Everything you need to know about running a webinar

by Meredyth Grant on June 20, 2021
Webinar marketing is a vital strategy for B2B & B2C businesses. The global COVID-19 pandemic has led to an explosion of webinar platforms and offerings as businesses and other organisations try to engage with their audiences in meaningful but virtual ways.

Webinar marketing is a vital strategy for B2B & B2C businesses. The global COVID-19 pandemic has led to an explosion of webinar platforms and offerings as businesses and other organisations try to engage with their audiences in meaningful but virtual ways.

Firstly, think about what you are trying to achieve. 

  • Is it a one-off or will you be running webinars on a regular basis?
  • How many participants do you want to invite?
  • Will you need to live stream to other platforms such as Facebook and YouTube?
  • Do you need interactive features such as polling, screen sharing, Q&A’s

Knowing what you want to achieve is essential before you select the webinar platform as these features are not necessarily standard across all platforms and you will have to pay a significantly different amount to host a webinar for 10 people as opposed to 10,000.

What webinar platforms should you consider?

 

1. Zoom

Zoom has an add-on specifically for webinars. Paid plans allow users the ability to live stream meetings directly into Facebook and YouTube, advanced host controls, no time limits, exportable registrant and attendee lists, practice sessions, Q&A’s & polls, view only attendees, paid/unpaid registrations and post webinar reporting and cloud recordings.


Webinar marketing is a vital strategy for B2B & B2C businesses. The global COVID-19 pandemic has led to an explosion of webinar platforms and offerings as businesses and other organisations try to engage with their audiences in meaningful but virtual ways - Zoom


Here’s a quick tutorial on how to set up and run a Zoom webinar: https://www.podia.com/videos/how-to-run-a-zoom-webinar


The Zoom Video Webinar for up to 10,000 attendees costs £1,120/year/license at the time of writing.


2. GotoWebinar


Selling points of this platform include enhanced branding control, custom registration and a channel page. There’s also an engagement dashboard so you can see how the audience is responding and interacting. You can also run questions and pulls on this platform. It also provides recording and analytics.

https://www.gotomeeting.com/en-gb/webinar/pricing


Prices range from £828/year for 100 participants to the top end of their packages for 3000 participants which will cost £3828/year.


3. Demio



Webinar marketing is a vital strategy for B2B & B2C businesses. The global COVID-19 pandemic has led to an explosion of webinar platforms and offerings as businesses and other organisations try to engage with their audiences in meaningful but virtual ways - Demio


Demio offers automated and live webinars, plus an option for hybrid mixes of pre-recorded and live recordings. You can run interactive polls, launch offers with call-to-action buttons, share live document handouts and run Q&As. Also useful is their “Stay registered” series which allows people to signup once for an ongoing series of webinars. Users can also send private messages to event coordinators or public messaging visible to everyone. There is a branded registration page and analytics as standard. 

Importantly, for non-profits and education companies Demio offer a 50% discount.

Non-discounted prices range from £408/year for 50 participants to £1380/year for 500 participants.


https://www.demio.com/pricing


4. Livestorm



Livestorm is beautifully designed and has a great user experience – from the registration landing pages to the live webinar experience.


Livestorm - Webinar marketing is a vital strategy for B2B & B2C businesses. The global COVID-19 pandemic has led to an explosion of webinar platforms and offerings as businesses and other organisations try to engage with their audiences in meaningful but virtual ways.


It allows you to automate webinars (schedule webinars to replay at set times throughout the day), on demand and live webinars. Polling is also available during the webinars and training and analytics for the platform come as standard.


Based in France, Livestorm are also a good option for any organisations serving EU or UK contacts who are required by law to be GDPR compliant.


It will cost you around £924/year with unlimited event registrants.

https://livestorm.co/pricing 


Now that you’ve chosen your platform, you need to choose the right equipment.


Sound


There’s nothing more distracting during a webinar than poor audio quality, so make sure you have a great microphone that allows your attendees to hear you clearly. 

If your audience can’t hear, you’ve lost them. Clear audio is the minimum requirement for a great webinar.

Most webinar software will let you use either phone dial-in or VoIP. Don’t ever dial in by phone unless it’s an emergency. You’ll almost always sound better using VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol). Just make sure that you have a strong internet connection for the webinar to ensure seamless broadcasting.

The market is saturated with microphones, but in general, you get what you pay for. Consider a microphone boom arm or lave mic.

If you are going to use a boom or static placed mic some are very sensitive to direction so if you were to look away, for instance over to another screen your sound my become distant or suffer.  Also the room you are in matters a lot too. try to have lots of soft surfaces around you to minimise any lively room bounce, also called reverb or echo. Its always about not giving your listeners ear fatigue, nice sound no-one will notice but you can be sure bad sound everyone will notice.

There are lots of choices, consider something similar to these: 


Earpieces


Earpieces are super helpful when hosting a webinar if you are in conversation with other guests or panelists. An earpiece allows you to stay connected with other webinar contributors while keeping your hands free. They also look a lot better than a hefty audio headset. Consider investing in bluetooth or wireless headphones.

Always make sure that any other speakers on the webinar that are not physically in the same room as you wear headphones of some kind otherwise you can run in to feed back issues. Even though a lot of effort by webinar platforms like zoom have been put in to try to minimise feedback, if your guests and you wear headphone or ear buds this will never be an issue.


Lights


If you want to look your best and help your camera see the best image it can then lighting is your friend and it doesn't always have to be expensive.


Make sure you are not too close to a background like a wall or you will be casting hard shadows behind you. A simple way is to set up your scene is facing a window and letting the daylight do its job (but avoid really strong direct sunlight as you don’t want to be squinting all through your webinar).

You could consider using a dimmable panel or ring light like this one from Creatck or panel lights positioned either side of your screen at equal distance on both sides of your face like these ones from Neewer. This setup ensures your face is evenly lit up while keeping the distraction minimal with both light sources away to the sides of your face.

Virtual Background


Zoom has some great free backgrounds; however, the best option would be to invest in a  retractable green screenor awebaround if you’re doing a stand up presentation. Charlie Charlie One can create a custom design for your webinar.

However, if it’s a sit down webinar recording and you’re in a small office space something foldable for your background like this would be fine or buy a backdrop stand and purchase a simple and affordable backdrop: a simple paper roll. 

How to use a background paper roll


Make sure you get at least the 86-inch width so it covers your entire background. 107-inch width is even better as it’ll allow you to place the backdrop further back, creating a depth effect. Here’s how to set it up


Webcam


A very important feature you need to look for in a webcam so that your video looks great on all monitors, is that it’s a high-quality HD camera. A simple HD webcamwill do if you're just starting out. The 1080p resolution means you'll look reasonably sharp in the typical webinar grid view where slide sharing takes the majority of the screen real estate.


Here are some additional webcam reviews and recommendations. 


Webinar lighting top tips


Look the part; whether you’re hosting a video conference or running a webinar, you’ll want to look presentable and be visible on your webcam. 


Tips for looking good on webcam:

  1. Wear professional, comfortable clothing
  2. Avoid busy patterns, which could translate poorly on video
  3. Make sure your background is clean and appropriate
  4. Light from in front, not behind

Webcams automatically record and adjust to the brightest source of light. And if that light is behind you, you’re no longer the focus. Avoid being backlit by making sure you’re facing toward, not away from, a window or another light source. 


If you only have one light above or in front of you, that harsh lighting can cause dark shadows on your face or your background. Use multiple light sources from different angles to balance out your lighting and put your best face forward.


Give yourself space, if your light source is too bright, it can wash out your face. Get it right by moving your lighting source further away from your face and let your camera automatically adjust the balance.


When lighting for webcam recording, you have many options as to where you place your lighting. The three-point lighting technique, where one key light is focused on the subject and two softer lights balance out the lighting, is a technique used by many webinar hosts. 

Once you have your webcam lighting setup ready, be sure to test it before you go live. Open up a tool like Photo Booth on Macbook and adjust your light setup until you look your best.

Remember, practice, practice practice. Run through and record the webinar to see what it would look and sound like. Once you have done this a few times it will become second nature. Good luck!

Need help with your SEO strategy? Get in touch