February 16, 2024
By John Hunter

The days of snooze-worthy meetings are over. Modern webinar platforms provide a fresh alternative for hosting engaging online events. In this post, we'll explore the benefits of creating engaging webinars and provide tips to help you host webinars that wow and inspire your audiences. 

What is a Webinar Meeting

What is a Webinar Meeting?

A webinar is an online meeting hosted by an individual, company, or organisation and broadcasts to attendees through their computers and mobile devices via the Internet. Webinars are interactive, with the ability to give, receive, and discuss information in real time.

Unlike a traditional in-person seminar, a webinar allows participants from around the globe to join in, eliminating geographical constraints and opening up opportunities for widespread engagement and learning. Attendees can ask questions, respond to polls, and interact with the host and other participants.

Webinars serve various purposes: education, marketing, training, and product demos. They can also be recorded and shared later for people who couldn't attend the live session, allowing for additional reach and engagement beyond the initial live event. 

Webinar Meetings vs. In-Person Meetings

Webinars provide some distinct advantages and differences from in-person meetings: 

Webinar MeetingsIn-Person Meetings
Increased reach and accessibilityLimited to local geographic attendees
Lower cost with no travel or venue expensesHigher price for travel, food, venue, equipment
The convenience of joining remotely on your deviceTime required for commuting and travel
Ability to record and reuse contentHarder to capture and reuse content
Easy to automate and scale webinarsManual effort is required to arrange details.
Data and analytics on engagementHarder to track attendee behavior
Less personal connections and interactionsMore personal connections between attendees
Can lack energy without the in-person presenceShared energy from live interactions
Technical glitches can disrupt events.Unlikely to have tech issues disrupt the event

Ultimately, webinars are better for reaching larger audiences, reducing costs, and leveraging recordings and automation. In-person meetings build closer connections and energy between local participants. Your chosen format depends on your goals, target audience, and budget for each event

Benefits of Hosting a Webinar Meeting 

There are many benefits of hosting webinars. For instance, most marketers feel that webinars outperform other marketing channels to create qualified leads and reduce cost per lead. Here are a few other advantages: 

  • Increased reach and accessibility: Webinars allow you to easily include participants from anywhere with an internet connection, eliminating geographical barriers. This increases the potential reach and audience size for your events.
  • Cost savings: Webinars provide significant cost savings over in-person events. They eliminate travel costs for presenters and attendees, as there is no need to rent event space or equipment. 
  • Convenience and flexibility: Webinars allow attendees to join from their own space on their devices, increasing convenience. Presenters also have flexibility in choosing a location to present from. 
  • Ability to record and reuse content: Most webinar platforms allow you to record sessions to share or reuse later. This creates an asset you can continue leveraging over time. 
  • Easy sharing and promotion: Webinar registration and attendance only require a link, making it easy to widely share and promote your event through email, social media, and other digital channels. 
  • Analytics and measurability: Webinar platforms provide data like registration, attendance, engagement, and rewatch rates, allowing you to analyze and optimise your events closely. 
Cvent Webinar

How To Host a Webinar Meeting?

Hosting a successful webinar requires the right tools, planning, and execution. Here are a few things to consider when hosting a webinar: 

  1. Choose A Webinar Platform

Different webinar software solutions have different features, capacities, and pricing. Consider how many attendees you expect, whether you need additional engagement features and your budget. 

  1. Plan Your Content

An engaging presentation is the cornerstone of a successful webinar. Ensure your content aligns with your stated webinar objectives and offers value to your attendees. 

For instance, if you're conducting a webinar on the topic "Latest Trends in Digital Marketing," ensure that your presentation encompasses current strategies, case studies, and future predictions in the digital marketing realm. Visual elements, like infographics, videos, and slides, can enhance comprehension and engagement. 

  1. Promote and Market Your Webinar

Your webinar marketing strategy can make or break your event’s attendance. Use a multi-channel approach to reach your target audience. For example, you can use your company's newsletter to contact your email subscriber base, social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter for broader outreach, and search-engine-optimised blog posts on your website. Remember to send reminders to registered people and offer incentives such as free e-books or exclusive content to increase registrations. 

  1. Set up and Test Technical Elements

Technical glitches can disrupt the flow of your webinar and impact the attendee experience negatively. Ensure you've conducted multiple dry runs to confirm that your audio and video feeds are clear and stable and that your screen-sharing feature functions correctly. 

An example: if you're using a platform like Zoom, familiarise yourself and your presenters with the dashboard, interactive features, and the process for screen transitions. 

  1. Engage with Interactive Elements

Interactive elements maintain attendee engagement and foster a two-way communication channel. For example, you can schedule a live Q&A session during the last 15 minutes of the webinar, utilise the polling feature to gather instant feedback, and encourage audience interaction via the chat function. Engaging your audience in this manner makes them feel part of the conversation rather than passive spectators. 

  1. Follow Up with Recordings and Resources

After the webinar, send out a follow-up email with the recording, the presentation slides, and any additional resources promised during the webinar. This allows attendees to review the material at leisure and ensures that those who registered but couldn't attend still receive the information. 

Sending a survey after the webinar can provide valuable feedback to improve future webinars. Here are some sample post-webinar survey questions

  1. On a scale of 1-5, how would you rate the overall webinar experience? 
  2. What did you find most valuable about the webinar? 
  3. What suggestions do you have for improving the webinar content? 
  4. Was the length of the webinar appropriate? Too long or too short? 
  5. How engaging and interesting was the presenter's delivery style? 
  6. Were the visuals, slides, and materials helpful? 
  7. Did you experience any technical difficulties joining or participating? 
  8. How likely are you to attend another webinar from us? 
  9. What topics would you be interested in for future webinars? 
  10. How did you hear about this webinar? 

Sending a quick satisfaction survey immediately after a webinar wraps up while it's fresh will get the most helpful feedback to iterate on for your next online event. 

Related: Ultimate Webinar Checklist for 2023. 

Webinar Checklist

Webinar Attendee Engagement Tips 

Keeping your attendees engaged during a webinar can be challenging without in-person energy. Here are some webinar best practices for driving webinar attendee engagement: 

  1. Start strong: Like in a movie or a book, the opening scene sets the tone for the rest of the story. The same concept applies to webinars. Opening your webinar with a captivating story, a surprising statistic, or a thought-provoking question will instantly grab your audience's attention.

For example, if your webinar is about data security, start with a recent news story about a significant data breach to highlight the relevance and importance of your topic. 

  1. Talk conversationally: Connecting with your audience personally is crucial for engagement. Instead of presenting in a formal or lecture-like style, adopt a more conversational tone. Use the word "you" to create a more inclusive atmosphere and make attendees feel like you're speaking directly to them. 
  2. Vary your pace and tone: A monotone voice or a constant rapid-fire pace can lead to a disengaged audience. To prevent this, vary your speaking pace, use pauses for emphasis, incorporate humor, and tell relevant stories. This variety in your delivery keeps the content fresh and engaging. 
  3. Leverage visuals: Visual elements play a crucial role in breaking up the monotony and enhancing understanding of complex topics. Rather than just speaking into the camera, incorporate slides, videos, screenshots, or live demos. 

For instance, if you're discussing a new software tool, a live demo can help attendees visualise its functions and benefits better. 

  1. Engage with polls and Q&A: Real-time polling questions and Q&A sessions can significantly increase attendee involvement. They give attendees a chance to voice their thoughts and queries and provide you with immediate feedback. For example, if you're conducting a webinar on digital marketing trends, a quick poll about which trend attendees find most interesting can make the webinar more interactive. 
  2. Moderate chat: Assigning a team member to moderate and respond to chat questions in real time can make the webinar feel more interactive. It ensures that attendee questions and comments don't go unnoticed and helps maintain the momentum of the webinar. 
  3. Gamify with prizes or giveaways: Everyone loves a competition. Offering rewards or giveaways for participating in polls, quizzes, or discussions can motivate attendees to engage more actively. For instance, you could provide a free e-book or discount codes to the first three attendees who answer a quiz correctly. 
  4. Limit presentation length: Keep your presentations concise to avoid fatigue. Aim for a session of around 30-45 minutes, followed by a Q&A period. This approach respects attendees' time while allowing room for discussion and queries. 
  5. Check-in on attention: Periodically, you can check your audience's attention with quick questions or prompts. Something as simple as "Give me a 'yes' in the chat box if you're following along" can help you assess the audience's engagement level and allow attendees to indicate they are active and attentive. 
Webinar features

Must-have Features of Webinar Platforms

Whether aiming to educate, inform, or inspire, the right platform can make all the difference. But what makes a webinar platform stand out? Let's dive deeper into the must-have features that can turn any virtual event into an engaging and memorable experience: 

  • High-definition video and audio capabilities: Crystal-clear video and crisp audio form the foundation of a practical webinar. The platform must deliver high-definition quality to ensure seamless communication and engage attendees. 
  • Screen sharing and whiteboard features: Presenters should be able to share their screens or utilise a digital whiteboard to illustrate concepts better, explain data, or demonstrate a process. These visual aids can significantly enhance the attendees' understanding and engagement. 
  • Live chat functionality: The ability for participants to communicate in real-time via live chat boosts interactivity, encouraging questions, feedback, and discussion during the webinar. 
  • Breakout rooms: Creating breakout rooms is essential for more extensive webinars. This feature allows attendees to be divided into smaller groups for focused discussions, brainstorming sessions, or networking. 
  • User-friendly registration and scheduling: An intuitive interface for scheduling webinars and managing participant registrations simplifies planning. Automated reminders can also help to increase attendance rates. 
  • Customisable branding: The ability to customise the platform's appearance according to your organisation's branding gives your webinars a professional look and feel. This reinforces your brand identity and creates a consistent experience for attendees. 
  • Analytics capabilities: Post-webinar analytics can provide valuable insights into attendee behavior, such as the duration of attendance, engagement level, and more. This data is crucial for understanding the effectiveness of your webinars and identifying areas for improvement. 
  • Robust security features: Given the sensitive information often shared during webinars, security features like data encryption and secure login methods are essential. These measures ensure the privacy and safety of all participants and their data. 

Cvent Webinar has all the above features and more. It is an intuitive, feature-rich platform for hosting online events, including webinars, virtual meetings, and hybrid events. Key capabilities include robust branding controls, engaging interactive features like polls and Q&A, automated and on-demand viewing options, detailed analytics reporting, and integrations with marketing platforms. 

Cvent Webinar offers tiered pricing plans based on attendance capacity needs, starting with a free programme for up to 100 attendees. More advanced plans add priority support, extended event durations, and expanded branding controls. The platform is flexible enough to accommodate marketing webinars, sales demos, employee training, and other virtual event types. Try Cvent Webinar today! 

Final Thoughts

The future of meetings is virtual, and webinar technology provides the bridge to get there. While in-person gatherings will always have their place for fostering local connections, webinars are the clear choice for engaging global audiences from anywhere.  

With the strategies and best practices covered in this post, you have an actionable blueprint for hosting remarkable webinars that drive impact. Remember, every webinar is a learning experience, so don't be afraid to experiment, ask for feedback, and continually refine your approach. Happy webinar hosting!

John Hunter

John Hunter

John is the Senior Manager of Event Cloud Content Marketing at Cvent. He has extensive copywriting experience across a diverse set of industries, including broadcast television, retail advertising, associations, higher education, and corporate PR.

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