17 minute read
We know that webinars work, and that’s probably why you’ve incorporated them into your business, whether it’s for training, onboarding, marketing or sales - someone in your organization is hosting them on a regular basis. There's only one massive problem with webinars: they require someone to host them, which makes them unscalable.
If your revenue is tied to user engagement and adoption — or in other words — the ability for customers to understand and use your product or service as quickly as possible, you need to be able to give them information and deliver value quicker and more frequently.
If resources are scarce, it is often difficult to hire additional people to help with webinars. Even if you can hire more people, doing repetitive webinars is boring - and your best people are not going to want to stay for that role. The reality is, if your webinars are repetitive and you know what customers are going to ask, do you really need a human to be there doing live webinars?
Automated webinar solutions can help you scale your webinars 10x, 100x, or even 1000x without adding any additional resources and headcount. Because automated webinars help you automate repetitive content, your team's time is freed up to do things that require their unique attention. Things like one on one customer calls, live Q&As, and other revenue generating activities that can't be automated.
The key to executing this strategy effectively is to understand what automated webinars can do for you, and how you can leverage this medium as an opportunity to grow your business - without being there 24/7. This article will help you learn how to scale your webinar strategy with automation by covering the following:
Before we get into how to create a pre-recorded webinar, let’s dive into what an automated webinar is. If you want to see what eWebinar specifically can offer you, check out what we do.
An automated webinar is a pre-recorded event that is designed to run without a host present. They are delivered exactly the same way as a traditional webinar, giving attendees the look and feel of a live event, the difference being that they’re seeing a pre-recorded video instead of a livestream.
Automated webinars are scheduled like recurring events that happen frequently so attendees can choose a time that is convenient for them, rather than needing to force their schedule to that of a live host. This is particularly important for companies with customers across different time zones.
Making your webinar available at the convenience of the attendees’ schedule means your attendance and engagement rates will significantly increase (our customers have seen up to 6x the attendance!). People no longer have to sign up to your webinar even if they can’t make it just to get the replay recording. They can actually join at a time when they are ready to consume your presentation.
It also makes it easier for hosts to engage with their attendees while the webinar carries on without interruptions. This is a big struggle when hosting live webinars, as hosts have to try to multitask giving their presentation and interacting with their audience.
When it comes to creating a pre-recorded webinar, careful planning and engagement strategies are essential to ensuring your webinar’s success. Automated webinars may require more upfront planning than a traditional live webinar, but you will be able to leverage the same video hundreds (or even thousands) of times, so the initial investment will yield a much more substantial return over time.
Follow the steps below to get the most out of your automated webinar.
If you don’t already have a preferred platform for creating pre-recorded webinars, research your available options. You’ll want to choose one that has all the features you need to accomplish your business goals, whether that’s to scale your team, free up their time, or generate leads 24/7. Most importantly, you should choose a solution that aligns with your brand and you’ll be proud to show off to your customers. If webinars are how you’re going to get to your customers around the world, then that will be your first impression. So make sure it helps your brand shine!
Check out our guide to the best automated webinar platforms to learn more.
Just like a live webinar, you need to plan your content and envision what your webinar will look like. Take the time to finalize any slides, videos, links, or demos you plan to show as part of the presentation beforehand. You also should determine what you want to say, when you’ll say it, and how you’ll introduce opportunities for engagement throughout the entirety of the presentation. Because you won’t have an audience to give you feedback when you’re recording, scripting your webinar with at least some talking points can help greatly during the recording process.
It doesn’t have to be perfect — just like a traditional, live webinar. Webinars are not supposed to be produced like TV shows (although they can be if you wish to make the effort). You can always edit or re-record later, so don’t let that stop you from getting started. Small slip-ups and stumbles can also be left in the final edit to help the recording seem live and natural.
Check out the best practices when recording an automated webinar for more tips.
You can use whatever you have available such as natural lighting, your laptop’s webcam and microphone, and your webinar platform’s recording software, though there are certain software and hardware standard recommendations you’ll want to follow.
If you’re looking for a stellar example of an automated webinar, sign up for a demo of eWebinar here where we show off our software using a pre-recorded webinar.
After you’ve finished recording and editing your presentation, you can upload it to your automated webinar platform. A great platform will have various types of interactions and engagements you can program to appear in webinars. This way you can create an interactive experience for your attendance. These interactions include features like polls, tips, downloads, offers, request to contact forms, and many more.
You should find a solution that allows you to customize your registration page with your branding and webinar information, just as if you were creating a landing page. This is the page you’ll use to attract sign ups — so the more professional, informative, and beautiful it is, the higher the registration rate will be.
It’s also important to make sure your solution lets you customize your webinar’s recurring schedule in a variety of ways. One useful scheduling option you should look for is a just in time setting, which makes your webinar always available in the next few minutes to drive sign ups at the moment of intent.
Once your webinar is ready to share, you want to make sure it’s available to your customers in as many places as possible:
The biggest difference with an automated webinar is you are not in front of an audience that you can engage throughout the webinar, so you will have to plan interaction points in advance to ensure the webinar is interesting to your attendees until the end. Here are steps to help you format an engaging pre-recorded webinar.
Encourage your attendees to interact right away. In your recording, start by welcoming everyone and thank them for coming, just as you would in a traditional, live webinar. Next, have them answer a simple starter question (i.e. “where are you joining us from?”) and pair this with a question box where they can send their answers.
To make the most of your pre-recorded webinar, you’ll want to encourage attendees to interact with you from the very beginning. Near the beginning of the recording, mention the chat - where they can comment and ask questions throughout - and inform your audience that they can expect additional ways to interact with you throughout. You should make sure your presentation allows for engagement roughly every 3 to 4 minutes.
For more tips for planning, check out our article on automated webinar scripts.
Attendees are more likely to stay in your webinar until the end if you give them incentive to do so. In your recording, inform your attendees that they should “stick around until the end” to receive a discount code, webinar slides, or any bonus that provides them with any sort of benefit.
If you want to learn more about your attendees, you can easily do this with polls or textbox questions. Ask these questions in the recording, then program the actual poll or box to appear immediately following. You can also deliver even more content by sharing additional resources that complements your webinar by using tips and downloads, if your platform allows for it.
Nearing the end of your webinar, you’ll want to introduce a call to action to encourage your attendees to further connect with you, your product, or your service. If you mentioned a special offer earlier, now is the time to share it, or introduce another perk that will interest your attendees to explore your product further.
Announce the call to action, and pre-program the proper link or shareable to appear immediately. Whether your call to action is to make a purchase, sign up for a trial, or book a meeting on your calendar — have a clear idea of the action you want attendees to take to make the most out of your webinar efforts.
When you’re ready to end your webinar, have your host tie up any loose ends and thank your audience for attending your webinar. Make sure to provide additional methods for contacting you, and you can even choose to program and survey to help you collect feedback on your webinar.
It’s important to choose a solution with a live chat feature that allows attendees to ask you questions. While this feature is available on several platforms, it’s not built equally. eWebinar is the only automated webinar solution that has a live chat system that allows you to answer questions immediately as attendees are in the session, or through email after the webinar has ended.
Other platforms have a chat feature that either requires you to be there when the automated session is happening, or is a simple comment box linked to email. This means you can only respond to attendees while they are online and watching your webinar, and you won’t be able to respond to their question while they are offline. You also can’t engage with your attendees through a live chat box.
Since your automated webinars can happen around the clock, you should find a solution that doesn’t require you to be there every time your attendees have questions, and will allow you to respond and engage if you’re available to do so. Having a proper chat system in place is what allows you to fully automate your webinars 100% — without being there every time.
It can be hard to narrow your search for a webinar platform down when there are so many options, but it’s important to choose one that can accomplish your business goals and one that makes your brand shine. To help you find the best platform for your business, see our descriptions of the 5 best automated webinar platforms below.
Cost: $49/mo (Level 1) | $99/mo (Level 2) | $199/mo (Level 3) | $250/mo (Enterprise)
Best Feature: Easy to use; simple three-step setup and customizations.
Create visually stunning and highly interactive automated webinars with eWebinar. We’re the only webinar platform listed here that is fully dedicated to automation, with our focus on enabling customer success and marketing teams to run the perfect evergreen webinars without being present.
Using eWebinar allows you to incorporate various features that will help engage your attendees, including live chat, personalized welcome messages, polls and survey questions, special offers and downloads, requests to contact, and attendee reactions.
To interact with your audience, use the live chat feature during each session, or respond to their questions via email after the session. Our other differentiating features include our innovative design and interactive features, ease-of-use, flexible and recurring scheduling, and our extensive analytics dashboard.
Image Credit: Zoom.us
Cost: $400/year/license (100 Attendees) to $64,900/year/license (10,000 Attendees)
Additional Costs: Must be purchased as an add-on to a Zoom Meetings license
Best Feature: On-demand videos that remain available for additional viewers after recording the live webinar.
If your business already uses Zoom, you can use their webinar features to convert your recordings of live events into on-demand replays. Zoom allows for live webinars to be recorded, then have anyone who missed the live event register to view the recording.
Unfortunately, Zoom's on-demand feature is a gated, on-demand landing page that hosts your recording, and does not deliver your replay as an automated webinar. This means you can only create an on-demand webinar using a previously live session, and the normal chat and interactive features won’t be available for your attendees. However, you can use eWebinar to repurpose your Zoom recordings and create an interactive experience for your attendees.
Image Credit: GoToMeeting.com
Cost: $104/mo (Starter) | $239/mo (Pro) | $539/mo (Plus) | Custom pricing (Enterprise)
Best Feature: Ability to repurpose recordings into automated webinar sessions with limited features.
GoToWebinar, a product of GoToMeetings, is a live-first webinar platform with automation features. They offer a Simulated Live option, which allows you to turn pre-recorded video into customizable automated webinars that run on the schedule of your choice.
One of their best features is the ability to create templates from past webinars, so you can easily use the same customizations every single time. Unfortunately, GoToWebinar doesn’t have a live chat feature, meaning hosts can only respond to questions and comments using email. With GoToWebinar, you are able to program your polls, but that is the extent of the interactions available to you. You can also turn any live webinar recordings into on-demand webinars using their GoToStage option.
Image Credit: LiveStorm.co
Cost: Free (Basic) | $99/mo (Premium) | Custom pricing (Enterprise)
Best Feature: HD quality video, audio, and screen sharing.
LiveStorm is another live-first platform that includes automation features. All of their plans allow you to host unlimited webinars with HD quality video, sound, and presentations, but the webinars are limited by length and number of attendees. Because they are a newer platform, they offer a modern design and have already been used by a number of established companies.
This platform is a great way to test creating automated webinars for free, but you’ll need to upgrade to get the most out of your webinar efforts. It also enables you to schedule automated interactions throughout, including polls, questions, and document sharing. And it’s a good choice if you’re looking into platforms that also offer live and on-demand webinars.
Cost: $69/mo (Growth) | $163/mo (Business)
Best Feature: Simple design and comprehensive content to help you get started.
If you’re new to webinar platforms and are looking for educational content to help you along the way, try Demio. Their content library of strategies will help you get started automating and going live, and you’ll be able to customize your registration pages and webinar rooms with your brand and your choice of colors.
This platform makes it easy to edit your webinar’s settings, even after it has already been published, with the options to replace your pre-recorded video and tweak your interactions at any time. Although they have fewer options for interactions, you can make use of polls, handouts, and calls to action to engage your attendees. They also have live chat for their automated sessions, but you must be present while the session is happening to answer questions.
The best automated webinar platforms are the ones that include a variety of features and settings that will help you create a really engaging event without being there, and meet all of your business needs. These are some tips on what features to look for when choosing a solution that’s right for you.
eWebinar’s video recording uploader
Whether you’re planning to record a new webinar or you have a YouTube or Zoom recording you want to repurpose, you want to make sure you can actually upload your presentation. Look for an automated webinar platform that allows you to upload your own files and copy and paste links from all the major video platforms. This way you’ll never be limited on what you can work with.
Choosing a platform with a fully functional chat component is a great way to connect with attendees during and after a session. Some automated webinar platforms include the option for moderators to participate in the live chat and respond to questions and comments during the sessions, and only eWebinar offers a feature that allows you to respond to chat messages via email after the webinar has ended. Having both options to respond immediately or through email later is the feature that allows you to truly automate your webinars without being tied to your computer.
eWebinar’s live chat system even allows you to send a private welcome message so you can greet attendees as they join, and set up an autoresponder that appears if the moderator doesn’t respond within a few minutes. Setting the expectation for when your customers will get a response is important and ensures they won’t be frustrated if they don’t hear back right away.
eWebinar’s flexible scheduling options
One of the biggest benefits of automated webinars is the ability to make your content available on a recurring schedule, in any timezone, to the convenience of your attendees. Scheduling flexibility is a crucial feature for whichever platform you choose, as it will allow you to determine how often you want the webinar to run, and your attendees will have the convenience of attending at any time from wherever they are in the world. These are the specific scheduling features you should look for:
The more interactions a platform has, the more opportunity you’ll have to engage with your attendees throughout your webinar. Choose to host your automated webinars where you’ll have various forms of interactions available to you. Examples include questions, tips, polls, link sharing, reactions, Q&A sessions, offers, and request to contact forms.
eWebinar’s customization tools
If dressing to impress is important, then it’s just as important to use a webinar platform that delivers an experience that makes your brand shine. You may not be able to make an impression in person, so your digital impression should enhance trust and build credibility.
Beyond finding a solution that is beautiful, you should find one that allows you to customize it to your brand with your logo and colors — such as your registration and thank you pages, and your webinar presentation room. Webinars are boring, so find a solution that makes them fun and engaging, and one that will deliver the best experience to your customers.
Now you know everything about scaling your webinar strategy using automated webinars, including what they are and why they’re important, how to create them, how to plan your webinar for engagement, the top 5 platforms, and what features to look for in a webinar platform.
If you’re ready to see what an automated webinar can do for you, sign up and try eWebinar free for 30 days and start creating your own.
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