how does a webinar work

How Does a Webinar Work?

Hosting a webinar is always a great idea to reach a large audience from anywhere in the world. We’ll go over what is a webinar, as well as the many benefits and how webinars work in this blog!
Hubilo
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November 30, 2022

Ah, webinars. Most of us have attended at least one, if not numerous. A webinar is a live online video conference or presentation where participants engage in real-time by acquiring information, asking questions, and discussing a specific topic. Industries across various sectors widely utilize webinars as a convenient means of disseminating valuable content to reach their target audience. Webinars play a crucial role in helping companies grow, understand their audience, and effectively advertise their products or services. 53% of marketers say webinars are the top-of-the-funnel format that generates the most high-quality leads. Understanding the potential of webinars can help you assess whether hosting one can effectively connect with your customers or employees and facilitate continuous improvement. 

Webinars have proven to be an effective strategy that yields results for many companies. When executed correctly, a webinar can enable you to establish meaningful connections with your existing and prospective customers, offering them genuine value in their lives. Due to their effectiveness, webinars are considered essential tools in a marketer's arsenal. But what exactly is a webinar, and how does it operate? Even the most basic webinar software involves various processes working behind the scenes. For instance, a top-notch platform like Hubilo relies on highly skilled professionals to ensure a seamless experience in setting up and delivering webinars for you.

What is a webinar?

A webinar is an online seminar that transforms a presentation into an interactive conversation, transcending geographical boundaries and enabling participants worldwide to join. It facilitates online discussions or training events where large groups can actively engage and share audio, documents, or slides, even if they are not physically present with the meeting host or in the same room as the event or presentation.

Webinars typically involve live and interactive sessions, although they can also be pre-recorded. It is an interactive online event where a speaker or a small group delivers a presentation to a large audience. They incorporate features such as Q&A sessions, discussions, polls, and other interactive elements. The purpose of webinars is to reach a wider audience when participants are geographically dispersed, particularly when meeting in person is inconvenient or impractical. Numerous businesses and entrepreneurs employ webinars to engage with potential customers actively.

How does a webinar work?   

A webinar typically comprises one host or a panel of participants who present live for 30-60 minutes, similar to an in-person workshop or seminar. Attendees watch the webinar live on their computer screens and can often interact via chat and messaging. Some webinar hosts allow attendees to use their microphones during the Q&A portion to speak.

The average attendance for a webinar is around 100 participants, with 260 registering and an actual attendance rate of 40-50%. However, it is not uncommon for webinars to attract 500 or more viewers. Generally, webinars are free but may offer a paid option. Free webinars primarily function as a means of lead generation, although they can also serve for onboarding or training purposes.

Webinars distinguish themselves from meeting tools, facilitating real-time collaboration among small groups. Additionally, webinars differ from traditional streaming media, such as videos, as they allow the audience to engage with the content actively. 

Read and Learn: How to Harness Webinars for a 2X Pipeline Boost

Why should businesses use webinars?

Businesses utilize webinars to establish live connections with new customers, showcase expertise, enhance brand authority, and promote product launches. They can also target existing customers for training, onboarding, providing additional value, or driving upsells.

Webinars prove most effective for B2B or SaaS companies, bloggers, and small business owners seeking to share their expertise. While e-commerce companies generally find other marketing tactics more profitable, B2C companies offering high-value items or services can benefit from the webinar format.

Download Hubilo's Webinar Success Blueprint to get our essential checklist for planning a winning event

How does a Hubilo webinar work?

Even the most basic webinar includes distinct streams for slides and audio. However, recent webinars surpass this minimal setup by incorporating features such as slides, presenter videos, integrated social media, and real-time attendee feedback through questions, polls, idea storming, and more. Now, let's examine the key factors that contribute to webinar technology:

Making the webinar presenter successful

Hubilo aimed to ensure that uploading, modifying, managing, and delivering your presentations was seamless. However, we soon realized that creating outstanding webinar presentations requires more than simply having a well-uploaded presentation deck.

The majority of our customers recognize the importance of having two essential roles in each webinar:

  • The presenter - is responsible for delivering the webinar content.
  • The producer - is responsible for handling the behind-the-scenes tasks, such as queuing video clips, managing guest speakers, and addressing questions from webinar attendees.

Understanding that live webinars can be stressful; we have implemented features to support the production team. These features include real-time chat for effective communication and intuitive controls that empower the team to manage the webinar flow, conduct polls, and seamlessly replace presentation content as needed.

Providing an engaging webinar experience

What truly sets the Hubilo platform apart is its unwavering focus on engagement. We prioritize engagement with utmost seriousness. When asking individuals to dedicate their attention to computer screens for extended periods, providing them with captivating content is crucial. It becomes even more effective when accompanied by interactive elements.

While many webinars nowadays offer basic features like a question submission area, more is needed to be more engaging. Therefore, we have enhanced the webinar experience by incorporating popular interactive tools such as surveys, polls, chats, breakout rooms, downloadable assets, and integrated social media. Furthermore, we have developed specialized widgets like idea storming, testing and certification tools, and group chat to cater to specific needs.

However, our commitment continues beyond there. We have built a comprehensive suite of integrations to seamlessly transfer the data collected from these interactive elements to your marketing automation and CRM platforms. This integration ensures a cohesive marketing data environment, enabling you to derive valuable insights from the webinar engagement.

webinar engagement

Treating Always-on webinar audiences like live audiences

When organizing webinars, it is essential to consider the complete audience picture, including both live and on-demand attendees. It poses an intriguing challenge for us, the providers of webinar software. How can we effectively cater to those individuals who, for various reasons, could not attend the live event?

Although treating on-demand webinars as static videos may have been simpler, doing so would deprive the audience of the complete webinar experience. Thus, when prioritizing webinar engagement, we always consider the additional viewers who watch on-demand or experience simulive webinars (pre-recorded sessions broadcasted to a live audience at a scheduled time).

Webinars have undergone significant changes over the past decade and will continue to evolve with the emergence of new technologies. However, our mission as platform builders remains consistent - to provide you with all the necessary tools to engage your audience and achieve your business objectives. Discover how the Hubilo platform can enhance audience engagement by requesting a demo.

Tips for hosting effective webinars

hosting effective webinars

Even if the actual attendance numbers may be modest, a well-executed webinar, when appropriately promoted, can generate hundreds (or even thousands) of leads. Bloggers and thought leaders with a niche audience eager to learn from them can monetize their expertise by hosting paid webinars. Regardless of the target audience, here are some essential tips to ensure an impactful webinar experience:

Schedule smart

Make smart scheduling decisions by taking into account your audience's availability. Remember that a B2B audience is unlikely to attend a webinar on weekends, while Wednesdays and Thursdays tend to be favorable. If your audience spans multiple time zones, aim for a time in the middle.

In the United States, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. local time yield positive results. However, it's essential to focus on scheduling appropriately since many viewers may prefer watching the replay rather than attending the live session.

Prepare well

Ensure thorough preparation to deliver a seamless webinar experience. It is crucial to balance being well-prepared without sounding scripted or lacking essential points. Create a comprehensive webinar outline that covers all the essential information, allowing ample time for questions and audience interaction. Before the live session, conduct at least one practice run, preferably using the webinar software you intend to use. If you are still getting familiar with the webinar software, invest time in familiarizing yourself with all the available tools to avoid any surprises on the day of the event.

Know what you want to achieve

Clearly understand your webinar objectives and what you aim to accomplish. Are you seeking to expand your email list, generate well-qualified leads for your sales department, onboard new customers, market your product, or generate revenue through paid registrations? Your session's structure, content, and promotion strategy will differ based on your goals. Establishing clarity from the beginning can save valuable time and streamline your efforts.

Leave time for questions

Incorporate time for questions during your webinar to actively engage the audience. 81% of marketers use Q&A as an engagement tool during webinars. Utilize pauses or allocate dedicated time for participants to ask their queries. Enhance audience interaction by integrating real-time polls, chat features, and surveys into your session.

Incorporate time for questions during your webinar

Surprise the audience

Captivate your audience by incorporating surprises into your webinar. Generate interest and drive registrations by teasing a surprise in your promotional materials. Consider inviting a special guest, offering exclusive downloads such as eBooks or worksheets, or providing limited-time discounts exclusively for attendees.

Have one big takeaway

Ensure that your audience has a clear and distinct takeaway from your webinar. Determine what specific outcome or information you want them to leave with. It could involve providing a handout or worksheet, clarifying the following steps, or concluding with a particular call to action.

Read and Learn: How to Add Energy, Impact, and Results at Every Stage of Your Webinar

Webinar FAQs

1. What are the benefits of hosting a webinar? 

Hosting a webinar offers several benefits, including reaching a broader audience, establishing thought leadership, engaging with potential customers, generating leads, and providing valuable educational content or product demonstrations.

2. Are webinars effective?

Webinars can be highly effective when used strategically. The effectiveness of a webinar depends on how well it is planned, executed, and targeted to the intended audience. Webinars can build trust, provide valuable information, and engage current and potential customers. They offer an opportunity to expand your reach, connect with your target market, and attract new customers.

3. How to participate in a webinar?

To actively participate in a webinar, complete the registration process through a provided form on a landing page or registration email. On the day of the webinar, ensure you join the designated room a few minutes before the scheduled start time using the provided link. As soon as the presenter enters the room, the webinar will commence.

4. How to make your webinar engaging and effective?

Consider incorporating interactive elements such as live Q&A sessions, polls, and chat features to make your webinar engaging and effective. Prepare compelling content, use visuals effectively, and engage participants through storytelling and real-life examples.

5. How to run a webinar?

To run a successful webinar, follow these steps:

  • Choose a reliable webinar platform that suits your needs and budget.
  • Set a date and time that is convenient for your target audience.
  • Plan your webinar content and create an engaging presentation.
  • Promote the webinar through your website, social media, and email newsletters.
  • Set up the webinar software properly and test audio, video, and interactive features.
  • Conduct a practice session to familiarize yourself with the software and ensure smooth operation.
  • Start the webinar on time, welcome participants, and deliver your presentation.
  • Engage with the audience by encouraging participation through questions, polls, and discussions. 
  • Conclude the webinar with a solid call to action, expressing gratitude to the participants for their time. 
  • Initiate post-webinar activities with attendees by providing promised resources or recordings to maintain engagement.

6. How to promote webinars

To promote your webinar, utilize various marketing channels such as email marketing, social media platforms, your website, blog posts, and collaborations with influencers or industry partners. Create compelling promotional content and consider paid advertising to reach a wider audience.

7. Are all webinars live?

While most people conduct webinars live, there are also pre-recorded webinars available. Live webinars allow real-time interaction between presenters and participants, offering Q&A sessions, polls, and chat opportunities. On the other hand, pre-recorded webinars provide the advantage of flexibility, as participants can access and watch the recorded content at their convenience. The choice between live and pre-recorded webinars depends on your objectives, audience preferences, and the content's nature.

8. How long should a webinar be?

The ideal duration for a webinar varies depending on the topic and content. Most webinars typically range from 30 minutes to 60 minutes, allowing time for presentation and audience interaction.

9. How to record a webinar? 

Most webinar software platforms offer recording functionality, allowing you to record your webinar session. Check the settings or options within your chosen webinar software to enable recording and inform participants.

10. What's the difference between a webinar and a webcast?

A webinar typically involves interactive elements, such as live Q&A sessions and audience engagement, while a webcast is generally a one-way broadcast of content without direct interaction with participants. Webinars focus on engagement and collaboration, whereas webcasts deliver content to a large audience.

Host your next webinar with Hubilo

Webinars have revolutionized how individuals and businesses communicate, enabling them to connect with a larger audience in real-time, transcending geographical boundaries. The interactive features of webinars, such as Q&A sessions, polls, and discussions, enhance engagement and foster meaningful interactions. Leveraging webinar platforms like Hubilo further amplifies the webinar experience, providing a comprehensive suite of engagement tools for participants to connect with speakers. 

Hubilo, as a leading webinar platform, offers a range of features designed to enhance the webinar experience, including customizable registration forms, interactive sessions with real-time chat and polling, seamless integration with other platforms, and advanced analytics to measure audience engagement. Whether opting for live or pre-recorded sessions, webinars powered by Hubilo offer a versatile platform for sharing knowledge, delivering impactful presentations, conducting training sessions, and promoting products or services. With their flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and unmatched reach, webinars have become indispensable in today's digital landscape. To experience the power of Hubilo as a webinar platform, request a demo and explore its vast capabilities firsthand.

Author
Hubilo

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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