From the perspective of an attendee, there is a chance you’ve experienced how interactive webinars feel engaging. As part of webinar hosts, you’ll discover practical tips on how to make your next webinar more interactive in this post.
Regardless of the niche or industry, getting people to register for your webinar is a hard challenge, especially considering the high cost of paid advertising and other marketing efforts. On the other hand, getting them to attend and stay engaged to the last minute is an entirely different challenge. And that’s what we’ll be discussing how to overcome in this guide.
Besides making webinars more interactive, it is also important to plan how to deliver great value from the beginning to the end of your virtual event.
Why make webinars more interactive?
Besides subjective audience engagement, holding your audience’s attention in engaging interactions during a webinar presentation has many benefits. It doesn’t matter whether you are hosting with guest speakers or your team members. Below are some benefits of higher webinar interactivity.
1. Reinforce your expert authority
The best webinars are supposed to be two way communication. From the angle of thought leadership, live webinars offer a perfect opportunity to reinforce your expert authority in an interactive fun way. Once you are a subject matter expert in one specific area, making a webinar interactive will put you in a position of authority to make exceptionally positive impressions. With some of the best webinar software platforms, you’ll have access to great tools to make your presentation more impressive with influential visuals.
2. Avoid losing prospects in the middle
There are no two ways about it. Only the prospects who stay through to the end of the entire session will see your lead generation or revenue-generating call to action. If you make the mistake of selling too early in your online event, you may end up pissing people off. Regardless of how hard you try, there is always a possibility of losing prospects in the middle of an event. But the best way to avoid such is to make your webinars more interactive. If you can hold your webinar attendees’ attention long enough through interactivity, you’ll avoid losing some of them during your presentation.
3. Build up your brand trust
Higher personal or corporate brand trust is another benefit of making webinars more interactive. You'll achieve higher brand trust by sharing useful knowledge that addresses audience challenges during your online events. Interestingly, the ripple effect often continues long after presenting your webinar content.
4. Eliminate buyer objects in real time
Getting attendees to keep paying attention during live webinars is one proven way to uncover buyer objections. When your live webinar audience feels relaxed and engaged, you can use the public chat or chat questions to uncover pre-purchase questions that may prevent some people from buying as soon as possible.
The interactive nature of live webinars means you can share ideas and answer audience questions that may appear as real buyer objections.
5. Get better webinar marketing ROI
Making your webinar interactive will directly impact the profitability of your webinar marketing strategy. When your audience stays attentive to the end, you’ll have a better chance of converting a good percentage of them into quality leads and paying customers. And that’s how to get a higher conversion rate from your webinars. However, it all starts with making your presentation more interactive for most attendees.
Best interactive webinar formats to use
1. Question and answer webinars
This is the most interactive webinar format that promises the highest level of engagement. Depending on your preferences, you want to host this webinar within a social media group or page. The main thing is to choose a topic and engage your audience to ask questions. More than any other format, lots of engaging interactions happen when fellow attendees begin to pick up questions asked in the public chat.
2. Panel discussion webinars
The panel discussion webinar is about hosting experts in similar roles from different companies in an interactive live on
line event. If you want to enrich your target audience interactions from insightful experiences from different experts, this is the best format to make your presentations more interactive.
3. Product demo webinars
Getting some prospects to sign up for product demo webinars is one of the hardest things to do in digital marketing. Interestingly, this type of webinar is one of the best formats proven to convert prospects into quality leads and paying customers. During this type of online event, you can engage your target audience to ask questions about the specific features of the product you are promoting.
The more insights you get from the questions, the more you’ll be able to make more impactful presentations.
4. Community building webinars
Brand community building is one of the emerging strategies for generating quality leads from a loyal audience. If you look at some leading sports, fashion, health and technology brands, it is not uncommon to find passion-driven online communities built around a specific brand.
In this context, you can start with affordable webinar software tools to achieve interactive engagement.
Above here are some of the best formats you can use to host interactive webinars. Let’s look at other steps to increase audience engagement, interactivity and the value you get from your virtual events.
Proven ways to keep your audience engaged with interactive elements
1. Start with a catchy and compelling title
When it comes to hosting more interactive webinars, all headlines are not equal. And that’s where interactivity starts. The key point is that your engaging webinar title should be attractive enough to get clicks from the target audience members.
It doesn’t matter how many prospects you will reach through your webinar promotion efforts. If the title is unattractive, the click-through rate will be poor. And that will impact every other important webinar success metric and overall profitability.
Below are a few pointers on how to make your title more attractive as the webinar host.
- Call out your buyer persona directly (for example: use job title descriptive keywords)
- Address specific pain points your audience cares about
- Highlight potential benefits of attending your webinar
- Project a solution to a relatable problem
- Use numbers to quantify the beneficial outcome of attending your event
- Make it focused on the results your audience will be able to achieve after attending
2. Tell one short relevant story
Besides presenting mere facts during your online session, storytelling makes it easier for our brains to store data for later retrieval. And that has a lot to do with the emotions evoked through relevant storytelling.
Even without going too emotional, some relevant short storytelling during your webinar will help spark curiosity in your attendees' minds. If you are able to spark a high level of curiosity, you can get your audience to start asking or noting down questions before the end of your presentation.
The most important thing is to plan everything ahead of time to make sure it rhymes well with your target audience within the context of your webinar topic. Do not forget the fact that it has to be short and relevant.
3. Ask questions periodically
Questions and answers are the most effective ways to make webinars more interactive. Unlike what some guest speakers and other webinar hosts do, you don’t have to wait until the end of the event before engaging in the Q&A session. Asking questions directly during your presentation is a proven way to host interactive webinars.
However, you have to be meticulous about it. There is no need to throw off random questions that may derail the attention of your attendees. You can direct your engagement questions to specific participants to make it more interactive.
That way, you’ll be able to get interactive answers instead of throwing your questions at the entire audience.
Besides, you should plan for a normal question-and-answer session towards the end of the event. If you choose one of the top-rated webinar platforms like Cloudpresenter, you can showcase the audience questions on screen. And that's one of the best ways to engage people with interactive tools when you want to answer questions.
For online events lasting more than an hour, scheduling interactive questions and sessions is necessary to get the most out of your presentation.
4. Encourage your audience to use live chats
Live chat is one of the core features of webinar software. So, when you encourage attendees to use the live chat, it creates an opportunity for you to hold their attention for a longer time.
And that’s the best way to get the most value out of your virtual events. Depending on how your chosen webinar software works, you might be able to encourage live chat between fellow attendees and hosts. And that's a proven way to add interactions between participants.
5. Survey your webinar audience
Using the survey and poll features of your chosen webinar tool will give you deeper insights into the demographic of your attendees, their current pain points and business goals.
And that’s the best way to uncover more relevant questions to further the interactions between the hosts and attendees.
Depending on your choice, you may decide to share the results of the polls with the audience or keep them private. However, the most important thing is to use this feature to get insights you can leverage to make your webinar more interactive and effective.
6. Facilitate discussion in breakout rooms
Interactivity is not just about interactions between the hosts and attendees. Besides presenting educational content during the event, fostering interactions between attendees is another proven way to take your webinar engagement to a higher level.
The key point is to make your webinars more conversational instead of taking a lecturing style or format. And that’s what the breakout room features of the webinar platform will help you achieve.
Below are two specific contexts where this feature might help you make your webinars more interactive.
- Hosting large audiences – When you are expecting to host audiences ranging from 1000 – 5,000 attendees in your live event, you may need to choose the best webinar platform that will enable you to segment them into topical discussion groups. Unlike other tools in the market, Cloudpresenter will help you host 2 – 5,000 attendees and segment them without paying too much.
- Group coaching programs – If you are a coach or consultant working with different coaching clients, you can use breakout rooms to make a webinar interactive besides the host presentation.
7. Offer downloadable resources
Checklists, templates, workbooks and resource libraries are just a few examples of downloadable content you can offer your audience to increase engagement. Interestingly, getting your audience to download these types of content is a form of engagement.
Hence, it is better than making a lecturing-style presentation without asking your attendees to take such action.
What I have found to work well is to announce your downloadable content or discount at the beginning of the event. By doing this, you’ll be able to hold your attendee’s attention till the end of the presentation.
Regardless of your background or experience, the best webinars are the ones that prioritize audience engagement from the beginning to the end. As seen in this post, simply holding their attention is not enough. You have to take practical steps to make the presentation as interactive as possible.
Most importantly, you’ll need the best webinar platform to give you great features that foster interactivity between the hosts, attendees and fellow participants. Like in every other business context, you and your team are as powerful as the tools you use.
So, when you are ready to host your next event, try to use the best webinar tools that will give you the features for audience polling, surveys, chat, breakout rooms, and clickable calls to action.