Introduction To Webinars
Webinars have been around for years, but since the arrival of the Coronavirus pandemic, they’ve become essential to the functioning of most places of work and education.
Data Connectors estimated that video (including web conferencing) will account for 80% of all internet traffic in 2021. And they also revealed that webinars are a lot more successful than you might expect. A whopping 86% of participants in online meetings report equal or higher levels of engagement compared to those hosted in-person.
In this guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of webinars, starting with the basics. We’ll answer all your questions, from what they are and how they differ to web conferencing, to the best software for them and how to plan a successful webinar to wow your attendees.
What Is A Webinar?
A webinar, also known as a web seminar, is an online event usually used to educate or inform attendees about a specific topic.
The Merriam Webster dictionary definition for ‘webinar’ is: ‘a live online educational presentation during which participating viewers can submit questions and comments.’ So, in its very nature, a webinar has to have some level of audience engagement.
However, the audience engagement at a webinar is normally geared towards facilitating better sharing and understanding of information between speakers and attendees. This is different from other kinds of virtual events, such as online conferences, which often facilitate a much broader range of audience engagement like virtual entertainment features and AI networking.
Webinars have two primary aims:
- To educate
Webinars are often used by places of work to provide employees with knowledge. For example, webinars are frequently used to train or onboard new starters or to impart wisdom about better practices such as inclusivity or mental health in the workplace.
Similarly, a school or university might use a webinar to teach their students about an aspect of the curriculum.
- To demonstrate authority.
Webinars can also be used by brands for client-facing events. For example, at Hire Space, we might hold a webinar in order to teach our clients or followers about how to host events successfully.
Although these types of webinars are still designed to impart knowledge, the main goal for the brand is generally to demonstrate its authority on a particular topic. In this way, brands are able to cement themselves as thought leaders in their industry, indirectly helping them to attract customers through the sharing of valuable content.
Benefits of Webinars vs In-Person Seminars
Webinars have a host of benefits that serve to make them a hugely effective tool for places of work and education alike. They’re not only a lot cheaper than in-person seminars, but they also make it easy to reach people from all over the world.
Here are just a few of their benefits:
- Cost-effective: Webinars tend to cost a lot less than in-person seminars since they don’t require elements like venue hire or catering.
- Easy to organise: Webinars don’t require a lot of complex audience engagement tools, so they can be hosted on simple virtual event platforms, often designed specifically for webinars. This makes them straightforward to organise and cheaper than many other types of virtual events.
- Unrestricted by location: Due to the fact that webinars are hosted online, attendance won’t be geographically restricted. You can easily grow your audience with virtual events such as webinars because they can be made accessible to attendees all over the world. Webinars can also act as a great contingency option if you're uncertain about planning in-person events.
- Inclusive: Factors like travel costs and childcare issues could prevent certain groups from attending an in-person seminar. Webinars create opportunities for these groups to attend.
- Sustainability: Webinars are better for the environment than in-person seminars, as they prevent attendees from travelling and use fewer resources.
Although webinars have risen in popularity as a result of COVID-19, these benefits are far-reaching and will ensure that webinars continue to remain popular long after the pandemic has come to an end.
This is where your attendees will log in to access your webinar when the time comes. There are lots of all-in-one virtual event platforms to choose from, such as Arena, but a webinar will normally only need the most basic features.
Often, the cheapest way to access the software you need is to pay a monthly subscription for a platform that can be used for every webinar you host in the future. We’ll take a closer look at the best webinar software later.
If you're looking for some assistance when it comes to choosing the best platform for your needs, our end-to-end event service Hire Space 360 offers everything the modern event planner needs to create memorable events, in-person and online. For just a small monthly cost, Hire Space 360 provides unlimited event tech, on-demand event professionals, and whatever else you need to create an amazing event.
In its nature, a webinar must be available for your attendees to access live, which means you’ll need to live stream your speakers or panellists. At a fully virtual webinar, speakers and panellists will join remotely in the same way as attendees. However, they can also congregate in-person to broadcast content to a fully remote audience (making it a hybrid event).
If you don’t want to feature a live stream, you can give your attendees access to pre-recorded content instead. However, this would make your event a webcast rather than a webinar.
While a webinar won’t require any advanced audience engagement, you will need to provide a way for your audience members to ask questions or add comments. This could be via a live chat functionality or, if you’re using a video conferencing platform such as Zoom or Arena, your attendees could simply unmute themselves to participate in the discussion.
Many webinars are hosted by places of work or education for their employees or students. In this case, registration may not be required as the webinar may be obligatory. However, some webinars are marketed further afield and require attendees to sign up in order to attend. If this is the case, you’ll need to provide a way for attendees to register their interest and, if you’re hosting a paid-for webinar, to purchase tickets.
How Much Does A Webinar Cost?
The average spend for webinars is between £75 and £2,000. However, the total cost will depend on a number of factors, such as what kind of platform you opt for, whether you already have the equipment you need in-house and whether or not you’ll be paying your speakers or panellists.
Here are the main things you might want to consider budgeting for:
- Webinar platform. Most webinars are hosted on software designed specifically for webinars as they tend to require fewer audience engagement features. This tends to be priced on a subscription basis. However, if you opt for a more general virtual event platform, you could pay per webinar or, in the case of Arena, per attendee who shows up on the day.
- Equipment. Assuming that your speakers and panellists will be joining your webinar remotely, they’ll each need a laptop with a working webcam and microphone as a bare minimum. However, you might also want to send them additional equipment such as a branded banner to place behind them or a headset. If, on the other hand, they’ll be congregating in-person to live stream the content, you’ll need to factor in all the hybrid event venue technology (such as cameras and lighting). A professional production team will be able to help.
- Speakers. Depending on the kind of webinar you’re hosting, you may be able to access speakers and panellists for free, in exchange for exposure. However, if you’re organising a webinar to impress your clients, you might want to budget for an inspirational speaker such as Steve Brown, the award-winning TV presenter and captain of Team GB at the Paralympics 2012.
- Promotion: If you’re hosting a webinar for invitees only, the chances are you won’t have to budget for promotion. However, if it’s a ticketed event, you’ll need to invest in marketing. This may include an email marketing platform such as Mailchimp, a social media scheduling tool such as Later.com or Hubspot and paid ads on Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and more.
- Staff time: Don’t forget that planning a webinar takes time. Although your employees will be paid regardless, it’s worth considering how much of their time will be spent planning and hosting your webinar, and working their day rates into your budget so that you can better calculate your ROI. This might include the webinar organiser, the designer who puts together your assets, your customer service team who might respond to queries from attendees and more.
Popular Webinar Formats
Although webinars have very specific requirements, they can be used in a variety of ways and for a range of purposes. Here, we’ll look at the most popular webinar formats and how they differ.
Webinars are, essentially, online seminars. So, it’s no surprise that they are frequently used for education and e-learning purposes – especially now that the UK has experienced fully remote learning as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Webinars of this nature are usually hosted by a teacher or professor. They’ll spend time educating the class about a particular subject, often sharing a slide deck presentation. Pupils can ask questions throughout but usually, the floor will be opened for discussion and debate towards the end of the session, helping students to solidify their understanding and offer different viewpoints on the subject.
Webinars are frequently used to train both new and existing employees. This can be especially useful if your company is operating remotely or if you’re part of a large company where employees are divided across multiple branches or simply can’t all fit into one room.
As well as educating employees on how to use tools or follow processes that are specific to their role, webinars can also be a great way to introduce employees to broader topics that are important to your organisation. For instance, you could use a webinar to educate employees about inclusion, health and safety or tips for improving their mental health in the workplace.
Similarly to employee training, a webinar can be a useful tool for getting everyone in your company in one place at the same time for important internal company updates. Webinars have been used more and more frequently in this capacity since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic.
For instance, at Hire Space, we host a webinar once a quarter as part of a wider virtual team away day that evaluates our targets, any changes in company strategy and celebrates our key successes from the quarter. In this way, gathering employees for company updates via a webinar can keep everyone connected and help them to understand how their work fits into the bigger picture.
Webinars can be a valuable tool for onboarding new employees remotely. You might choose to onboard employees in this way because they’re taking on a remote role, or because there are multiple employees being onboarded at the same time across many branches of an organisation.
Product demos can be a powerful way of demonstrating to potential customers just how valuable your product could be to them. Not only does a product demo held over a webinar give you a chance to showcase your product’s features and share success stories, but it also allows you to hold a two-way conversation with your potential customers.
For instance, any salesperson knows how important it is to show an understanding of your audience’s pain points. Conducting a product demo via a webinar will enable you to ask your audience directly what problems they’re looking to solve so that you can convince them your product is the solution they need. Plus, this dialogue will help you to gather critical customer feedback that you could use to better communicate your product’s benefits, and even improve your product’s functionality, in the future.
Webinar software is frequently used for small events such as panel discussions, where the aim is to discuss and share different viewpoints on a specific topic. Usually, a host will facilitate discussion between members of the panel by preparing questions to ask them in advance.
Audience members are also invited to ask their own questions of the panellists or to contribute their thoughts and ideas in order to spark healthy debate. This can be achieved by either allowing your audience members to speak up or by asking them to add comments to a live chat if your webinar platform has that functionality. In this way, panel discussions can be an invaluable tool to engage or entertain clients, particularly for B2B companies.
Hosting a webinar can help to demonstrate your brand’s authority on a specific topic in order to aid brand awareness and improve your reputation. This could take the form of a webinar presented by a member of your internal team. Or, you could partner with other organisations to get access to experts with slightly different specialisms.
By featuring speakers from partner organisations, you’ll be able to add credibility to your content and improve its scope and quality. However, this isn’t the only benefit. You’ll also be able to access your partner’s audiences, helping to expand your reach and improve brand awareness still further.
Webinars vs Web Conferencing
The terms ‘webinar’ and ‘web conference’ are often used interchangeably. But they’re not exactly the same thing. In this section, we’ll explore what exactly a web conference is and how it differs from a webinar.
What Is A Web Conference?
As the concept of web conferences (and web conferencing) is still a relatively new one, there are a variety of working definitions for the terms that haven’t yet developed set standards.
The term ‘web conferencing’ in particular tends to be used synonymously to refer to any web-based meeting between two or more people over the internet. So, it’s a kind of umbrella term that’s often used to incorporate webinars, webcasts, web meetings, and more. However, despite the ways in which the terms are frequently used, we can get a little bit more technical.
A web conference (not to be confused with an online conference) is essentially an online meeting that can involve between just two and 50 attendees. In a web conference, the attendees are generally regarded as active participants rather than viewers. Collins dictionary states, ‘A web conference is a meeting in which people in different places can communicate with each other by logging onto a website.’
Web conferencing, on the other hand, refers to the systems that enable web conferences to take place, such as the technology and software itself. Cambridge Dictionary describes it as ‘a system by which many computer users can communicate with each other all at the same time using webcams over the internet.’
Just a few examples of web conferencing software include Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet. However, we’ll take a look at web conferencing software in more detail a bit later.
What Is The Difference Between A Webinar And A Web Conference?
There are some key differences between webinars and web conferences. We’ve put together a table to summarise the main points of difference.
Number of Attendees
Level of Audience Interaction
Learning, training, sharing knowledge
Discussions, collaboration, meetings
Choosing Between A Webinar And A Web Conference
Not sure whether to choose a webinar or a web conference format? Here are some questions to ask yourself to help guide your decision.
1. Is your goal to educate or to collaborate?
If your reason for hosting an online event is to teach your attendees about a certain topic, a webinar is probably the better option of the two – especially if an expert is going to be hosting, such as a professor, a teacher or an industry thought leader. A webinar would enable your host to impart their knowledge, and then allow your attendees to ask questions to help solidify their understanding.
On the other hand, a web conference is a better option if the goal is teamwork, collaboration or joint decision-making. A web conference will generally take the form of an online meeting, so although there will usually be a host to lead the discussion and help it to run smoothly, it’s a better format if you’d like to encourage your attendees to be more active and collaborative participants rather than simply viewers.
2. How much audience interaction do you anticipate?Consider how much audience interaction you require to be able to achieve your goals and show off your content in the best possible light.
It might be that you decide a simple PowerPoint presentation will be the best way to get your point across. In which case, it sounds like a webinar could be the perfect format for your content. On the other hand, if you think your material would land better as a facilitated discussion or debate that involves your attendees, a web conference sounds like it would be the better option for you.
3. How many attendees will there be?The average number of attendees for a webinar is 148, but you could easily host a webinar for over 1,000 people if you chose to. In contrast, a web conference could take place with as little as two people and up to around 50.
While this certainly isn’t a hard and fast rule, the main reason for limiting the number of attendees when you’re hosting a web conference is to give all your attendees a chance to actively participate in your meeting. Once you invite more than 50, your attendees will naturally start to take on the role of viewers rather than participants, making your event more akin to a webinar.
As a webinar generally involves less interaction than other kinds of online events, it tends to have different software and technology requirements. In this section, we’ll take a look at what those requirements are, and how you can use them to bring your webinar to the next level.
Technology Required When Hosting Webinars
Although hosting a webinar doesn’t require an awful lot of out-of-the-box virtual event technology, there are a few crucial things you’ll need to ensure you put in place before the big day rolls around.
- Platform: You’ll need to choose a platform through which you can broadcast your content to your attendees. A lot of the time, webinars are hosted via web conferencing tools like Zoom or Google Meet. However, an all-in-one virtual event platform like Arena could make your webinar look more professional.
- Additional tools: Most all-in-one platforms and web conferencing tools will allow you to share your screen so that you can display a slide deck or PowerPoint presentation. However, if you’d like to access additional functionality, you could invest in an audience engagement tool like Glisser, which integrates with your central platform and allows you to share presentations in a way that’s more interactive.
- Laptop: This one might seem obvious. Not only will your attendees need a laptop (or computer) but all your speakers and, most importantly, you, will need a laptop too! Nowadays, laptops usually have good webcams and microphones but if yours aren’t working well, consider investing in better ones, or in a slick headset. Either way, make sure that you have a charger handy, as your webinar software could drain your battery quickly.
- Fast internet connection: You’ll need to make sure that whoever is hosting the webinar has a fast and reliable internet connection, otherwise it will affect your streaming quality. If you’re worried about your internet speed, try moving your router nearer to your laptop, shutting down any applications you’re not currently using, or investing in a broadband accelerator.
- Visuals: To make your webinar look more professional, consider budgeting for some film lights or a backdrop with your branding on to position behind you. If you have more than one host or a variety of speakers joining, you could even send them all a pack with lights, backdrops, headsets and any other equipment you’d like to use, so that they all come across as consistent and on-brand.
The Best Webinar Software On The Market
When it comes to choosing the right webinar software for you, you’ll need to consider what functionality you require and how regularly you plan to use it. The majority of tools that have been designed specifically for webinars (such as WebinarJam, Demio, WebinarNinja and Livestorm) are priced on a subscription basis, which means if you’re investing in a tool like this, you’ll generally want to ensure you’re getting a fair amount of use from it.
These platforms tend to be similar to all-in-one virtual event platforms but they generally include fewer audience engagement tools, due to the simpler nature of a webinar (compared with other kinds of virtual events). Some also offer the option for attendees to access pre-recorded webinars on-demand.
If you’re not sure an ongoing subscription to a dedicated webinar software would be worth it for your organisation, you could consider utilising a more general all-in-one virtual event platform, such as Arena or Cadence. These platforms can be used on a one-off basis (with Arena charging you per attendee that turns up on the day, and Cadence charging you per event). Not only do they include everything you need to host a live webinar (such as live streaming, live chat and Q&A functionality) but they tend to include more features that enable them to be used for other virtual event types too.
Alternatively, you could consider investing in web conferencing software such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom. While web conferencing software tends to be priced on a subscription basis like webinar platforms, these simpler solutions can be used for straightforward, everyday meetings which means you may get more use out of them.
The main drawback of this solution is that these tools aren’t usually brandable in the same way as a virtual event platform can be. This makes them generally better-suited to webinars that are used as internal organisational updates or training, as opposed to anything client-facing.
For a better idea of the kinds of software available for hosting webinars and the features that they offer, see our table below.
Tool / Platform
Top Tips For Facilitating Webinar Audience Engagement
It’s true that technically, a webinar requires less audience engagement than other kinds of events. But ultimately, there are no hard and fast rules and your webinar can have as much (or as little) audience engagement as you want. Most importantly, audience engagement can be highly effective at helping your audience maintain concentration and feel more invested in your content.
Below are some top tips for facilitating audience engagement during a webinar.
Invite Questions With Q&A
As webinars are all about educating your audience, it’s important to discover and address any aspects of your content that your audience is struggling to grasp. By encouraging individuals to submit questions using a Q&A tool, you’ll be able to tailor your content to your audience’s needs.
Better still, some Q&A tools, such as the one offered by Arena, allow attendees to upvote or downvote questions. This way, you can ensure that the most popular questions are prioritised, allowing you to provide the maximum value possible to as many attendees as possible.
Of course, a Q&A tool doesn’t have to replace a live Q&A at the end of your session. If your platform allows, you can invite attendees to unmute themselves to ask questions live. However, not all attendees will necessarily feel comfortable asking questions in person, so it’s always handy to have a Q&A tool to support – especially one that allows attendees to ask questions anonymously.
Learn About Your Attendees With Live Polling
Most web conferencing tools won’t offer live polling, but if you’re able to fork out for a more specialised webinar or virtual event platform, live polling can be a great addition to your webinar. There are two key ways that we would suggest using it:
- To illustrate a point. Live polls can be a great way of collecting more information about a topic, which can then be shared with your audience to help illustrate a point. For example, if your webinar is about getting back to hosting live events post-Covid, you could create a live poll to find out how many attendees have a live event planned in the near future. By sharing the results during your session, your attendees will be able to learn from their peers’ situations.
- To discover audience preferences. You want your content to be as useful as possible to your attendees. By creating the right kinds of polls, you can learn more about your audience’s wants and needs. For example, you could discover what content your audience wants to hear and what stage they’re at in their learning, to enable you to better tailor your content to their requirements.
Keep The Conversation Going With Live Chat
Live chat is a great tool for a webinar. It allows your audience to get involved and start discussions without having to pause the delivery of your content. Although webinars aren’t about networking as such, a live chat can also be a useful way for your attendees to form meaningful connections without it being the primary focus of your event.
Developing A Programme For Your Webinar
Developing a programme for your webinar all centres around creating a content plan that will provide as much value as possible to your attendees and meet your primary objectives (usually, to educate your audience about a particular topic).
Here, we’ll break down the key areas you’ll need to consider when you’re finalising your webinar programme.
Defining Your Webinar Objectives
As we’ve touched upon already, a webinar is all about educating, training or informing your attendees about a specific topic. So, often, your primary objective will be to further your audience’s understanding.
That said, you may have other objectives that you’re attempting to achieve through furthering your audience’s understanding. For instance, you might want to show your brand’s expertise on a topic in order to accelerate sales or enquiries. Similarly, you may be trying to educate your employees about a topic such as equality in the workplace in order to improve awareness of inequality at work or even to reduce instances of discrimination.
Ultimately, we’d recommend converting your key objectives into measurable goals. That way, you’ll be able to better understand to what extent you were successful in achieving them after your webinar has finished.
Once you’ve clearly defined your objectives, you can start to plan how you’re going to achieve them. For more guidance on developing a programme for your webinar, our experts at Hire Space 360 are on-hand to provide on-demand support, so consider using this as a tool to complement your event planning process. Find out more about Hire Space 360.
Creating Value-Led Content
Since webinars are about education, you’ll need to be able to achieve your goals through value-led content. Although we’d always recommend putting value-led content first at any event, this is even more important with a webinar, which is specifically aimed at sharing information as opposed to building connections through networking or providing entertainment.
All too often, brands that want to use webinars as a way to increase sales will gear their content around selling their product. Unfortunately, this approach usually misses the mark as attendees aren’t provided with any value.
Instead, it’s important to focus on what value you can bring attendees, tying your sales proposition into this. For instance, you could gear your webinar’s topic around how to solve a problem that you know your attendees are facing. As part of that, you could explain how your product can help. This way, you introduce it as a solution to a wider problem rather than using your webinar as a sales pitch.
Aside from your content, there are some other key considerations you’ll need to bear in mind when you’re planning your webinar. First and foremost, it’s important to understand that hosting a webinar requires different considerations from hosting an in-person seminar or discussion.
Typically, you can expect attention spans to be shorter. This is partly due to screen fatigue, and partly the many distractions your attendees could experience when accessing your event from home – such as pets and children. With that in mind, make sure to carefully consider the following.
- Duration: Statistics show that attendees favour webinars that are between 30 minutes and 45 minutes long (41% of respondents favour webinars that last 30 minutes, while 44% prefer webinars that last 45 minutes). If your content requires longer, you could consider splitting your webinar into a series of webinars. However, bear in mind that attendees are unlikely to commit to more than one webinar a week.
- Timing: Try to hold your webinar at a time that will be most convenient for your attendees. Mornings tend to be most popular with attendees, but make sure your webinar doesn’t clash with the school run or other similar commitments. Equally, do some research to check that there aren’t any other competing events being held at the same time.
- Registration: When you’re hosting a webinar, you should expect a lot of late registrations. Statistics show that around 29% of your attendees won’t register for your webinar until the day of the event itself (although 17% will sign up more than 15 days before). This may be in part due to the fact that attending an online event tends to require less forward planning than attending an event in person.
- Attendance: Attendance can take a bit of a hit where webinars are involved. Typically, webinars have an attendance rate that’s around 35% to 45% of the number of people who signed up, which is probably due to the fact they require less commitment and thought before signing up than an in-person event would. Extensive pre-event comms could help to improve this figure.
- On-demand content: Consider recording your webinar and making it available on-demand for those attendees that don’t sign in to your webinar on the day for whatever reason. This way, you can extend the life of your event and ensure that you’re doing everything you can to achieve your objectives.
In our final section, we’ll examine everything to do with measuring your webinar, from what exactly you should measure to why it’s so important.
Why Is Measuring Important?
There’s no point in holding a webinar (or any event) just for the sake of it. Instead, you’ll need to have a reason, which should be clearly defined and converted into SMART goals as we explained above. Measuring is important because it enables you to find out whether you achieved your objectives, and to what extent.
Let’s look at an example.
Say that your primary objective in relation to your webinar is to increase sales. In this case, a key goal might be to achieve 50 sales attributed to your webinar within a month of the event. By setting up efficient tracking to measure the number of sales attributed to your event within that time, you’ll be able to easily see whether or not your event performed as you’d hoped.
However, that’s not all. Measuring can also give you useful insights as to why you did or didn’t achieve those objectives, helping you to identify areas that you could improve on in future.
For instance, you might find that many attendees dropped out of your event at the same point, indicating that your webinar was too long or that a specific part of your content didn’t resonate with your audience. These could be key reasons that you weren’t able to achieve your goals.
Similarly, if your event seemed like a roaring success and your attendees exclusively gave positive feedback but you still weren’t able to achieve your goals, this might be because your content and objectives weren’t well aligned.
Measuring is a vital part of hosting a webinar as it enables you to learn from your successes and mistakes in order to do better next time.
What To Measure
First and foremost, you’ll need to go back to your objectives and make sure that the KPIs you’ve identified are tied closely to your event’s goals. These are the most important aspects to measure. However, there are also some key elements that are useful to track for pretty much any webinar. These include:
- Registration and attendance. It’s always useful to measure registration and attendance numbers. These can indicate the success of both the topic you chose for your webinar and your marketing efforts. On top of that, you’ll want to compare the two to see how many registrations converted to on-the-day attendance. This is a figure that you’ll want to continue optimising in future.
- Drop-off points: By tracking attendance over your webinar’s duration, you’ll be able to identify moments where audience members left your event early. If several attendees left at the same time, this could be an indication of a weak point in your content. Or, it could suggest a problem with your webinar’s timing, for example, attendees might have experienced a clash.
- Audience engagement: Although audience interaction often isn’t a central part of a webinar, it can be useful to look at how many questions were asked as part of the Q&A section, and how many attendees interacted with features such as polls and live chat. This can help you to build a picture of whether your attendees were fully focused on your content as opposed to just having it on in the background!
- Audience retention: Measure how many of your attendees have attended an event of yours previously. If the number of returning attendees is high, this can be a good sign that your content is valuable and enjoyed.
- Number of sales leads generated: If one of your webinar’s goals is to increase sales for your brand, measuring the number of qualified leads (leads that are a particular target for your services) will help you to prove ROI to stakeholders.
- Social media engagement: It’s always worth checking to see whether your webinar has resulted in more engagement on your social channels, such as follows and likes. This is a key aspect of improving brand awareness and can offer valuable insight into how your attendees feel about your brand following your webinar.
- Attendee feedback: This is one of the most important things you can measure after an event. Collecting feedback will give you a window into your audience’s mind and will allow you to discover why they behaved as they did. For example, if audience members left early, a pop-up or questionnaire that asks why could be invaluable.
As we touched upon above, collecting feedback is a vital part of measuring the success of your webinar. Not only does it help you to understand whether your event was of value to your attendees, but it also helps you to gain crucial insights into why your audience behaved as they did.
Here are our top 6 tips for collecting truly useful feedback from your audience.
- Collect feedback in real-time. You don’t have to wait until your post-event survey to collect feedback from your attendees. Instead, think of ways that you can collect feedback in real-time, to get a true picture of how they are feeling at a given moment. For instance, you could use live polling to find out what content your audience is finding most valuable. Or you could add an exit pop-up so that anyone leaving your webinar early can tell you why they are doing so.
- Send your post-event survey out speedily. In a similar vein, make sure that you don’t delay when you’re sending out your post-event survey. The sooner it goes out after your event the better. After all, attendees are more likely to answer it while your webinar is fresh in their minds, and they’re also more likely to give accurate responses.
- Give your attendees anonymity. It might be difficult for your attendees to share negative feedback with you if they know they’re going to be able to be identified – particularly when it comes to a typically smaller event like a webinar. By giving them the option to answer your questions anonymously, you’ll be likely to get more genuine responses.
- Keep it short and sweet. Remember that your attendees are having to take valuable time out of their everyday lives in order to answer your post-event survey. So, respect their time by making it as easy for them as possible. That means keeping it short and making sure that it’s easy to access. For example, you should ensure that it loads seamlessly on a mobile phone. By putting your attendees’ experience first, they’re more likely to make it to the end.
- Avoid leading questions. Ask neutral questions to make sure that you’re not putting words in your attendees’ mouths. For instance, it can be tempting to ask something like ‘which part of the content most excited you?’ However, it may be that none of the content ‘excited’ an attendee! Give them the chance to tell you how they felt without leading them in one direction or another.
- Tie in some Net Promoter Score (NPS) questions. By tying in some NPS questions (like ‘how likely are you to recommend this webinar to a friend or colleague?’), you’ll be able to gain a basic understanding of attendee satisfaction. By relating this back to your KPIs, you can use it to assess why you did or didn’t reach your goals.
Most importantly, there’s no point in collecting feedback from your attendees if it just sits there unused. Make sure that you take the time to thoroughly analyse the feedback you receive and relate it back to your KPIs to see what you could have done differently to achieve your goals.
By unpicking your attendees’ feedback to understand what you did well and what could have been improved upon, you can make sure that your next webinar is even more successful than the last one!