Presented by Cvent
Public expectations for webinars have changed. Are you following? Catch it up now as industry experts highlight ten real, practical ways to re-energize your programs for success and boost audience engagement and participation.
In a conversation about why webinars came to the fore during the pandemic and how to make your webinar newsworthy in a sea of applicants, Laura Grandi-Hill, Airbase Event Marketing Manager, Hayley Haggarty , General Manager of Events at VentureBeat, and Patrick Smith, Director of Marketing at Cvent, joined Stewart Rogers, Moderator of Events at VentureBeat.
Along with the growing importance of virtual events, the expectations of attendees have increased. They want multiple ways to engage when attending a virtual event, as well as networking options, which has changed the look and feel of webinars.
“Now there are so many on the market that it’s important to stand out from the crowd,” Haggarty said. “I like to say that content is king. But you have to understand what your audience’s needs are, then create the content, then build a robust platform around it. It’s a win-win when you do this.
It’s definitely a matter of content, agreed Grandi-Hill. In their case, they focused on targeting finance professionals. Realizing that these people don’t have a lot of ways to get expert advice and suggestions on how to build their careers, Airbase decided to host a Career Development webinar.
“It wasn’t based on the products at all, but on the needs of our prospects,” said Grandi-Hill. “We get a very good response, because we bring value around a necessary subject that is not really present in the space. It’s a way to stand out in the midst of the noise. It’s about having a good conversation.
Experiment with webinar formats
“Depending on the type of content you are presenting, there is a format that works for you, whether it’s a face-to-face interview, a fireside chat, or something more formal,” he said. she declared. “We have found that we need to match the format to the content and what makes the most sense to deliver it. “
During the pandemic, they had the opportunity to be very specific and thoughtful about how to shape the webinar series they wanted to deliver. They started by determining where in the funnel each webinar should target people. They tried to set up cadences, each series regularly offering new content, and each series having its own flavor, being specific either to a funnel stage or to a certain personality of prospects.
“We’ve found that if the content is too general, people aren’t engaged, but if we say, hey, we’re going to talk about the treasury function and how you can use the CARES Act, people are coming from there. to that, because it’s specific, ”said Grandi-Hill. “It meets their needs. “
Shorter sessions are also much more in demand, dropping from 45 minutes or an hour to 20- to 30-minute webinars, with 20 minutes of content and 10 minutes of Q&A, Smith added.
“It’s bite size, punchy, and I get a lot of value when I see it,” Smith said.
Another of their successful formats is to offer 20 minutes of content and then facilitate virtual networking with assigned topics in a video conference experience where you can talk live with the panelists.
Keep viewers engaged
“The key is, webinars shouldn’t just be buzzing on slides anymore,” Smith said. “It’s the networking aspect, the chat you can have and this virtual in-person networking, where you see yourself on screen. It has been effective on our side. The expectation to meet and network in webinars I’m not sure it was a few years ago.
Think TV show, not presentation, he adds. Instead of just pointing the camera at some talking heads, consider adding dynamic screen layouts and graphics that capture a user’s interest.
“The good thing about most of these platforms, including Cvent, is that you can do it yourself – you don’t necessarily need to have a production team,” Haggarty said. . “It’s important that people know that. It’s just a matter of trial and error to an extent, but for me personally, do it all. Try everything. No one will say, oh my eyes hurt, that was too eye-catching, too newsworthy.
Smith also suggested using videos creatively, before or during a webinar. For example, for viewers in the waiting room before the webinar begins, they might broadcast an ad package promoting their user conference, or in the middle of a webinar, they often broadcast videos to elicit feedback. interest of the participants, because if you are looking at something and the screen changes, they are less likely to disconnect.
“A few times we’ve experimented, get this, puppy videos, because everyone loves puppies,” he added. “Sometimes we just play something like that, just to get people’s attention. Even if it’s not related to the content. Sometimes you can have fun and be creative with some of these ideas.
Rogers noted that attendees also react to things like the online conference bingo cards he uses for certain events.
“For example, you can tick it off if a pet is running on screen,” he said. “We love it when animals run around the screen. It really livens up the webinar, makes it a lot more human. Totally approve of it. If you have pets in the house, make sure they jump in front of the camera.
Making webinars interactive is another way to capture attendee interest and keep it from weakening. If you are using an event platform that has the ability to do small groups, Grandi-Hill suggested adding a very short one at the start of the webinar with a prompt to define the expectation that there will be elements. interactive throughout the webinar. They’ve been lucky with polls, whether it’s testing knowledge or soliciting opinions, because it’s not that big a request to click and take a poll.
Smith agreed on the importance of the cat. After the launch of Cvent’s virtual sales, many attendees said they got more out of it than the live event of previous years, he said, because they could focus on on-screen content. and chat with anyone present.
“It created this very dynamic, fun and interactive element where you watch content, discuss the content, ask questions and people make jokes,” he said. “It created this interesting community of interaction and engagement that wasn’t what you get at an in-person event. I wouldn’t underestimate the cat. It creates a great way to congratulate the winners, ask key questions, comment on things, have fun.
For more information on how to make webinars more engaging, measure success and keep moving forward, mine your content after the webinar ends, do great market research and more, don’t miss not this VB Live event, free on request.
You will learn:
- Tips for making sure your webinars are audience-centric
- Innovate ideas to interact with a virtual participant
- Best practices for integrating webinars consistently into your event chain
- Laura Grandi-Hill, Event Marketing Manager, Air Base
- Hayley haggarty, General Manager of Events, VentureBeat
- Patrick smith, SVP and CMO, Cvent
- Stewart rogers, Moderator, VentureBeat