Not all webinars are created equal. One must make use of a variety of webinar features available today in order to engage and captivate a potentially global audience. Here are eight webinar features that pro hosts cannot afford to live without.
Ability to Customize Each Webinar
As a host, you’ll want to choose a webinar software that allows you to customize all aspects of your webinar to emulate your company’s design aesthetic.
These webinar features will enhance the overall professional image that you are trying to project. It will also help your participants feel more connected with you as the presenter.
Customizable webinar features within a quality webinar software include: the ability to add in logos/branding, change theme colors, adjust the landing page layout, and customize invitation and reminder emails in one seamless format.
These are just a few of the areas that a webinar can be customized. The more customizable webinar features a webinar software offers, the better.
Ability to Upload Handouts
Your webinar participants’ time is valuable. Preparing your attendees for your webinar ahead of time is always a good idea. This principle goes for almost every type of online meeting or webinar imaginable; from comprehensive staff training to marketing presentations and virtually everything in between.
You will spend a great deal of time and energy getting people to register and attend your webinar. You’l want to provide them with a teaser that encourages them to show up at the appointed hour. This teaser can be something as simple as a handout.
Remember that everyone likes “free stuff”. If you are hosting a webinar for promotional purposes, a handout can serve as a free enticement to get participants to join your session. By the same token, staff members who are going to attend your webinar want to be prepared for the meeting in order to maximize their time.
Ability to Conduct Live Polls of the Audience
Polling is a great way to increase participant engagement in your webinar. Many webinar platforms today have live polling as one of their core webinar features, and for a good reason.
A poll provides presenters the opportunity to take a quick break during the webinar and obtain some instant feedback from the participants.
This will connect the audience to what is being said while providing a valuable opportunity for the presenter to know whether he or she is meeting the objectives of the presentation. You will also find that the type real time responses received by a poll will provide some much-needed input on important topics that are being covered during the webinar itself.
Polling and other engaging, real-time webinar features are essential for pro hosts because the results they generate can be useful in a myriad of ways. If you are giving a sales presentation, the sales team can use the responses that are given when they head out to follow up on leads after the webinar is complete. Future training can be tweaked, with certain items being changed or left alone, based on the feedback that is given by participants in real time. Beyond this, people enjoy polls. It makes them feel a part of something, and it gives them a rationale for participating in the webinar beyond just being a passive listener.
Ability to Use a Survey to Ask for Instant Feedback
A webinar should not be considered “over” once the final participant leaves the room. A good webinar host will spend time evaluating their presentation, analyzing what went well and what should be improved upon.
In addition to the analytics you collect from your webinar software, it’s also important to gain the perspective of your participants directly. Survey-related webinar features will help you achieve this.
You should be able to instantly send out a survey that is easy for each individual to complete right after the webinar has ended. You can ask a few questions that are appropriate to the material you have covered and are unique to your organization. This will allow you, as the host, to ascertain what the audience enjoyed about the webinar. At the same time, a survey will let you know what components did not have as positive an impact as you would have hoped.
A survey is useful in so many ways.
As a host, you need to gain the perspective of your participants because that will very likely determine future attendance. This is particularly true if you are conducting a sales oriented presentation, and is especially relevant if you are charging participants to attend the webinar. Many programs will give you the ability to ask up to 25 questions on a survey. The choice is up to you how many you would like to include, but remember that your participant’s time is valuable. They also may be unwilling to complete a lengthy survey, but will gladly take the time to fill in a shorter one for you. The responses will be worth it in the end and will give you some much-needed data as you go to plan your next webinar.
Ability to Record Your Webinars and Host Recurring Webinars
Not everyone can attend your webinar live, nor do they necessarily need to. One of the most useful webinar features professional hosts require is the ability to record webinars.
As a host, you want to make it as easy as possible for your registrants to view your webinar. When schedules don’t align it’s important to share a recorded version of the webinar for those who missed out on the live event.
Recorded content also has the added benefit of being “editable”. Editing your recording helps ensure your webinar is exactly what you want, prior to publishing it online for the world to see.
Webinars that have already been recorded are also a great way to increase your subscriber base. You can offer them online as an incentive for people to visit your own website and learn more about what you have to offer.
If you are in the education business, a recorded webinar can be sold to participants to download and view at their convenience. As you can tell, the possibilities are endless for a recorded, recurring, hybrid, and anytime webinar. As a result, this is one of the most important webinar features that no professional host should be without.
Ability to Share Your Screen With Participants
One of the biggest advantages of hosting webinars is being able to talk to participants around the world simultaneously. To be effective, however, the host needs to be able to demonstrate what they are talking about.
This has been one of the most commonly cited drawbacks of a webinar that participants have reported through the years. They appreciate the information that is being given to them, but they often feel a disconnect as a result of not being able to see certain items that the presenter is talking about.
However, thanks to modern webinar features included with many webinar programs today, sharing your screen is now a possibility.
By sharing your screen, you will not just be telling your audience important concepts. You will finally be able to show them. At any point during the presentation, you will be able to demonstrate what is taking place on your screen and every participant will be able to see it in real time. When you are ready to take away the screen sharing feature, you can do that instantly as well. This is also a useful feature when you are recording a webinar, as you can use your screen as a type of whiteboard. This increases the retention rate of information, and it also enhances the engagement level of the audience.
Ability to Add Seamless Email Integration
Webinars are online events that need to be subscribed to. The easiest and most popular way of doing this is via email. This is why a professional host needs to be able to integrate the functionality of a webinar within the context of most popular email programs in existence today.
This is a way to increase subscriber rates, as it will be easy for participants to indicate their interest in and sign up for the webinar. This feature should allow you, as the host, to automatically add those who have registered for the webinar to your email list. This will then generate a message from you to indicate important access instructions as the time and day of the webinar draws closer.
Currently, email integration works nicely with the following programs: MailChimp, Infusionsoft, Aweber, ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, HubSpot, ConstantContact, and GetResponse.
You can use any of these and be able to email all registered attendees at any time effortlessly. At the same time, you can automate the process to have your email sent out at set times. Simply draft what you want to say and tell the webinar to send out the email at predetermined times.
This enhances the professional image that you are trying to project, in addition to keeping the participants informed of what is going on.
Ability to Add Social Media integration
It is no secret that social media has invaded nearly every aspect of modern society today. As a webinar host, you will want to put this to your advantage by integrating ads directly into popular platforms, such as Facebook.
A useful feature that you need to have, as a professional host, is the ability to add a tracking pixel, connected to Facebook, which will actually link ads directly to your webinar itself. This is a great way to increase your visibility and enhance your marketing potential. You will also receive analytical information that will enable you to see how effective the campaign has become and to make operating decisions to enhance your future webinar offerings.
There are new webinar features being added every year that make webinars an even more effective meeting strategy than ever before. You will want to examine each available feature within the context of your unique needs to determine how best to make use of them. Remember that webinars do bring many advantages to the table in comparison to in-person meetings, but they do require an effective use of available webinar features.