Years after the first video conference was held in the late 90s, webinars continue to be an integral part of B2B and B2C marketing strategies.
Back then, interactive seminars served as communication platforms for the elite in the corporate world, largely because the infrastructure supporting such platforms was out of reach for many businesses.
But as the internet matured and the level of tech improved, webinars began making an appearance in regular marketing plans. They were now broadcast across multiple devices, including laptops, tablets, and mobile phones, helping to drive customer engagement and fuel growth.
As a matter of fact, webinars have become increasingly popular in recent years. Last year, a report by ClickMeeting found that there was a 16 percent increase in the number of webinar attendees compared to 2016, with the number of webinars increasing by 7 percent during this period.
The report, summarised in the infographic by Clickmeeting below, also found that about 76 percent of B2B customers attended webinars before making buying decisions, highlighting the critical role webinars play in converting leads.
Still, despite the huge role that webinars play in boosting engagement, many businesses often do them poorly. And because webinars connect your business with customers in real-time, a terrible webinar is the easiest way to drive your audience away and make it that much harder to sell.
Here are a few ways to help you create webinars that drive engagement and convert leads.
1. Make them interactive
The last thing you want when conducting a webinar is your audience members trying too hard to keep up with your presentation. Your audience, even the most attentive and knowledgeable members, will become distracted after 15-20 minutes of a monotonous presentation.
To ensure you capture your audience’s attention, make the webinar interactive, like an interactive radio or TV show that includes interjections from live callers. Use moderators who can ask questions to make the session a conversational one, which will help keep your audience engaged.
2. Practice makes perfect
Even if you’ve done webinars a thousand times before, it always pays to engage with your moderators or go over your notes and presentation slides at least a few hours or days before the webinar airs. In fact, the most memorable webinars or public presentations are usually the result of hours of practice and research.
Therefore, practicing your presentation vastly increases the chances of a memorable webinar. You can record yourself or rehearse before a colleague or family member. This gives you the opportunity to identify issues within the presentation, such as bad speaking habits that may prevent you from engaging with your audience.
3. Use visual content on slides
The age of bullet points in slides is fast coming to an end. Study after study continue to highlight the benefits of visual content over many other forms of presentations, especially when it comes to creating memorable and engaging content.
eMarketer, for instance, found that Facebook posts with images gained 87 percent of engagements, with image-based Tweets garnering over 18 percent more clicks over other types of Tweets.
Plus, visual content can easily be repurposed into other types of lead-generating content, including infographics and micrographs that can be easily shared across different channels.
4. Incentivize the webinar with bonuses and offers
Everyone loves freebies. Tai Lopez, an entrepreneur and investor who hosts a book club and regular podcasts on YouTube, often starts his podcasts and webinars by offering members of his audience a chance to win an iPhone, cash reward, or sometimes even a car. This often keeps the audience engaged throughout the session, which helps increase engagement and conversion rates for his brand.
You don’t have to splurge if you don’t have the resources to pull off an iPhone X giveaway. You can simply offer your audience bonuses such as free reports, free trials and discounts off of a product or service, or a one-on-one session with an expert.
5. Be enthusiastic
Finally, you need to be energetic and enthusiastic about your material throughout your presentation. Audiences are very good at detecting the emotion and energy behind the presenter and will usually wander off to la-la-land or check out of the webinar when it gets too boring or monotonous.
Therefore, always look for ways to work in some energy and excitement into the presentation, even when it takes you off-topic for a couple of minutes.
Enthusiasm – or the lack of it – is contagious; so harness this power to drive engagement with your webinars even long after the webinar is off-air.