Increasingly, webinars are considered one of the most effective ways to get listeners to understand,
products, solutions, and market trends, as well as to conduct training or make other announcements. More and more marketers are hosting them regularly as a way to generate and convert business leads. Webinars also allow for two-way interaction and a personalized approach.
The staggering success of webinars is reflected in a report published by Demand Gen Report, a marketing publication, which found that 95% of the companies surveyed used webinars.
Despite the popularity of hosting webinars, there are indications that the novelty of these online events may be wearing off. A recent survey conducted byClickZsuggests that of 400 consumers surveyed only 16% preferred to watch a live webinar. The survey finds that consumers would prefer to watch a webinar at their own convenience.
The webinar as we have come to know it is outdated. Most webinars are far too lengthy and simply aren’t interactive enough. Instead they inundate viewers with information and interaction is limited to messenger chat, with few opportunities to ask questions. Generally webinars rely on a combination of slides and video which fails to properly engage viewers. And the content of most webinars is not tailored to suit individuals and their unique interests, but rather a group.
With all the technological innovations available at our fingertips, the time has never been riper to reinvent the webinar.
After having conducted numerous “traditional” webinars at Kaltura, and inspired by the “flipped classroom” format, which has been catching on in the educational scene, we have recently adopted a new “flipped webinar”, format, which dramatically changes the way webinars are run.
This is a novel and more interactive approach which is flipping the traditional webinar on its head. With our new webinars we hope to address all the drawbacks of the typical webinar and thereby offer something which is beneficial to both us and our viewers.
The “flipped webinar” draws on the success of a similar concept, the flipped classroom, which is being used by educators around the globe. Both models aim to offer a more interactive and hands-on experience that encourages engagement with content, be it in the classroom or webinar.
Our webinars are designed to be as interactive as possible. Drawing on the flipped classroom model, we tailor each of our webinars to suit the participants who will be attending, and their unique needs.
We do this by sending all those who are invited (and later to all registrants) a two minute video which outlines the aims of the webinar and provides an “in video survey” to get as much feedback as possible beforehand. This helps us tailor the content of the webinar and gives us an idea of how we should focus that particular event. During the actual webinar, we run many polls and surveys and use that feedback to further personalize and adjust content in real-time.
This personalized approach transforms the traditional webinar into something which is dynamic and gives those attending a more interactive and individually tailored experience. Of course, our approach is quite time consuming; the amount of preparation, planning and analysis that goes into running a successful flipped webinar cannot be underestimated. However, despite the time investment, we have found flipped webinars to be a highly effective tool to convert leads.
The results we have seen are quite amazing. There is impressive interest in pre-webinar questions, including very useful input to open ended questions, and during the actual webinar we generally get about 90% of the audience to actively participate in the polls and surveys. Depending on the context of the webinar these results help us in product development efforts, in market analysis and in providing important qualifying information. It is clear to us that the active and engaging nature of the flipped webinar is superior to passive traditional webinars.
Do you have other ideas for how the traditional webinar can be made more engaging and interactive? I’d love to hear them.