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What is a Webinar?

Webinar is generally interpreted as a seminar or other presentation that takes place on the Internet. The webinar definition is true, but actually, a webinar is more than that. Webinars provide a dynamic and interactive space for the participants to ask questions, respond to polls & surveys and get to know their webinar hosts on a personal level. They give the ability to interact, discuss, send and receive information in real time. When done correctly, it's a powerful tactic that can position you as an expert in your field, allow you to connect with your target audience, train new employees, as well as fuel business growth. Webinar seems to be a strategy to tick all the boxes.

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1. Four Main Types of Webinars to Boost Your Business

It can be said that every field does webinars these days. But that does not mean the world is too saturated with them. Instead, webinars have become an essential ingredient in today's world. You've probably been hearing a lot about webinar while have you ever heard that you can get twice the result with half the effort if you can use the right webinar type. Just at this moment, you may come up with a question- how many webinar types are there? Generally, webinars are divided into four types, including Live Webinar, Automated Webinar, On-demand Webinar and Paid Webinar.

all-in-one webinar solutions

Before we jump right into things, let's make sure everyone is on the same page about the definition of each webinar type.

1) Live Webinar

A live webinar is a live seminar conducted online that is hosted by the organizer with attendees to join in a virtual room to watch and listen to the presentation. Live Webinar means real-time interaction. It allows participants in different locations to see and hear what information the presenter is delivering and interact by sending instant messages, answering polls and voting, sharing a screen or whiteboard and so on. A live webinar is more than a webinar, but the way to engage others with various video conferencing tools simultaneously.

2) Automated Webinar

Simply put, an automated webinar is a webinar that is prerecorded and live simulated so that you can host anytime with minimal resources. It means that you can be more leveraged and free as the webinar you uploaded will start at the scheduled time automatically that you set in advance. Then you are in a position to take all the time you need to create the perfect webinar before you decide to upload it for the mass. It is possible to edit the best shots from multiple versions so you get the most impressive version. Obviously, this would be impossible to do live.

3) On-Demand Webinar

What if some of your audience couldn't attend on time? What if they missed it because of their work hours, or because they live in a different time zone? No worries! On-demand webinars unlock a fast & easy way to ensure that your valuable webinars can be seen at any time, anywhere. Never again lose viewers because of timing issues. The same content can be used over and over again, even with new viewers.

4) Free/Paid Webinar

Free webinars offers you opportunity to let the audience join the event at no cost, particularly great for leading generation and building brand awareness. Till now, webinar is not only a free channel to reach, educate and engage your audience, but also proves to be extremely profitable ventures and even work as part of a larger sales funnel. Paid webinars, on the other hand, are webinars where your audience pays to participate. They're not primarily for sales but to actually teach a valuable skill or provide in-depth information that you usually fail to get from free webinars.

As time goes by, people's needs constantly keep growing. Then, Webinar Series feature has been adopted in some webinar software and supported by plenty of users who want to host a series of webinars but reduce the complicity of registration process.

Webinar Series

Webinar Series can run on pre-recorded webinars or live ones. Have you ever met with the situation that you need to host a webinar containing several parts which are coherent? Fortunately, a series webinar can be compose of multiple webinars. Basically, it is a set of multiple live webinars, multiple automated webinars, or a combination of both. It is able to create a webinar series for no matter online courses, marketing events or other activities, which can be scheduled at multiple dates and times. But only a one-time registration is needed for all webinars in the series. The simplicity appeals to more hosts as well as the audiences.

All the webinar formats are interconnected. For example, the live webinar that has been recorded can be edited to the best and transformed into an automated webinar or on-demand webinar. For another example, the combination of paid webinar and automated webinar makes you get revenue around the clock even you're absent when the webinar is running. You can test and see which formula works the best for you. Luckily, currently, some webinar platforms like ezTalks Webinar, supports all the webinar types mentioned above.

2. Elements of a Webinar

There are certain elements that you should map out in your webinar that you may want to start from scratch. Regardless of what kind of webinar you are going to conduct, it must have the following vital elements:

what is a webinar

1) Equipment

a) Device. Any webinar should run with the help of a device like a PC, a Mac or an Android/iOS mobile device. Nowadays, you can also do it with one of the video conferencing devices launched by some brands like ezTalks. It proudly published some all-in-one devices integrated with everything you need for webinar hosting.

b) Headsets. The organizer and all presenters will need headsets- telephone headsets if your webinar tool supports a phone bridge, or computer headsets if your tool supports integrated web audio.

c) Microphone. You can rely on the built-in microphones in your laptop or desktop computer or use external mics. To achieve the best audio performance, you should equip yourself with a high-quality speakerphone.

d) A power cord. No matter what device you're using for a webinar, you need to ensure that the meeting won't be interrupted owing to being out of power.

e) Network connection. The network connection plays a critical role in hosting/joining a webinar. The more stable and faster network connection you get, the more seamless communication can be achieved and guaranteed.

2) Roles

There are multiple roles available for a webinar: host, panelist, presenters and attendees.

a) The host. The host of the webinar is the user who the webinar is scheduled under. The host has the complete permissions to manage the webinar, panelists, presenters and attendees and all of its settings.

b) The panelists. The panelist is like a guest speaker of a webinar who can view and turn on video/audio. What other features are available to the panelists depend on the webinar platforms that you choose.

c) The presenters. The presenter is a person who introduces the contents and conveys the information in a particular virtual event.

d) The participants. The participants are view-only attendees. They can interact with the host and the panelists through the text chat or Q&A as long as the chosen webinar platform supports.

3) Webinar Solutions

A webinar solution must be an indispensable element in a webinar. Whether you're a business, an organization, a start-up, or an individual- you want to find the right webinar solution that can cover your needs. The tools like screen sharing, whiteboard, polls & survey and etc. provided by the webinar solutions contribute to a successful and coherent webinar. Only with the right webinar tools, can you engage your audience and create a meaningful connection with webinar participants. So, it's important to choose carefully. But how to find the best for your own needs? Click here for further reading.

4) Content

Every webinar definitely contains content. It is totally impossible that no content is available in an online presentation. Actually, what content you will present depends on your ideas. No matter how good the webinar software you use, if the content you prepare is dryasdust, it still fails to make for a successful webinar. This is a branch of learning- you should know who would attend, and then deliver information that they want. It's nice if you can be entertaining along the way, but what's really vital is to deliver valuable information that people want and make it woven into your webinar content.

3. Status Quo of Webinar Hosting

Webinar has been around for years- but, far from being yesterday's news, it seems its popularity is still on the rise. A quick search on Google Trends reveals that the search term ‘webinar’ has steadily and inexorably grown from 2004 to the present day.

webinar

According to the overwhelming majority of the reports, when it comes to captivating your audience, professionals find videos, webinars and interactive content come to be the most engaging content types. These types of content are entertaining and created with the aim to keep the audience's interest. Instead, the least engaging forms of content are merely static and text-based- ebooks/white papers, blogs and press releases. As can be seen, webinars that can embed the videos and interactive content must enjoy a promising market prospect.

As we know, webinars work across industries. But what industries produce the most webinars? ezTalks has run the webinar services for quite a long time. Webinar data below are from the most recent 1000 among thousands of webinars hosted with ezTalks. According to the data we have gotten from ezTalks Webinar's users since its webinar service is launched, 43% of users host webinars to improve training and online learning retention, covering the largest portion. The following is that 29% of the users regard webinars as the way to engage a large remote audience for corporate communication. It is equally important that 28% of the users interviewed use webinars for marketing. Additionally, a survey by MarketingProfs found that 70% of marketers view webinars as effective or very effective at generating qualified leads.

top webinar use cases

For further analysis, there are three use cases that come up the most frequently- marketing, training and continuing education- and many organizations carry out all three. The vast majority of respondents using webinars for marketing run more than 100 webinars in the last year, with up to 86%. While 80% of the organizations, institutions or individuals providing training webinars produce up to 100 webinars in the last year. All these present the great popularity of webinar hosting, especially in the marketing, training/online education and communication sectors.

4. Webinar Trends

2018 saw the continued growth of webinars as an integral part especially in the B2B marketing mix and a regular online communication tool for the modern business. 2019 promises to be an even bigger year with trends already sprouting up amongst leading webinar platforms. From an increased focus on personalization to emphasis on data and experience, there will be a wide range of trends to keep an eye on. Here are the major trends that require your attention:

a) Webinars as part of a larger marketing funnel.

Marketers commonly regard webinars as an extremely effective piece of top-of-funnel content, and a great way to generate lists of highly motivated and engaged prospects. The webinars are designed to move people through the entire customer lifecycle – from unaware prospect to a loyal customer. It is predicted that we'll continue to see marketers incorporating webinars into larger marketing efforts across more and more multiple platforms. 

b) Inbound marketing to attract targets.

Attracting an audience is often a big challenge for webinar creators. More audiences mean more opportunities. We predict that new creators will become savvier about this in 2019, utilizing inbound marketing techniques that include email, webinar content marketing, social media and more to generate buzz around your own webinar hosting.

c) Webinars as an internal training tool.

According to the famous Webinar Benchmarks Report 2019, 89% of those offering webinar-based training say they can easily grow their programs. 96% of those who have been investigated and used webinars for training plan to increase the number of webinars they produce in the next 12 months. More and more people have been catching on for some time to the fact that using webinars for online training is both effectively and efficiently- and for less money, too. As online learning grows in acceptability, it is possible that even more conservative industries will start implementing webinars to train large groups of employees around the world or more organizations and institutions use them for online education to improve their skills.

d) On-demand is a must.

With the faster and faster pace of modern life, people may be quite busy with their task at hand. Consequently, though they are eager to join the webinar and get access to the information they need, they still fail to do that for having no time. There is no doubt that your audience decides what they view, but especially when they view something. Then, by making your presentation available on-demand, you can use webinar elements to continue to collect valuable data and satisfy those audiences.

e) Simple but safe.

Registering for each webinar must be as simple as possible, but safe and compliant with the GDPR law, a piece of EU legislation. What the people still strive to do is make the world safe for exchanging digital information. Besides, according to the study conducted by Blue Research, four out of five, or 86% of users feel bothered when they’re prompted to create new accounts on each website, and this percentage is growing over the years. That is to say, the easier the webinar registration process is, the more audiences will join the event.

Most of all, it can be predicted that webinars will still thrive and continue to be a preferred method of connecting with audiences well into 2019 and beyond.

5. Brief Summary

In an extremely noisy and fast-paced world, people pursue efficiency and effectiveness, so only the best way to achieve your goal will stand out. However, webinars should act as both the tip of the spear in breaking through such noise, and as a medium that keeps your goal going, no matter in the past, at present or in the future. Hope you can better know about the webinar meaning after reading “what is a webinar” and put the theory into practice to achieve your goals!

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