Pre-recorded webinars are excellent sales and marketing tools because they're easier to scale than live webinars, as you don't have to host even a single session.However, like any webinar, some pre-recorded webinars perform significantly better than others.
So what's the difference between a top-performing pre-recorded webinar and the average pre-recorded webinar?
Since we've analyzed and compared hundreds of pre-recorded webinars over the years, we decided to put this guide together to help you understand the mechanics of building a top-performing pre-recorded webinar. Our findings also come from our own direct experience with pre-recorded webinars as well as the many experiences our customers have shared with us.
Therefore, this post will walk you through what a pre-recorded webinar is, how to create a high-quality pre-recorded webinar, and some examples of outstanding pre-recorded webinars.
We'll also introduce you to our platform, eWebinar, which is designed specifically for people who want to create pre-recorded webinars that are arguably even more personal and interactive than live webinars.
A pre-recorded webinar — also known as an on-demand webinar — is a webinar recording that people may or may not have to register for in order to watch.
Newer webinar tools will let you turn a webinar recording into a personalized and engaging webinar experience — through interactive elements and chat — even though the presentation itself is not live. These types of pre-recorded webinars are more typically referred to as automated webinars or evergreen webinars.
The main benefit of pre-recorded webinars for hosts is that they can scale the total number of people who can watch their webinars without scaling the number of sessions they have to present live.
For attendees, the main benefit is that they can watch a pre-recorded webinar at any time that works for them, day or night.
Essentially, you record a webinar once, and then it's available for an unlimited number of people to view any time they want.
So that leads to the next question…
In short, the main difference between live and pre-recorded webinars is that a live webinar forces the host to personally attend every session. In contrast, pre-recorded webinars are recorded once and then distributed infinitely.
Because pre-recorded webinars don't require a live host, they are much easier to scale. However, this can impact the overall attendee experience.
In fact, from an attendee's POV, traditional pre-recorded webinars are just gated videos.
As a result, traditional pre-recorded webinars tend to have lower audience engagement than live webinars and generally aren't as effective.
After struggling with this tradeoff – the scalability of pre-recorded webinars versus the interactivity of live webinars – we built eWebinar.
Today, eWebinar makes it possible to create a pre-recorded webinar that is just as interactive (if not more so) than a live webinar while still maintaining the scalability of traditional pre-recorded webinars.
Here are the three key things that eWebinar enables you to do to make your pre-recorded webinar arguably more engaging than a live webinar:
We'll discuss exactly how to create a pre-recorded webinar with all of these features below.
Before jumping into how to create a pre-recorded webinar, let's discuss their main benefits (because pre-recorded webinars are mutually beneficial to hosts and attendees!) Hear what people are saying about the benefits of pre-recorded webinars →
Pre-recorded webinars only require you to record the webinar once, and then an unlimited number of attendees can watch it. However, unlike traditional pre-recorded webinars, eWebinar ensures that you can still deliver an experience that is highly engaging.
Specifically, you'll be able to chat privately with attendees (either live in real time or later at your convenience) and ensure every question receives a timely response. In addition, you can add diverse interactions (more than just polls and surveys) every 3-4 minutes to hold your attendee's attention until the end.
This way, you'll be able to maintain the scale of traditional pre-recorded webinars while increasing the quality of the attendee experience. For example, instead of hosting webinars for a live audience, you can spend your time chatting one on one with attendees that have specific questions. This way, they get a more personalized experience and you can spend your time answering only higher level questions.
With live training, onboarding, product demos, and ongoing lead generation, your team has to spend time repeatedly explaining basic concepts that could be explained using a video.
This takes time away from answering objections, follow-up questions, and providing additional support to VIP customers.
So while traditional pre-recorded webinars enable you to automate the webinar experience and free up your team members’ time, the tradeoff is that attendees won't even have an opportunity to ask follow-up questions or state their objections.
Fortunately, creating a pre-recorded webinar with eWebinar gives you all the benefits of automating a webinar (i.e., your team's time is freed), yet attendees can still ask follow-up questions/state objections via chat, which the team can respond to at their convenience.
So the hours you used to spend every week/month preparing for and hosting live webinars, you can now dedicate to higher level tasks.
For example, the PayKickStart team used to spend half the day on sales demos, though using eWebinar, they now only talk to qualified prospects that are already educated.
Traditionally, you might think that live webinars provide more detailed customer data than live webinars. After all, you can ask attendees questions on a live webinar, whereas the only customer data you receive from pre-recorded webinars is attendance rate and watch time… right?
While that used to be true, eWebinar lets you collect rich customer data. Specifically, eWebinar's interactions (such as feedback, question responses, and more) gather qualitative and behavioral data, which is then neatly organized in an analytics dashboard.
So if you want to know how attendees discovered you, what their main pain points are, how they're currently solving their problem, or virtually any other question, you can! Just create an interaction with the question and then access the responses inside eWebinar or in your CRM of choice through one of our many integrations (and then use those responses to automate marketing workflows).So while you could theoretically ask these questions on a live webinar, most don't because:
While attendees have the opportunity to ask questions on a live webinar, it’s often difficult for them to receive an answer because doing so requires the host to pause, read through the comments and then select a handful to answer. As a result, only some questions receive responses, and even then, the answer might be rushed and rather basic.
Instead, eWebinar’s chat functionality ensures each attendee receives a thoughtful answer in a timely manner.
In addition, many people are too shy to ask questions in a public chat (Will I sound stupid if I ask this question?). Unfortunately, that means you can only answer the questions/objections of people who feel comfortable asking.
By hosting a pre-recorded webinar with eWebinar, you'll not only be able to chat with attendees live, but they will also feel more comfortable chatting as they'll know that the chat is private.Private chat also gives your pre-recorded webinar the personalized feel of a one-on-one call without the headache (and anxiety) of scheduling and attending a call.
If you offer a live webinar, you have to schedule it for a particular date and time. Unfortunately, this means that attendees with a conflicting meeting or those living in a different timezone may not be able to attend.
In addition, it's annoying to discover a webinar that you want to attend only to realize that you have to wait another couple of days to join (and go through the hassle of setting aside time on your calendar).
So instead, pre-recorded webinars enable attendees to join at a time that is convenient for them. Traditionally, pre-recorded webinars were essentially just webinar replays where the presentation begins when they click “play.”
While webinar replays are still popular, eWebinar also offers two additional scheduling options for pre-recorded webinars to ensure your attendees can join at a convenient time.
These two scheduling options are:
As each of these scheduling options is ideal for different use cases, the chief benefit of eWebinar is that it is one of only a small handful of webinar software platforms that allows you to enable all three availability options simultaneously.
With live webinars, the host may occasionally ask attendees to engage in the chat or take a poll. However, the majority of the webinar is passive.
In contrast, pre-recorded webinars that offer a variety of different interactions every 3-4 minutes are much more entertaining and can hold the audience’s attention for the duration of the webinar.
Here are just a few of the unique activities in eWebinar’s (ever-growing) interaction library:
Check out the full list here.
Creating a highly effective pre-recorded webinar is easy with eWebinar. From uploading your video and editing your webinar to setting up chat and email notifications, the entire process only takes 10-15 minutes.
To make it even easier for anyone to create a pre-recorded webinar, we also offer a variety of templates to choose from, so you never have to start from scratch.
If you want more information than the summarized overview below, check out our detailed step-by-step guide to creating a pre-recorded webinar.
To get started, upload a recording of your webinar, paste in a link, or use our Zoom integration to import your video directly from Zoom.
eWebinar hosts your video, so you can delete it to save storage space once it’s uploaded.
After your video is uploaded, eWebinar will guide you to a selection of availability options.
Traditional pre-recorded webinars are only available as webinar replays. Many users like replays because they get full control over the video, which they can play at 2x speed, rewind or pause.
However, webinar replays aren’t always the best option for attendees. For example, if they can’t watch right away, they might download the link, but forget to come back and attend.
In addition, people know that they can come back to a webinar replay recording at any time and pick up where they left off. Knowing this, they typically don’t give it the same attention that they might give a scheduled webinar (which they would have to re-register for and start from the beginning).
So while webinar replays are ideal for some situations, we decided to offer two more scheduling options in eWebinar:
We recommend enabling all three scheduling options simultaneously. We've found that increasing webinar attendance comes down to making your pre-recorded webinar as convenient as possible to attend.
eWebinar offers reminder and follow-up notifications built into the platform. Specifically, the platform offers all of the following notifications by default:
While all of the emails above are pre-written and set to send automatically, you can always tweak the copy or even rewrite the entire email yourself.
Traditionally, the only way to make a webinar more interactive has been to host it live (pre-recorded webinars traditionally don't offer any interactive options) and then either:
As you can see, both of these options require you to bake the interactions into your script, which is time-consuming to plan for and interrupts the flow of your presentation.
In addition, the interactions themselves aren't very diverse (typically just a poll and maybe a special offer). So they quickly become boring and repetitive after the second or third appearance.
To solve these problems, eWebinar makes it possible to offer a more diverse set of interactions every 3-4 minutes to your pre-recorded webinars. This way, you’re able to hold the attendee’s attention throughout the webinar and they will walk away with a better understanding of the material (and will be more likely to take action on your CTA!).
If you are interested, you can check out our library of interactions.
It’s also super easy to add interactions – just drag the playhead to the exact moment where you want the interaction to appear and then select one from the pop-up menu to add.
One of the key reasons people block off 30, 45, or 60 minutes to attend your webinar and then give you their undivided attention is because they expect the experience to be similar to a live streaming video call where they can ask questions and get a quick response.
So if your webinar is essentially just a static video, it's highly unlikely they will stick around.
While chat was previously never an option for pre-recorded webinars, eWebinar now allows you to not only offer chat, but also respond while the attendee is live on the session or later at your convenience.
Specifically, when the attendee sends a chat message, eWebinar will send you a notification (either via Slack or email – your choice). If you have time, you can respond directly inside Slack or the eWebinar platform (if you open a chat notification from your email, it takes you directly to the eWebinar platform to respond). Though if you aren't available, the attendee will receive a notification letting them know (triggered after a set amount of time – like two minutes) and that someone will respond when the team returns. Then, you can respond when you have time.
This way, every chat question receives a timely response, giving the attendee a great first impression of your brand and you the golden opportunity to connect with them when they are most interested in learning about your product or service — during your webinar!
If you want to learn more about how our chat works, see our guide on configuring chat.
eWebinar offers a selection of pre-made registration page templates that you can customize with a drag and drop editor.
If you want other landing page options, we also integrate with Unbounce, Instapage, and other landing page builders via our many marketing widgets.
Now, the only thing left to do is hit publish! Once you’ve published your webinar, eWebinar lets you share it directly to LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook, or you can copy the registration link to promote your webinar anywhere online you choose.
Here are a few of our favorite webinar marketing strategies:
If you’re looking for more ways to promote your webinar, we created a dedicated guide on the subject.
Or, if you want to experience a pre-recorded webinar hosted by eWebinar for yourself, feel free to join our demo now!
If you’re looking for pre-recorded webinar software, here are our top seven picks:
If you want to understand how we came to decide on our top picks, check out the detailed comparison we put together:
We built eWebinar because we couldn't find webinar software that enabled us to create a pre-recorded webinar with a user experience that was as good or better than a live webinar.
So we built eWebinar to deliver an experience that is not only on par with live webinars, but eliminates many of the pain points that come with them.
While there are plenty of different webinar software solutions available, here are a few key features that set eWebinar apart:
eWebinar is the only webinar software solution that makes it possible for you to chat live with webinar attendees in on-demand, pre-recorded webinars — period.
We realize that the benefit of a pre-recorded webinar is that it gives you the ultimate flexibility to run unlimited webinars at any time of the day or night. Therefore, we made sure that our chat system respected this flexibility.
Specifically, eWebinar will notify you ( via Slack or email) when a chat message comes in. You then have the option to either respond to that person live during the webinar via chat, or you can respond later at your convenience via email.
This way, you never have to attend a single session (retaining the main benefit of pre-recorded webinars – flexibility), while still giving you the option to respond to attendees when they are live in the session.
In addition, participants will feel much more comfortable chatting with you when they know it's a private conversation. With public chat in live presentations, people often think, "Will this question sound stupid?" or "Is this question too specific to me?"
People often speak more freely when they know it's a one-on-one conversation, which gives you the invaluable opportunity to answer questions that may be preventing them from taking action.
Only a select handful of pre-recorded webinar software platforms offer interactions. On the rare occasion that a pre-recorded webinar platform does offer some interactions, the choice of interactions is very limited (typically a Poll and Link).
Unfortunately, if your choices are limited, it’s hard to make your webinar interactive without it being repetitive and boring.
To solve this problem, eWebinar offers the largest selection of engaging interactions.It’s also easy to customize them by adding pictures (we even integrate with Unsplash), emojis, and writing your own copy.
Visual variety makes the experience more fun for your attendees and encourages them to stay until the end.
eWebinar also saves all of the responses so that you can collect valuable customer data to improve your future webinars (and inform your marketing team!)
There isn't really a one-size-fits-all when it comes to webinar scheduling options, as some people may want to join immediately while others may not be able to join the moment they land on your registration page.
So instead of making you choose one scheduling option, you can offer attendees all three simultaneously:
By maximizing availability options, you'll be able to increase attendance rates.
To see for yourself how the scheduling options work, you can join our demo now!
If you already have a video recorded, you can sign up for a free trial and get started today. Just follow our simple step-by-step instructions, and you'll have your pre-recorded webinar published in 15-20 minutes from now!
If you're not quite ready, you can join our demo and see exactly how eWebinar works and ask any additional questions about creating a pre-recorded webinar.
eWebinar pricing can be found here.
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