How to host an engaging webinar: 10 ways to captivate attendees and capture leads

Image of a person working at a laptop with a floating rectangle that says "WEBINAR" hovering over the keyboard.Since remote work became commonplace, webinars have also experienced a surge in popularity as an educational tool for professionals and as a marketing tactic for building and strengthening relationships with clients. Audience engagement during live webinars is increasing overall, according to the 2023 Webinar Benchmarks report from ON24. The average number of interactions per attendee shot up by 25 percent in 2022 compared to the previous year.

Additionally, the report states that the average duration of time audiences spent engaging with a live webinar reached 55 minutes last year, up 4 percent from the previous year. With audiences eager to engage, companies can form new connections and capture leads. However, successfully captivating an online audience and turning that momentary attention into a lasting customer relationship takes some strategy.

Based on our experience at Stratosphere Networks, here are some webinar hosting tips to keep in mind if you want your virtual seminars to inspire sales.

1. Create an eye-catching registration page.

In addition to including the agenda, time, date, and other essential info on your registration page, you can make it more visually engaging by including graphics. We usually craft a custom header including our company logo and logos from our sponsors.

2. Promote far in advance.

Compile a list of prospective attendees and plan to kick off a sequence of emails, phone calls, and LinkedIn messages and connection requests inviting them at least a month before the webinar. ON24 found that 29 percent of webinar audiences worldwide registered 15+ days before the event in 2022. Another 21 percent signed up 8 to 14 days prior.

3. Send out swag.

Raffling off or giving away swag like gift cards, t-shirts, headphones, and other goodies to attendees who stay until the end of the webinar will motivate your audience to participate for the entire hour (or however long the event lasts).

4. Encourage attendees to interact and ask questions via live chat.

Most people don’t want to simply listen to a presenter speak the entire time. Liven up the event by encouraging your audience to interact with each other and the hosts via live chat. Check the chat for questions periodically and take breaks to answer them.

5. Use a hosting platform that allows attendees to react.

Some webinar hosting applications have reaction features so your audience can virtually applaud or raise their hands to alert the hosts that they have questions. This facilitates interactive webinars instead of limiting your attendees to passively listening.

6. Include polls in the presentation.

Like reactions and the live chat, this feature makes your audience active participants in the event. It’s also a useful tool for gathering info on your potential customers and kicking off conversations.

7. Avoid text-heavy slides and opt for graphics, videos, and other visuals.

Most of us have attended a grueling presentation that involved someone haltingly reading word-for-word off their slides. Don’t subject your audience to that. Keep the flow of conversation more natural and engage them with graphs, charts, graphics, and videos.

8. Leave plenty of time for Q&A.

Audiences asked 15 questions per webinar on average in 2022, according to ON24’s report. Don’t leave their questions unanswered – be sure to devote the last 15 minutes or so of the webinar to their queries.

9. Follow up with all your attendees within 24 hours.

Send emails as soon as possible thanking your audience for their time and giving them the opportunity to seek more information about your company and/or the material presented.

10. Send a recording to everyone who signed up and offer on-demand access on your website.

People who couldn’t attend the live event because of scheduling conflicts will appreciate it if you send them a recording to absorb at their convenience. We’ve also found you can turn webinars into longer-term lead generators by posting recap blogs on your website and including a form people can fill out to download the recording.

If you want to explore top solutions for hosting webinars, our technology consultants would be happy to help. With over 20 years of experience in the IT industry, access to exclusive research, and detailed comparison matrices, we can rapidly pinpoint the best option for your business based on your unique pain points and objectives. Why spend hours vetting suppliers and navigating a complex marketplace on your own when we can provide expert guidance and do the homework for you?

Advance confidently with Stratosphere today by calling 877-599-3999 or emailing

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