Make Your Webinars More Popular and Successful: Virtual Event Ideas & Insights from 20+ Experts
Anyone can host a webinar, but not every webinar will be successful. To make a lasting impression, you need to plan it well - just like if you were hosting an in-person event. Keeping that in mind, various questions might arise during the creation process. How can you achieve your goals and attract a wider audience?
No more second-guessing! We asked 24 experts about their tactics for running a profitable webinar. Read them all to help plan your next event from start to finish.
Set a positive frame of mind from the beginning
"One of the key elements for a successful virtual event is to make it engaging and exciting for your attendees. The frame of mind for the event is set right at the beginning when your attendees are joining. Be sure to greet them as they join the virtual event room. Make them feel welcomed.
During your presentation, share your webcam - this creates trust between you and your attendees. You could even give them a spotlight to let them share their story or experience with the rest of the attendees.
Another great way to switch up your presentation is by launching polls. Ask for your attendees' opinions. After the voting, make sure to share the results and try to draw some conclusions. Most of the time, your virtual event attendees will have questions for you. It's really great if you can allocate 10-15 minutes at the end of your event just for questions."
Erkki Muuga / Founder / WebinarSoftware, https://www.webinarsoftware.org/what-is-a-webinar/
Create a feeling of exclusivity with closed groups
“Share the event on social media closed groups: Quora, Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter, which all contain potential customers to register for virtual events.”
Skirmantas Venckus / CMO / https://www.sender.net/
Take part in Twitter hashtag chats
“A great way to ensure that your virtual event is as popular and successful as it can be is by utilizing the power of social media. Posting your event on LinkedIn and asking your network to share it can be extremely effective. You can also take part in hashtag chats run on Twitter within your industry, which is a very simple way to reach a lot of relevant people at once but be sure not to SPAM. If you have any budget to invest, try Facebook Ads - these will be very cheap and incredibly effective.”
Marty Rogers / Co-Founder / Fresh Lead Finder, https://freshleadfinder.com
Divide your strategy into smaller elements to manage-it-all
"Most conferences that were previously taking place at different locations around the World are now, after COVID-19, taking place virtually online. It's quite important to know how you can make virtual events more popular and successful.
To share my suggestions I would like to divide them into 3 parts:
1. Pre-Event Promotion: this includes the campaigns that you need to execute before the event takes place. These activities will help you reach the correct audience.
- Facebook Ads: build a buyer persona and start with Facebook Ads. This is one of the best ways to reach your desired audience and let them know about the virtual event you will be hosting.
- Email your subscribers: send a well-planned email to your subscribers telling them about the online conference that you are organizing. Make sure to clearly highlight what they will gain from attending the event. Why should they attend it? Tell them what is in it for them.
- Hello bar on your website: use a hello bar on your website so that every visitor can easily discover that you are hosting an event in the near future.
- Incentivize attendees to refer new participants to the conference. Everyone loves to share everything that they like, and even more so when they are paid for it or receive something useful in return. Incentivizing people to make referrals will help you reach a larger audience in less time.
2. During the Event strategies: these strategies will help you better engage your audience while your event is taking place.
- Live tweeting: start a discussion around a topic and ask questions to event participants. Ask them to tag your brand and use a #hashtag when answering.
- Live streaming: use a live streaming feature on various social channels to showcase the virtual conference that is taking place. This will help your social channel reach more people and attract new audiences.
- Social stories: again, most social platforms now have stories, so use them smartly! Record highlights and keep sharing them during the event. This will keep your existing audience engaged.
3. Post-Event: once your virtual event is over there are still more activities that you can do to keep your participants engaged.
- Send a Thank You note to all of the participants. If possible send them the presentation, important notes, and any other related files so that they feel you care for them and have shared all documents that may also be helpful to them. This is what Success Gyaan did after I attended their event and I loved it.
- Use a tool like qualaroo.com to collect participants' feedback. It is very, very important to prepare a survey and gather feedback from event participants. By doing so, you will be able to collect data such as what they did and didn't like. This will help you plan and improve your future virtual events in general. The gathered data can also help you make any necessary improvements to your marketing campaigns or even at the product level. But in order to obtain such data, it's important that you prepare and choose your questions carefully.”
Vineet Gupta / SEO Strategist / 5 Minutes SEO / https://5minutesseo.com/
Focus on your content
“Focus on the informational content you share at the event. For the audience to get interested in what you have to say and to remember you, you need to give something they can take away and use even after the event is over. Don't underestimate the quality and practical usefulness of your presentation slides and additional materials that you can share for further reading (e-books, white papers, blog posts, etc.) Convey meanings through your content; use storytelling techniques to evoke emotions (doing so will promote your event's success by all means). Be concise and clear, and ensure you use visually compelling content (they are great instruments of interaction with the audience during an event).”
Lesley Vos / Content Strategist at Bid 4 Papers / https://bid4papers.com/
Build a Slack community to keep in touch after the event
“Make sure to have some type of post-event activities. A newsletter or a Slack community is an excellent idea, so that participants can get together and discuss ideas or potentially even do business together.”
Petra Odak, CMO at Better Proposals, www.better.proposals.io
Work with well-known partners to make your webinar attractive
“It is more difficult to build authority for virtual events than in-person events. To make online events popular and successful, ensure to get as many good partners as you can. People are attracted to events that are run or promoted by authority businesses. Also, to make these events successful, try to provide a complete experience to attendees. Some events end up like just another webinar, and people hate them. There are many platforms on which you can host virtual events. You can create virtual booths, Q&A functionality, polls, chat sessions, or video links between attendees to give them a real-world event experience.”
Vaishali Badgujar / Content Marketer / Time Doctor (https://timedoctor.com)
Engage attendees by holding workshops
"The success of every event is determined by its content. If speakers can deliver actionable speeches centered around pain points that the audience already has rather than around their brand, the event is bound to be successful. It's imperative to brief speakers thoroughly before an event, giving them a clear idea about the audience they're speaking to and their knowledge of the subject.
Involve attendees by holding workshops to provide practical experience. Such sessions provide the greatest value to attendees and make huge strides towards your own end goal of leaving the event with a solid plan of action going forward.
When we're talking about virtual events, it's important to ensure you have the technical means for success. Avoid embarrassment by finding a platform that is powerful enough to cope with your event's capacity and ensure your internet connection is lag-free. Bear in mind that attendees might not know how to use the platform you choose, so make sure it is set up properly and offer guidance on basic functions, such as the dreaded mute button, before the event starts for real."
Anna Pozniak / Marketing Manager at NetHunt CRM / https://nethunt.com/ Organized Ad Summit Kyiv
Send gifts to your attendees after the webinar
“I have never organized one, but giving away freebies always works.”
Maciej Wilczynski, CEO, Valueships, www.valueships.com
If you’re wondering what exactly you could send as a gift, check out this article about bonus materials!
Interact and follow-up
"Two things: interact and follow-up. Make it as interactive as possible. The more you interact with your audience the more you can do with them after the event.
Ask questions and involve your participants to change the flow of the event. This will create more engagement and increase your conversion rate afterward when you will be doing follow-up rounds.
Promotion of the event is very important too. If you have some budget try to create a contest or challenge."
Dmytro Okunyev / Founder of Chanty / https://www.chanty.com/
Speak the language of your audience
“Talk where the people are at. Talk as if you're speaking to everyone - making it easy to understand yet useful and impactful.”
Katreena Sarmiento / Director of SEO Operations / Galactic Fed + https://galacticfed.com/
Promotion, incentives, and reminders
“3 simple ways that we have made our events more popular and successful are:
Promote each event in many places - social media, Newsletters, dedicated emails, and our website. People typically need multiple touchpoints and interactions before they register.
Offer an incentive to attend - a free guide, checklist, report, or summary. Not only does this help to drive registrations, but reminding them about it helps to increase attendance rates too.
Don’t be afraid to send multiple reminder emails. 24 hours before, 1 hour before, and 15 minutes before.
The aim of the 24-hour notice email is to get the event on attendees’ calendars if it isn’t already. 1 hour before has a similar goal, to prepare them and give them some notice. The 15-minute reminder encourages people to join the session in advance and ‘take their seat’. It’s better to have people queued up and waiting for a few minutes rather than joining after you’ve already started. The data shows that attendees are more likely to watch until the end if they join at the start.”
Brad Matthews / Marketing Manager / AdChina.io https://adchina.io/
Spotlight on Instagram
“Promoting on Social Media with great content using the help of the Instasize App. Using a photo-editing app is easy and allows you to correct and/or perfect the technical aspects of your images before you post them. Important details like framing and composition, resolution, lighting, and color can make or break the way that your clients receive and ultimately engage with your pictures. A photo-editing app also makes it easier for you to maintain visual brand consistency, which is important for achieving quick and easy online brand recognition. Some photo-editing apps feature tools specifically designed to help creatives and entrepreneurs develop their brand, product, or service on social media.
Instasize, for example, offers a free seven-day trial, which gives you ample time to explore all of its features.”
Kandice Ting / Instasize / SEO Outreach Strategist / www.instasize.com/blog
Four steps to success
- "Talk to your target audience: before running a virtual event, I recommend that you poll members of your target audience to get a sense of what they'd like to see during your event and ask them questions about what they think could help make it successful. You could ask questions about topics, logistics (number of sessions), or break-out activities, etc.
Test your tech: there's nothing worse than having tech issues in the middle of a virtual event. Take the opportunity to test your technology before the event to ensure it is all working correctly. Platforms like Zoom have the option to do this, so make sure you take advantage of it.
Turn off all notifications: I'm guilty of having this happen to me before. If you're sharing your screen during a virtual event, you'll want to ensure that Slack, Email, and other forms of notifications are all shut off.
Survey your attendees after the event: Take inspiration from a pro like Neil Patel. I was listening to his podcast about running virtual events and he revealed that the NPS of their events progressively went up as a result of the improvements they made thanks to attendees’ feedback."
Datis Mohsenipour / Director of Marketing / HeyOrca, https://heyorca.com
Timing is everything
“In order for your virtual event to be a big hit, it needs to be easily accessible, especially by your target market. So you'll need to choose your virtual event platform carefully, according to the specific requirements of your event and the participants as well. Of course, timing is everything, so you'll have to decide on a date and time that should maximize online attendance. But do your homework - you don't want to pick a schedule that would clash with a big holiday or a competitor's event. If your virtual event is international, be mindful of attendees’ different time zones. When promoting your virtual event, create a buzz early to brew excitement. In the weeks or days leading up to the event, increase the frequency of your promotions and take full advantage of social media.”
Chris Porteous / Founder, My SEO Sucks / www.myseosucks.com
Choose a webinar platform with the easy access
“Since the pandemic strike, virtual events have now become the new normal. Now, everyone has more and more accessibility to host their own virtual events. Of course, how to make it popular remains challenging. However, you can start by choosing the right platform. Ensure you pay close attention to your attendees and the devices they are most likely to be using.
Remember, not all tech solutions and conference tools run that well on mobiles. Some of them are also much more suitable for informal gatherings with friends or families rather than corporate events. Therefore, you need to choose a platform that is already popular and accessible to your audience. Also, don’t forget to consider privacy and data security.
When your potential audiences notice that your virtual events will be held on a platform they’re familiar with, they should have no problem attending it - and they may well help you spread the news to their friends and family."
Andre Oentoro / CEO of Breadnbeyond / https://breadnbeyond.com/explainer-videos/
Provide participants with the agenda in advance
“Know your target audience for the virtual event, create an agenda that appeals to them, and circulate it widely. Your attendees have to perceive value in the event that you are facilitating and this is done through a structured agenda.”
Jamie Irwin / Director / Straight Up Search (https://straightupsearch.com/)
Make the most of Instagram promotion
“Use Instagram’s Countdowns feature. Don't limit the promotion of your events on social media to Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Instagram also offers many possibilities to advertise your virtual event in a professional manner. One of the features you can use is Instagram Countdowns. It builds excitement, engages your audience way before the event, and is a fun and creative way of reminding your followers of what's coming (and when).
Once you add a countdown sticker to your Instagram Story, anyone who sees it will have the option to sign up for reminders. Users can also share the countdown sticker on their stories. Every time someone sets up a reminder for your event, you'll get a notification that’ll allow you to see who may potentially be interested. "
Alicja Olko, Outreach Manager, sixads (https://sixads.net/)
Consider hiring a specialist
“If you really want your event to look and perform amazingly well, sometimes it’s just better to hire a specialist than to try to run it yourself. Specialists have all the know-how to prevent any malfunction or deal with one if it does occur. Plus, they know how to run an event and make it as memorable as possible.
They also should have access to expensive tools and equipment that can make any event look extremely professional instead of like a weird and crowded online meeting. They can assist you with planning the event and market it in advance, aiding you with visuals and even helping you create scripts and programs.
You can also count on them when it comes to presenting and managing the event. They’ll typically have a few presenters to choose from and great audiovisual equipment to give your event the professionalism it needs. If you can afford it, always look into professional help to plan and manage an event for you.”
Will Cannon, CEO, Signaturely, https://signaturely.com
Prepare yourself for tech problems
“There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of an event and having something go wrong without knowing how to immediately solve it. To avoid this, prepare alternatives in advance. Run a rehearsal with your speakers, your visuals, and anything else that’s part of the event, and stream it online privately to test your internet connectivity.
Before starting, test your internet connection and ask everyone involved in the event to do the same. Develop plan Bs to deal with any eventualities, like a missing speaker, audio issue, or disconnection. Let your audience know which hashtag to use to connect outside of the event, and where to go if they get disconnected.
If you can, develop materials to show in case there’s any technical difficulty, and even have a speaker on standby in case there’s an issue with any of the scheduled ones. The better you prepare, the easier it’ll be to deal with any eventuality.”
James Davis, Head of Marketing, Messagely, https://messagely.com
Collect attendees’ data
“Your event isn’t over until after you’ve collected all the data you need, and that includes data from attendees. Collect data, find out what worked for them and what didn’t, who they are, and why they attended the event. This data will be extremely valuable and important to make your next event as good as it can be.
You can do it via a simple follow-up email the next day with a short survey and a potential prize. You can even do this while the event is still happening, polling throughout to gauge interest and find out what is working. Once you collect all of the data, examine and process it to gain a better understanding of who attended and why, as well as finding out the high and low points of your event.
If you find some surprising information, you can even share it with your speakers and your audience afterwards to let them know that your event was a huge success, and invite them to attend next year.”
Max Benz, Founder, BankingGeek, https://bankinggeek.com
Three steps to robust promotion
“Even the best-planned virtual event will fail if no one knows about it. When it comes to succeeding at a virtual event, promoting it is just as important as planning it.
Start by determining the best selling points of your event. It could be anything like a great speaker, great workshop, inventive inside knowledge, or even network opportunities.
Then, use all the power of your marketing channels to promote those selling points. Share them all with your audience on social media. If you want to pay for ads, make sure to target your best and proven audiences. Make sure you aim for the right users. For example, your audience on LinkedIn may be more interested than a passive audience from your email marketing. Make sure your speakers have all the details they need to spread the word about when they’ll be speaking, as well as the hashtag of the event and the landing page where they can sign up or get more info.
Finally, don’t forget to keep promoting the event as it’s happening, so people have the best chances of virtually attending.”
Lisa Dietrich, Founder, RemoteCanteen, https:/remotecanteen.com
Use the power of LinkedIn
“One way to draw attention and viewers to your virtual event is to add the event to LinkedIn! Register it on LinkedIn as a public event to reach a wider audience. "
Eliza Nimmich, Content Marketer, Biteable, https://biteabe.com
Collaborate with influencers and generate buzz
“Promoting your virtual events on social media can generate the necessary buzz required to get people’s attention. You can announce the event in your stories and even start a countdown a day before the event.
You can also collaborate with influencers and ask them to promote your virtual event to their followers. They can also feature event details and updates in their stories or posts. It is usually better to work with several smaller influencers than a single big one for buzz marketing campaigns. If many people are talking about an event, it generates more curiosity and encourages more people to join it.”
Janki Sharma, Associate Editor, N2N Digital (https://n2ndigital.co/)
All set? Let’s go!
Do you use all of the aforementioned tactics? If some of them are new to you, consider writing down the tips and checking them during your own digital events.
As stated, the tool you’re using should be intuitive and make it easy to join your webinar. Think about whether or not the one you’re currently using is good enough. Ask yourself the following question: are your registrants able to join the meeting with a single link or do they have to download an app to get access?
This could be a bottleneck of your event that holds people back from joining it. Thankfully, LiveWebinar is a platform that doesn’t require any additional actions - all your followers need to do is to click on the unique URL, and they’re in! You can see for yourself how easy it is with a free 14-day trial.
Digital Marketing Specialist at RTCLab, where he co-creates the LiveWebinar platform, enabling webinars and effective remote communication. He has been working in the IT industry since 2012 as a marketing specialist. In previous companies, he played the role of a Scrum Master and learned the life cycle of a SaaS (Software as a Service) product from the bottom up. As an enthusiast of combining various fields and approaches to problem-solving, he looks to Agile methods and adapts their elements to the daily work of a marketer.More posts