10 Ways to Connect with your Customers During Webinars
Over the years, the webinar landscape has changed drastically. Remote work has exploded, marketing and lead generation webinars now form part of most marketing strategies - and high-profile virtual events such as Annual General Meetings and Investor Relations Calls are regularly held online, or at least in a hybrid capacity.
While the landscape of webinars and virtual events has changed, one thing remains the same - creating engagement and connecting with your customers online is still critical.
From registration to on-demand viewing - your virtual event process should be seamless, and your content should inspire those joining live or on-demand.
We explore how to truly connect with your online audience. We will go beyond the interactive features and provide you with tips and advice to take your webinars to the next level - and convert.
1. Create a seamless registration process
These days, people expect the online registration process for anything to be seamless and hassle-free. So once you’ve promoted your webinar, ensure your registration is easy to access and complete.
Once your registrants have completed their details, your workflow must provide them with the necessary information to join immediately.
Send automated confirmation details, followed by reminder emails and last chance to register notifications. These emails should be clear, simple, and always include an ical link so registrants can add your event to their calendars as a reminder.
5 Best Practice Tips for Creating Registration Pages that convert:
Create a compelling topic that stands out
Provide a summary of your webinar, followed by key takeaways - what will people learn from joining your webinar?
Make your call to action clear and your registration forms short - only capture the information your require
Use multivariate testing to see which pages perform best
Use a redirect thank you page to let people know what they can expect next, and consider promoting alternative content
2. Find Creative Webinar Platforms
With so many online platforms available, the choices can become overwhelming. So how do you know which one is right for you, and where do you even begin?
How collaborative will your webinar be?
Which interactive features are required?
Will your event be streamed online, or will it have a hybrid component?
What is more important to you - the video of your speakers or the content?
Are you trying to replicate a physical conference?
Do you have sponsors involved - and if so, what will additional branding be required on the platform?
Once you have identified answers to the questions, you will be able to source a webinar partner that can offer you precisely what you need.
When it comes to finding creative platforms that stand out from the rest, webinars have come a long way in the past 12 months - here are some examples of exciting ways you can take your virtual event to the next level.
You only have one chance to make a first impression - so why not make it impressive!
Virtual Lobbys are the first interaction your attendees will have, and if you work with the right provider, you can customise them how you please.
Brand your lobby with your colours, fonts, and logos, and add your sponsor logos for increased exposure
Link to keynote sessions and exhibition halls
Promote sessions, content, and agendas
Provide easy access to live support when required
Interactive Exhibition Spaces
When replicating a physical conference, it’s essential to consider all elements - especially the Exhibition Hall.
From increasing sponsor exposure to enhancing networking opportunities, platforms that can truly replicate this experience should be considered when taking your conference virtual.
3. Source Engaging Speakers and Hosts
Connecting via the online platform can be quite an art. Virtual Speakers need to be engaging and passionate to cut through the technology and truly engage global audiences.
Here are some tips on finding engaging presenters:
It may sound obvious, but source speakers who have experience presenting to an online audience. They will require less training and support and will weave interactive elements into their presentation.
Consider working with your sponsors to create content with someone from their organisation. Their presentation must be relevant and educational, and they must refrain from delivering a sales pitch.
When creating impressive virtual conferences that are organised and polished, consider using a virtual host or emcee to facilitate. The role of a virtual host is to:
Introduce your speakers: Ensure your host is across the finer details and bios of your speakers - this will allow them to provide exciting introductions.
Help speakers deliver engaging content: Your host can interview specific speakers or facilitate speaker panels to increase interaction and engage your virtual attendees.
Interact with your virtual and online audience: From initiating Q&A sessions to launching polls, your host will take care of all the interactive elements.
Ensure your event stays on track and to schedule: Your host will be able to manage the timing of all sessions, ensuring your event has a seamless flow and sticks to the allocated time.
Consider using a managed service provider to help train and support your speakers and hosts for high-profile virtual events. This will remove the burden from your team and result in a professional event.
4. Provide Valuable Content and Keep it Educational
When connecting on a virtual event, people want to be inspired and ultimately walk away with key learnings they can apply in their organisation. Therefore, if attendees are investing time to engage in your webinar, it’s essential that you provide content that is of value.
Here are some ideas for educational content for your next webinar:
Research Reports: If you’ve conducted a recent research report, why not have someone from your organisation discuss the key findings online? Use graphs and statistics and draw correlations between your conclusions to discuss in more detail. Consider using a panel of experts that can have a conversation rather than simply present.
Customer Case Studies: Everyone loves hearing a success story. Invite your customers online to discuss a recent achievement and interview them on how they achieved it. Plan a test run before your live event and keep your questions about the process rather than your product or solution. Sessions can then be recorded and hosted on your website.
5. Utilise the Interactive Features Within the Platform
Interacting with your customers online is essential. It provides you with an opportunity to receive feedback and create engagement.
However, with so many features now available within the online platform - how do you know which one is right for you? Here’s an overview of how to use the main features that will be sure to increase connection.
Q&A Functionality: Utilise the Question and Answer functionality within your platform to encourage feedback, thoughts, and opinions from your virtual audience. Connect attendees with presenters by asking them to submit responses via the chat box function.
Polling: Ask for, receive, and share feedback instantly with multiple-choice options. Polls are a great way to gain quick responses on attendee levels of engagement and learning outcomes. Consider using polls to connect quickly - but ensure you constructively use the feedback.
Virtual Breakout Rooms: Breakout rooms allow you to segment attendees into mini-rooms to discuss topics at length or collaborate. They can be launched on the fly or created in advance and provide in-depth feedback and responses based on your content.
6. Consider Interactive Q&A Sessions
Gaining feedback from your virtual attendees is essential for a variety of reasons. It allows you to respond, provides you with instant reactions to your content, and builds connections with your speakers.
But what if you could take the chat box further? Many platforms offer the ability to submit video Q&A Sessions and allow for an interactive experience for all involved.
Here’s how you can achieve this:
Managed Q&A: If opting for a managed event, you can allow attendees to dial into your event, and your operator can easily unmute/mute lines and open up for an interactive discussion.
Video Q&A: Ask attendees to submit their questions ahead of time in an MP4 file, and stream them into your webinar. It will be sure to increase interaction and break up your content.
Interactive Q&A Sessions increase interaction and break up your content - creating increased engagement for all involved.
7. Experiment with Formats
Gone are the days of talking heads of single webcams. Virtual attendees now want to connect in a meaningful way - through conversations and discussions that are professional, polished, and immersive.
When it comes to launching your next webinar program, consider the different formats available which can help in creating engagement and converting.
Moderator and Speaker: Also known as a fireside chat, this format is widely used for interviews. Introducing a moderator instantly changes the dynamic of your virtual event and makes for a much more relaxed and appealing conversation.
Ensure your moderator and speaker meet ahead of time and pre-plan questions to ask. It’s important they build a rapport to keep the tone light-hearted.
Panel Discussion: When executed right, panel discussions can be highly compelling. They are controlled and moderated by a facilitator and are commonly used to discuss broad topics, research reports, or discussions that involve industry experts.
A virtual panel discussion is dynamic and instantly makes your customer feel part of the conversation. However, it’s critical to find the right talent as your facilitator. They will be the glue that holds your panel together and will be responsible for encouraging conversation between speakers.
Virtual Conferences: Taking in-person events online has grown in popularity over the past two years. Virtual Conferences are a cost-effective way to extend your reach and connect with customers globally.
While additional planning goes into making them work, they can prove to be an excellent way to increase revenue, sponsor opportunities, and delegate participation. Therefore, we recommend outsourcing a managed provider to assist you with the planning and execution of a Virtual Conference.
8. Consider Virtual Delegate Gifts and Virtual Networking
Connecting with your customers in a virtual world does come with its challenges. But that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment with fun and exciting ways to bridge the gap.
Since COVID-19 changed the way the world works, we have worked with many customers who have found new and creative ways to engage those based remotely. Here are a few ideas.
Virtual Delegate Gifts
We’ve all been to those conferences that offer gifts at their stands - from the iPhone charger to the USB - but have you thought about offering something of greater value virtually?
The virtual platform allows you to send links and upload resources which can immediately provide your attendees with gift vouchers or other online alternatives which can instantly be redeemed.
Virtual Drinks and Networking
For large events, why not host a virtual networking event once it completes? For example, consider asking your attendees what their favourite drink is during the registration process, then send them a package containing their desired drop, along with some snacks to enjoy.
Alternatively, you can consider local cheese providers, chocolates, or anything else that immediately says ‘thank you, now sit back and enjoy.’ It’s a great way to facilitate networking, and if you can, you can also get your sponsors involved.
9. Centralise On-demand Content
We’ve all registered for an event we were no longer able to attend, and in some cases, even wished we could go back and remember that crucial quote a speaker mentioned.
On-demand content is essential for any event. And with average attendance rates hovering around the 40% mark, it’s even more critical that you provide your customers with easy access to all your virtual event recordings.
Centralising your on-demand content allows for easy viewing and can also be a great way to report on who is interested in your content well after your event has concluded.
Here are some tips on making the most of it:
Have a plan in place: Understand that your audience will go back to view your content at different stages. Some may immediately want access, while others may want to watch later. Having one central location which is easy to find will cater to everyone.
Consider the Customer Experience: While it’s common for customers to register to attend your webinar, they will be less inclined to view on-demand content if they have to complete a lengthy registration form. If your goal is to capture data, simply ask them to submit their email address.
For more tips on maximising your on-demand viewership, take a look at our blog: How to Host Your Webinar Content
10. Follow up, and continue to engage once your event is over
Once your event is over, you still have an opportunity to connect with your audience. It’s about following up and providing them with value.
Here are some tips that will help you continue the conversation.
Provide access to on-demand content: As stated above, on-demand content will allow you to extend the life of your event. Send all registrants follow-up emails with easy-to-follow instructions on how to access your recordings.
Nurture your audience: Continue the conversation by providing additional content of value. This may include additional ebooks related to your topic, future webinar invitations or invitations to product demonstrations.