Tech webinar hosting has become indispensable to an effective B2B marketing toolkit. In 2022, 61% of B2B marketers used webinars as an effective tool in their content marketing toolbox, and 73% reported that webinars are their top-performing lead generation mechanism.
During the shift to remote work that began in 2020, the use of webinars in marketing spiked dramatically by 67% in the last two quarters alone. In 2022, this trend shows no sign of stopping, with 95% of marketers identifying webinars as a key component in their content strategies and another 74% directly tying webinars to revenue increases.
Growth in the global webinar and webcasting technology sector continues to reflect this trend, with previous compound annual growth rate (CAGR) projections rising from 7.6% through 2023 to 21.4% through 2030, resulting in a forecast market value of $792 billion by the end of the decade. An explosion of new webinar hosting platforms has followed closely on the heels of expanded webinar use across industries such as e-commerce, healthcare, education, and manufacturing.
With webinars set to grow in use and effectiveness for the foreseeable future, leveraging webinars to reach targeted B2B audiences has become imperative for tech marketers. This guide will teach you what it takes to create, promote, and host outstanding tech webinars that drive lead generation.
- Webinars have become an important digital marketing channel businesses use to generate leads and drive customer satisfaction and retention
- Webinars are virtual events involving a host, one or more presenters, and an audience of virtual attendees
- Successful tech webinar hosting requires a solid technical setup, engaging content, and access to a wide variety of niche audiences of capable, motivated buyers
- With proper preparation, promotion, and delivery, webinars can become a highly effective component in the digital marketing toolkit
How Do B2B Tech Webinars Work?
Webinars are virtual events hosted on a video conferencing platform or dedicated webinar software. Most consist of a host, one or more presenters, and an audience of virtual attendees. In B2B contexts, marketers can build targeted, lead-generating audiences through their organization's channels and contacts or partner with specialized content syndication networks to access larger caches of audiences matching specified criteria.
Webinars differ from live video presentations by incorporating different degrees of audience interactivity. These include asking questions in a Q&A segment, posting comments or questions in a shared forum, and real-time audience polls.
Statistically, successful webinars begin promotion at least 15 days ahead of time and run for 30 to 45 minutes live. Most webinar audiences (78%) are fewer than 50 people. To keep audiences engaged, webinar hosts and presenters supplement their spoken presentations with multimedia content such as slides, infographics, images, and videos.
Benefits of Hosting Webinars vs. In-Person Events
In today's digital landscape, webinars have become more than just a substitute for events that marketers would prefer to hold in person. Rather, webinars constitute a distinct digital channel for reaching broader and more targeted audiences. Incorporating webinars into a business's core marketing activities delivers three specific benefits:
- Increased Return on Investment (ROI) for Content
Creating engaging content that directly speaks to your potential clients' specific needs and pain points requires significant investment. Lead generation webinars for audiences assembled through syndication networks can greatly extend the ROI of your best content, as confirmed by a majority of polled B2B marketers. Syndication accomplishes this by connecting your content to simultaneously larger and more target audiences than your marketing teams can reach with their resources.
- Expanded Potential Audiences
Webinars eliminate the travel costs and challenges of coordinating in-person events, giving marketers an effective global reach for their content. As most content marketing webinars are free to attend, potential clients don’t need to justify any expenses. They can attend events solely based on their interest in specific products and services.
- Reach over Time
Studies show that 47% of webinar audiences view content in the first 10 days after an event. Keeping webinar content available after live events ensures a broader audience reach and reduces constraints with scheduling conflicts.
Webinar Hosting: Equipment, Logistics, and Audiences
To conduct a high-performing webinar for B2B tech audiences, hosts need a good technical setup, an understanding of logistical concerns, and a plan for accessing and enticing the right audience for the content presented. Investing in high-quality equipment and considering where and when to host webinars can help create events that hold the audience's attention and communicate professionalism and authority. Marketers can identify audiences and promote webinars within reach of their resources or with the help of expert webinar services.
To get started, webinar hosts will need:
- High-Quality Headset with a Mic
Good audio quality is one of the most important components of a successful webinar. While nearly all laptops have built-in mics, the voice quality is poor on the audience's end and is vulnerable to ambient sound interruptions. With the rise in popularity of podcasting, listeners have grown accustomed to consistent voice quality that only professional-grade equipment can deliver.
Choosing the right headset and mic setup depends on three factors:
- The acoustics in the location where you'll host your events
- Whether you're pre-recording content or presenting live
- The number of speakers in the event
The more ambient noise—such as traffic, birds, or weather—you'll have to deal with, the more you'll want to invest in headsets and mics that ensure voice quality and reduce other noise sources. Comfort is another important consideration if you plan to regularly invite other presenters. Headsets that meet these requirements range from $50 to $200.
- High-Quality Webcam
Popular laptops such as the MacBook Pro have webcams with 720p resolution. This level of resolution begins to appear grainy to most viewers on screens larger than tablets. To deliver professional-grade video quality, webinar hosts should use cameras with a minimum HD 1080p resolution. At this rate, videos will appear rich and clear on desktop monitors and even projector screens for multiple viewers.
Webcams offering 1080p resolution and 30-60fps are available for $200 to $300.
Depending on your hosting options in the office or at home, webinar hosts may want to buy one or two basic softbox kits to ensure that presenters appear in their (literal) best light. Individual kits cost about $50.
- Internet Connection
Connectivity issues can easily ruin a well-planned webinar. At a minimum, hosts should use services that consistently deliver 10Mbps up and download speeds for events with a single presenter and 20Mbps for multiple presenters. Whenever possible, hosts should use Ethernet rather than Wi-Fi. If you must use Wi-Fi, disconnect any non-essential devices and set up as close to the router as possible.
If you don't know how fast your Internet connection is, you can test speed and bandwidth using free services such as Google Fiber and Speedcheck. If you share a network with other users, you should also perform an advance rehearsal on the day and time you intend to present.
- Webinar Software
Webinars are more than just video conference calls hosted by marketing personnel. They generate value in the form of leads and conversions, as well as capturable data for hosts to use in future presentations. Investing in a dedicated webinar hosting platform helps hosts create better audience experiences and capture valuable data.
The popular software review platform, G2, defines webinar software according to the following criteria:
- Capacity for multiple presenters in multiple locations and audience capacities of 1,000+
- Lead capture and registration capabilities
- Enhancement features for video presentations
- Analytical tools and performance-tracking features
Most platforms that meet these requirements are available for $15to $20 per user per month.
- Purchase-Capable Audience with an Identified Interest in Your Products or Services
While marketers can directly procure the technical components of hosting a tech webinar, generating a lead-rich audience of attendees is often the limiting factor of success for hosts working within their existing networks of potential invitees. Marketing teams can attempt to bridge this gap in one of two ways:
- Expand networks and target account lists (TALs) incrementally over time, starting small and accumulating a greater depth of reach through repetition and trial and error
- Outsource the research and labor quotient for building audience networks to experienced syndication partners who can put your content in front of purchase-capable, interested parties from the get-go
10 Best Practices for Planning and Hosting Outstanding Webinars
Planning, promoting, and conducting successful webinars are critical skills that take time and investment to develop. Here are 10 best practices to guide your webinar planning strategy.
- Set Specific Goals
Some common webinar goals include lead generation, lead conversion, and customer retention. Individual webinars should focus on a single purpose so hosts can match the content with the targeted audience and determine the most effective content topics.
Lead generation topics include:
- Product and service demonstrations
- Case studies
- New product launches
Customer loyalty and retention topics include:
- How-Tos and guides
- Product and service updates
- Define Your Audience
Like other digital marketing channels, success in webinars depends largely on the marketing team’s' ability to target the right audience for your specific content. Avoid mixing potential customers with existing customers, as they have different needs that different teams within your organization should address.
For example, marketing and sales teams should handle webinars for lead generation, whereas account managers and product support will be better suited to meeting the needs of existing customers. In both cases, because webinars are inexpensive compared to other marketing campaigns and events, hosts should feel free to segment their target audiences as tightly as possible so that presenters address their content to motivated and capable buyers and customers.
The best tool to segment audiences further is the demographics in your existing customer data. Useful demographic categories for narrowing down audiences include:
- Stage of life such as career building, home owning, approaching retirement
- Primary language
- Income and spending patterns
In B2B contexts, the primary demographics are:
- Industry and niches
- Size, ranging from a small startup to an international enterprise
- Who makes purchase decisions in the business (e.g., CEO, engineers, and marketers)
- Choose Topics and Titles
Content topics and titles should cater to the target audience's needs and interests. For lead generation and customer retention, webinar topics should address known pain points and challenges. To ensure that the marketing team's promotional content catches the eyes of potential attendees in emails and other marketing channels, hosts should choose concise, engaging titles that pose relevant questions to readers.
For example, a cybersecurity company promoting a new technology should translate topics like "Contextualized Runtime Security for Multi-Cloud Environments" into more directly appealing titles such as "Do You Have the Tools You Need To Secure Your Runtime Environments? Join Us To Find Out." The title should position the webinar as the answer to a relevant and urgent question.
- Create a Registration Page
All promotional content for a webinar should lead to a dedicated registration page on the organization's website. Having a registration process that requires some action on the part of potential attendees—such as providing a name and business email address—helps narrow audiences down to more motivated attendees.
Registration pages should include all necessary information in one place. At a minimum, this information should include:
- Topic and key content themes
- Date and time
- Description of who should attend with references to industries and job titles
- Registration form with fields for name, business email, and any other relevant contact information
- Highly targeted call to action (CTA)
Marketers can promote webinars in three ways: email lists, social media, and paid advertising. Email and social media promotion are free, but their effectiveness depends on the depth of the marketing team's mailing lists for specific audiences and the company's social media visibility. If a business is still in the early stages of building mailing lists and social media presence, marketers should allocate spending for paid advertising through publishers such as Google Ads, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
- Send Reminders
Not every registrant will attend the webinar, but marketers can drive higher attendance with well-crafted reminder campaigns and by making webinars on-demand after the live event. Marketing teams can tweak the quantity and timing for different audiences as they gain more data from past webinars.
Nevertheless, a simple format would include at least four reminders per webinar:
- One week before
- One day before
- The morning of
- Two hours before
Sending registrants multiple identical reminders runs the risk of coming off like spam content. Each reminder should have a unique message and communicate an increasing sense of urgency as the date approaches.
- Configure Your Equipment
The audience will view the webinar through a screen-sharing platform, whether hosts use an external camera or the built-in webcam on a laptop. To avoid interruptions, switch off notifications from programs such as email, Skype, Slack, and other social media and close all unnecessary browser tabs. Remind anyone who’s going to be on screen or within mic range during the webinar to silence their phones and other personal electronics.
- Prepare Slide Decks and Other Visual Aids
Webinars should always include compelling visual features. Studies show that most people (65%) are visual learners rather than auditory or kinesthetic learners. While it's tempting to focus on verbal presentations in webinars, hosts should remember that visual aids are the most effective medium for delivering information that audiences will remember.
Slides are one of the most effective and easiest visual components to prepare for holding the audience's attention and communicating key points. Try not to inundate the audience with more information than they're likely to remember. Choose three or four key points and frame the presentation around them.
In a 30- to 45-minute webinar, presenters can prepare slides for each of the following phases:
- Introduction: Should communicate a thought-provoking fact or statistic
- Topic: Should summarize the presenter's most important points
- Summary and CTA: Should present the audience with a clear course of action prompted by the presentation
- Q&A: Should present the audience FAQs to get the discussion started
- Engage the Audience
Webinars shouldn’t be video-conference lectures. Attendees are there by choice and are interested in solving a specific problem or learning something new and critical in their field.
Dry, information-heavy presentations that fail to communicate a sense of urgency or enthusiasm will cost viewers. Presenters should try to hook audiences with a compelling and challenging thought in the first two minutes to create anticipation for the coming content.
The core of the webinar presentation should focus on three or four key points, visually reinforced by slides, images, videos, or infographics. Presenters should also punctuate their spoken parts with questions to the audience, creating a shared sense of interactivity.
- Closing and Q&A
In the closing phase of a webinar, the presenter should speak directly to the predefined goal. Final statements should propose a clear course of action, like buying a product or starting a demo, and prompt attendees to engage with the presenter in the Q&A section.
In Q&As, presenters should pay equal attention to both spoken and chat questions. If the audience is initially slow to ask questions, presenters should have some prepared FAQs to break the ice. Presenters should remember to provide a clear answer for all technical or tangential questions and then reconnect the question to the webinar's central CTA.
Custom Webinar Programs with ActualTech Media
At ActualTech Media, we’re industry leaders in turnkey webinar production and lead generation programs. Our team of experts will help your creative personnel develop engaging webinar content to deliver to your ideal potential clients within our vast audience network.
Learn more about our lead-generating, webinar programs.