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A webinar is a virtual event that’s hosted and broadcasted by an organization. It offers one way communication to attendees and is interchangeable with webcasts, online events, and web seminars. The speaker delivers a presentation, slideshow, documents, or another visual element to share new information. The purpose is to educate attendees on new topics, share ideas or experiences, or sell a product.

Webinars are a cost-effective alternative to in-person seminars. Many companies opt for these to save money on rental fees and travel costs. Webinars are more convenient for both hosts and guests and can reach a global audience. Another benefit is real-time engagement between viewer and host with instant messaging or email. Speakers and hosts can engage with their viewers in real time with quizzes, polls, and surveys. Some webinars allow for the sharing, downloading, and recording of the event after its completion, too.

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Basic principles

Types of webinars

  • Live webinars are one-time events that take place on a specific day and time. It doesn’t offer the ability to fast-forward, pause, or scrub to a specific section. A participant could miss parts of the event if they sign on late. This type of webinar allows for real-time interaction between speaker and audience.
  • On-demand webinars give viewers the freedom to watch the event at their convenience. Attendees sign up for the event and follow the link once the webinar has been posted. This type of webinar allows for convenient watching and the ability to review material after the event is over.
  • Automated webinars are pre-recorded, and the speaker uploads it to a platform after recording. A date and time are set and then attendees will live stream the webinar. The only downside is the speakers aren’t presenting live.

Webinar technology

A webinar is hosted on a professional Saas platform. It’s advised to use webinar-specific software to host the event rather than using group call platforms.

Some things to consider when choosing a webinar platform:

  • How many attendees are expected. You’ll want to pick a platform that’s capable of handling the expected traffic.
  • What features you’ll want to include in the webinar. Some features include phone call-ins, calls to action, whiteboard, recordings, replays, or analytical integrations. You may also want to consider integrations with calendars, email marketing, and CRM platforms.
  • Your budget and how frequent you plan to host webinars should be considered. Some webinar platforms offer a flat rate monthly subscription fee, which will be cost-effective if webinars are hosted regularly.