What is a Webinar and How Does it Work

Open up Facebook or Instagram virtually any day of the week and you will be met with an untold number of advertisements for presentations and live classes on a wide variety of subjects. These online trainings are webinars, and they help business owners reach out to a large audience without the need of renting out conference space or even having to leave their own office. If you run your own business, you may have wondered how to host a webinar, and whether or not it’s a good option for you as a marketing strategy. Sound familiar? If so, keep reading. 

How Does a Webinar Work

A common question we hear from entrepreneurs is “what is a webinar and how does it work?” The best way to describe a webinar or online seminar (sometimes called a teleseminar), is that it’s essentially a meeting or a virtual presentation that occurs over the internet. In a webinar, a host or multiple hosts can use slide presentations, polls and surveys, text chat, or even just speak on camera directly to their audience to convey a message or teach a lesson.  

There are three types of webinars – live, automated, and hybrid.

Live Webinar

A live webinar is one that occurs in real-time. A host or multiple hosts will schedule their webinar, then promote it to the public. People will then sign up via a designated link and then on the day and time of the scheduled event, everyone will log in to a unique link to watch the presentation as it is delivered live by the host or hosts. 

Sometimes there is a replay that will go out after the live event is concluded. Think of the replay like the re-run of the live show you would watch on television – only this show is happening online. 

What makes a live webinar a popular choice for hosts is that they can interact with their audience in real-time as well. Questions can be answered, and content can even be changed on the fly based on audience reaction. 

Unfortunately, there are some problems with the fact it is a live presentation. For starters, if you have to cancel because of getting sick or other unforeseen circumstances, rescheduling can often be difficult as many of the people you convinced to show up might not sign up again. Secondly, you can’t exactly edit mistakes that occur while live streaming. When scheduling conflicts occur, it’s also not always easy to get your audience to show up to the date and time you have chosen for your live webinar in the first place. It is for these reasons and several others that many people choose an automated webinar over one that is hosted live.

Automated Webinar

An automated webinar is a webinar that has been recorded previously, and that can appear live at multiple times. One of the biggest reasons entrepreneurs like this option is that more people can choose to attend a webinar because it gives them several times and dates to choose from to watch a presentation. For example, some entrepreneurs will run the same webinar presentation every 15 minutes. This gives audiences plenty of options so they don’t have to worry about FOMO (fear of missing out).

Another reason entrepreneurs choose automated webinars over live ones is that they can be doing other things while the presentation is being played to their audiences. Even if they are asleep, they can be generating new leads and potentially making sales. Suddenly passive and automated income doesn’t seem so elusive.

Hybrid Webinar

Invented and perfected by our team here at StealthSeminar, the hybrid webinar gives you the best of both worlds. So, what exactly is a live / automated webinar? The way that it works is a host or hosts can run an automated webinar as frequently as they would like, and then hop on live at some point in the broadcast if they choose to. 

For example, let’s say you’re running an automated webinar about social media marketing every hour. Your presentations end with a question and answer session about Facebook, Instagram, and all the platforms you’ve just taught your attendees about. With the hybrid webinar, if you want to you can hop onto your presentation live once it’s time for the Q&A. Instead of the need to sit through the entire presentation, or worse teaching it over and over again, you can let the webinar play automatically, and then chime in whenever you would like with your audience in real-time. 

Unlike some platforms that offer this ability, StealthSeminar will automatically play the presentation and then send you a notification when it’s time to pop in live. Other platforms that claim to offer a hybrid actually require that you manually turn on the presentation and then sit through it until you’re ready to hop on and start talking. 

Common Practices for Webinar Formats

The main goals of a webinar are typically to educate, inspire, entertain, and in many cases make sales. These days there are many businesses using webinars to train their employees, vendors, and partners. Others are using them to host masterminds and network with each other. The most common use of webinars we’re seeing, however, is to use a webinar to warm up an audience to ultimately make a sales pitch of some kind. 

Many, if not most, of these sales-oriented types of webinars, feature a training session with audio and visual elements where the host or hosts are teaching the attendees something new. The objective is to first deliver tremendous value to the audience which builds the host’s credibility and helps the audience get to know, like and trust them. 

Towards the end of the training, the host will then explain a way that the audience can work with them in a larger capacity, or how they can purchase products and/or services that may have been referenced in the webinar. Many of these types of webinars also feature a question and answer portion where audience members can ask about the products and services, or just ask about what they learned in the training to get clarification about the presentation. 

Create a Webinar Funnel

Once you have a clear plan for what you want to teach and offer in your webinar, it’s time to create a webinar funnel. A webinar funnel is a fabulous marketing tool you can add to your arsenal to make more money in your business. 

Here’s a quick look at how a webinar sales funnel works:

Step 1 – Your audience learns about your company either through an advertisement, blog post, social media update, referral, via email, or some other way

Step 2 – The generated traffic leads to a landing page often referred to as a webinar registration page, and then people sign up to become attendees

Step 3- A thank you page is generated telling your audience how to view the webinar

Step 4 – Your audience watches the webinar and you wow them! You deliver a pitch and add a call to action to the webinar event page

Step 5 – After the conclusion of the webinar you can either send a replay link, or some other link about the presentation with a reminder of your sales offer

Step 6 – You retarget your attendees via email and/or online ads in an effort to make more sales

Step 7 – You close some sales and keep working on your warm leads that didn’t buy

Step 8 – Start all over again with Step 1, rinse and repeat

While this is an incredibly simplistic view of the webinar funnel process, this method is actually one that many of our clients are using right now to add additional revenue streams to their businesses each month. Some are even using more than one webinar funnel to generate even more money!

Pro Tip: Don’t just focus on your webinar. You should focus on all of the elements of your webinar funnel for maximum impact.

You need all the parts of the funnel to be working well to achieve the highest level of success. If you’re not gathering enough traffic, you’ll need to work on that to get people to your webinar sign up page, for example. Then, once they get there, they need a reason to actually fill out the form. Your copy has to impress them enough to give you their information. Even the thank you page needs to be thought out and executed properly to signal to your audience that the registration was successful, and to inform them of how to watch the presentation. 

Believe it or not, the biggest mistake we see people make with their webinar funnels is the follow-up after the presentation has ended. It is critical that you keep in touch with your attendees, whether they made a purchase or not. Remember, even though you have warmed up your audience with your initial presentation, sometimes it takes as many as 7 touch points with a prospect before you make a sale.

The good news is, StealthSeminar has plenty of resources that can help you with everything you need to know about creating and executing an amazing webinar funnel for your business. You can check out our resources page for free right now. We recommend starting with our eBook Automated webinars.” 

It’s Time to Start Using Webinars in Your Business

We realize this post has covered a lot! We answered the question “what is a webinar and how does it work?” We chatted briefly about how to host a webinar. We even shared the elements of creating a webinar funnel. Want to learn even more about running a webinar? Well, the best way to learn is by doing it! 

You can get started with StealthSeminar completely free today. You don’t even need a credit card to try our platform. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. Click here to start your free 30-day trial now!

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