Webinars are a cost-effective marketing tactic to convert leads, increase customer loyalty, run training sessions, and more. There’s a reason why over half of marketers rely on webinars for promotion, after all. However, to make the most out of your webinar strategy, it’s essential to follow webinar hosting best practices. And to do that, you need to make sure you’re using a platform that provides all the necessary features.
Webinar Core Features
Before we jump into the more advanced tools, there are a few core features that most platforms include. It’s important to be aware of these, as some smaller companies may not offer the necessary features.
While it’s possible to host webinars by yourself, it can be quite challenging so it’s best to find webinar software that allows you to work as a team. For example, you can be the one presenting and have a coworker moderating the chat. Of course, webinar participants should also be able to see and hear everyone from your team, so make sure the software allows you to share multiple camera and audio feeds. Most webinar apps also come with a live chat and the ability to run polls. Although basic, these are essential features to allow attendees to actively participate throughout the webinar.
Best Webinar Features To Make Your Webinar Stand Out
Core features can be enough to run small webinars, but they’ll only get you so far. There are three vital steps when hosting a webinar – planning, hosting, and follow-up – and excelling on all of them is critical to running a successful webinar. To make things easier, we’ll break down the most important features to have for each stage.
Email Marketing Integration
Email is still the most efficient way to get people to join your online session. So, it’s crucial to include this communication channel when promoting your webinar. Moreover, since you should promote your webinar throughout the month, it helps a lot if the software comes with built-in automation tools as Demio does.
Webinar Testing Capabilities
To make sure your webinar goes smoothly, it’s essential to do a dry run before the event to test the hardware and check your presentation flow – you don’t want to make your audience wait while you search for a video or document. ClickMeeting, for example, lets you start webinars in preparation mode where you can upload all materials and check whether everything is working correctly.
When hosting a webinar, you want to look professional. And there’s no better way to do that than to display your branding in the background. With this in mind, go for providers that offer high customization of the landing page and webinar room.
Hosting the webinar is the most crucial step of the process. Thankfully, webinar software providers are aware of that and offer most of the necessary tools to run a smooth session. Even so, there are a few features that you should keep an eye out for:
Live polls might give you an overview of your audience's thoughts, but surveys are the ones that allow you to gather detailed information about your attendees’ satisfaction. Better yet, there are even providers like BigMarker that enable you to share your survey automatically when attendees leave mid-session. This is perfect for getting insights into why audience members decided not to stay until the end.
Sharing free handouts with informative content is a great way to increase attendance rate and customer loyalty. Everyone loves free stuff, and attendees will appreciate you making the effort to create a small ebook about a particular topic or be happy to take advantage of an exclusive discount code.
Built-in Payment Options
If you're just using webinars to promote a product, then you can probably skip this feature. However, if you're thinking about running online courses or other paid webinars, the provider must include built-in payment options, something that Livestorm does well.
Just because this is the last step of the process, it doesn’t mean it’s any less important. Once your webinar is over, this is the perfect time to consolidate your audience loyalty by sending them an excellent follow-up email with a recorded version of the session. It’s also when you should go over your analytics to see where you need to improve.
Although most webinar platforms come with an analytics dashboard, you want to make sure you get a provider that shows comprehensive metrics. In other words, go for software that enables you to track not only attendance rate but also engagement levels, conversion rate, time in session, and more.
Webinar Recording and On-Demand Webinars
Webinars that follow best practices should last between 30 to 60 minutes. That’s a lot of information to digest, and most attendees will be happy to receive a recorded version of the session to review later. Better yet, recorded webinars can be added to your on-demand webinar library that you can share with new customers. There are even providers like GoToWebinar that offer a built-in video editor for post-production.
There’s no doubt that webinars bring a lot of value to a company. However, you’ll only be able to run perfect webinar sessions if you take advantage of the most advanced features available.
Best Webinar Software of 2022
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