How to Choose a Webinar Platform in 2021
With the explosion and evolution of virtual events in 2020, one type of online communication tool has arguably been somewhat left behind.
The humble webinar has long been used for lead generation, product demonstrations, increased reach, and knowledge sharing. But with marketers recently more focused on keeping up with technology innovations and how to stage engaging, fully-fledged live events online, there’s been little time for basic broadcasts. But there is a need for some to find the right webinar platform in 2021 to suit their developing needs.
Why? Because to move beyond the webinar is to ignore the high percentages of marketers and sales leaders who cite them to be one of the most reliable ways of generating high-quality leads.
This will continue to rise, so long as professionals continue to value video-based learning as their preferred education format. With virtual events reaching unprecedented levels of popularity, there is most definitely still a place in the marketer’s toolkit for webinars.
That said, what we traditionally think of as a webinar has to change to reflect the higher viewer expectations now associated with all forms of online and virtual events.
So what do we normally associate with the webinar format? Webinars have followed the same format for many years so here are six elements that will be familiar to many of you:
- Average webinar presentation times range from 30 to 60 minutes
- An overwhelming majority of webinar attendees join from desktop computers
- Often feature pre-recorded content
- Usually, one or two hosts talking over slides
- Speakers have their video cameras off
- May feature a singular attendee poll to drive engagement
Before the digital world experienced an accelerated evolution in just six months, the above status quo for webinars was sufficient. Today, it is not. Webinar programs need redefining and it is high time the entire user experience was given an upgrade.
This status quo experience isn’t limited to your attendees either. On the presentation side, you likely have suffered through static experiences, fixated on clicking through slides and talking heads with limited capabilities beyond running simple presentations or polling. Even reporting was limited to how many people attended and how long they stayed.
Three pitfalls of status quo webinars:
- They offer little if any interaction between the speaker and attendees or between attendees. Limited engagement and opportunities for attendee interactivity lead to lower overall engagement.
- Follow-up takes place on the event organizer’s schedule, not the attendees’. Attendees prefer webinar experiences with a Q&A session and follow-up opportunities that are in real-time or scheduled for other times that meet their own needs.
- They provide minimal flexibility in the attendee experience. Inflexibility in webinar scheduling, offering only live content or content on-demand, and limited program interactivity may lead to a negative webinar experience for the attendees.
A successful marketing webinar should accomplish three main things:
- Generate measurable results: Before you can think about topics, you need to understand your goals and KPIs. The most effective webinars have specific and measurable goals.
- Deliver value to your attendees: The best webinars aim to provide real value to their audience first and foremost. Cover topics your audience cares about and deliver it in a compelling format with visual and interactive elements.
- Drive action: Too often webinars are a dead-end, with an obligatory CTA on the final slide. After you’ve established a clear goal and know how your webinar fits into the buyer’s journey, you can drive webinar registrants to the next important action.
For webinars to be reimagined, therefore, we need to enhance four key elements - content, formats, production, and interactivity driven by technology.
Next week we will share what to consider while choosing a webinar platform in part 2, your check-list and what to do after the webinar