February 21, 2024
By Victoria Akinsowon

Webinars: they’ve been a staple in marketers’ toolboxes for years, but they don’t always get the recognition they deserve. And yet, webinars are a highly effective way to engage with your audience and build your brand.

But as any marketer knows, getting people to register and attend your webinar can feel like an uphill battle. How do you choose the right promotional tactics? How can you keep your audience engaged?  And most importantly, how do you measure the success of your webinar programme?

In this interview, Emily Dick, Director of Demand Generation at Cvent, shares how webinars can help marketing teams achieve their goals, how to host webinars people actually want to attend, and tips on building a scalable webinar programme. 

Why webinars aren’t dead

Emily Dick headshot

According to one survey, 95% of marketers consider webinars to be important for their marketing efforts. So, if webinars aren’t already a part of your marketing strategy, they should be.

According to Emily, one of the biggest advantages of webinars is their cost-effectiveness. “Most people already have a webinar platform, so there's no need to spend a ton of budget to put on a high-quality webinar.”

Another advantage is their scalability. "With webinars, you can reach a global audience. This means you can easily expand your reach and engage with prospects and customers from all over the world."

And there’s a reason why webinars have had such longevity. As Emily explains, “They can become the epicentre of your content. You can build anticipation around your webinar’s date and time and run all of your different promotions and email strategies around it.”

💡There’s a lot that goes into building a webinar programme that drives results. Press ▶️to hear more in-depth insights from Emily:

3 steps to creating a successful webinar strategy

1. Make a plan 

Creating a successful webinar programme requires careful planning. For Emily, this begins by considering your overall plan for the year. “I like to break this down into a quarterly view to make it more manageable,” she says.

“The first step is to identify your priority webinars. These are aligned with the key themes you’re going to cover. They’re your foundational cornerstones. At Cvent, we call these our Marquee webinars.”

Emily recommends first plotting these webinars on your calendar and setting a realistic cadence – the right frequency will depend on your organisation.

Then, it’s time to identify where other webinars fit into your strategy. This is easier said than done for a global webinar programme, as there are many factors to consider, such as regional differences. “When you’re running global webinars, different time zones mean that you may be running the same webinar at different times,” says Emily.

2. Review topics ahead of time

Scaling your webinar programme can be challenging when multiple stakeholders want to host their own webinars. To stay organised, Emily suggests implementing a vetting process.

“For us, this has been a real step change, as everyone across the organisation can now submit their webinar topics, which then go through a vetting process,” she says.

Before giving the green light for any webinar, it’s essential to understand a few core things. “For example, what are the goals of that webinar? What will it cover? Who is the audience?”

Considering webinars as part of the overall customer journey is also critical. “That’s why vetting our webinar topics to understand where they fit in that journey is key.”

Not every topic submitted will make it to the webinar stage. “By asking these questions upfront, we determine whether a topic even needs to be a webinar in the first place,” says Emily. “If it doesn’t, we can recommend alternative content formats, such as video, a podcast episode, an eBook or something else.”

3. Integrate your systems

To be able to track the performance of your webinar programme, Emily stresses the importance of making sure your systems are integrated. 

“You should ensure that your webinar platform is integrated into your marketing automation or CRM system so you can track those business outcomes,” she says.

The best channels for webinar promotion

Getting people to register for your webinar is half the battle. Luckily, there are effective ways to promote your webinar and drive registrations.  


“Email is still the number one promotional tactic for webinars,” says Emily. “For us, it supports our efforts to position ourselves as thought leaders and keeps our audiences up to date with the various topics we cover each quarter.” 

What’s the right cadence and frequency for email promotion? It depends – although she says four weeks before your webinar is a starting point.


“Our website is a key part of our cross-promotion,” says Emily. “If you’re a customer, you might see a different pop-up or an urgency banner than a prospect or someone from a different industry.”

Some webinars may require promotional blog posts, too. “If it’s a new topic in the market that we don’t yet have the authority on, we might write a blog post and promote the webinar as part of that.”

Social media

Social media can also boost your promotional efforts. “We’ve seen excellent conversions when using short video clips to promote our webinars, with 30 seconds being the sweet spot,” says Emily. “It’s really effective in getting people to share our content and helps us reach new audiences as well.”

Emily also recommends asking your speakers, employees, and other advocates to help promote your upcoming webinars.

On the other hand, paid social can be hit-and-miss and requires more lead time to be effective. “Paid promotion for webinars is more effective if you can start at least four weeks before your webinar,” says Emily. “You’ll also need to consider your budget. For those reasons, we have a threshold a webinar has to meet in terms of registrations before we will start a paid campaign for it."

Top tips to increase webinar engagement

The best way to increase webinar engagement, Emily says, is to host them live.

“Live webinars make all the difference – it means that your presenters can engage directly with the audience,” she says. “And it’s important to show your audience that the webinar is live by interacting with them. I suggest throwing up a poll on the screen because this shows your audience that there’s some interaction that they need to take.”

And don’t rule out Q&As. Emily says: “Q&A is a standard of pretty much every webinar I’ve either hosted or attended. It gets people more involved in your webinar, which is all the more reason to host them live.”

An underrated benefit of interacting with your live audience is the ability to tailor the webinar's content based on the discussion. “If you do a live webinar, get people involved in the chat, get a poll going, and then your speakers can tailor curate the content of the webinar based on what your attendees are saying,” says Emily.

Don’t forget your post-webinar engagement

Of course, it’s important to continue engaging with your audience even after the webinar. 

“For every webinar programme I’ve ever done, we begin that post-webinar engagement straight away,” says Emily. “Even during the webinar, you should think about the next step people should take and communicate this at the end.”

Sending out the recording is a must, as is sending what Emily calls a ‘no-show’ to those who didn’t attend and a thank you email to those who did.

Another effective technique relies on creating FOMO (fear of missing out). “You could take the recording and create a teaser, so you’re giving FOMO to the people who didn’t attend and put them into a nurture where you can further engage them in a topic they’re interested in.” 

But being proactive is key. “How soon can you send that recording to the people who didn’t show up? The sooner, the better – it’s about engaging with your audience while you’re still top of mind.”

3 Webinar KPIs you need to measure success

With so much potential data at your fingertips, it can be challenging to know where to focus. Emily shares three key metrics to measure the performance of your webinars:

  • Registrations: “We start with the very first conversion point – registrations,” she says. “We measure this because it’s a key engagement point, and you can start to nurture your audience once they’ve registered.”
  • Show rate: For Emily, this metric is non-negotiable. “It’s a primary metric for any webinar programme because fundamentally, we need people to attend our webinars to build further engagement.”
  • Engagement: Getting people to your webinar is one thing, but how engaged they are is crucial. The team also looks at key engagement signals during the webinar, such as participation in chat, Q&A, and the number of questions asked. “Those things are critical to us so that we can measure and look for best practices that we can share and use to improve our webinar program or how we help our speakers design their presentations.” 

Whatever the KPIs you choose to track, the most critical tip is to know what you’re measuring and why.

“One of the biggest iterations we’ve made is ensuring that every type of webinar we produce has a specific set of objectives,” says Emily. “Sometimes, the objective of a webinar is engagement, not typical business metrics like MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads), SQLs (Sales Qualified Leads), or even pipeline generated. 

“And that is a fair objective for a webinar – as long as it’s clearly defined, and that’s how we’re measuring the success of that webinar type or programme. But this was new for me because prior to that, all of my webinars were measured on MQLs and SQLs, nothing else.

“On the flip side, I also have webinars that are strictly for generating revenue,” Emily continues. “Therefore, if they’re not doing their job, that’s easy to track and determine if we still want to do them.”

Avoid these 4 common webinar mistakes

  • Underestimating the level of effort: Hosting a great webinar takes a lot of effort. For Emily, it’s crucial to give yourself enough time to plan, prepare and promote your webinar to ensure its success.
  • Not measuring performance: “Every webinar should have a KPI to measure against,” says Emily. Without measuring performance, it's impossible to know whether your webinar was a success or not.
  • Not rehearsing: “People often show up on the day of the webinar and think that they can just wing it, which isn’t the case,” says Emily. The solution: schedule a rehearsal ahead of time. “It’s worth it because you’ll get everyone to feel comfortable, and you won’t have any surprises. Speakers will also feel better after going through a dry run.”
  • Not having a contingency plan: Always have a backup plan. “Something will always go wrong; perhaps your speaker is late, or their tech isn’t working. So, always have contingencies in place. That said, don’t freak out if something goes wrong because it’ll often smooth over, and your audience won’t have even noticed.”

“Ultimately, webinars aren’t going anywhere,” says Emily says. “But in my experience, they’ve often been the most successful when there’s a dedicated webinar owner whose KPIs are tied to webinar outcomes. That’s a key element for success.”

Looking for more inspiration for your webinars? Check out our guide, Next-Level Webinars, to discover more actionable tips and best practices for creating engaging webinars that convert.

Victoria Akinsowon

Victoria Akinsowon

Victoria is the Team Lead for Content Marketing in Europe at Cvent. An IDM-qualified marketing professional, she has over five years of experience in developing and implementing content marketing strategies that drive business
growth. In her spare time, you’ll find her learning a new language, travelling, or reading a good book.

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Actionable tips to take your webinar strategy to the next level

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