Webinar! What exactly is a webinar anyway?

Essentially, a webinar is a live online seminar where the presenter can interact with the viewers.

Webinars are affordable. They reach a wide audience. They generate leads. And most importantly, webinars give you a chance to engage with your audience. The key word here is “engage.”

Recently Constant Contact held a webinar to address just that—How to Run Engaging Webinars. And when we were engaging with our audience they came up with a lot of great questions.

Here are five of those questions, and their answers, that might help you better connect with your audience at your next webinar:

1. Are webinars suitable for online dance classes?

I wouldn’t recommend using a webinar to teach an online dance class. Webinars do offer a variety of engagement tools that allow you to have a back and forth with your audience, but that functionality is better suited for a presentation or meeting, not for a dance class.

With a webinar, you wouldn’t be able to see your participants and provide dancing critiques. Your audience might benefit more from an on-demand resource, such as a video. That way they can see your dance lesson when it’s convenient for them, but aren’t expecting feedback.

2. Is there a time limit on how long your webinar should be?

At Constant Contact, we offer 45 minute live webinars and leave 15 minutes for questions. The key is to provide prescriptive learnings that leave your audience with action items they can apply right away.

If you give a webinar that is only 15-20 minutes, it may not provide enough value to make it worthwhile for you or the participants.

Similarly, if you want to broadcast a webinar that is longer than an hour, you will most likely see a high drop off of participants. The webinar as a medium can only hold people’s attention for so long. If you have a lot of material to cover, it’s better to offer a series that breaks your content up into more manageable pieces.

Whatever you decide, it might make sense to follow-up your webinar with a chat on Twitter or Facebook. This will not only continue the discussion, but will also give those who were unable to attend the opportunity to learn and participate.

3. Any suggestions for keeping people focused on the webinar? I’m worried people will just sit there and surf the web.

Without a doubt, there are a lot of distractions for people attending a webinar. They have the entire Web at their fingertips!

The first step is to make sure your content meets their needs. Whether it’s addressing a hot topic or solving a problem, if it benefits them, you have a better chance of keeping them engaged.

The second biggest factor is how you present the material. The more back and forth with your audience, the better. When you pick a webinar tool, select a tool that has interactive elements, like voting, polling, Q&A, etc. That way your audience isn’t sitting back and listening, but they are leaning forward and participating.

4. How do we decide if we should charge a fee or provide the webinar for free?

Whether or not you charge for your event should be tied directly to the goal of your webinar. If you want to profit from your expertise, then you should charge for it. Plus, it’s a great way to convey value!

However, if you are looking to move your audience through the sales cycle or generate product awareness, it might be better to provide a free webinar that drives a lot of registrations and attendance.

There isn’t a right or wrong answer; it’s just what works best for your organization’s goals.

5. Can you make a survey confidential so people feel free to be more honest?

Feedback is a gift. I say this even after reading comments as non-constructive as, “Your voice is annoying.” You’re crafting your webinar content for your audience so feedback from that audience is vital to making your webinar a success.

I recommend having an optional contact information section as the last question of your survey. That way your respondents can be as forthcoming as they feel necessary, but if you want to publish their positive comments in a webinar invite or on your website you can.

Not only is a survey good for improving content, but also for soliciting reviews and recommendations you can use to promote your future sessions!

Ready to learn more? Check out our next live session of How to Run Engaging Webinars. If you have any questions before that, let us know in the comments below!