Over the last 18 months, we’ve seen everything move online, from annual industry conferences to major life events (raise your hand if you’ve attended a virtual wedding or baby shower!)
Even before the pandemic, 75% percent of B2B customers consumed webinar content to inform their buying decisions.
With video interactions becoming second nature, the webinar format is more relevant than ever as a tool for delivering content and connecting with potential customers.
As the world opens back up (fingers crossed), we predict that simple, lightweight webinars will remain a part of the marketer’s toolkit to:
- drive demand
- generate leads
- and increase customer engagement
Why? It’s an engaging format that can creatively repurpose written content (our favorite!) and, with the right tools, can be delivered efficiently.
Let me show you how.
What Is the Difference Between a Zoom Meeting and a Zoom Webinar?
Zoom meetings and Zoom webinars might sound like the same thing (poTAYto, poTAWto, right?), but there are some key differences that you should be aware of before you advertise your online presentation.
A meeting on Zoom is like a bunch of friends getting together for a potluck. No one’s in charge (except, to a certain extent, the person whose home it’s in) and everyone brings something to the party. Likewise, Zoom meetings allow all participants to see and hear each other, share their screens, and mute/unmute themselves.
A webinar on Zoom is like a classroom where only one person (the teacher) is in charge, dictates what subject is discussed, and grants permission for the students to speak up. Similarly, Zoom webinars have one host (plus any guests or panelists) who discusses or teaches a specific topic, and only they can mute/unmute others and share their screen. In addition, only they can see all the attendees; none of the attendees can see each other.
Business webinars (web + seminar) are great formats for presentations, lectures, panels, workshops, interviews, etc., and have an advantage over in-person seminars as anyone from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection can attend.
Zoom webinars are ideal for businesses because they:
- Can accommodate between 500-50,000 attendees, depending on the webinar license you’ve purchased
- Allow you to send email reminders (if registration has been enabled)
- Have a “raise hand” option which lets the host unmute specific participants so they can ask questions during a Q&A
- Include polling and surveys features that you can start during the webinar and download this feedback report afterwards
Hosting a B2B webinar can help you build brand awareness, be seen as an industry leader, and generate leads.
What Are the Benefits of Zoom Video Webinars?
Zoom Video Webinars are super easy to set up, invite attendees, and conduct. Beyond that, the benefits of using Zoom for your business’ B2B webinars include:
- Connect with clients in a more personal way. In today’s digital age where we email and Slack and ping and message and share Google Docs, seeing people’s faces, even on a computer screen, is a much-needed human touch. This is as true for your B2B clients at is for your friends and family.
- Engage your audience for better brand recall: Conducing a webinar in which you can encourage your audience to participate by asking questions in real-time, polling them during the live presentation, and just showcasing your captivating personality will definitely make attendees remember you and your presentation long after the webinar is over.
- Grow your business with recorded webinars: Not only can you invite up to 50,000 attendees, but live streaming your webinar on YouTube Live or Facebook Live allows even more people to see your presentation. And since you can record your webinars, you can always share them on social media again at a later date, thus targeting even more viewers and potential leads. (You can even brand the live streaming video watermark!)
Some Advice for Your First Webinar
Before we dive into how to host a Zoom webinar, here are a couple of points to keep in mind.
Keep It Simple
When it comes to the world of B2B tech — especially the mid-market companies we often partner with — the simpler the better. Don’t worry about green screens and fancy backgrounds or state-of-the-art microphones.
The average marketer just wants a fast solution: a quick way to spread the word about a webinar topic, gather registrations, send invitations and reminders, and host the conversation on game day.
Learn on the Fly
I was recently in this very position with a client. We found a blog topic that struck a chord with the target audience and we thought it would lend itself nicely to an informal live session.
Our vision: the blog authors could go a layer deeper on the topic and then solicit audience questions in real-time.
We wanted to launch fast, learn quickly, and understand if it made sense to incorporate webinars into our ongoing content marketing strategy. We didn’t want to have to pull in developers or designers for custom landing pages or take on other complexities that would slow down launching what was essentially an MVP (minimum viable product).
Upon a bit more investigation, it turned out that the tool everyone was glued to already did just the trick.
Enter ➡️ the Zoom Video Webinar…
The Basics of Zoom Video Webinars
Here’s how the tool enabled us to prototype our first major webinar, what the tool’s key limitations were, and how we’ll approach webinars with Zoom going forward.
Zoom Webinar Pricing
Zoom Webinar pricing plans are simple add-ons that you can choose to pay for on a monthly or yearly basis, though you’ll need a business license to begin with.
You might wonder, why not just use a plain ol’ Zoom meeting to connect with your audience? As we mentioned above, with webinars, attendees are muted by default throughout and do not see one another on screen.
Zoom Video Webinar also comes with really helpful marketing tools and makes day-of Q&A and audience management a breeze. For example, with “touch up my appearance” filters and background noise suppression, you can count on Zoom to help you present a reliable, high-quality and secure webinar.
Zoom Video Webinars features include:
- Immersive virtual backgrounds (images, videos, presentation slides)
- Touch up appearance filters and studio effects
- Light and noise controls
- 1-click HD video sharing
- Q&A moderation controls and audience comments and up-votes
- Ability to share files and call-to-action links in a chat window
- Attendee promotion to panelist with audio and video sharing
- Cloud recordings with video trimming capabilities and reporting
- Open platform with APIs, SDKs and third-party app integrations
Simple Marketing Landers (No Coding Required!)
We initially thought we may have to spin up a custom landing page to launch the event and gather registrants. Luckily, a simple lander is part of the Zoom Video Webinar experience and requires zero code. Fill in the key webinar details (date, time, description) into a simple form field, and you are up and running.
You’ll have the option to customize your webinar registration page elements, like: theme, title, banner, logo, and speaker information. To change your webinar branding settings:
- Click on “Webinars” in the navigation menu.
- Click on the title of the webinar.
- Click the “Branding” tab.
- Have fun customizing your webinar branding settings!
You can further customize it with a more branded event graphic (we love Canva for creating these with limited professional design skills), a logo, and speaker bios and headshots. I’d advise using these elements to give your webinar a more professional and branded feel.
Other event settings you can select as part of the setup include video for hosts and panelists, automatically recording the webinar (either locally to your computer or straight to the cloud — definitely do the latter), and enabling a practice session (highly recommended — see the logistics section below).
The best part of the lander setup, in my experience, is the simple registration form and flow. Your audience provides their name and email address, and they’ll immediately get an invite email with all the details for dialing in on event day. The emails come from whoever created the webinar as a default, but you can adjust the sender name and address for a more custom, branded experience.
Pro tip: You can also ask your audience additional qualifying questions to help with lead gen, though that setting is a bit buried.
The one downside is that the design of this page is limited. You can’t adjust font type or sizes, and as such the page can feel a tad plain and the information out of proportion (see the somewhat huge Webinar Registration heading). Designing a header graphic with this in mind definitely helps mitigate and balance the feel of this page.
Automated Reminder Emails and Registration Data
This feature is a marketer’s dream! As soon as attendees start signing up, you can capture those contacts (read: potential leads!). Just head to the reports section of your Zoom account to download a .CSV of registrants:
Once people have signed up, you’ll want to make sure they actually attend. Luckily, Zoom makes this part especially easy.
Just click a button to turn on event reminders, which can be sent a week, a day, and/or an hour in advance! They come straight from Zoom and pre-populate the important event details, though you can customize with additional content.
In your Zoom account:
- Click on “Account Management” then on “Webinar Settings”.
- Scroll down to Email Settings:
- Then click on “Edit” next to the setting you want to change.
Like the lander, these reminders won’t be the prettiest emails the world has ever seen and don’t enable any HTML or hyperlinked text, but — if you can believe it — these plain-looking emails often engage better than the overly designed ones.
Speaker Logistics and Coordination Are (Mostly) Smooth
In setting up the Zoom webinar, you become the host. But you’ll need to invite and engage your other speakers (if there are more than just you).
This is where you’ll use the panelists feature:
- In your Zoom account, click on the “Webinars” tab.
- Click the topic of the webinar you want to add panelists to.
- Go to the bottom of the Invitations page where it says “Invite panelists” and click “Edit”:
- Enter the panelist’s name and email address to invite them:
- Then click “Save” to send invites to the added panelists.
Pro tip: Make sure panelists save this email from Zoom so that it’s easily accessible, as this is the link they’ll need to dial in to the webinar as a panelist. This functionality isn’t super obvious from the onset.
While you are setting up the event, you can opt to have a practice session. This is a simple way for all panelists to log into the webinar experience and work through their content, without the risk of an audience member randomly dialing in. They’ll need that panelist link I mentioned above to get in, though.
One troubling aspect of the practice sessions is you don’t fully get a sense of what the audience members will experience on the day of, but Zoom’s support articles assured me that audience members can’t see one another and can only see the panelists and host.
Powerful Webinar Q&A Feature
Whoever sets up the Zoom webinar is the host, so keep that in mind for branding purposes. If you do not personally want to be front and center as the host, you can change your Zoom display name and profile picture to the name and logo of the company sponsoring the webinar.
All panelists have the ability to share their screens on launch day, and as the host you can configure attendees’ view of speakers and their screens. My experience with hosting a less formal, more conversational webinar is that the majority of value comes in the Q&A and resulting conversation, so keep the graphics and screen shares on the light side — maybe one or two key slides to help illustrate the speakers’ points.
Speaking of Q&A, this feature was incredibly useful. Attendees can easily submit questions, and hosts and panelists have the option to answer them live, submit answers over text, and mark them as answered.
Pro tip: Come up with a few Q&A questions beforehand to feed to the panelists just in case, but be prepared to dedicate ample time to answering the audience’s questions that roll through.
As mentioned above, Zoom’s reporting feature also allows you to download a report of questions asked during the webinar, which can serve as great inspiration for subsequent content such as blog posts.
- In the navigation menu, go to “Account Management” and then click on “Reports”.
- Click “Webinar”.
- Select the Report Type you would like to search for (Attendee, Performance, Q&A, Poll or Survey).
- Enter the Webinar ID number and click “Search”.
- Select the webinar, then click “Generate CSV Report”.
Zoom Video Webinar’s Follow-Up Marketing Tools (for Continued Engagement)
Unsurprisingly, Zoom Video Webinar’s follow-up marketing tools were also very effective. You can opt to send follow-up emails to webinar attendees, as well as those who registered but didn’t make it to the live session, and you can configure when you’d like to send these emails.
To send follow-up emails after your Zoom webinar:
- In the navigation menu, click “Account Management” then “Webinar Settings”.
- Scroll down to the Email Settings section.
- Click “Edit” next to the settings to change whether these emails are sent by default:
- Follow-up email to Attendees: The follow-up email can be sent 1 to 7 days after the webinar start time.
- Follow-up email to Absentees: The follow-up email can be sent 1 to 7 days after the webinar start time.
If you’ve opted to automatically record the webinar to the cloud, you’ll get an email notification as soon as the recording is available and a link to where people can access this recording. Once on-site, people can choose to download the file to their local computers or play it from their browser.
Pro tip: This recording link is a great item to include in your follow-up emails to attendees and absentees alike, as well as share on your social media accounts and subsequent blogs.
This means that a single webinar can be repurposed for multiple content pieces and opportunities to engage your audience. (We are all about maximizing the value of content, if you haven’t noticed yet!)
Related Content: Why B2B Content Distribution Tops Promotion Every Time
Bottom Line: Zoom Webinars Make It Easy to Host a Simple Webinar
If you want a fully branded experience and have months (not weeks) to plan your webinar, you might consider a more custom route that stitches together multiple tools (say a HubSpot lander for registrations, your email marketing system for invitations and reminders, and your preferred webinar hosting tool). Or, depending on your budget, you could engage a professional AV company specializing in webinars.
However, for individuals and smaller companies — or those just looking to keep it simple or test out an MVP version — you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option than Zoom Video Webinar. Done right, even with limited resources, you can easily incorporate webinars into a B2B content strategy on a regular basis.
If you want an expert B2B content marketing agency to help you create and strategize your B2B tech content 👇