Here’s How to Boost Webinar Engagement from Start to Finish

By Sara Lieber

By 2025, the global webinars and virtual events market is expected to reach $4.4 billion in value — nearly triple the size that it was in 2020, according to a report by Frost & Sullivan.

Even without the hard data though, it’s clear that webinars have become a mainstay in many of our digital marketing strategies. Because of their convenience and ability to drive real-time buyer interactions, 47% of marketers say that, out of all their content, webinars (and other virtual events) produced the best results for them in the past year.

However, it’s needless to say that with the value that webinars promise comes an increase in competition. So, when everyone is hosting webinars, how can you ensure yours cuts through the noise?

By crafting an experience that’s engaging from the point of registration all the way through to the post-webinar follow-up.

Hi, I’m Sara Lieber, Senior Events Marketing Manager at Drift 👋  I recently spoke on a webinar alongside Tiara Yracheta-Udziela, Customer Marketing Manager at Banzai, to share how we build webinar programs that engage our audiences every step of the way. Here’s your guide to hosting webinars that increase brand awareness, convert more leads, and drive more revenue.

If you’d like to watch the full webinar recording, click here. Otherwise, keep reading for all the insights 💡

Setting the Stage: Preparing for Your Webinar

Before you embark on your webinar journey, it’s important that you know why you’re hosting this webinar in the first place. What goal are you hoping to achieve? What type of buyer are you hoping will attend the webinar?

By setting a clear objective from the start, you will be able to keep your team aligned so you can deliver a truly engaging webinar experience. Once you have that goal in mind, then you’re ready to jump into the pre-webinar process 👇

Streamline Your Registrations

With your target list and key objectives in place, it’s time to start gathering registrations.

While there are several different approaches you can take to do so, in order to ensure the most consistent experience, we recommend that you host the registration form on your own website. Better yet, replace the form altogether with an event registration chatbot. This not only makes the registration process more conversational but also provides an avenue for visitors to engage with your brand even after they’re done registering.

Event Registration Chatbot

Additionally, if you integrate the chatbot with your tech stack, you will be able to instantly recognize a return visitor or known account, which means that they won’t have to input their information (again) to register. As a result, you get a registration process that is fast, easy, and authentic. And, as an added bonus, the registration will show up in your CRM so that sales reps have a jumping-off point for future conversations.

Promote, Promote, Promote

Because everyone is doing webinars these days, you can’t bank on people simply finding your content. Even if they do, there’s no guarantee that they will attend. That’s why you need to promote them.

While social media, paid ads, and landing pages are good for promoting your webinar, email is the best way to reach your audience. But it’s crucial that you don’t oversaturate the person’s inbox, otherwise, they will get turned off from the event. At Drift, we have an email calendar we check before planning out our promotions to ensure we’re not overwhelming our audience with too many offers.

When thinking about what to say in the email, you want to craft eye-catching and compelling copy. You especially want to think hard about the subject line, as this is what determines if people open the email at all. Then, once you have your registrants, you can send them a save-the-date email to remind them that the event is coming up. In these emails, we recommend teasing the content or providing relevant resources to help build excitement and drive up your show rate.

Save the Date Email

Lights, Camera, Action: Executing the Webinar

It’s the day of the webinar! Now, it’s crucial that you execute on the promise you made to your registrants and aim to make your event as engaging as possible in order to limit your attendee drop-off rate. Here are some recommendations for doing exactly that:

Deliver Compelling Content

It goes without saying that your content should be valuable to your audience. But what does that mean in practice?

As Tiara puts it, it’s all about mapping your content to the emotional buyer’s journey — which is why it’s so important that you set your audience and goals early on in the process. Because, if you have a buyer that just started researching your solution, for example, the last thing you want is to throw a product demo their way.

“Instead of thinking about it in terms of where you want your audience to be, you’re thinking about where they are in their emotional journey, what their goals are, and how you can align your content to those emotions.”

– Tiara Yracheta-Udziela, Customer Marketing Manager, Banzai

Another point to keep in mind with your content is that the virtual environment makes it easy for your attendees to get distracted or zone out. By delivering your content in a concise, conversational way — such as by breaking it up into segments, using real-world examples, and leveraging storytelling — you can make sure that your audience’s interest won’t wane. Though the length of your webinar will likely vary, we find that keeping your webinar around 30 to 40 minutes also helps with this.

Incorporate Interactive Elements

Zoom fatigue is real. But, if you can make your audience feel like they’re a part of your webinar, you can easily overcome it.

The best way to do this is to incorporate interactive elements throughout your webinar. This can be as simple as inviting the audience to submit questions in chat or getting them to participate in a poll. Since the goal with these interactive elements is to foster a dialog with your audience, you’ll want to make sure that you’re asking insightful questions and answering thoughtfully. Doing so will help prevent drop-off while adding more depth to your content.

When it comes to interactive content, it also pays to think outside of the box. Get creative, and have fun with it! Tiara’s team at Banzai, for example, uses a game show format to demo their Demio webinar platform. Similarly, by promising a prize at the end of the webinar, you can incentivize attendees to pay attention and stay until the end.

Craft Calls to Action (CTAs) Carefully

Your webinar is the perfect place to spark more conversations with your buyers and customers, which is why you want to be purposeful in what you ask of your audience.

So, think about what the next best action is for the attendee to take — it could be downloading a resource, scheduling a demo, or subscribing to a newsletter — and build that CTA into your webinar. Not only will this give your attendees a clear next step to follow, but if they then interact with that CTA, it will give you an even better understanding of them.

The Aftermath: Post-Webinar Engagement

Just because the webinar ends doesn’t mean that you can’t still leverage it or learn from it. Given all the time and effort that you spent on it, you want to turn your webinar into the gift that keeps on giving. Here’s how you can do exactly that 👇

Learn from Your Data

Whether it’s attendee behavior, questions asked in chat, or interactions with resources, a single webinar can offer a treasure trove of data, which you can then use to gauge your success and improve on the experience. For example, if you’re seeing a significant drop-off rate at the 10-minute mark, that’s your cue to revise how you’re presenting your content.

Additionally, you can use this data to learn more about individual buyers and customers and customize your interactions with them. As Tiara explains, for example, if you’re running a customer training and you see one customer asking a specific question, you can incorporate that into any conversations with that customer that follow.

Tailor Your Post-Webinar Follow-Up

With all of the insights you’ve gathered at your disposal, you can now dive into the follow-up. While you can follow up through different channels, here, just as with the promotion piece, email will be one of your go-tos.

When tailoring your follow-up emails, the goal is to speak to segments of your audience. On the most basic level, you can use a marketing automation tool to sort and send two types of emails — one for attendees and one for no-shows. For higher-touch engagement, you can implement sales cadences to deliver personalized outreach from your sales team and boost your chances of having more conversations with those attendees.

Post-Webinar Sales Cadence

Regardless of who your email recipient is, it’s important that you make your webinar available so that it can be shared and rewatched. Whether you’re sharing your slide deck or a recording, you will want to include a link to your webinar in any follow-up you send. Once that’s done, you can use your email to deliver key takeaways, address lingering questions, or provide relevant resources to encourage further engagement.

Final Thoughts

As I’ve covered here, hosting a successful webinar requires a careful orchestration of planning, execution, and post-event engagement. But while that might seem like a lot to keep track of, it’s actually not as complicated as you might think.

Because, no matter where you are in your webinar strategy, remember: As long as you keep your audience top-of-mind, you will be able to engage them effectively. By doing so, you will be able to turn your webinar program into a powerful tool for building brand authority, educating people, and fostering meaningful connections — with both buyers and customers alike.

Find out how Drift helps drive more webinar registrations (and a lot more) at our 2023 Drift Keynote. Register today!