Webinars have been around for years and are often being used to connect with large audiences who are already interested in a particular subject.
They are a great alternative to face-to-face events; a way to get together with clients, prospects and colleagues.
You can use these online meetings for many reasons, including team catch-ups, training seminars and as marketing tools and events.
They allow for interaction and engagement, without the need for being in the same place as your audience.
So, if your business isn’t making the most of webinars yet, then you could be missing out on some excellent opportunities.
To help you, get more from this digital marketing strategy, let’s look into what a webinar is, the various types and the many ways they can benefit your business.
What Is A Webinar?
Let’s go over the basics…
The word webinar derives from the phrase ‘web seminar’.
You can describe a seminar as a meeting where you share, deliver and discuss information.
Consequently, a webinar is essentially just an online version of this.
They are video presentations, workshops, events, in-depth training sessions, classroom lectures or seminars, that are delivered and hosted online.
There are a lot of options for software, and they all allow the audience to engage through comments and questions.
This form of online meeting works as a form of two-way communication, where information is given, received and shared in real-time between presenters and attendees.
Webinars are sometimes confused with webcasts, but it is important to understand the difference.
A webcast is pre-recorded and broadcast online to viewers, whereas a webinar is a live event with real-time interactions.
That being said, it is becoming more and more common for businesses to use them “on-demand” in the same way that webcasts can be watched “as and when required”.
During a webinar, the host is able to share a large amount of information with their audience.
This can include documents, videos, voice notes and presentations.
Because of this ability to share information in real-time, they are commonly used for education purposes.
You can also use them as effective marketing tools and business communication options.
Webinars are a great way of bringing some much-needed variety to your digital marketing mix.
What Are The Different Types Of Webinar?
There are various types of webinar formats that businesses can use for different reasons.
Some of the most popular types of webinars are;
Webinars are used a lot for education, whether that be in universities, by training providers or by businesses educating customers.
These kinds of webinars are popular because they give the participants value.
Webinars are a great format for education because information and techniques can be presented in many different ways, and participates can ask questions and get involved.
Keep in mind that webinars aren’t only useful for educating potential customers, they can also be used to train staff and many organizations use them to train their workforce.
A lot of businesses use panel webinars as a way of allowing professionals to share their knowledge on a particular subject.
You can set up a webinar to allow a panel of speakers to discuss a subject uninterrupted, and then open up a question and answer segment.
This gives the audience a chance to get involved as well.
If you want to introduce one person to your audience, then a webinar interview is a great way to do this.
Unlike panels or education webinars, an interview webinar is more natural and requires much less preparation.
It is essentially two people having a conversation about a specific subject, and encouraging audience input.
This is also a great format for providing a targeted audience with success stories and insights.
Some webinars may end with a Q&A section, but it is also possible to have an entire presentation that is an educational Q&A session.
During a question and answer session, you can directly interact with your audience and answer any questions they might have about your business, products or services.
A lot of webinar software allows the audience to type questions directly to the presenter.
Webinars can be great for providing online presentations.
These usually involve one speaker doing a presentation to their audience online.
Videos, documents, polls, pictures and sounds can all be used to create an engaging presentation, for example, a 60-minute user-onboarding session.
How Can Webinars Benefit Your Business?
You might be wondering if spending time, money and effort on webinars is worthwhile for your business.
They can be time-consuming to arrange and host, and you need to make sure you have a large enough audience for it to be worth the effort.
However, the truth is, no matter what type of business you are operating, a webinar can bring many benefits.
And, don’t believe the hype…you do not have to do long one-hour webinars.
Some business owners have come to believe that a successful needs to be a 45-minute session however if the value needed is provided in 20 minutes – then so be it!
Here are our top 9 ways webinars can benefit your business;
1. You Become Recognised As An Expert In Your Field
Whatever field you are working in, you want to be known as an expert and provide your valuable perspective.
Use them to systematically transform your knowledge, skills, experience and expertise into revenue.
Offering a free webinar on a specific subject related to your business can help you to become recognised as an expert.
Even though the webinar itself is free, your audience is still investing their time into the event.
They need to register, keep it in the diary and set aside some time to attend, just to hear you discuss a subject.
This helps you grow a reputation as an expert, all before you’ve even begun speaking.
2. You Can Make More Sales
Although webinars are often thought of as informative and educational, they are actually excellent marketing and sales tools.
If you can create a webinar with the right content, you can soft sell to your audience effortlessly.
Many organizations make the common mistake of educating prospects and then pushing the hard sell. An effective webinar will educate and sell simultaneously.
The idea behind using a webinar as a sales tool is to teach your audience that they need your product or service.
At the end of the webinar, there should be no need for the hard sell, as your audience should already be ready to buy.
3. You Create Invaluable Content
One of the biggest reasons a business might decide to start hosting webinars is because they create excellent value.
When you create an effective webinar, you can keep an audience engaged and interested.
This kind of interest is nearly impossible to create with video content alone.
Because webinars are interactive, your audience can receive real-time feedback and ask questions, which is extremely valuable.
Not only that, but this interaction works both ways.
You can tailor your webinar content in real-time to reflect your unique audience.
4. You Create A Fear Of Missing Out
A webinar is a real-time event which happens live. If your audience doesn’t register in time, they will miss out.
It creates a sense of urgency and instils a “fear of missing out” in your audience.
When you use video content, your audience knows they can pause and leave at any time and continue watching later.
With webinars, that isn’t possible; they need to be engaged and involved when you are.
5. You Increase Conversation And Engagement
Offer your customers a new channel of communication.
If they have questions about your services or products, they can ask and chat with you in real-time.
A webinar is a chance for your audience to vocalise their opinions, share their thoughts and ask any questions they might have.
When someone is able to chat and ask questions about the subject they are learning about, they will naturally be more engaged and focused.
6. You Can Reach Anywhere In The World
You have the ability to communicate with lots of people all across the globe – no matter which country they are in – as long as they have an internet connection.
There are no limits to how many people can join unless you want there to be.
Furthermore, there are no restrictions on where an attendee needs to be in order to get involved.
This gives you endless opportunities that might not usually be available to you.
When you host a seminar, you are limited to only inviting those who can travel to the location and limited to only the number of individuals your venue can hold.
These restrictions are eliminated.
7. You Speed Up Your Sales Process
Webinars are a great tool for speeding up the conversion process.
They take out a lot of the steps in the sales funnel because they help to build trust with your audience, provide value and battle objections all at the same time.
You won’t need to spend anywhere near as much time nurturing and communicating with potential clients when you can answer all their questions and more in just a few hours.
This is a scalable way to seriously increase the performance of your lead generation and sales generation.
8. You’ll Build A Personal Relationship With Your Audience
Help your audience to put a face to a name, which can be extremely valuable.
This helps you to build a personal relationship with your prospects and open up real-time communication.
The only other way of building this level of communication would be to meet your audience in person, which for most businesses is completely unrealistic.
These online presentations and meetings are the next best thing when it comes to personal interactions.
And, the best part is you can build relationships with hundreds of people at the same time.
9. You Can Utilise Guest Presenters
We’ve already discussed how webinars can help you get recognised as an expert in your field, but another benefit is that you can utilise other experts as well.
Inviting industry influencers and guest presenters is an excellent way to generate interest and add more value.
Partnering with complementary experts is a get way to tap into their audience and grow your own audience.
How To Host A Successful Webinar
If you want to start using webinars to support and grow your business, you might be wondering where to start.
It can seem like a daunting task if you have never done it before.
Here are a few best practices that can make the process a lot easier;
Get Lots Of Practice
Hosting a webinar is all about successfully getting your content across whilst building a relationship with your audience.
In order to do this, you need to make sure you know your content inside out, and practising is the best way of doing this.
Practice your presentation several times before going live with your audience.
Not only will this help you get to grips with the flow of the information, but it will help boost your confidence.
Focus on speaking clearly and slowly and take time to make your audience feel part of the conversation.
Be In Control Of Your Tech
Hosting a webinar means you need to be using technology to communicate with your audience.
Before starting, make sure you know exactly how the software you are using works.
Learn how to mute and unmute the audience, allow typed questions and conversations, and switch between video and screen sharing.
It is also vital that your audio is working properly.
Use a quiet location with no background noise and use a high-quality microphone.
More and more people are using Zoom and there are plenty of resources available on their support site if you want to take your things to the next level.
If you aren’t confident with the technology side of things, then have a technical assistant on hand to help.
One of the biggest mistakes that are often made is jumping straight into the content without an introduction.
By introducing yourself to your audience, you can begin to develop an emotional connection and establish trust.
Start by sharing a bit about yourself or tell an engaging story that explains your role.
If you have 100 attendees, you are essentially having 100 one on one conversations, which can be overwhelming.
A good thing to remember is to imagine that you are speaking to a friend.
Hold Your Audiences Attention
Most audiences have a short attention span, and a webinar audience can be even worse.
You are competing for attention against their email inbox, social media feeds and computer screens.
It is vital that you can gain their attention and hold onto it for the duration of the presentation.
Avoid using too much text and overloading them with information.
Instead, try to break things up with video content, images and interactive questions.
Keep your audience involved throughout and remember you should be talking with them as opposed to at them.
Start Using Webinars to Grow Your Business
Use this free checklist to plan and build your first marketing webinar.