Wondering how to keep your webinar audience engaged?
Now, this might initially sound daunting but don’t sweat it. We’ve come to your rescue with webinar engagement strategies that are easy to implement but leave a great impact.
Here, planning is the key to unlocking an interesting webinar experience for your audience. Sure, you can be spontaneous and think of creative tricks and techniques to engage your audience as you move along but bear in mind that you run the risk of missing the mark and not offering options your specific audience finds engaging.
If you’re good with improvising and coming up with ideas off the cuff, great! If, however, you are obsessive about methodizing and planning things down to a T, hop along and we’ll share with you some helpful tips and tricks to get the engagement meter soaring for your webinar.
1. Pick a Compelling Webinar Topic
Let’s start off with webinar engagement strategies that are obvious, but often overlooked.
Would you pick a course whose subject matter doesn’t appeal to you? Or a book whose back-cover copy doesn’t paint a gripping picture? Not really.
Similarly, no one would be interested in tuning into your webinar if your chosen topic doesn’t resonate with them or isn’t relevant to their interests. Here’s what you need to find out first: Who’s your target audience?
Once you’ve pinpointed your target audience, you can develop a ‘buyer persona’ for them. What interests them? What are they looking to learn about? Is there any current topic or industry trend that they’d want to know more about? Instead of settling for something banal or generic, pick something more specialized that holds direct and immediate relevance for your target audience.
However, one of the important webinar engagement strategies is to be sure that the topic you pick isn’t just one that might appeal to your target audience but also one that you can claim a substantial amount of proficiency in. That’s the only way you can establish your expertise in the field and garner credibility.
Once you’ve locked the topic, approach it methodically. When it comes to your delivery, make a conscious effort to go beyond a mere narration or a plain exposition of facts, figures, and information. Instead, make the delivery exploratory. Establish a problem and explore how it can be solved in a step-by-step fashion, encouraging your viewers to chip in and volunteer their concerns and opinions.
You must be sure that the topic under discussion is bringing your audience value; and that they’re learning from your insights instead of just being fed a plethora of information taken from Google. Do your fair share of research. Go through articles, inform yourself, and then most importantly, flesh out your unique stance on the issue. As a thought leader, what is your opinion?
2. Start with an Ice Breaker
We know you want to dive right into the impeccable presentation you’ve created for the webinar – but don’t! Hear us out.
To engage your audience, you need to start from, well, the start. Beginning with an ice-breaking activity is a great webinar engagement idea to acclimatize your audience, bring them right into the mix, and help them shrug off their shyness. There are many ways to do that, it can be as simple as asking a few members of the audience to do an internal reflection on your topic through prompt questions. Or you can really put some thought into it and start with a game to boost webinar interaction. No matter what you decide to do, an icebreaker is still effective and your webinar speakers will also thank you for “warming up” the audience before they start.
3. Have a Mind-Blowing Slide Deck
Presentation decks always tend to be a hit-or-miss situation. That’s why a fantastic presentation is an important step in your webinar engagement strategies. A superbly crafted slide deck can hook your audience from the get-go, while a basic, unimaginative one can put them to sleep.
With webinars, while you do have the option of showing yourself as you deliver the webinar, most hosts tend to stick to just showing the presentation slides. Since that will be the main medium of interaction with your hosts, and what they’ll primarily be viewing over the course of the webinar, you must ensure that it keeps their attention through the very end. Here are some tips for drafting a compelling presentation for an effective webinar.
- Use text economically
- Add attractive images
- Incorporate videos, graphics, and animations wherever you can
- Use color but use it wisely, don’t opt for colors that are too flashy or an eyesore
- Keep the text relevant, crisp, and to the point
- Try to keep each slide a little different from the other to indicate that you’ve shifted to a different sub-topic
4. Use the Power of Videos
The internet is flooded with videos. A fascinating variety of videos exists on every subject imaginable. You can thus be sure that you’ll find videos that tie in well with your presentation topic and add them to your webinar strategy. Having a variety of media for your webinar helps keep your audience’s attention and makes the session much more dynamic.
Videos also serve as a nice, refreshing break from the monotony of speech or text and can immediately re-engage viewers who’ve zoned out. You could integrate these videos into your slide deck or simply access them on YouTube. You can also add animations of GIFs for an additional pop up of excitement.
That’s not all though. If you want to go the extra mile and be ahead of the curve, you could toy with more interesting ideas to host an engaging webinar. For example, you could livestream a relevant event, like a product launch, or schedule the webinar around a live discussion to include that as part of your webinar.
5. Add Breakout Sessions
Your webinar needs fun activities so the audience doesn’t lose interest and breakout rooms are a great way to keep the conversation going in the right direction while involving all attendees. As part of your webinar engagement strategies, you can divide your attendees into multiple groups using the vFairs embedded webinar solution. The breakout rooms can be timed so that the attendees can easily navigate back to the main webinar room.
Breakout rooms work best when they’re coupled with a team-based activity. For instance, you can ask the attendees their opinion on something related to your webinar topic or ask them to brainstorm new ideas. Then, when the breakout session ends, each team can present their work separately making it an immersive activity for all.
6. Conduct Audience Polls in Real-Time
If you can find a way for your audience to participate during the webinar, you’ve mastered the engagement game and perfected your webinar engagement strategies.
To do this, many hosts get their viewers to participate in live polls. They can pitch a relevant question and take a poll during the webinar, the results of which can instantly be displayed on the screen with applications like SurveyMonkey. This not only grabs your audience’s attention and ensures their engagement but also recognizes that some of your viewers might become potential customers.
Showing that you value their opinions and desire their feedback can create a more personal connection with them and provide an opportunity to learn more about their preferences and interests.
However, it’s important to remember that while polls are an important implementation of your webinar engagement strategies, you shouldn’t force them where they aren’t needed. Their integration should appear sensible and organic. Take polls where they make a difference or can prove a point or produce telling results that paint an interesting picture for your viewers.
7. Consider Having a Giveaway
Here’s a sure-shot way of gathering an audience for your webinar and implementing your webinar engagement strategies: announce a giveaway at the start or the end of your webinar.
The promise of a surprise, something fun and exciting, always serves as an effective pull when marketing your webinar. Most hosts don’t conduct the giveaway until the session is over to ensure that the audience stays with them till the end. There’s no hard and fast rule though. You could just as well conduct it, in the beginning, to start on an exciting and fun note.
8. Conduct Q&A Sessions
You can think that you’re slaying your webinar, but your viewers might not necessarily feel the same. Maybe they came in with expectations that were different from what you had in mind. Maybe they had lingering questions that you didn’t address. This means that you need to rethink some of your webinar engagement strategies. The best way to ensure that your viewers aren’t leaving unsatisfied with their questions answered is to hold a Q&A session.
With a Q&A session, you can directly take on their questions and provide specific explanations. You can politely ask your viewers to note down their questions and put them forth once you’re done.
Here’s an important tip for improving your webinar engagement strategies: Your viewers don’t need to be the only ones asking questions. To break the monotony and perk the session up, you could field a question every few minutes to your viewers or even share relevant anecdotes. This can help lighten the mood and keep the tone of the webinar conversational. Webinars that appear more like a conversation or discussion always drive greater engagement.
9. Use Conversational Language
Think of the most enjoyable class you’ve ever taken at college. Or perhaps the most memorable instructor you’ve had. Done? Great.
We might be going on a limb here, but you’ll realize that invariably, the instructors who left a deep impression on you all had this in common:
- They were masters of engagement.
- They stoked their students’ curiosity. Stimulated an organic interest in what they were teaching and involved their students in a healthy exchange of ideas instead of delivering long, sleep-inducing monologues or bombarding them with a deluge of facts and figures.
- They encouraged them to critically examine the information presented to them and develop their perspectives. Their skill at engaging their students was ultimately what set them apart.
Their classes never felt like a lecture; they always appeared to be more of a conversation.
You can apply the same principle to your webinar engagement strategies. Think of yourself as the instructor and your audience as a classroom of eager and enthusiastic students who have tuned in to learn and educate themselves.
Ultimately, the success of your webinar will depend on how you’re able to secure their interest and engage them in an interactive discussion. That is your top priority and the key metric you should concern yourself with. Make sure you work on engaging topics, add some pizzazz through immersive body language, and practice your speech beforehand to make an impact.
10. Have Multiple Speakers
As all audiences aren’t the same, all speakers aren’t either! You need to consider that while the content of your webinar is truly outstanding, the speaker might not be someone everyone can relate to the same way. Therefore, having multiple speakers can be a great way to engage all your audiences no matter what their age, gender, industry, or other demographics are.
With a single speaker, the webinar could also start sounding like a drag. If more than one person is talking, they can engage their audience and make sure that the presentation sounds like a conversation and not a boring lecture. So, as part of your webinar engagement strategies, make sure to add multiple speakers!
11. Pay Attention to Questions in the Chat
Speakers and webinar moderators prefer to take questions from the audience at the end of the session. However, there are many attendees who prefer to put their questions in the chat as the talk proceeds. Event organizers may ignore the chat module but it is not the right webinar engagement strategy. While answering these questions when the session ends is a great way to ensure that the speaker’s flow doesn’t get disrupted, it could also make your audience feel ignored.
So, make sure that the webinar moderators answer the questions in the chat, if they can, as they roll in. If they can’t answer the questions, they should at least acknowledge them so the attendees stick to the end to hear how the speaker responds.
12. End with a Call to Action
Adding a CTA at the end of your webinar is a great way to engage your audience and make sure they take away some key points from the session. Moreover, the right CTA can also help attendees understand some next steps they can take and apply their webinar learnings to their practical worlds. Your webinar engagement strategies need to include thinking of a powerful CTA. Here are a few things you should consider when curating the right call to action for your webinar:
- Ensure that you mention key points in a summarized way at the end of the webinar so attendees get an instant refresher.
- You can reiterate a problem statement you mentioned at the beginning of the session and mention how the webinar content addresses that problem.
- If you are looking for leads, you can reiterate how your product can help solve the problem and emphasize its benefits.
- Encourage action from attendees with strong language including power words and phrases like “buy now”, “click the link”, etc.
- Use visual cues like a concise background image or a banner to bring the audience’s attention to the CTA.
13. Debrief with a Quick Survey
Your webinar has finished, you’ve answered all attendees’ questions, and you’ve even thanked them for taking time out to attend. What’s next on the list of your webinar engagement strategies?
Now is the best (and probably only) good time to collect feedback on the session from the attendees. You should design a quick survey at the end of the webinar that the attendees can fill in anonymously. The survey could ask questions like:
- What did you like most about the sessions?
- What could be improved?
- Leave a rating for the session quality
- Rate all the webinar speakers
- How likely are you to recommend this webinar to your peers?
You shouldn’t add too many questions as hogging the attendees’ time is not ideal. So, make sure you pick a few important questions to add to the survey that answer the big basic question: Did the attendees feel engaged at the webinar?
Webinars are an exciting and dynamic tool in the hands of the B2B marketer. Not only are they a refreshing break from the conventional methods that the B2B marketer has found themself limited to, but they are also showing tangible results. Bear in mind that their success will depend on how you approach it. They can go either spectacularly well or horribly wrong and the difference between the two often lies in the degree of engagement the host was able to drive through webinar engagement strategies.
Pick a host who is confident, social, and personable; somebody who can hook in the audience from the very start and sustain their attention and participation over the course of the webinar. Bonus points if they have a strong personal brand allowing attendees to come into the webinar with a sense of familiarity with the host. If you’ve covered your bases for a high-engagement webinar, then have no fear, you’re out of the woods. Dive into your webinar like a boss and own it!