23 Webinar Best Practices to Drive Attendance and Engagement
The most successful webinars are specific, interesting, and engaging. They have captivating hosts, cover relevant content, and provide attendees with invaluable information. But how do webinar organizers take an idea and transform it into an appealing virtual event? Which webinar best practices do the most successful virtual event planners and organizers follow?
We created this post to help guide anyone planning, creating, or designing a webinar through the entire process, from start to finish. We cover a variety of webinar best practices that can help new organizers and seasoned virtual event planners alike. In this list, we cover tips to help you drive registration, boost webinar attendance, and host better virtual events overall.
Plan better virtual events with these webinar best practices
Let’s review the webinar best practices that industry insiders use before, during, and after events.
Pre-webinar planning tips
Set the stage for webinar success in the earliest stages of planning. Follow these pre-event webinar best practices to drum up excitement and drive registration for your next event:
- Identify your target audience.
Get to know your ideal audience so that you can create a laser-focused presentation targeted at future webinar attendees. Before creating the content for your webinar, ask yourself the following questions to help identify your target audience:
- Who will be attending your webinar?
- What do they care about?
- What are the goals of event attendees?
- What problems or challenges are attendees facing?
During the webinar development process, continually check in to make sure that you’re on track and are actively creating content that will enrich the lives of attendees.
- Establish your value proposition.
Determine the value proposition for your webinar. A value proposition is a clear, concise, and succinct statement—a declaration of intent. It explains who you are, what you stand for, what you do, and should be the keystone of your webinar marketing campaign.
You may be developing a webinar on behalf of a brand, product, company, organization, or to provide instruction and educate your audience. Regardless of what your webinar content covers, strive to create a value proposition for the webinar that is compelling, unique, or even provocative. If you’re struggling to craft a captivating value proposition, start by identifying attendee pain points and the specific ways in which your webinar will help overcome those pain points.
- Create a webinar marketing strategy.
A successful webinar marketing strategy continues to build momentum throughout the entire pre-event stage. Continually connect with members of your audience by sharing behind-the-scenes video clips, sending reminder emails, offering exclusive promotions, advertising additional purchases, and sharing free content (templates, how-to articles, etc.) leading up to the event.
Popular webinar marketing channels include:
- Groups and event pages
- Social media ad campaigns
- Search engine advertising
- Email marketing campaigns
- The brand/company website
- Cross-promotion with webinar hosts and speakers
Identify which marketing channels are most popular amongst members of your target audience to stretch your marketing budget and spend advertising dollars where they matter most.
- Choose the right webinar platform.
Use industry-leading virtual event technology when hosting a webinar. Select a webinar platform that is user-friendly, easy to navigate, allows attendees to communicate easily, and has the capacity to host a variety of content.
Popular professional webinar hosting platforms include:
Look for a webinar platform that allows the host to share screens dynamically, engage in back-and-forth conversations with webinar attendees, log attendee history, and track virtual event engagement.
- Choose a platform with a mobile app.
In 2020, WorkCast reported that approximately 25% of webinar participants attend virtual events using a mobile device, such as a cell phone or tablet. With virtual events becoming even more in-demand as the result of the pandemic, using a mobile-friendly platform is vital for modern webinar event success. Consider using a webinar platform that has an accompanying mobile app, such as ClickMeeting or Demio.
- Create mobile-friendly webinar content.
Make content easier for mobile users to see using large text and clear, sharp images.
- Craft the perfect invitation email.
GoToMeetings reports that email drives 57% of webinar registrations. An ideal webinar invitation email will grab the reader’s attention, hold it, and drive them to register for the event.
To create the perfect invitation email, start by drafting a captivating subject line. Keep your subject line short while stating what the email is about and what the reader can expect.
Examples of captivating webinar invitation email subject lines include:
- Webinar Invite: How to create an extraordinary guest experience!
- Learn how to create professional branded marketing from scratch!
- Launching a new product? Join our free webinar for expert advice.
Inside the email, include the webinar name in an attention-grabbing banner image. Use an eye-catching color and minimal text. Under the banner image, make the value of your webinar clear in a compelling heading. Use the heading to quickly describe how your webinar is the key to helping the reader overcome a pain point or problem they’ve been experiencing. Make sure to restate anything you’ve written in your banner image in the body of your email, as some users have email images disabled.
In the body of the invitation email, outline the specific benefits of attending the webinar in short bullet points, followed by information detailing when and where the webinar will take place. Close the invitation email with an inviting call to action encouraging readers to sign up.
Exciting email CTAs include:
- Save your seat!
- Register Now
- Become a conversion master!
- Start selling today
Include a link or “click here” button that will take email recipients directly to the registration page. This is another area to remember that disabled images can interfere with how your email is displayed.
- Use an intuitive event registration website.
Choose an event registration website that is flexible, responsive, and intuitive, like Cvent’s Flex. Flex offers webinar organizers the ability to customize the look and feel of their registration page, giving them full creative control. Designers also have the ability to preview the virtual event registration page prior to publishing it live. By completing a mock registration prior to publishing, webinar organizers can guarantee the registration site works properly, that the layout will be appealing to target audience members, and that the process is quick to complete.
- Send email reminders prior to the event.
After attendees register for the event, send occasional follow-up emails. Remind them of the webinar date, start time, and schedule of events, but don’t spam registrants’ inboxes. Email registrants one week, one day, and one hour prior to the event. Marketing research shows that sending a day-of reminder email can increase live webinar attendance by up to 20%.
- Practice the presentation in advance.
The ideal webinar length is approximately 60 minutes. While some jam-packed product presentations may run closer to 90 minutes, research consistently shows that attendee engagement is highest during virtual events an hour-long or less.
Practice the entire webinar to gauge the approximate run-time. Aim to spend 5 minutes welcoming attendees and reviewing introductions followed by a 35–45-minute presentation. This will leave 10-15 minutes remaining at the end of the webinar for a Q&A session. We also recommend that hosts and speakers practice logging into the webinar prior to kick-off, ensuring that the process is seamless and minimizing the risk of future attendee log-in issues.
- Prepare tech support services.
Virtual event attendees regularly cite technical issues as a reason for not attending an event live or participating in its entirety. Create a reliable network of technical support services to assist attendees before, during, and after the webinar. Send registrants contact information for the technical support team in advance and have them available to assist any attendees who have difficulty connecting to the webinar (or who experience technical issues during the event). Offer telesupport services, text support, and live messaging services when possible.
- Prepare your workspace.
Set yourself up for success prior to kick-off with a clean and organized workspace. Have water, a cup of coffee, or another beverage on hand to help keep your voice crisp and clear. Have any notes or reference materials nearby, as well as a pen to jot down notes or ideas for future webinars.
Best practices during a webinar
Follow these webinar best practices during the event to help ensure attendee engagement and event success:
- Enter the webinar room early.
Log into the webinar platform ahead of time and enter the webinar room a few moments early. The webinar host should be the first person in the room and the last person out of the room.
- Start the webinar a couple of minutes late.
Give attendees time to get into the room and get settled. Beginning a few minutes after the designated “start time” will also provide attendees experiencing technical issues time to resolve them.
- Engage with attendees throughout the webinar.
Choosing a dynamic and credible host is a critical part of engaging webinar attendees during live events. Apart from creating dynamic content, choosing the right host can dictate whether or not attendees engage throughout the event. In fact, 32% of webinar attendees prefer events with a passionate and knowledgeable host.
In addition to choosing the right host, there are a variety of resources webinar organizers can use to increase attendee participation and engagement during a virtual event. Utilize engagement tools such as live chats, interactive messaging boards, or live attendee polling.
- Move slowly through product demonstrations.
If your webinar includes a product demonstration or requires showing attendees how to use a software system or an app, take your time. Clearly demonstrate how the product works, speak slowly, enunciate, and walk attendees through each step. Ensure that there is time available toward the end of the webinar to answer questions and provide post-webinar contact information for attendees in need of additional assistance.
- Keep add-on product pitches short.
While it is okay to pitch your product in the midst of a webinar, we recommend keeping personal pitches short. Spending too much time pitching an additional for-purchase product could make your webinar feel like one large advertisement. Ensure that personal product placements are surrounded by valuable and relevant content so that attendees are likely to be more receptive to your pitch.
- Host a live Q&A session.
Webinar attendees consistently rank including a live Q&A session as one of the driving factors that determines whether or not they will attend a webinar. Truelist reports that 92% of webinar attendees say a webinar “must include a live Q&A session.”
Try to include a live Q&A session in every webinar, even pre-recorded webinars. For pre-recorded events, schedule a live Q&A session at the end of the event. Get the most out of your Q&A session by asking the key speaker, host, or a panel of experts to stay after the webinar and answer attendee questions.
Post-webinar best practices
Your job doesn’t end when the webinar does; post-event engagement is an important step. Follow up with attendees and non-attendees after the webinar to keep the lines of communication open and improve future webinars.
- Connect with no-show attendees after the webinar.
Many of us are juggling packed calendars and have to pick and choose which events we are able to attend. On average, only about 40-50% of webinar registrants attend the actual event. While registrants tend to have the best of intentions, anything could have come up that prevented them from attending the live session. Don’t discount no-shows as a loss; think of them as an opportunity instead.
Send an email to connect with leads who registered but did not attend the webinar. Express your understanding: let the individual know that you missed them during the webinar but understand that they’re busy. Invite the no-show to attend a replay of the webinar or send a recap of the presentation. Keep a close eye on the reader activity for no-show follow-up email campaigns to identify which leads are still responsive.
- Send a “thank you” email to event attendees that includes a follow-up CTA.
After your webinar wraps, send attendees a thoughtful post-webinar email thanking the recipient for choosing to spend their time attending your webinar. After expressing your appreciation, include a short summary of the information covered in the webinar followed by another call to action.
After the webinar, you may want to drive attendees to:
- Purchase a product
- Complete a download
- Visit a webpage
- Engage on social media
- Register for the next event
If you want attendees to purchase your products, consider offering a discount code exclusively for attendees. To drive traffic elsewhere, include a link to the webpage or social media site that you’d like attendees to visit next.
- Share the webinar on-demand.
Share an on-demand version of the webinar afterwards, allowing new audience members to view the material, as well as making the webinar available for attendees to rewatch.
- Review webinar analytics.
After the webinar concludes, review analytical information for the event to gain valuable insights regarding the success of the event. Helpful metrics organizers review post-webinar include:
- Registration numbers
- Attendance rates
- Conversion rates
- Click-through rates
- Audience demographic breakdown
- Attendee engagement
Gather data and use that information to improve future events. Compare the number of webinar registrants to live attendees. Use analytics to further identify your target audience and expand your marketing reach for future webinars.
- Send a post-webinar survey and evaluate feedback.
Send a follow-up survey to attendees after the webinar and review the responses you receive. Look for patterns in responses, and use repetitive feedback to improve future events. Identify components of the webinar that worked really well and those that could be better. If you receive positive feedback about visual elements, video, or other content in the webinar, for example, aim to include similar types of content in future presentations. On the other hand, if numerous respondents state that the event was too long, work to make future presentations shorter.
Bookmark this list of webinar best practices for quick reference
Utilize the tools and resources in this article to drive more attendance and increase engagement at your next webinar. With twenty-three webinar best practices at your disposal, you’re ready to start planning your best webinar yet!
Next up, we take a closer look at virtual event marketing strategies event professionals use to create excitement and drive attendance. Join us as we review twelve of the top strategies organizers use to market virtual events.