What is a Webinar? A Complete Guide to Webinars

Webinars Provide Interactive Online Learning Experiences

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What is a webinar?

This question has grown increasingly common in recent years, as more companies have embraced the era of online conferencing, presentations, and education. Though webinars have offered organizations and individuals an easy way to reach their audience through online video and interactive tools for years, the landscape has recently exploded in popularity.

There are still plenty of people who don’t fully understand what webinars are, or how they work.

Today, we’re going to explore everything you need to know about webinars, whether you’re thinking of attending one this year, or hosting one yourself.

What is a Webinar? An Introduction

The term webinar comes from “web seminar”. Essentially, the name refers to video presentations, lectures, and workshops hosted online, through the use of a special kind of software. Most webinars are interactive events, allowing participants to ask questions, discuss topics in real time, and even share content with other attendees.

Webinars can be leveraged in the business world as a way of sharing information with employees, or offering crucial training. They’re also common in the educational landscape, as they offer a convenient way for teachers to connect with multiple students at once.

In recent years, webinars have also become more popular in the marketing world, as they’re excellent for building thought leadership and authority. They’re also fantastic for strengthening relationships with customers, and can be used as a lead magnet to collect contact information.

Depending on the goals of the company, webinars can come in many formats. Some are pre-recorded and delivered by special software to an audience at a specific time. Others are available “on demand”, and can be accessed on an ongoing basis. However, most webinars are live and interactive, with time built into the schedule for polls, discussions, and Q&A sessions.

Planning and hosting a webinar are generally considered much easier than organizing a real-life lecture or event, because there’s no need for a big venue, or its overhead costs. Webinars can also reach a huge audience in different locations when meeting in-person isn’t an option.

What are the Benefits of Webinars?

As mentioned above, webinars are becoming increasingly popular in recent years, as a result of more companies and individuals spending increased time online. The benefits of a webinar can be varied, but they often include everything from increased lead generation opportunities to better relationships with your target audience. Some of the top advantages of webinars include:

  • Contact list creation: Building and promoting a webinar often includes using a landing page to collect registration information from attendees. The people who attend your webinar can join your email marketing list, so you can nurture them into customers.
  • Thought leadership: A high-quality seminar with plenty of valuable information establishes a company as an expert in its field. These tools allow businesses to share their expertise, boost their credibility and demonstrate problem-solving capabilities.
  • Content development: Companies who record their webinars can share snippets of the video and other information in their content marketing plan at a later stage. This is an excellent way to enhance the content schedule.
  • Lead qualification: People who register for a webinar are likely to be more qualified as leads than standard prospects. This is because they’ve already shown an interest in the product, service, or company in question.
  • Employee education: Webinars can be an excellent tool for employee training, as they allow companies to provide useful information in an engaging and interactive format. This can lead to better results from employee education.
  • Better branding: Webinars give companies the opportunity to reach a wide audience of potential customers from all over the world. During a webinar, it’s possible to showcase your brand image, as well as your values, and knowledge.

How Do Webinars Work?

As mentioned above, webinars can come in many different formats, depending on the host and needs of the audience. Often, these tools are designed as an online version of an in-person seminar or workshop, brimming with educational content and information.

Usually, companies start by creating a landing page to collect registration information, and announce the date and content of their webinar. The people who sign up for the event receive reminders as the webinar date approaches, and exclusive access to a platform on the day. When the webinar takes place, attendees can watch live video, ask questions of their instructor, and interact with other people.

In some cases, webinar attendees can also connect directly with the host using their microphone and camera. Webinar hosts can also share resources with attendees so they can take valuable information away with them at the end of the event.

Webinars can be free, or paid, depending on the circumstances. Many companies primarily use webinars for lead generation, offering them as a free “lead magnet” on landing pages. These tools can also be used for onboarding or training purposes.

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What Kind of Content is Included in a Webinar?

There are many different kinds of content which can help to deliver valuable information to customers in a webinar. The webinar software a company uses will often provide access to features which assist with the creation and sharing of content such as:

  • Slideshows: Slideshows offer accompanying visuals and text to help hammer home the message the host wants to send in a webinar. The first slide of a webinar should usually include insights into how long the webinar will last, whether it will be accessible to participants after the live event and more. The last slide typically says thank you to the audience for attending, and lists key takeaway points or information.
  • Video content: Though webinar videos can be pre-recorded and delivered to attendees at various times, live video is the most common choice. It provides a way for hosts to interact with customers and employees, and answer questions in real-time. Live videos can also run alongside slideshows and other visual presentations.
  • Chat and messaging: When you’re hosting a webinar, your audience can usually access chat features to interact with other audience members, and ask questions. Chat builds relationships between companies and their audience attendees, and allows them to answer questions in real-time. Interactive chat can also make a webinar more engaging.
  • Whiteboards: Virtual whiteboards built into webinar software provide an easy way for hosts to annotate information and share insights into more complex topics. Many whiteboards come with tools for sharing graphs and charts from scratch too.
  • Screen sharing: Many webinar topics require hosts to share visual information and data taken directly from their computer screen. Screen sharing allows the user to present their screen alongside video and other content to offer insights to attendees. There’s even an option to share multiple screens at the same time.

Some webinar software also comes with access to a range of other features, like co-hosting for more than one person to present at the same time, and polls for collecting audience insights. There are also various tools built into the software for audience engagement, such as the ability to share information directly via files and documents.

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When Do Companies Use Webinars?

Companies can leverage webinars for a range of different use cases and purposes. Many organizations turn to webinars as a way of connecting with their audience on a deeper level and generating leads. Others use webinars to promote a launch, or share information about a product. Webinars can also be aimed at existing customers for onboarding, or employees for training.

B2B and SaaS companies tend to use webinars the most, but these tools are growing increasingly popular among a range of organizations. Some of the most common types of webinars include:

  • Educational webinars: Webinars sharing specific educational information are among the most common options available. They focus on providing customers with insights into a certain topic, alongside actionable advice they can take away and use.
  • Product webinars: Product webinars are all about showcasing the features of a new product to a customer. They can highlight the launch of a new product, or simply provide customers with information on how to use certain features of a product.
  • Onboarding webinars: User onboarding webinars are a tool in customer success strategies, designed to walk customers through the process of using a new service, step-by-step. This kind of webinar is most common among software companies who may sell complex tools which can be difficult to use at first.
  • Employee training: Running webinars can be an excellent way to provide employees with useful information and guidance about a company. Webinar training can be a helpful way to pass practical skills down from a leader in the team, and get employees engaged when they’re learning how to use new features or tools.
  • Lead generation: Lead generation webinars are designed specifically with the intent of collecting as much customer information as possible. Companies create webinars discussing an important topic, relevant to their target audience. After this, they promote landing pages where customers can sign up and share their details for further nurturing.
  • Customer retention and nurturing: While a great webinar can be an excellent way to attract new people to a brand, it’s also fantastic for nurturing customers who are already connected to the company. With some webinars, you can keep your audience up-to-date on new products and features, and boost overall engagement.
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How to Host an Effective Webinar

Hosting a webinar is much easier today than it once was, thanks to the development of various webinar software solutions for business leaders. Most of the tools on the market today include all of the features and functionality businesses need to engage their audience. However, it’s still helpful to have some strategies in place for hosting an effective webinar.

Step 1: Choose a topic, title, and format

The first step in launching an effective webinar is determining what it’s going to be about, and how you’re going to interact with your audience. Most companies start by setting a specific goal for the webinar, such as educating customers, generating leads, or onboarding new users.

From there, they can think about the topic they’re going to cover, and what’s going to be most useful for the customer. For instance, if the aim is to educate customers on a new product, they company might provide step-by-step guidance on how to use the new features.

After deciding the topic of the webinar, companies can consider how they’re going to present information, through live video, slideshows, screen sharing, and so on. They can also choose a title for the webinar designed to captivate attendees such as: The complete guide to selling online.

Step 2: Schedule correctly

The success of online events like webinars depend heavily on your ability to host your experience at the right time. Since the best webinar creators use live streaming to connect with audiences in real-time, you need to make sure your attendees are going to be available.

If you’re targeting a B2B audience, think about which days of the week they’re most likely to be interested in expanding their education and learning about your product or services. Most B2B customers will be unlikely to want to attend an event on the weekend.

For those who can’t attend your webinar in the moment, it might be worth recording your content so you can share on-demand webinars and PowerPoint slides with subscribers too. Remember to make sure you’re going to have a strong internet connection and a good space for recording your online webinar before you begin.

Step 3: Plan the content carefully

Whether you’re producing a recorded webinar or a live webcast, it’s important to ensure you’re sharing the right content. The most effective webinar presentation will need to be engaging from start to finish. With that in mind, consider taking some time to plan out what questions you’re going to answer, and what kind of structure you’re going to follow.

For instance, you should usually start with an introduction to what your webinar is going to be about, followed by a series of “stages” where you cover the topics your audience wants to hear about. In between each section of your webinar, you might want to invite your live evidence to share their questions or comments, or you may want to leave all questions to the end.

Think about whether you want to show your webcam alongside your content, or just use your voice to reach your audience. Remember to have a plan for how you’re going to follow up with potential new customers after the webinar too, through emails, downloads, and messages.

Step 4: Use the right webinar software

Webinar apps are essential to ensuring you can organize and present your webinar in the most effective way possible. The right tools will help you to organize your content for your online seminar, and present it in a way that connects with your audience. Look for features like:

  • PowerPoint, file, and screen sharing
  • Moderator rules and permissions for co-hosts
  • Live chat for regular interactions with your customers
  • Templates for organizing your webinar content
  • Webinar registration or landing page creation
  • Webinar marketing tools such as email automation

There are various great options out there, including well-known solutions such as GoToWebinar, Zoom, and WebinarJam. The right option for you will depend not only on the pricing for the software, but how effective it will be at helping you to reach and connect with high-quality leads.

Step 6: Remember to Promote your Webinar

Promoting your webinar effectively is crucial to getting as many people’s eyes on your content as possible. Many of the top webinar tools come with various solutions to help with this. For instance, they can allow you to build landing pages so you can promote your webinars on your website and via pay-per-click ads. They can also give you access to email marketing tools.

These tools allow you to send email invitations to people who might be interested in your webinar, and they ensure you can remind your customers of when your event is happening after they sign up. Other ways to promote a successful webinar might include:

  • Social media: You can use social media posts to draw attention to your upcoming webinar and get people excited about the points you’re going to cover. You could even include sneak peaks of some of your upcoming content.
  • Website posts: Finishing thought leader posts on your website with CTA buttons inviting customers to sign up for your webinar is a great way to boost attendance. You can also create banner ads and pop-ups for your website, or publish news updates about the webinar.
  • Press releases: If you’re looking for a huge number of attendees, you could ask other publications to publish news about your webinar to their customers. Make sure you have a great webinar landing page to direct interested parties back to

Step 6: Analyze and Learn from your Webinars

The best webinar software and applications don’t just enable video conferencing and file sharing, they also provide reporting tools and analytics so you can learn from every interaction with your audience. Go through your reports to find out where customers were most engaged by your content, and where you started to lose their attention.

It’s also worth paying attention to other metrics, like how many people signed up on your webinar landing page, and how many webinar participants you actually had. Look at the number of people who clicked on your call-to-action at the end of the webinar, and compare overall attendance levels to any in-person events you might have held.

You can also read through the comments and reviews left by customers who joined your event. They might let you know which pain points you didn’t cover, so you can plan better events in the future. They could also offer insights into technical issues which influenced their experience.

Step 7: Plan for After the Webinar

Finally, once you’ve successfully hosted your own webinar, it’s important to plan what you’re going to do next. Webinars aren’t just glorified video conferences, even if they can be hosted on video conferencing tools. They’re an opportunity to create and share valuable content with your audience, and generate engagement from the marketplace.

Once your webinar is over, plan on what you’re going to do next. You could use your webinar tools to break your webinar recording into snippets which you can share on your website, social media, and video sites like YouTube. Some companies even repurpose their webinar content into new formats, such as email courses, eBooks, and articles.

Keep in mind many consumers like to have the option to re-watch a webinar, or simply view a recording rather than attending the event in person. With that in mind, make sure you send your recording to everyone who registers for the event – not just the people who actually attend.

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Making the Most of Webinars

Webinars have rapidly emerged as one of the most valuable tools for today’s business owners. Thanks to the webinar features offered by leading video conferencing companies and software providers, it’s easier than ever to create a meaningful event for your employees or customers.

With webinar tools, you can transform an online meeting into a learning experience, generate new leads, and even form strong relationships with a live audience. However, it’s important to make sure you plan your strategy carefully in advance. Taking the time to think about what you want to accomplish with your webinar, create the most engaging content, and choose the right webinar platform will boost your chances of getting the right results.

Rebekah Carter

Rebekah Carter is an experienced content creator, news reporter, and blogger specializing in marketing, business development, and technology. Her expertise covers everything from artificial intelligence to email marketing software and extended reality devices. When she’s not writing, Rebekah spends most of her time reading, exploring the great outdoors, and gaming.

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