how to host a webinar - Hubilo webinar platform

How to Host a Successful Webinar: The Complete Guide

Learn the essential steps and best practices for hosting a successful webinar. From choosing the right platform to engaging your audience, this comprehensive guide will equip you with the strategies for hosting successful webinars that drive engagement
June 27, 2023

In today's remote-driven world, webinars have become a powerful tool for engaging with potential customers. As remote work continues to rise, people increasingly depend on technology, particularly online platforms like Hubilo,Zoom and Zoho Meeting, for education and social interaction. Consequently, there has been a notable surge in the popularity of virtual meetings, for education and social interaction, particularly online platforms like Hubilo, Zoom, and Zoho Meeting webinars, and online events, surpassing the traditional in-person gatherings of the past. This shift reflects the growing importance of digital platforms in facilitating communication and knowledge sharing. Webinars, in particular, have proven to be an effective means of connecting with audiences, providing valuable insights, and fostering meaningful engagement in our increasingly virtual landscape. 53% of marketers say webinars are the top-of-the-funnel format that generates the most high-quality leads. 

If you're preparing to host a webinar and want to ensure its success, don't worry—we have you covered. With the right tools and a solid platform, you can make the most of your online event. Hosting a webinar is a significant responsibility, but you don't have to handle everything alone. With platforms like Hubilo, Zoom or Zoho Meeting, video conferencing becomes a breeze. Remember, during your online meeting, maintaining a smooth connection and ensuring a clear meeting video is crucial. It's a good idea to enlist the help of a moderator, assistant, or speaker to support you. This ensures a smooth and engaging webinar experience, especially for first-time attendees. This blog covers the critical roles of a webinar host and guides you through the webinar planning process, from generating ideas to wrapping up the event. This resource will assist you in creating a compelling webinar that engages potential customers and drives lead generation.

What is a webinar host?

A webinar host is an individual who oversees and manages the webinar. The host uses tools and settings available on the chosen platform to initiate the online meeting. They are responsible for introducing the speakers and facilitating interactive elements, including addressing participant questions. Their role is vital in ensuring that the entire event runs smoothly. Whether using Hubilo, Eventbrite webinars, Zoom, or another platform, the host serves as the center of the webinar's operations.The host guides the audience through the entire webinar experience, so they are often called the "master of ceremonies" or "MC. It's important to note that the host may differ from the keynote speaker or main presenter.

webinar host

What's the role of a webinar host platform?

Webinar Host Tools, Tips, Steps for Success

The role of a webinar host is to take care of the guest speakers and all attendees throughout the webinar, ensuring smooth operations. The host may also have backstage responsibilities, such as creating presentations or instructing speakers on how to use the webinar platform effectively. As a host, you'll also need to close segments of the webinar seamlessly, ensuring there are no awkward gaps.

Representing the brand

The webinar host serves as an unofficial brand ambassador. Their role involves adhering to brand guidelines and achieving webinar objectives, especially during live recordings. This is particularly important when collaborating with partners or when mentioned in reputed outlets like Forbes communications.

Welcoming the attendees

The role of the host in a webinar is not necessarily to lead the event from start to finish but rather to manage the overall flow of the session. The host welcomes the audience to the virtual room, explains the rules and online webinar agenda, and controls the flow of the event. While they may not be the primary presenter or speaker, the host is vital in ensuring a smooth and organized webinar experience for all participants. Whether hosting a free webinar or a premium one, the host's role is to ensure a comprehensive and interactive experience for all participants.

Download our free Ultimate Webinar Planning Checklist!

Highlighting useful features

During the welcome segment, the host highlights valuable tools and features of the webinar software. Knowing your platform, be it Hubilo, Zoom or Eventbrite webinars, inside out is crucial. They guide attendees on how to use the Q&A tab, participate in polls, interact on a virtual whiteboard, request to go on stage, and react using emojis.

Introducing speakers

With so many webinars on Eventbrite and other platforms, standing out is essential. The host takes the time to introduce speakers individually, providing a brief biography before they begin their meeting webinar presentation.

Guiding the discussion

As a webinar host, it is crucial to have a solid understanding of the subject matter. This knowledge allows you to contribute to the conversation flow and provide assistance if the speakers encounter any issues with their internet connection. If there's an option for participant questions, the host should ensure they're addressed, enhancing the overall webinar experience.

How to host a successful webinar

57% of marketers host up to 50 webinars a year. Hosting a successful webinar requires careful planning and execution. To ensure a successful webinar, follow these steps before, during, and after the session. Although webinars vary, you can convert this list into a step-by-step project plan to serve as a valuable template for future webinars. Emphasize the following areas to conduct a successful webinar:

  1. Plan the session - Dive deep into your topic and consider offering a recording option for those who might miss the live session.
  2. Structure the presentation- Use this opportunity to showcase your business and its offerings.
  3. Start the webinar - This is your time to shine and connect with potential customers.
  4. Engage the audience - Webinars are a tool to foster interaction and gather valuable sales leads.
  5. End the session - Make sure to close the event on a high note, leaving attendees eager for more.

How to plan a webinar

When planning a webinar, it is crucial to consider the audience and the webinar platform as the key factors. All the steps involved in the planning will revolve around these two aspects. Here's how to plan a successful webinar:

1. Choose a webinar topic

Begin by selecting a relevant webinar topic that aligns with your brand and areas of expertise. Utilize tools like Answer The Public or Also Asked to gain insights into what your audience is searching for online. Choose a webinar topic that aligns with your brand and where you possess expertise.

2. Familiarize yourself with your webinar platform

The next step is to acquaint yourself with the webinar platform. Take the time to experiment with the platform, set up practice sessions with yourself or your teammates, and thoroughly test its various features and functionalities. Doing this early in the planning process is recommended to effectively plan webinar engagement activities based on the platform's capabilities. If you have chosen to use Hubilo as your webinar platform, you can explore and utilize engagement features such as screen sharing, chat functionality, polling, Q&A, breakout rooms, and analytics. This proactive approach allows you to leverage the full potential of the webinar platform and incorporate interactive elements that enhance audience participation.

webinar platform

3. Define the webinar format

After familiarizing yourself with the capabilities of your webinar platform, determine the format for your webinar. Here are different webinar formats you can consider-

  • Panel discussions: The panel discussions invite 3-5 participants to join the stage and converse around a specific set of predetermined questions on a given topic.
  • Ask me anything or Q&A sessions: The host responds to audience inquiries in this format. With Hubilo, you can easily invite participants on stage, allowing them to unmute themselves and ask questions directly.
  • Regular presentations: Invite expert speakers to deliver presentations on a topic using a slide deck to share valuable insights and knowledge with the audience.
  • Interviews or press conferences: Although less common for webinars, you can invite a notable speaker for an interview or conduct a virtual press conference. This format allows the audience to ask questions and provides content that can be shared publicly, such as in a written press release.
  • On-demand webinars: The on-demand webinars eliminate the need for a live presence. You can pre-record your webinar using an on-demand platform like Hubilo and set up automation to host the webinar without live intervention. Alternatively, you can upload the recorded webinar as gated content on your website to generate leads.

4. Assign roles and responsibilities

Select your webinar A-team and assign specific roles and responsibilities to each member. It may include -

  • A speaker or trainer to deliver educational content
  • A moderator to manage the backstage and encourage conversation in the chat tab, filter audience questions, and monitor the audio and video quality throughout the webinar.
  • An assistant to support the moderator and intervene in emergencies or unexpected situations.
  • A host or organizer who will take charge of planning and leading the webinar from start to finish. The host oversees the entire webinar and ensures the well-being of both speakers and attendees.

5. Set a webinar date and time

Choose the correct date and time for your webinar. Collaborate with your team internally and find the best slot for everyone involved. Consider the preferences and availability of your target audience, and use tools like surveys or social media posts to gather insights on their preferred time slots. Based on the webinar statistics, Wednesdays and Thursdays have proven to be the most favorable days to host webinars. However, every audience is unique, and their preferences may differ. Consider conducting a quick and informal survey to determine your audience's optimal day and time.

webinar date and time to host webinar

6. Create a webinar registration page on your site

Before promoting your webinar, creating a dedicated landing page to collect attendee registrations from interested attendees is essential. If you are using Hubilo, you can leverage the platform's automatically generated webinar registration page, customized to align with your branding by adjusting colors and fonts. You can customize the form fields, set registration limits, and tailor the design to create a cohesive user experience.

7. Develop a webinar promotion plan for more attendees

To ensure a successful webinar, you need to attract an audience. Developing a comprehensive webinar promotion plan is crucial to ensure maximum attendance and engagement. Here's how you can create a webinar promotion plan:

  • Craft a compelling webinar title that grabs attention.
  • Capture the interest of potential attendees by addressing topics that resonate with your target audience.
  • Invite them to register for the webinar, emphasizing the value and benefits they will gain.
  • Maintain engagement with your brand before, during, and after the webinar to nurture relationships.

Create a webinar marketing strategy that outlines the content, timeline, and media outlets you will utilize for promotion. Consider combining organic social media efforts and paid advertisements to maximize reach and conversions.

webinar promotion plan

How to structure a webinar presentation the right way

Creating a structured and captivating webinar presentation is considered one of the best practices for webinars. By adhering to this practice, you ensure that your webinar content is organized, engaging, and captures your audience's attention. To deliver an impactful webinar presentation, follow these steps:

1. Create a webinar outline

Create a webinar outline to organize your thoughts, ensure your presentation stays on track, and maintain a cohesive structure. Developing a skeleton or framework of your presentation allows you to determine the webinar length, organize your thoughts, and identify opportunities to incorporate engaging activities. This preliminary step helps you avoid having too many slides and being unable to finish on time.

2. Define everything in your webinar agenda

Creating an outline for your webinar presentation is a practical way to develop an agenda. By listing the content on each slide and placing it at the beginning of your presentation, you create a clear roadmap for the webinar. A compelling webinar agenda helps you stay on track with time, especially when providing the webinar moderator with estimated durations for each item.

Using Hubilo as your webinar platform, you can communicate privately with your moderator. It enables seamless coordination and quick decision-making between the host and moderator, allowing adjustments to be made on the fly, such as skipping questions or managing time constraints, without disrupting the webinar flow.

webinar agenda

3. Incorporate all visuals

When creating your slide deck for the webinar, it's important to avoid overwhelming your audience with long blocks of text. Remember that you aim to design a visual aid that enhances engagement rather than creating an e-book. Incorporate pictures, videos, and GIFs into your slides to make your webinar more dynamic and eye-catching. Visual elements add visual appeal and help convey information more engagingly and memorably. By leveraging multimedia content, you can capture your audience's attention and create a visually stimulating experience that enhances the overall impact of your webinar.

4. Plan for webinar audience engagement

Sometimes, a speaker may appear promising on paper but deliver a boring talk during the webinar. Discussing with the speaker before the webinar is advisable, ensuring they understand how to maximize the webinar engagement features. Encourage them to plan for interactive elements and use available tools throughout the webinar, such as interactive polls, Q&A sessions, or breakout discussions. It helps keep the audience actively involved and fosters a dynamic and participatory environment.

webinar audience engagement

How to start a webinar

Establish a welcoming atmosphere and set your audience up for a successful session. Follow these steps to kick off the webinar effectively:

1. Welcome your audience

Initiate the webinar with your camera, but refrain from sharing your screen now. Unmute yourself and warmly welcome all the participants who have joined the session. If you are waiting for more attendees to join, mention that you will wait three minutes before starting but avoid silence. Engage with the audience by asking where they are entering from, encouraging interaction from the start.

2. Set ground rules

Acknowledge and greet any latecomers to the webinar. Take a moment to explain the basic ground rules for the session, including:

  • Clarify whether it is a camera-on or camera-off type of session.
  • Explain how and when participants can ask questions.
  • Specify the expected duration of the webinar.
  • Inform the audience if they need to take notes or are sharing the information
  • Remind everyone to maintain a kind and respectful environment throughout the webinar.
  • Open the floor for questions before transitioning to the next slide or topic.

3. Share agenda points

Provide a brief overview of the agenda, highlighting the key points or topics covered during the webinar. If there are planned breaks for comfort or discussion, mention them. Use this opportunity to engage and navigate the session actively by guiding participants on using specific webinar platform features, such as the Q&A tab, emoji reactions, or the "raise a hand" feature.

4. Introduce other speakers

If guest speakers or panelists are joining the webinar, take a moment to introduce them. Pronounce their names correctly and concisely, and professionally describe their expertise. Explain your role as the host and transition the spotlight to the guest speaker(s) by inviting them to share their insights or take the lead in the presentation.

introduce keynote and guest speakers
Read and Learn: How to Harness Webinars for a 2X Pipeline Boost

How to keep your audience engaged during a webinar

To effectively engage a virtual audience during live webinars, there are several strategies you can employ. Consider implementing the following techniques:

1. Conduct live polls

Keep your audience engaged during webinars by utilizing the polls feature. By asking questions with multiple-choice answers, you can actively involve participants in the conversation. Additionally, you can use polls as icebreakers by asking light-hearted questions like "How energized are you feeling today?" It helps create a welcoming and interactive atmosphere right from the start.

2. Open with an icebreaker

Start your webinar on a positive note by incorporating an icebreaker activity. Depending on the nature of the webinar, you can choose to involve the speakers or the audience. Tailor the icebreaker to the topic or purpose of the webinar, allowing participants to feel more connected and engaged. For example, you can ask attendees where they are joining from or invite them to share specific expectations or interests related to the webinar's content. By incorporating interactive icebreakers like this into your webinar, you can set a positive and lively tone, encourage audience participation, and foster a sense of community right from the start.

3. Play a game throughout the webinar

Consider incorporating a game throughout the presentation to add engagement and excitement to your webinar. Start by explaining the game at the beginning of the webinar, outlining the rules and how participants can participate.

One example of a game you can play is hiding an emoji within specific slides of your presentation. Instruct attendees to use the emoji reactions feature provided by platforms like Hubilo to notify you when they spot the hidden emoji. This game not only creates a sense of camaraderie among participants but also motivates them to stay focused and attentive throughout the webinar to avoid missing out on finding the hidden emoji.

Including interactive games in your webinar makes the session more enjoyable, encourages active participation, and increases audience engagement. It adds an element of fun and challenge that can enhance the overall experience and make your webinar more memorable for attendees.

webinar gamification

4. Run Q&A sessions

Incorporate Q&A sessions during your webinar to ensure audience engagement and address their queries. 92% of attendees want a Q&A segment at the end of a webinar. There are several ways to facilitate audience participation and encourage them to ask questions:

  • Allow attendees to unmute themselves and ask questions anytime during the webinar.
  • Allow attendees to raise their hands virtually or react with an emoji to indicate that they have a question.
  • Utilize the Q&A tab provided by webinar platforms, where attendees can submit questions throughout the session.
  • Allocate a dedicated time slot at the end of the webinar to answer audience questions.

How to end a webinar

When concluding your webinar, leaving a lasting impression and providing value to your audience is essential. Follow these steps to end your webinar effectively:

1. Share key learnings

As you conclude your webinar, take a moment to express gratitude to the attendees for their participation. Create a closing slide that summarizes the key learnings from the session. Depending on the format of your webinar, you can encourage the audience to share their takeaways or "aha!" moments with the rest of the attendees, fostering a sense of engagement and closure for the meeting. It provides a positive way to wrap up the webinar and allows participants to reflect on the valuable insights they gained during the session.

2. Add a call-to-action (CTA) button

Incorporate a compelling call-to-action (CTA) button at the end of your webinar to encourage further engagement from your audience. Include a clickable link that redirects them to various destinations, such as:

  • The registration form for a future session
  • A web page where they can purchase a product or download an e-book
  • A link to schedule a demo call with your sales team
  • A feedback form for participants to provide their session rating
  • The speaker's and the company's social media handles

If you're utilizing Hubilo as your webinar platform, you can use the CTA feature to include a clickable link directly on your screen. It lets attendees easily access the provided link and take the desired action.

webinar CTAs

3. Send an automatic recording of the webinar

It's essential to record your webinar and provide an automatic replay to maximize the reach of your webinar content and engage with potential customers who couldn't attend the live session. It enables those who registered but couldn't join the webinar to access still the valuable information you presented. An automated webinar can send the email with the replay link immediately after the session ends, ensuring the recording reaches your audience efficiently.

4. Review the webinar analytics

Reviewing the analytics and engagement metrics is essential to improve your webinar performance continuously. By accessing the webinar dashboard, specifically on Hubilo, you can gain valuable insights and analytics into the success of your webinar.

Take the time to analyze the engagement metrics provided, including attendance rate, average viewing duration, and audience interaction. These metrics can offer valuable feedback on the effectiveness of your presentation and help you identify areas for improvement. By leveraging webinar analytics and utilizing the data obtained, you can make informed decisions to enhance your future webinars and achieve even better results.

webinar engagement metrics and analytics

Frequently asked questions about how to host a webinar

What are the benefits of hosting a webinar?

Hosting a webinar offers several benefits, including:

  • Enhanced brand perception and awareness
  • Lead generation and nurturing
  • Educate your audience on specific topics
  • Direct interaction and engagement with your audience
  • Reach a global audience 

How to keep my audience engaged during a webinar?

Keeping your audience engaged is crucial for a successful webinar. Here are some tips:

  • Use interactive elements like live polls, Q&A sessions, or chat features to encourage participation.
  • Incorporate storytelling techniques and real-life examples to make your content relatable.
  • Break up your presentation into segments to maintain variety and prevent monotony.
  • Utilize visual aids such as slides, videos, or demonstrations to enhance engagement.
  • Encourage audience interaction and address their questions and comments throughout the webinar.

How long should a webinar be?

The duration of a webinar depends on various factors, including the topic, content, and audience preferences. Generally, webinars range from 30 minutes to 90 minutes. It's crucial to balance providing valuable information and keeping your audience engaged. Consider conducting polls or surveys to gauge the ideal length for your specific audience.

How much does it cost to host a webinar?

The cost of hosting a webinar can vary depending on several factors, including the webinar platform you choose, the size of your audience, and any additional services or features you require.

What is needed to host a webinar?

To host a webinar, you will typically need the following:

  • A reliable webinar platform that supports live, hybrid, or on-demand webinars. Platforms like Hubilo offer features for hosting, engaging with participants, and analyzing webinar data.
  • Select a relevant and compelling topic for your webinar. 
  • Invite knowledgeable speakers who can effectively present the webinar content and engage the audience. 
  • Set a date and time for your webinar that accommodates your target audience's availability.
  • Promote your webinar and invite attendees through various channels, such as email marketing, social media, your website, or partner networks.
  • Familiarize yourself with the webinar platform and its hosting features. 

What equipment do you need to host a webinar?

To host a webinar, you typically need a computer or laptop, a reliable internet connection, a webcam, and a microphone. Additionally, you may need a webinar platform or software that supports hosting and managing webinars. A quiet environment, good lighting, and a headset for clear audio are also helpful.

How to promote your webinar effectively?

Promoting your webinar is essential to attract attendees. Here are some effective promotional strategies:

  • Utilize email marketing by sending personalized invitations to your target audience.
  • Leverage social media platforms to create webinar posts, share teaser content, and engage with potential attendees.
  • Collaborate with partners, influencers, or industry experts to expand your reach and tap into their networks.
  • Create compelling landing pages on your website with detailed information about the webinar and a registration form.
  • Utilize paid advertising on platforms like Google Ads or social media to reach a wider audience.
  • Leverage your network and contacts by inviting them to attend or help spread the word.

Plan Ahead: The key to successful webinar hosting

Hosting a webinar requires careful planning, effective communication, and adapting to unforeseen circumstances. As a webinar host, you play a pivotal role in designing engaging content, welcoming attendees, supporting speakers, ensuring audience engagement, and wrapping up the session smoothly. By anticipating potential issues and having contingency plans, you can easily navigate technical challenges. Whether boosting brand awareness, generating leads, or providing educational content, hosting a successful webinar can be a powerful tool for connecting with your audience and achieving your goals. So, prepare well, be proactive, and deliver an exceptional webinar experience that leaves a lasting impact on your attendees. 

Remember, being an expert in your webinar platform is crucial for a seamless hosting experience. Hubilo is a reliable webinar platform that offers a wide range of features to elevate your webinars. With Hubilo, you can create captivating and interactive webinar experiences that leave a lasting impression. From customizable webinar interfaces to interactive engagement tools like live polls, Q&A sessions, and chat discussions, Hubilo provides the tools required to keep your audience engaged and connected. The platform also offers analytics and reporting features to help you gain valuable insights into attendee behavior and measure the success of your webinars. You can explore the platform's features, witness its capabilities firsthand, and discover how it can elevate your webinar hosting experience by scheduling a demo. Take advantage of the opportunity to transform your webinars with Hubilo - request a demo today.

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Hubilo is the webinar platform built for marketers that helps you 2X your pipeline. Founded in 2015, Hubilo's powerful engagement features, dedicated client experience team, and custom branding tools have helped create over 12K virtual events & webinars, creating hundreds of millions of minutes of high-engagement experiences and counting. Headquartered in Bengaluru and San Francisco, Hubilo's 200+ employees are dedicated to enabling webinars & virtual events that convert.

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