Many people are turning to pre-recorded webinars because they scale much more efficiently than live webinars given that attendees can join whenever they want and hosts don’t have to attend a single session.However, there’s a major drawback to pre-recorded webinars. Attendees tend to think of them like regular videos, which can lead to lower watch times than live events because people feel they can always come back and watch later (even though they probably won't).
In addition, there’s no interactivity or two-way engagement, meaning attendees can’t ask questions and you (the host) can’t address objections. So it’s really a passive experience that offers little incentive for the attendee to stay engaged.
To solve these problems, a lot of hosts are turning to just-in-time webinars.
In this post, we’ll discuss what a just-in-time webinar is and how to create one that attendees love. Here’s what we plan to cover, if you want to skip ahead:
We'll also introduce you to our own just-in-time webinar software, eWebinar, which we built after years of struggling with various webinar tools with subpar attendee experiences.
If you want a quick overview of eWebinar, the 2-minute video below quickly shows how it works and demonstrates its core benefits:
Or you can sign up for our 20-minute demo for a detailed product walkthrough. We use eWebinar to host the demo, so you’ll get to experience a just-in-time webinar firsthand!
A just-in-time webinar is an automated webinar that always begins within minutes of someone landing on its registration page. Thus, the visitor is always “just in time” for the next session.
Although just-in-time webinars are pre-recorded, they behave more like live webinars since they begin at a set time and viewers cannot pause the video or skip ahead.
Here is an example of how it works:
Let’s say you created a just-in-time webinar and someone landed on its registration page at 5:27 PM. When they went to choose a time to register for (shown below), they would discover a session starting at 5:30 PM, in just three minutes.
Phew! Just in time! 😉
There may be other session times for them to choose from (we’ll discuss later the importance of also offering sessions on a recurring schedule), but those times could be hours away or even on a different day.
Having only one option to immediately join your webinar creates urgency. This sense is further heightened by a countdown timer ticking down the seconds to when it starts, giving your prospect even more of a reason to take action ‘right now’.
Once the registrant (now attendee) has joined your webinar, they must stay for its duration if they don’t want to miss anything. For example, let's say they decide to leave for a few minutes and come back. When they return, they’ll find a few minutes have passed in the webinar as well.
Just-in-time webinars combine the immediacy of on-demand video with the real-time nature of live webinars. It’s the best of both worlds.
Just-in-time webinars offer benefits for attendees and hosts alike:
The advent of streaming video services like Netflix have fundamentally changed consumers’ expectations. They expect video content (even webinars) to be available on-demand. If it is not, they may look elsewhere.
This is especially true now in sales. 87% of buyers want to self-serve part or all of their buying journey. And 57% — more than half! — are making purchase decisions without ever talking with a sales rep.
People don’t want to talk to a sales rep. (Sorry, sales reps.) They want to research things on their own. The days of forcing people to sign up for a live demo are over.
Even in enterprise sales, where prospects need to speak to a salesperson before purchasing, having an on-demand demo is still important. A demo doesn’t have to be a detailed product walkthrough. It can instead be a high-level overview of your product and its core value prop, and end with a CTA to set up a call with a sales rep.
To learn more about how to craft an effective self-service demo, check out this free workshop and script template from eWebinar CEO, Melissa Kwan:
The point is that offering no self-service glimpse into what your product is, what it does, its benefits, and its pricing (even if only a range) is becoming increasingly unacceptable.
People want information ‘now’. They don’t want to have to wait. And they don’t want to have to talk to anyone to get it. Just-in-time webinars make that possible.
Which leads us to the first of three big benefits for hosts…
Although there are other things you can do to drive up attendance rates, which we’ll discuss later when we talk about how to create a just-in-time webinar, the simple act of allowing people to join your webinar right away can significantly increase your webinar’s attendance rate.
Even when people have the best of intentions, if they are only given the option to sign up for your webinar at a future date and time, they may forget, lose interest, or have a sudden change of plans.
Below is an example of a countdown timer for a just-in-time webinar, in this case, for eWebinar’s next product demo.
If you don't see a timer ticking down and it says NOW instead, that's because a session is starting, well, right now. Wait a minute and refresh the page to see the timer. Either way, you're just in time for our next demo! Get it?
It’s easy to see how this generates urgency and motivates people to quickly sign up and attend your webinar.
The average attendance rate across all of eWebinar’s customers is 65% — 45% higher than the industry average for webinars. Our own product demo has an attendance rate of 90%, and 74% of those attendees registered for it ‘just in time’. Just-in-time sessions are the reason our demo’s attendance rate is through the roof!
Read The Receptionist case study →
Letting prospects join your webinar right away has a side benefit: increased conversions.
Think about it. If consumers now want to research things on their own, it means they are looking for the information they need to make purchase decisions. And if they found your webinar, it means they were looking for it and are in the mindset to take action. It’s called striking while the iron is hot.
Our own 20-min product demo (again, a just-in-time webinar) has a conversion rate of 25%. That’s impressive on its own, but it's truly remarkable when you consider not a single one of our demos is hosted live. They all run on autopilot.
And our demo is not an outlier. Our customers regularly report similar results. Here’s what the CEO of Nectar, had to say:
While just-in-webinars are similar to on-demand webinars, they are not the same.
When people think of an on-demand webinar, they usually think of a recording of a live webinar hosted somewhere like YouTube. On-demand webinars are typically just videos. When you want to watch one, you click play.
Videos, however, are not webinars.
When people sign up for a webinar, they adopt a different mindset. They know they’ll have to stay for the entire event if they want to learn everything it has to offer, so they commit to giving up to an hour or more of their time to attend. (Where else does that happen in sales and marketing?!)
Attending a webinar is a very different mindset from watching a video. With a video, people might not even start watching, because they’ll tell themselves they can always come back and watch it later. But do they?
Or maybe they skip ahead to what they ‘really want to learn’, not realizing they’ve missed key points that are critical to their understanding of what you are trying to pitch or teach. You lose control of the narrative.
Or maybe they just lose interest for a second and leave? There’s simply no sense of commitment with a video.
Just-in-time webinars, on the other hand, evoke the mindset of a traditional webinar. The set start time, the countdown leading up to it, and the fact it starts all by itself (no pressing play) all signal to attendees that their session will behave like a live webinar.
This means they won’t be able to pause the video. They won’t be able to rewind or skip ahead. And if they leave, they’ll have to re-register and start all over from the beginning. (We always send people a link to watch a video replay of the webinar in a follow up email, but they don’t know that yet.)
When people have a webinar mindset, they stay longer. Combine that with the interactivity of software like eWebinar that lets you program interactions to pop up at key moments during your presentation (like polls, questions, quizzes, handouts, special offers, and more) and allows you to chat live with attendees and answer their questions in real time and you may suddenly find people are staying engaged long enough to hear your offer at the end!
Read the Toddlers CAN Read case study →
Below we’ll walk you through the steps to create a just-in-time webinar in a matter of minutes with our software, eWebinar.
Let’s jump into it!
Just-in-time webinars are a form of automated webinar, which are pre-recorded, so the first step is to add the video recording of your presentation to the eWebinar platform.
You can do so by:
Once your video has been added, the next step is to set its availability.
eWebinar offers three different availability options:
Below, we’ll discuss each of the options and explain why it’s important to enable all three for your webinar (and not just rely on just-in-time) if you want to maximize attendance.
To enable just-in-time sessions, simply switch them ‘on’ and select the time interval you want them to begin on.
eWebinar is one of a few just-in-time webinar software solutions that lets you start sessions within five minutes of the person landing on your registration page. (Typically, the shortest interval offered is 15 minutes.)
Shortening the time interval like this can increase urgency (and ultimately attendance) as viewers have to quickly decide to register and join. In addition, those that already know they want to join only have to wait a few minutes, which delivers a better attendee experience and can help increase attendance rates as registrants are less likely to get distracted while waiting.
If you want to eliminate the wait time altogether, you can even set just-in-time sessions to be available on demand. That way, the session will start the instant someone joins the webinar room after registration. (The downside to this is that there is no countdown clock.)
While just-in-time webinars create urgency and can boost attendance, not everyone will be able to join your webinar immediately.
To help you capture those people and reduce the risk of them leaving without registering, we offer two other scheduling options which you can enable in addition to just-in-time sessions.
A convenient recurring schedule lets you offer your webinar at set times throughout the week. For example, you might choose to offer it at 10am, 2pm, and 6pm on weekdays. That way, if someone isn’t able in that moment to join a just-in-time session, they still have plenty of options to find a time (maybe even later that same day) and put it on their calendar.You can make those times even more convenient by offering them in the local time zone of the attendee. Thus, sessions appear at prime times of day instead of in the middle of the night for those in very different time zones from your own.
When you allow people to register to watch a replay of your webinar instead of joining a just-in-time or scheduled session, they get a link to watch your webinar at any time at their convenience.
Most webinar platforms only make links to replays available to registrants after they attend a session. The advantage to offering them up front is it gives yet another option for attendees to watch your webinar on their terms.
Replays are particularly attractive to savvy webinar-goers, since it allows them to watch the webinar like a video, pause, skip ahead, or watch it at 2X speed.
The bottom line is the more options you give to registrants to attend your webinar when and how they want, the higher your attendance rates will be.
Earlier, we mentioned that 75% of those who attend our demo join just-in-time sessions. This means that 25% choose to join scheduled sessions or watch replays. Can you imagine if we didn’t offer those other two options? We could potentially lose one quarter or our demo attendees!
Here are the scheduling options we use ourselves and that we recommend to others:
eWebinar offers several pre-written email notifications that, by default, are automatically sent to registrants. (They function like an autoresponder for email marketing.) While you can edit the email copy and send schedules, you don't need to take any action for registrants to begin receiving these emails.
Here's a quick overview of the email notifications we send:
We also integrate with Twilio, so you can set up SMS notifications if you want.
Some automated webinar platforms let hosts schedule polls or ask questions during their webinar, but it's difficult to create an interactive experience from beginning to end using just polls and questions.
So we built a full library of fun and diverse interactions into the eWebinar platform that lets hosts deliver an engaging experience throughout the entire presentation.Here are just a few of the interactions we offer:
By adding an interaction every 3-5 minutes, you transform your webinar from a passive video into an interactive experience that keeps your attendees on their toes and listening.
For example, if you schedule a pop quiz to appear after discussing a particular topic, attendees will have to recollect what they just learned. If they get it right, it solidifies the information and gives them a dopamine hit that encourages them to keep listening.
If they get it wrong, it will jolt their attention back to the webinar, and they'll likely listen harder to get the next one right.
So in addition to improving material comprehension (which can help attendees better understand the value of your sales offer), it can also help improve watch times.
Read the Espresso English case study →
Interactions are extremely easy to add in eWebinar. Simply drag the video playhead to where you want to insert the interaction in your video, select the type of interaction, and then add it. You can then customize the text, add images, and include a compelling CTA.
A key difference between webinars and videos is that webinars allow attendees to ask questions and interact with you live.
Unfortunately, retaining a personalized chat experience is tricky as you scale your webinars and allow attendees to join them around the clock. Do you want to be in webinar sessions answering questions 24/7 or leave your attendees hanging with no response?
This is the tradeoff that other automated webinar platforms force hosts to make as their chat functionality allows for only one of the two options below (but not both!):
If you choose OPTION 1, you can chat live with attendees, but you can’t scale your webinars around the clock (which is the purpose of just-in-time webinars).
If you choose OPTION 2, you will never miss an inquiry from attendees, but you also lose the golden opportunity to chat live with attendees during your webinar and close the sale.
To solve this challenge, eWebinar offers the best of both worlds by enabling you to chat with your attendees live or respond later at your convenience.
Here's how it works:
This way, you never have to attend a single session, yet every chat message gets a response (either live or via email). This creates an excellent first impression with your brand and still retains the scalability of a traditional automated webinar.
eWebinar offers a selection of webinar landing page templates that you can customize with our simple drag-and-drop editor.You can even customize the fields in the webinar registration form itself.
If you use a landing page builder like Unbounce, Instapage, Leadpages, or WordPress, you can embed one of our marketing widgets onto that landing page to connect it to eWebinar.
Congratulations! Your webinar is now complete and ready to be published. You can share it on your website, across social media platforms, or send it to your email list.
If you’re looking for more ideas to promote your just-in-time webinar, check out this entire post we wrote on the topic:
Of the webinar software solutions that let you create just-in-time webinars, here are our picks for the top five:
We wrote an entire post comparing the 12 best automated webinar platforms, including links to pricing, if you want to go deeper:
12 Best Automated Webinar Software Platforms — How They Differ
While we’re of course biased towards our own product, we built eWebinar because we couldn’t find webinar software that would deliver the experience we envisioned.
So here are three key differentiators that make eWebinar unique:
Just-in-time webinars are easy to scale because you can put them on autopilot and allow attendees to join them at any time, and you never have to attend a single session. However, this scheduling flexibility also makes it very difficult to scale chat.
With other automated webinar software, chat is structured in one of two ways:
So you either sacrifice the scalability of just-in-time webinars by having the team sit in on every session, or you sacrifice the attendee's first experience with your brand (and your ability to close the deal) by never responding to their questions in real time or otherwise.
eWebinar's chat offers the best of both worlds by allowing you to respond to every single chat message at your convenience while still giving you the option to interact with prospects while they are live on the webinar. From the host's perspective, you never have to attend a single session, yet you still have the option to respond while the attendee is live. If you're not available to chat in real time, you can still respond post-webinar at a time that's convenient for you, giving you peace of mind that every attendee receives a response while retaining the scalability of automated webinars.
From the webinar attendee's perspective, the main benefit of eWebinar's chat functionality is that they always receive a timely response from a real live person.
To learn more about how eWebinar’s chat works, check out this article from our Help Center:
Most automated webinar software enables hosts to embed polls and CTAs into their presentations, though it's difficult to create a fun and interactive experience from beginning to end with just two types of interactions to choose from.
For example, you might be able to add a few polls during a 45-minute webinar, but that means your attendee will still be sitting idle for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. With so many distractions competing for their attention (their phone, Slack, email, etc.), it's likely that they will leave if you aren't actively engaging with them throughout the presentation.
To solve this, eWebinar offers an impressive library of customizable interactions, enabling you to add an activity every 3-5 minutes.
Our webinar templates come with customizable interactions.
By giving the attendee a task and involving them in the presentation, it's much easier to hold their attention. In addition, quizzes, tips, and links help improve their comprehension of your material, which can help them better understand the true value of what you offer.
eWebinar also makes it easy to customize each interaction with emojis and images (thanks to an integration with Unsplash) to help you deliver a fun webinar experience that attendees actually enjoy.
We've spent years testing various webinars and found that increasing webinar attendance comes down to offering as many attendance options as possible so that the attendee can always find a time that works with their schedule.
So in addition to offering just-in-time webinars, eWebinar is one of a few automated webinar software solutions that lets you offer just-in-time sessions, a convenient recurring schedule, and webinar replays all at the same time!
Typically, most visitors will want to join your webinar immediately. Offering just-in-time sessions makes that possible and ensures you capture prospects when their desire is strongest.
Not everyone will be available to join your webinar immediately, however, so offering times to attend later that day or week ensures visitors (who intend to join) don't leave and forget to come back. This is what a convenient recurring schedule is for.
Finally, some visitors, especially veteran webinar attendees, will want to grab a link that they can use later to watch your webinar like a video (i.e. playback at 2x speed, pause, fast forward, etc.)
Offering a variety of attendance options helps you capture people that would otherwise leave your registration page. This improves total attendance rates and helps you save money on remarketing ads.
If you want to create a fun and effective just-in-time webinar that frees up your time while delivering a personalized experience at scale, use the step-by-step process outlined above to get it up and running in minutes. To get started, sign up for eWebinar now!
Or if you’d prefer to learn more about our platform and experience a just-in-time webinar hosted using eWebinar, you can join our 20-minute demo now!
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