Webinars are a marketing staple now.
They’ve become a powerful online marketing tool for most businesses. Webinars help you educate existing and potential customers about things important to them, giving you the chance to sell your products or services in a compelling way that puts you in the spotlight as a thought leader.
But while many people think webinars are merely virtual seminars, they are much more than that.
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What is a webinar?
Simply put, a webinar is a video presentation you make for your audience virtually, where they don’t have to leave the comfort of their home or wherever they are to get access and even take part if the webinar is live.
You can run a live webinar where you interact with your audience in real time or an on-demand webinar that is pre-recorded, so your attendees can access it anytime.
I’ll detail these two major webinar types more in a bit. But essentially, here are a few key elements you need to get up and running.
If you need a quick Webinar 101, read more in How Do Webinars Work? A Beginner’s Guide to Webinar Marketing.
Case study: Learn how Ravenol, a producer of high-quality lubricants for the automotive industry, moved online and attracted 1200 new email subscribers in three weeks using webinars.
4 key elements you need to get started with webinars
1. A good camera angle (if you’re showing your face)
No one wants to appear bloated or pale when they’re hosting a live webinar.
It’s important to make sure the camera is set at a clear and flattering angle when hosting a live webinar. That way your audience can see you and appreciate the effort you put into looking good, however subconscious that appreciation may be.
Take time to prep for your webinar and do a couple of trial recordings to make sure you’ve gotten the right angle. Keep doing it until you find the right background and lighting.
Watch how I improve the quality of my laptop videos in just a few simple steps:
2. A properly set-up microphone
The point of a webinar for your audience is to learn something they didn’t know before.
But this purpose won’t be fulfilled if they can’t hear what you’re saying. For example, would you keep watching a movie if you had to strain your ears to hear the characters’ lines? I’m guessing the answer is no. It works the same with webinars, whether pre-recorded or live.
So set up your microphone right and test it out to make sure you can be heard clearly and there’s no feedback or background noise.
3. An uncluttered background design (if you’re showing your face)
Cluttered backgrounds are very distracting.
Imagine watching a webinar and there’s a pile of dirty dishes in the background or a wrestling match playing on the TV right behind the presenter’s head. Pretty distracting, right? It’s the same as having to look at a garishly colored backdrop or one filled with dancing monkeys.
Make sure your background is suitable and relevant, so your audience doesn’t have any distractions.
4. A great webinar recording software
All your hard work comes to naught if you don’t have the right recording software.
No matter how well-planned your webinar is, if you don’t have the right software to record it, the finished work comes out looking tacky.
It’s important that you choose the right recording software while creating your webinar. It makes the recording process seamless and creates the best material.
Webinar Setup Checklist
Want to be sure that your webinar is a success?
Then grab this handy checklist to make sure you’ve covered all the bases.
3 ways to record your webinar
First off, to record a webinar, you need software that’ll help you host and create it.
In this article, I’ll be showing you how to record your webinar using GetResponse, not only because it’s our product, but because it actually provides all the tools you need to:
- Host a live webinar, presenting everything in real time.
- Host a live webinar by yourself but play a pre-recorded version of it and interact with your attendees on chat, answering questions they may have in real time.
- Host a live webinar (even without an audience) and turn it into an on-demand webinar that can be accessed by anyone at any time after they meet certain requirements, like signing up with their emails, payment, or whatever is it you require.
Quick note: GetResponse offers a free 30-day trial, you can see the webinar feature and try it out for yourself here.
1. Host a live webinar and present everything live
Here, you can lay it all out on the table for your audience.
This option gives you the opportunity to host a live webinar, answer attendees’ questions in real time, and have the opportunity to educate them about the capabilities of your product or service through practical examples and slides.
This leads to an in-depth learning process for the audience which is more likely to generate leads and conversions for your business.
Here’s what this would look like in real life:
- Announce the date of the live webinar to your audience, so they can register and get ready.
- Give them compelling reasons why they should honor your webinar invitation and details of what the webinar will be about.
- Send reminders before the webinar to those who’ve registered.
- On the webinar’s day, send your audience a reminder and a link through which they can access it.
- Present your webinar and answer questions via chat.
You can now record the webinar you’re hosting –– just click the Rec button in the top menu of the webinar room. If the button’s highlighted red, it’s recording. You can even start recording before the webinar starts.
When you stop recording, your webinar is automatically saved in the mp4 format and is available for you to download. See more here.
Related: How to create a webinar presentation
2. Host a live webinar but play a pre-recorded webinar
This is a lot like a live webinar, but since it’s pre-recorded, it gives you an opportunity to be better prepared to face your attendees on camera.
This is a great option if you don’t trust the unpredictability of live webinars, where anything could go wrong — like you being camera shy or your tools just malfunctioning for some reason.
You can play pre-recorded webinars live and get the opportunity to interact with your audience via chat — all in GetResponse Webinars.
The steps to take when hosting a pre-recorded webinar would be the same as in the live webinar’s case, but with the added first step of recording the webinar beforehand.
You should record the webinar as if you’re hosting it live (with a disclaimer that this isn’t in fact real-time content). Set up your camera and microphone, or screen-record your presentation using available tools and save it as an mp4 file. Make sure you don’t have any software watermarks on your finished product.
Note: When you’re using pre-recorded footage, you can still record the webinar, just like you would record a live one.
3. Host a live webinar and turn it into an on-demand webinar
As the term “on-demand” implies, your webinar will be available when your audience requests it by signing up with their email, making a payment, or whatever you require.
For example, after you create the webinar, your audience can demand it by going to your webinar landing page, sign up and watch it.
This means you can post an ongoing sign-up page for this webinar if you’re looking to collect emails and get leads or subscribers. The world is a busy place with so many timezones, and people may not be available to attend a live webinar on the date and time you host it. So, why exclude them from enjoying your content?
On-demand webinars offer you the opportunity to always have your webinars available for your customers whenever they’re ready to see them. They don’t have to miss out on anything and neither do you.
For on-demand webinars, you can make your webinar in your preferred fashion and create a landing page that’s only shown to those who fill out your forms online (similar to a thank you page).
Here’s what this would look like in real life:
- Host & record your webinar.
- Set up your sign-up form, payment gateway, or whatever attendees need to access the webinar.
- Announce your webinar launch date.
- Give people all the details — why they should honor your webinar invitation and how long it’ll be available for them to view at their convenience.
- On the day you upload the webinar, send your audience a reminder and a link through which they can access it.
How to record a webinar on Mac and Windows
Need to know how to go about creating a webinar? Here’s a step-by-step process on how to navigate webinar creation software using GetResponse.
Do note that in order to create on-demand webinars using GetResponse, you will have to choose the Professional plan.
Step 1: Create a webinar funnel
At the top of your screen, click “Create.”
Next, click on the “Create funnel” option and follow the steps of creating your funnel list.
A webinar funnel is the marketing process a webinar host uses to attract potential webinar participants and achieve a specific goal.
Think of it as creating a marketing plan for your webinar. Creating a webinar funnel is one of the most effective ways to invite people to join your webinar because it’ll explain what exactly they should expect.
You’ll need to create a webinar funnel that will help you carry on with the whole process of creating your own webinar and promoting it. Type in the name of your funnel at the top of the page, as shown in the image above and a new list will automatically be created. The name you choose should have at least four characters.
Step 2: Fill out all the necessary information for your funnel
Next, choose the third option “Promote a webinar,” and click on “Create a funnel.”
Once you click that, you’ll see where to choose between hosting a free or paid webinar.
Step 3: Choose your webinar model
You’ll be asked what kind of webinar you want to create, either free or paid. Choose your preferred option and go from there.
Step 4: Enter your webinar title
If you choose the free webinar tab, it takes you to the settings page where you put in all the necessary information.
Here you can choose a name for your webinar. It should be a name that immediately piques the audience’s interest (don’t include HTML codes or merge words together here).
Click on the “Add details” tab in the basic settings option.
Your webinar URL will be automatically generated using the webinar title you have chosen but you can change it manually if you prefer. You can then copy your webinar URL and share it.
Choose the date and time you want the webinar to air, input your lobby message, and set up your thank-you page — this will pop up after the webinar is finished.
Click on “Save this step” and then click on “Edit settings” to open the registration and subscription settings page.
Step 5: Set up your registration form and subscription settings
Your contacts will be saved in your default funnel list which was created alongside your webinar funnel. Registration for a free funnel is always required to ensure accurate tracking of your funnel statistics, so it’s important you create your free funnel at the start of your registration.
You can add consent fields to your registration form for your audience or decide to set “Send reminders” to those that register.
When you’re done with these settings, click “Save this step” and then click on “Create” to finish the first part of the set-up and you can go ahead recording your webinar.
Step 6: Set up your webinar room
The webinar room in GetResponse offers a variety of tools that help you broadcast top-notch content to your audience using the audio-video view panel.
You can share information using the desktop sharing function, a YouTube or Facebook plugin, the whiteboard function (this allows you to insert images or input text into the webinar screen), receive feedback from them using the survey function, and answer questions using the question mode.
On top of all that, you can also advertise products, services, or other content with the call-to-action function. In order to manage your webinar room, join the webinar as a presenter and start building your room layout with the toolbar on the left-hand side of your screen.
In the next section I’ll be going into detail about the differences between pre-recorded and live webinars.
Pre-recorded vs. live webinars
Live webinars and pre-recorded webinars both have their advantages. The trick is in learning which of them is best for you.
Live webinars are best used as a tool to connect with your audience while also educating them about your product or service.
Pre-recorded webinars can be recycled and kept in your content bank for further use. Knowing the pros and cons of these two forms of webinars will help you choose which type is best for you and your audience.
Live webinars are perhaps the most common types of webinars.
They’re extremely popular in numerous industries and they work particularly well for entrepreneurs who sell online courses. If you’re in the educational field, you can pass on your knowledge and skillset to your customers, using this medium as a robust marketing channel for your business.
It’s an opportunity to show that you can reliably teach your customers by showcasing your skills during your free webinar. You don’t want to give away all of your secrets, of course, but you do want to provide as much value as possible.
During a live webinar, you’re speaking to and engaging with your audience in real time. Your prospective attendees are informed of what time and date you’ll host the webinar so they can tune in and watch it live.
Live webinars let you speak directly to your audience and answer their questions as they come in. It’s almost like a seminar, but you don’t have to physically meet with attendees.
Three main benefits of live webinars
Live webinars are a powerful way to reach your audience quickly and to convert prospects into customers quickly and in real-time.
Let’s look at a few of the most compelling benefits that your business can enjoy when you host live webinars.
1. Making an emotional connection with the audience
Would you rather talk to a friend in person or speak to them on the phone? You’re most likely going to go with the first option, right?
As human beings, we value physically seeing another person. Words on the page are great, and still images pack plenty of punch, but live videos seem to perform better than other marketing channels.
2. Answering audience questions in real time
People prefer to have immediate answers to their questions and live webinars afford them that opportunity.
Instead of guessing what’s in your prospects’ heads, you let them tell you during the webinar. You’ll increase transparency and credibility because you have to answer immediately. You’re not giving a prepared branding statement. You’re communicating honestly.
3. Building a rapport with repeat attendees
Brand loyalty is fostered when clients feel like there’s a true connection with the brand.
You might discover that some people reliably attend your webinars again and again. They’re big fans of your brand and they don’t want to miss an opportunity to connect with you.
Make it a point to remember their names so you can give them shout-outs during your webinars. Plus, rapport will gradually build between you and these fans, which generally translates into more sales and even making them brand ambassadors.
Three main benefits of pre-recorded webinars
Whether you’re hoping to entertain, educate, or inspire your audience, you can keep share this content as long as you want.
Here are some great benefits of pre-recorded webinars.
1. Mapping the content before you record
You have more time to get everything just the way you want it.
With a pre-recorded webinar, you have more time to prepare your content, plan, add some special effects, and do some post-production work. This way you are more likely to exhibit a polished, finished product.
2. Keeping nerves at bay
Some people experience more anxiety when they speak in front of a live audience than when they record footage for future consumption.
With pre-recorded webinars, you’re more relaxed, knowing you can edit out the mistakes and redo sections that don’t come out the way you planned. You tend to make fewer mistakes than you would when you’re agitated by the public’s perception of your performance.
However, this benefit can also become a drawback. If you’re too focused on perfectionism, you might never release the webinar at all. You’ll simply keep editing and re-recording it, which can lead to lost revenue and conversions.
3. Getting the best of both worlds
You don’t have to choose between a live and pre-recorded webinar. Why not combine them?
You’re putting time, energy, and money into creating a webinar, so it might as well pull in as much ROI as possible.
Consider recording your live webinar, then making it available to your audience as expandable content or another form of lead magnet.
You could create a landing page or sales page and use it to attract more customers. It all depends on your specific goals and how your recorded webinar will serve you best.
After the live webinar, you can edit the footage however you wish. Maybe you stumbled over your words at the thirty-minute mark. Just edit out that portion.
Wrapping it up!
Here’s a quick rundown of all the key takeaways from this article:
- A webinar is not just a virtual seminar, it can be so much more. A lead magnet, a way to connect with customers, a valuable lesson.
- Webinars can either be hosted live, pre-recorded and then aired live, or created as on-demand webinars. On-demand webinars can be recorded wether the original webinar was pre-recorded or live, and your audience can always access them whenever they want to watch them.
- A webinar funnel can be extremely helpful in your webinar creation process. It helps keep track of how well your webinar is doing.
- Use pre-recorded webinars if you’re not sure you can face your audience live.
- Live webinars are a great way for you to connect with your audience.
- Pay attention to every little detail when creating your webinar. Your audience notices even the little things.
So, what type of webinar are you most likely to host? Do you stress in front of a live audience? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!