Making Webinars Work: 16 Areas to Improve Effective Promotion, Execution, and Distribution
Whether you’re hosting a webinar to share a skill or answer industry questions, the production value of webinars is going up. Creating an engaging webinar is a multi-step process that involves a high degree of expertise.
We wanted to know what makes a webinar particularly engaging and how experts are marketing their webinars effectively.
We’re breaking down how the experts are using webinars for business promotions to the tech they use to find the right audience.
16 Areas to Improve Effective Promotion, Execution, and Distribution of Your Next Webinar
1. Intentionally Plan the Focus
Depending on the purpose, the experts were split on whether it was preferable to cast a wide net or narrow the focus. Either way, make it an intentional choice.
Remember you’re competing for people’s attention on computer screens or maybe mobile phones and tablets, with their Instagram feeds and Youtube videos. If you’re boring, the audience will lose interest and it will dent your brand’s image.
Dave Nilsson, Founder and Director, ConvertedClick
Many content creators had their feet firmly planted in the narrow-focus camp.
To make your webinar successful, you must narrow down the topic under discussion to attract the audience. Identify the discussion sessions that are going to take place.
Donna Tang, Budgeting Expert, Credit Donkey
It’s important to stick to a specific topic rather than a general idea. It’s easy for people to read about any idea, but you as the webinar host can stand out by showing your expertise that’s hard to find online.
Omkar Dharmapuri, Founder, Tech Lurn
Narrow your focus. A webinar for everybody is actually a webinar for nobody. If you have a business webinar on leadership, make it a leadership webinar for tech leaders one month. General tips work. But tips specific to someone’s industry and title will work wonders.
Andrew Sumitani, Senior Director of Marketing, TINYpulse
The flip side to really narrowing your focus, however, is that you’ll have more content to repurpose later. So it’s important to ask yourself what you plan to do with the footage in post-production.
Webinars should target a slightly broader audience, particularly when you intend to repurpose the content after the stream.
Dwight Zahringer, President, Pure Cabo LLC
Webinars need to fit within your larger content marketing strategy. The question is whether you want to niche down and focus on a smaller yet more engaged segment of your audience, or if you want to build a more generic introduction to your vertical and its contours.
Chris Laan, Founder, Designer Sheds
2. Share the Agenda in Advance
Across the board, experts agree that taking care of housekeeping before the webinar even starts is a great way to reach out before the event starts.
To get the most out of every meeting, set an agenda in advance and send it out to participants. This way, everyone knows what to expect from the webinar and how to prepare.
Thierry Tremblay, CEO & Founder, Kohezion
Educating everyone about what is going to be the main agenda of the webinar to the audience and promoting it well in advance also has a positive impact. Try to email your audience, promote it on your social media platform, and use proper SEO in the content.
Caroline Lee, Marketing Director, CocoSign
3. Plan the Promotion Calendar
By planning the promotion calendar in advance, clear expectations can be set rather than a last-minute scramble for graphics, copy, and materials.
Plan your tactics and build a tmeline. You will want to begin strategizing about seven weeks before the webinar launch date and begin timing out your promotional approaches 5-6 weeks before. As you examine these tactics, make sure you think about how much time it will take for creation, design, copy and any development requirements.
Will Cannon, CEO, Signaturely
Build a calendar for posts advertising the webinar to be shared on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook, both on private feeds and within groups that may find your webinar conference valuable.
Julian Goldie, CEO, Goldie Agency
Part of the promotion should also include a task for the audience who already signed up that will enrich their webinar experience.
Send small tasks before the webinar. The audience gets more perceptive and engaged if they actively participate in the process. It stimulates their brain, tunes them properly, and, as a result, accelerates their engagement and interest.
Dusan Stanar, Founder & CEO, VSS Monitoring
4. It Sounds Obvious, But…
Technical problems happen, but it’s the host’s responsibility to prepare and minimize these events.
On the day you go live, reboot your computer and consider doing the webinar in an incognito browser and shutting down all plugins or other software that’s running in the background. The slightest overload to the system can crash the entire webinar, and getting momentum back is really hard.
Sam Rexford, Head of Content, Chill Reptile
Check your sound quality. Are your AirPods connected to the computer you’re using?
If there’s one thing I can say that has to be impeccable is the sound quality.
Keesjan Engelen, CEO, Titoma
Conduct a little pre-webinar and post-webinar research on when your audience is available to tune in.
Select the right time and day to execute your webinar for the best results and survey your participants for future reference so that you can perfect your webinars in the future.
Andrew Taylor, Director, Net Lawman
And when it comes to these surveys, it’s a great idea to make sure they look aesthetically pleasing.
Think about the design. When clickfunnels first came out, everybody started using it for their webinars. This repetitive (yet modern) design got too stale, and customers are no longer interested in it.
Aaron Haynes, CEO, Loganix
5. Set the Tone at the Beginning
Setting expectations up front creates a positive experience. Using music at the intro and create fun icebreaker events that set the tone and get people excited.
Allison Chaney, Chief Digital Training Officer, Boot Camp Digital
Hear From Industry Experts
Read the latest tips, research, best practices, and insights from our community of expert B2B service providers.
6. Speak Clearly for the Transcription
A post-promotion tactic is to send the transcription out to all participants after the webinar. Making yourself clearly heard will do wonders for the note-taker.
Speak clearly and carefully. Most of the webinars I have presented in are transcribed afterwards and emailed to those that registered for the event (and both attended as well as were unable to listen on that day). Some of the transcriptions are disjointed to read through if the presenter speaks too quickly or goes off on unrelated tangents. Stick to your key points, enunciate, and stay within the time frame of the webinar.
Deborah Sweeney, CEO, My Corporation
A transcription lets the audience focus. I let participants know at the beginning of a webinar that I’ll be sending out a recording afterwards so that they don’t have to take copious notes and screenshots and can instead focus on the conversation.
Heidi Sullivan, SVP, Product & Marketing, UpCity
7. Save Sales Objectives for Last
The experts agree that providing value should be the most important action item for a webinar over making sales quotas.
We’ve been able to scale the audience numbers of our webinars by ensuring that they are, for the most part, purely educational in nature. Meaning, we only demo/show our products/platform for a small percentage of the webinar. Or we’ll demo our tools where it naturally feels right throughout the webinar quickly.
Samantha Russell, Chief Evangelist, Twenty Over Ten
Build webinars that teach customers how to solve their problems, not introduce them to your company. When you solve someone’s problems, they’ll grow to trust your company and feel like you understand their needs. By creating webinars that are truly focused on the consumer, you’ll create a more engaged audience.
Ian Sells, CEO and Founder, RebateKey
Adding a call to action at the end can collect the appropriate information to generate leads.
Depending on the campaign goal of your webinar, it’s important to also add a call to action at the end of your webinar. This will allow you to turn attendees into paying customers in the long run.
John Li, Co-Founder & CTO, Fig Loans
8. Don’t Underestimate the Power of an Influential Host
Engaging hosts or well-known influencers, having an engaging speaker really brings a lot more to the table.
Creating a stand-out webinar is all about putting on a show and creating an experience. The main speaker needs to step into a ‘character’ that people can admire and trust.
Cierra Loflin, Chief Marketing Officer, Zodiac Guides
When you have more than one speaker alternating, it keeps things a bit more intriguing. It’s easy for the mind to tune out when you’re hearing the same voice for minutes on end. Ideally, each speaker should not speak for more than five minutes straight.
James Surrey, Founder & Chief Editor, Review Home Warranties
Influencers are also great hosts because they also promote your webinar on their social media channels.
Micro-influencers can really help. I believe getting influencers who will share and promote your registration page or webinar link to their communities can be immense. But don’t wait for the ask until 2 weeks before your webinar. Develop these relationships months in advance, interact with their website and content, comment on their posts. After that, ask if the webinar is a good fit with their objectives.
Colin Matthews, CEO & Founder, Cookwared
If you want more audience engagement then you need to co-host your webinars with established guests. Influencer marketing is all in rage for marketing purposes, make sure to collaborate with influencers who will help you to share your registration page or webinar link to their communities and larger audience.
Julien Raby, CEO & Founder, Thermogears
Maximizing influencers throughout the planning and execution of your webinar will result in a wider network hearing about the event.
We’ve had good results by repurposing our webinar slides into a SlideShare presentation. Through promoting the presentation to our network of influencers, we have seen some of our SlideShare presentations going viral, on occasion attracting more than 1,000 views.
Gilad Rom, Founder, Huan
Credibility with webinar guest speakers aids marketing efforts because it attracts registrants.
Melissa Carroll, Marketing Coordinator, Valamis
9. Create an Ongoing FAQ
If your webinar has hundreds of people, interaction is still possible.
Enable chat but push questions into Q&A. It is best to have a moderator who is not presenting and can moderate the chat during presentations so the speaker is not distracted but participants can share ideas and resources. The moderator should ask all participants to type their questions into Q&A instead of chat.
Julia Goldstein, Owner, JLFG Communications
The most engaging webinars I’ve attended have included a lot of participation with attendees. I’ve tried to include this in my own webinars. I build them so that there are opportunities for engagement in every section, roughly once every 10-15 minutes. I’ve found that this is a good amount of time for people to interact without overloading them.
Dan Bailey, President, WikiLawn
Virtual assistants are very helpful for recording questions and taking care of the administrative items while the host is free to concentrate on the content itself.
Having a knowledgeable virtual assistant available to answer questions in a webinar chat makes the webinar experience more wholesome, rewarding and worthwhile.
Devin Schumacher, Founder and CEO, SERP
10. Avoid Wasting Time
The experts say that hosts need to get right into the meat of the content. What are people about to learn that they couldn’t find through a Google search?
I find you need to respect people’s time and get straight into the thick of it.
Sandra Coffey, Founder, Sandra Coffey PR
Studies show that only 10% of attendees would prefer an hour-long webinar, so make sure to stick to the sweet spot of 40-50 minutes. Highlight this information on your teasers and you’re well on your way.
Ted Liu, Founder and CEO, Just SEO
Webinars are about empowering folks to take some kind of action. Presentations are about relaying rote information. You have to learn how to differentiate the two in order to create something that’s engaging and immediately applicable for viewers.
Nick Drewe, CEO and Founder, Wethrift
We try to stick to around 10 to 15 minutes per the main topic and then move on.
CJ Xia, VP of Marketing & Sales, Boster
If you are starting your webinars with a 20 minute spiel about how great you are, people are going to jump off before you have the chance to connect with them. When you start your webinar by shifting a belief or industry norm that is causing them frustration or suffering, you can capture their attention and establish your authority right off the bat.
Jess O’Connell, Entrepreneur, Jess O’Connell
11. Set a Price that Reflects Your Audience
Not all webinars are free, but it’s important to demonstrate your value and deliver based on an appropriate rate.
Charge a price that makes sense, and offer discounts to current subscribers: this makes sense because it encourages people to subscribe to your newsletter while also selling spots for your webinar. Make your ticket price reflect your audience too.
Brian Turner, Chief Technology Officer, ConvertBinary
12. Engaging Visuals
Especially in the digital age of all-day Zoom calls, creating a visual aid will level up your presentation and make your webinar memorable.
Videos are also an excellent addition to your presentation, particularly with provocative visuals and an engaging soundtrack.
Marina Vaamonda, Founder, PropertyCashin
We believe in branding the webinar console, which is the visual display that audiences will see on their screen. We always take the time to dress the webinar console with our brand logo, quality images, chatbots, social media feeds and polls. This extra polish gives our webinars a dynamism that does not go unnoticed by our audiences.
Matt Bertram, CEO & SEO Strategist, EWR Digital
Hear From Industry Experts
Read the latest tips, research, best practices, and insights from our community of expert B2B service providers.
13. Interactive Sessions and Activities
The best webinars aren’t limited by the fact that they’re happening on screen. People still like varying styles of interaction.
Learning about all four of the VARK learning styles (visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic) and incorporating elements to appeal to each will ensure that anyone can benefit from your course. This means engaging graphics, voice-over, fill-in-the-blank style quizzes, and try-it-yourself opportunities should all be part of a successful, viral webinar.
Chris Vaughn, CEO, Emjay
Besides polls, simple exercises that make the audience interact with you also work wonders. These could include asking them to say certain words to confirm if they understand the topic or asking them to send an emoji to ensure they’re still listening. Simple tricks like these helps maintain momentum and keeps your audience engaged longer.
Stephen Light, Co-Owner and Chief Marketing Officer, Nolah
We live in a world where everyone can interact with everything and we replicate that in webinars, we have introduced: Q&A boxes, polls, competitions, and we even suggest that people make personal connections with each other on LinkedIn.
Jenna Carson, Marketing Manager, Music Grotto
There is a way to achieve professionalism and still be conversational and relatable. Look for that balance and make people comfortable to communicate their questions.
Mike Branson, CEO, All Reverse Mortgage, Inc.
Do a refresher in the form of activities, quizzes, and questions that you can pose to your audience OR encourage them to ask some questions for you. This is a great way to ensure that they’ve absorbed the information and did not misinterpret it.
Simon Elkjær, Chief Marketing Officer, avXperten
However you decide to proceed that’s best for your audience, having a funny quip to throw in will keep the audience engaged.
Don’t be afraid to be funny. I tend to be the queen of the mom jokes – especially during webinars. Participants are taking away time from everything else they have to do to listen to you; give them something to enjoy. I even occasionally *gasp* use a curse word for emphasis and that always seems to get the audience engaged.
Heidi Sullivan, SVP, Product & Marketing, UpCity
The best practices I have used are conversational elements and not the class room lecture style of hosting webinars. People would like to become educated not indoctrinated.
Darrell Williams, Founder & CEO, Growth Hack Guides
If time permits, you can have your audience have small group discussions using the breakout room functionality. For training webinars, using the hot seat strategy keeps participants involved as they take turns practicing the new skills they have learned during the session.
Colin Palfrey, Chief Marketing Officer, Majesty Coffee
14. The Occasional Freebie Never Hurts
While the primary concentration should be on providing value, a little extra value in the form of a discount code along with the call-to-action at the end can go a long way.
It’s a good strategy to give prizes and giveaways during webinars. People love free stuff and they’ll surely appreciate getting something besides knowledge out of it.
Michael Humphreys, Founder & CEO, Z Grills Australia
I’d suggest leaving a call-to-action at the end, which you present in the form of a custom URL to each member of the audience. You can also present a discount code for the attendees through which they can access additional material and products for a limited time.
Alex Berman, Founder, Email 10K
15. Repurpose Content in Post-Production
Our experts agreed that the follow-up plan is often just as important as the initial promotion and planning strategies you implement.
If you’ve hosted a stellar webinar but don’t take the proper steps to follow up, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Provide attendees with a recording of the presentation with links to helpful citations, encourage further discussion on an online forum for webinar trainees (Facebook is a good place to make collaborative groups), and send a form asking for honest feedback.
Elias Janetis, CEO and Founder, Squeeze
Repurpose content if available. If you’ve already put time and effort into creating valuable content, repurposing it into a webinar helps you save time, drive traffic, andreach old and new audiences
Laura Rike, Founder, Laura Rike
We converted the interviews with the experts into webinar format and posted it on our website. The webinars are still very popular and bring additional traffic and new audiences to our website all the time.
Natalya Bucuy, Marketing Coordinator, LiveHelpNow, LLC
16. Get Feedback and Testimonials from Previous Attendees
When following up, ask for each attendee’s opinions on the event. You can use this information to promote future webinars.
Testimonials are great to build trust so if the viewer arrived feeling unsure they will definitely be given a confidence boost after reading the testimonials.
Devin Johnson, Co-Founder and CEO, Kennected
A simple survey or poll will arm you with valuable insights you can leverage to deliver content that resonates and provides value, whether is pre or post event.
Dana Moberly, Senior Manager, Marketing Events, Spiceworks Ziff Davis