important goals you can set as part of the planning process. Interestingly, lead generation seems to be among the most popular uses of a webinar platform. And the reason is very understandable.
The visual and interactive elements of live virtual events make engaging, convincing, and selling to different audience segments easy while building brand trust simultaneously.
Besides setting a goal around the number of new leads you want to generate from your online event, you can also use the audience polling features of the best webinar platforms to get insights on the best promotion strategies that bring attendees to your event.
Specific goal example: Generate X new leads within Y amount of time.
#2: Lead nurturing
Besides hosting webinars, your company may leverage different outbound and inbound strategies to bring in new leads daily or weekly. However, we all know that most new leads will not convert into paying customers on their first point of contact. And that's where lead nurturing goals come into play.
Perhaps, there are different ways you can achieve the same similar results through automated lead nurturing. For example, many companies use personalized email messaging and marketing automation platforms to nurture their leads. However, an interactive webinar makes it more effective. During the presentation, you can influence audience purchase decisions by uncovering and addressing specific buyer objections.
Even before you get into the event presentation, researching your customer demographics, pain points, business goals, and buyer objections will help you achieve better results.
Specific goal example: Convert a percentage of existing leads into paying customers or clients.
#3: Growing brand awareness
Though impulsive buying happens occasionally in different contexts, most people buy from businesses they know, like, and trust. In that same regard, people who do not know, like, or trust your brand will not buy from you. Since you are here to learn how to host a webinar, growing brand awareness is one of the major goals you can achieve with that.
By collaborating with other brands to host a webinar, you can begin to tap into other people's audiences while building trust at the same time. Beyond what is possible with your current marketing budget and traditional lead generation channels, you may not need to spend much money exploring collaborative webinars' benefits. Here are some proven ways to measure brand awareness.
- Track your brand-related search queries
- Track direct and referral traffic
- Monitor your social media mention
- Use audience software
- Measure the acquisition of natural backlinks
- Use custom URLs to measure traffic from different sources
Specific goal example: Increase traffic from brand-related search queries and webinar activities by 100% within 3 – 10 months.
#4: Conversion of free trial users
While every one of your free trial users may not have equal or similar needs, providing valuable webinar content is one of the best ways to help them get even more value from using your products. Don't ignore them to focus on paying customers only.
When you invest in some user behavior analytics tools like Amplitude, you might be able to identify the power users of your free trial or freemium offers. Interestingly, the data and insights gained from such tools will enable you to provide highly valuable webinar content that could convert some of these people into paying customers. And that's one of the webinar goals you can set going forward.
Specific goal example: Convert 10% of free trial/freemium users into paying customers within 3 – 10 months.
#5: Product feature update
Here is another interesting benefit of hosting a webinar for existing customers and users of your products.
Specifically, the use case discussed in this context is for software companies and their team members interested in learning how to host a successful webinar. Based on the frequency of building new product features for your customers, you can leverage webinars to update everyone along the line.
Whether it's for freemium users, paying customers, or specific customer segments doesn't matter. What matters is that you are using interactive webinars to educate them on the new features that will enable them to accomplish specific tasks or achieve measurable business goals.
Depending on the person planning the webinar, defining the audience, and choosing topics, a deeper level of customer analytics might help to uncover the exact segments that will find the new product features more valuable than others.
Specific goal example: Get 10% of the overall customer base to use and pay for the new features within 3 – 12 months.
Pick a webinar presentation format
After defining your target audience, choosing a topic, and setting a goal, the next step in the webinar planning process to is to decide the most suitable format. Looking at some of the first steps highlighted above, the webinar format suitable for context A might not deliver the best results in context B. And that's why you should give serious thought to the best webinar format that will suit the chosen goal you want to accomplish.
Depending on the goals you've set to achieve with a webinar platform, here are some of the best formats proven to work well in different contexts.
Educational presentation: This type of webinar aims to educate your audience while selling specific products or services. Sometimes, you may want to present educational content through webinar software without selling anything.
Question and answer session – Here is one of the most engaging webinar formats. When you choose an interesting topic, the interactive nature of this presentation format provides unique opportunities to gain useful insights about your audience by asking them revelational questions.
Expert interview – collaborating with other experts or brands also increases your brand awareness, generates quality leads, or sells specific products. Expert interview webinars are the best format if you want to tap into other people's existing audience.
Panel discussions: This format often involves experts from different brands discussing a particular topic simultaneously. The key benefit is that participating experts don't have to travel to one particular location to engage the audience. When you host panel discussion webinars, other people tend to share the content across their social media channels, which also increases brand awareness.
Decide on single vs multi presenter webinar hosts
At this point, your set goal and chosen format will determine the presentation style before creating webinars. Will you be the only person presenting educational content, or does the format requires the participation of other experts and facilitators? In the case of a panel discussion format, multiple speakers are usually involved.
Moreover, you must be clear on how many presenters will participate in the online event. Even before the presentation of the actual webinar, your decision in this regard will affect other planning processes.
As the main webinar host, you must carry every expected presenter along to deliver the best engagement experience to your target audience.
Set your webinar date and time
There is never a perfect time to host webinars. However, when you choose to host future webinars will affect the attendance rate and other success metrics. During the promotion process, for example, the fixed date and time of the event will influence your prospect's decision to register for the live webinar or pass.
Before you even get into the promotion process, you should set the date at a future time that will give you enough room for planning and promotion. To get maximum results from the event, below are the key factors to consider regarding the webinar date and time.
Day of the week: Speaking from experience, hosting a webinar on Mondays, Fridays, and weekends don't produce good results in most cases. The reason is that many people's receptiveness to new ideas, practices, products, or services is very low within such weekdays. Hence, it is better to host your event within the midweek.
Time zone – The variations in audience time zone also affect webinar attendance rates across different industries. If your target audience resides in different countries, it is important to consider where the majority could come from. There is no point in spending money to plan and promote your event when most target prospects are less likely to attend. For example, if your target audience is based in US and Europe, then a webinar hosted in the morning for the US audience means that Europe can also attend the same event as it happens during the afternoon in their working day.
Working hours: Most people will likely attend live virtual events before, during, or after working hours. Promoting your event or trying to engage an audience at the wrong hours of the day will not get you the best results. If you need to reach multiple time zones, then we would advise scheduling multiple events which provides your audience opportunity to select the one which best suits them.
These are important factors you should consider seriously as the webinar host. If it requires further research to understand your audience demographics, don't ignore that.
Create a webinar landing page
As part of learning how to host an engaging webinar, you must create a landing page to register prospective attendees. However, creating a webinar landing page might not be yours if you are not the main host.
On the other hand, it is something you may want to delegate to other team members while you are busy planning other things, especially the actual webinar content.
Consider choosing one of the best webinar software with reusable landing page templates to make the entire process faster. That means you don't have to start designing a webinar landing page from scratch. Depending on your webinar platform, you should consider the features allowing you to run some A/B testing to see what converts more than others.
Regardless of your chosen promotional strategies, here are some of the core variables you may want to test for higher conversion rates.
- Attractive webinar title or topic
- Bullet list of value propositions
- Fixed event date and time
- Speaker photos and titles
- Customer testimonials
- Sponsoring company logos
- Registration form fields
- Call to action
Please using all these things in a webinar landing page template is not a must. However, testing them will help you find what works best regarding conversion rates.
Plan your content delivery and test the webinar platform
Again, the actual content your audience will experience often depends on the type of event you want to host. If it is educational content, you must plan how everything will flow from start to finish as the webinar host.
When multiple presenters are involved in hosting online webinars, you should give sufficient time to content presentation flow.
To give your audience the best learning and engagement experience, consider choosing a platform that will allow you to upload videos, presentation slides, and other rich visuals. Before the event date, try to bring everything into your chosen platform. And that will lead you to the next step, which is testing.
Regarding software tools and other types of technology, some things could go beyond control unexpectedly. That's why it's important to test your webinar platform with actual content before the main date of your live event.
Among other things, proper testing will help you spot and fix potential glitches ahead of time instead of feeling furious and losing control during an event. Try to test your chosen webinar software's audio settings, video settings, and every other relevant feature. Do not leave anything to chance.
Plan ahead for audience engagement
At what point during the event will you allow the engaged audience to ask questions and engage the webinar host? Planning for audience engagement points ahead of time makes everything flow seamlessly.
Specifically, audience engagement is about getting your attendees to ask questions, make comments, or make another type of indication. And that's the best way to increase their satisfaction with your webinar content. Don't just throw a barrage of words, pictures, and videos at them. Make them active participants in your online event. Some of the webinar software features you can use for that include the following.
- Audience polls
- Visualized questions/answers
- Interactive live chat
- Inviting attendees to the speaker room
Start promoting your webinar
To a very large extent, the success of your webinar depends on the promotion strategy. Without a proper webinar promotion strategy, the time you spend organizing the content and planning the event will not yield the best results. And that's why you should set a date that will give you enough time to bring in prospective attendees.
If you think promoting your live online event to a small or large audience requires a big budget, think again. In this section below, I have highlighted some of the most effective ways to promote your webinars.
#1: Paid online advertising – Consider setting aside a specified promotion budget. Depending on your target audience, you can use platforms like Google Ads, Youtube Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and Facebook Ads to attract attendees to your webinars.
#2: Social media posting – Free social media posting will also help you build hype and exposure for your event. Think of how you can engage other industry experts to post pre-event previews and topical posts that will get the attention of your target audience.
#3: Email promotion – If your email list is sizable enough, you can leverage that channel to get some people to register and attend live webinars. Before the main event data, you can also use reminder emails to keep prospects engaged while anticipating the benefits of attending your event.
#4: Guest blog posting – List relevant traffic-generating websites accepting guest blog posts in your niche or industry. Create content ideas around the topic of your webinar. And then, use those websites to promote a specific idea related to the content and topic of your webinar.
#5: Company blog posts – You may also want to leverage topically relevant blogs to promote before the webinar starts. In this case, embedding the webinar registration page within old and new blog posts will increase visibility and participant registration.
#6: Influencer marketing – Engage other influencers in your niche for the main webinar presentation and promotion. Depending on the niche and topical relevance, a little paid promotion through influencer marketing could lead to some good results.
#7: Create teaser videos – If you have an active YouTube channel, creating teaser videos around the topic will also help increase visibility, registration, and attendance rate. The main thing is to make the videos directly related to what you want to discuss during the live panel or educational presentation.
#8: Video podcasts – when you appear in other people's video podcasts, you'll have unique opportunities to promote your live event ahead of time. With 2 – 10 video podcast appearances before hosting a webinar, you'll be able to get some attendees through this channel.
Present the webinar content
The next thing is hosting the live event as planned on a particular date. That hosting date is the time to put all your plans and ideas to work.
To ensure that everything flows as planned, make sure your main plan is documented somewhere. As part of your webinar checklist, having your audience poll questions handy before the live event starts will be helpful.
It is also important to encourage speakers to prepare everything ahead of time. Especially where multiple speakers are involved, ensure you test the whole process to avoid technical problems. Hence, it is not something that a subject matter expert participating as a speaker will do for you as the webinar host.
Measure your webinar success metrics
Assuming your company wants to leverage webinars as part of a long-term marketing strategy, measuring the success metrics is not something you should leave to chance. In this case, documenting your goal as part of the main plan makes measuring your webinar success metrics easy.
Depending on the specified goals and presentation format, what matters to Company A might not mean the same to Company B. However, you can use the webinar analytics features of the chosen platform and the following pointers to measure success against your goals.
- Total registrations
- Attendance rate
- Engagement level
- Number of new leads generation
- Existing lead conversion rate
- Webinar generate sales
- Webinar CTA conversion rate
- Revenue generated
- Webinar ROI
Irrespective of the industry, use case, or set goal, you now have a full guide on how to host a webinar. As noted earlier, it is important to document the steps involved in the planning process. And that's where implementation should start.
No need to rely on your fallible memory during execution. Creating a webinar checklist from this guide will help you and everyone else involved to stay organized.
Remember, it's not just about what you think is cool. Contrary to what some people think, following after trendy topics or buzzwords is usually not the best approach. It's all about what is in it for the attendees. Hence, you should align the topic with the audience's interests, business goals, or pain points.
Don't forget to set a specific goal and choose the best format suitable for the hosts and attendees. Consider setting an event date that will give you enough time for promoting your event.
With the right webinar platform like CloudPresenter, you can leverage the analytics features to measure success against your set goals. And that's how you can host a successful webinar.