What is a Webinar and how can you run one?

You’ve probably seen the ads on some of the blogs you cruise, or on other business pages:  “Join us for our webinar next Friday to learn more!”  Or perhaps you’ve seen webinars used as a lead magnet on a squeeze page“Sign up today for an exclusive webinar!”.

But what is a webinar, and how can you go about running one that will positively impact your business?  What are the advantages?  And how do you even get started?

What Is a Webinar?

A webinar is a typically interactive video presentation hosted online.  Webinars are hosted by specific types of software, which allow users to film, upload video, include a slide presentation, surveys, or whiteboard features that can be shared with the audience.

In most cases, participants are given a link, code, and a time at which the webinar will be presented, if it will be hosted live.  Some webinars are recorded or saved so that participants can review the content at any time- this is particularly true if it is used as a type of lead magnet.

The prospect sounds exciting, and for most of us, the opportunity to learn more or be part of an exclusive gathering is very tempting.  As a result, more and more business owners are holding webinars for the public to learn more about their product or services, or on a topic that directly impacts a particular niche.

The Advantages for having a Webinar

But what advantages does this have for your business?  First, it’s a way to offer that human touch:  one-on-one contact (or the impression of it) with every potential customer around the globe.

Additionally, by registering for your webinar, you’ll have their email address added to your list, and can contact each lead regarding future offers, information, and more. 

By signing up for your session, these individuals have acknowledged that they are part of your target market: they are interested in what you have to say, and what your product or service can do to help them.

Read also: Building an email list: 5 simple tips.

As a result, a webinar can be a fun, interactive way to make conversions and interest more people in your business.  Even if an attendee doesn’t make a purchase immediately following the end of the session, they’ll remember what you said.  They’ll apply this knowledge to future issues, or mention it to their friends.  

Webinars get attention, provide information, and give customers greater insight into who you are, what your business represents, and how your products or services can be advantageous.

What Are the Different Types of Webinars?

The webinar you choose to host can take on a few different looks, depending on what you wish to accomplish with your webinar.  

The first choice you need to make is whether the session will be live or pre-recorded.  There are many advantages to each option.

Live Webinars

Via a live webinar, you’ll be able to ask the audience questions in real time with survey options, such as “How likely are you to encounter this problem”, or “What types of products are you using right now to mitigate this issue?” .

You can also answer questions in real time and allow participants to share their thoughts and feedback through comment sections.

Recorded Webinars

Recording webinars with evergreen content allows you to share them at any time.  The emphasis here is on the content, however.  If something changes, you’ll need to update the webinar, to ensure your potential customers don’t get incorrect or outdated information, which would reflect poorly on your ability to be a trusted authority.  

The advantages of recording webinars is that you can have them ready to share with participants whenever they’re ready, instead of trying to schedule a time that works for audience members around the world.

If you distribute a recording of a live session, they’ll also be able to catch any audience interaction, which can be very helpful, as they might have similar questions or thoughts.

Information and Content to Share in a Webinar

As far as content, there are a few standard options to choose from:  a knowledge-sharing session, a product demonstration, or an online course.  The topics you choose, however, can range greatly.

Knowledge Sharing

A knowledge-sharing session typically consists of an expert discussing a topic.  This may be you, introducing your business, sharing some history and how you developed your product.

This might be someone well-known in your niche, talking about a problem or issue that is common within your field.  This may be a presentation of a report you’ve compiled regarding the efficacy of your product as a solution to common problems.

The goal of this type of webinar is to establish your authority and how your product is intelligently designed to assist your viewers better than any other product on the market.

Product Demonstration

A product demonstration is just that: the product is taken for a test run to show viewers how it work, why it work, and why they need it.

This probably brings to mind some of those midnight infomercials, and while you may laugh… this format does, in fact, work!

Online Courses

Online courses are particularly helpful if your business works in helping others grow and thrive in a particular skill or profession.  One thing we always know for sure is that we never stop learning, so having the opportunity to watch an expert discuss their solutions to our problems can help expand our knowledge and abilities.

How Do I Conduct a Webinar?

Once you’ve decided upon the type of webinar you’ll host, and what content you’ll cover, you’ll need to select webinar software to help you through the process.

There are many types of platforms available online today, including:


  • WebinarJam
  • ClickMeeting
  • Demio
  • Livestorm
  • GoToWebinar
  • WebinarsOnAir
  • Zoom
  • Livestream

Just to name a handful.

Before you select a program, double check a few features.  You want to make sure you can record video, audio, and record from one program, and that your existing computer and software meets the requirements to host the webinar you’re planning. 

Simplicity

You’ll also want to make sure it’s simple for viewers to join the meeting, whether they simply follow a link, have to type in a code, or need to download a plugin to get started.

You also need to consider how many viewers you can host at a time, and how easy it will be to distribute the recordings if you choose to offer your webinar on-demand.

Interaction

You’ll also want to consider how to allow the audience to interact, if you’re hosting a live session.  Will you include slides, as well as a video presentation?  Will you issue surveys or allow viewers to download slides after the presentation?  What about adding opinion polls?  Can you share details via social media?

Some webinar software limits the ability to add these features, so be sure you’re able to do so before you commit to a particular platform.

Conclusion

Hosting a webinar is a great way to encourage interest in your business, establish yourself as an expert in your field, and gather customer information for future conversions.

Be sure to carefully establish the type of session you wish to hold, and choose a platform that allows you to include all the features you need to truly demonstrate your product and your style.

From this start, there’s no limit to the information you can share!

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[…] first statement is clear enough.  If you sign up for a webinar, you receive a free book.  That sounds compelling, but maybe you’ll look around the site first, […]