Engaging a digital audience while they’re sitting behind their computer screens watching your webinar is no easy feat. The last thing you want to do is bore your audience!
That’s why the ideal webinar is one in which your online audience members feel engaged. You need to put effort into conceptualizing a webinar that your audience loves and actually wants to be a part of. One that stimulates their interest is highly relevant and arouses their senses.
To do this, you’ll need to start by answering the following questions:
- What is your audience’s motivation behind attending this webinar?
- Who’s attending the webinar? Where are they from? What are their likes and dislikes?
- Could you ask your audience what they’d like to see in the webinar beforehand?
- What are some examples of highly engaging webinars? What can you learn from them?
- Should you even produce a webinar? Is it the best medium for what you want to convey?
In this article, we’ll give you a bunch of ways to learn how to engage your digital audience during a webinar. So let the fun begin!
#1: An Interactive Audience Poll
Is there a topic you’d like your audience’s opinion on? Running an audience poll is one of the best ways to make your attendees feel like their opinion matters.
Most webinar software tools come with inbuilt audience poll features. So all your audience has to do is either click on a ‘raise your hand’ button, or click on one of the voting options you put out to them. This way you can collect their votes for a question or an issue that’s relevant.
Once your audience has sent the votes in, remember to add some emotion to the poll results. Talk about the results while the webinar is on, and even ask your audience questions about why they chose to vote on their selected option. It’s a great way to keep people hooked.
#2: Create Amazing Webinar Content And Present It In A Great Format
Don’t just put up slides with lengthy sentences for people who read on their own in a webinar. Your job as a webinar organizer is to create amazing webinar content that makes your audience come alive.
Start by thinking of a very catchy topic that grabs the attention of your audience. Then if you have the time and resources for it, present your content in interesting formats, like creating infographics, interactive videos or GIFs that are visually appealing.
Then, think about some background music or animation you could play while the webinar is running. Make sure the background effects aren’t too loud if you’re planning on speaking during the webinar. If you’re talking, make sure you check the microphone for voice clarity.
Pay attention to the visual branding elements of your webinar content. Make sure you include your logo on each slide, with the right font and colors. Consistency in your branding is the key to creating a great impression and influencing your audience positively.
Now the interesting question is how you will showcase your webinar. You could do an interview-style webinar, where you’re interviewing thought leaders live. Or you could organize a virtual summit style webinar, with a few talks packed into a half-day or full-day session.
Another interesting style of presentation is a panel discussion. Much like offline panel discussions, they’re highly engaging and give the audience the benefit of interacting with multiple people with diverse perspectives on the same topic. Two companies that do this style well are Fast Lane Training and Wordbee. The following screenshot gives you a glimpse into what the panel discussion style webinar looks like:
If you’re presenting on PowerPoint, run the presentation at a speed of about 1 or 2 minutes per slide. With attention spans getting shorter and shorter, you just have to do whatever it takes to stimulate the senses of your audience continually!
#3: Make Audience Members Interact With Each Other
The best webinars are the ones that make their audience members talk to each other! This way you can connect people with similar interests or mutually beneficial agendas.
Your job as the webinar host is to facilitate your audience members to interact with each other. You can do this in a bunch of interesting ways. The first is by organizing them into private online groups while the webinar is going on.
The second is by enabling the chat feature so they can send each other private messages. Another way is to send them all an email with their permission with all of their contact details so they can get in touch with each other if they’d like to, once the webinar is done.
#4: Q&A Sessions
Letting your audience ask you questions while the webinar is running is an awesome way to engage your attendees. While it may not be possible to answer every question ‘on the go’ as it may disrupt your flow, you can always build in Q&A sessions into the webinar format.
This is where you’d allow your audience to ask you questions freely of their choice, and reply straight away like you’re in a conversation with them. And what could be a better way to engage your audience other than a live conversation!
#5: Make The Webinar Responsive To All Devices
Did you know that roughly 25% of your webinar audience tunes into your webinar via their mobile device?
With people now attending webinars on all sorts of devices, you need to make sure their design is responsive. You can run a test of your webinar on a tablet or mobile device to check the size of the text, the user interface, and other design elements. Make sure they’re nice and large, easy to view and visually appealing on all devices.
Choose a webinar platform that supports all devices. This ensures that your mobile and tablet attendees still get the benefit of all the ‘cool things’ your desktop viewers would get.
#6: Find Great Webinar Facilitators
Imagine if you’re attending a webinar about how to buy golf clubs. Would you rather listen to a small business owner, Tom Smith, who’s recently started a new golf retail store? Or would you rather attend a webinar that’s presented by Tiger Woods?
We’re guessing the one with Tiger Woods! That’s why you should try to involve influencers or subject matter experts in your webinar. If they’re on your webinar, you’ll have no shortage or attendees, and they’ll naturally feel highly engaged.
If influencers are outside of your budget, try to get people who’re expert webinar facilitators to come on board. They have the communication and facilitation skills to pump energy into a webinar, which can be magical for online engagement.
While all of the above factors naturally play a critical role in the success of your online webinar, try to find a date and time that suits all of your attendees. Schedule your webinar at a time when your participants are most likely to be alert and interested. The smallest detail can make the biggest difference in your audience’s engagement.
From legacy Fortune 100 institutions to inventive start-ups, Ryan brings extensive experience with a wide range of B2B clients. He skillfully architects and manages the delivery of integrated marketing programs, and believes strongly in strategy, not just tactics, that effectively aligns sales and marketing teams within organizations.