10 Top Webinar Best Practices for High-Performing Virtual Events

Rachel Meyrowitz

For marketers bent on generating more high-quality leads and accelerating prospect engagement, webinars are a vastly underutilized opportunity. 

Maybe you’ve heard webinar horror stories where attendees tune out faster than you can say "death by PowerPoint." But with a strategic, forward-thinking approach, you can attract — and engage — high-quality leads. 

Don't just take our word for it. Banzai ran the data on 800,000 webinars and showed that participant focus rates can soar up to 88.3% (on-demand webinars) and 76% (live sessions) when you prioritize interactive engagement tactics.*

Packed with expert insights and real examples, our guide to webinar best practices will help you to craft webinars that excite attendees and propel prospects through your pipeline. 

Break free from stale, one-size-fits-all webinars and unlock the full potential of virtual events to generate buzz and deliver powerful marketing ROI. 

Let’s go! 

* Banzai Webinar Statistics Report, 2024

What Makes a Killer Webinar?

Before we dive into the best practices, let’s take a look at what makes a truly captivating webinar. 

Killer webinars are an art form that require strategic planning, innovative engagement tactics, and a deep understanding of your audience.

So what separates the forgettable from the unforgettable? The best webinars:

  • Have hyper-relevant, irresistible topics, addressing burning questions and concerns for your target audience with actionable insights and insider learnings.
  • Stake out a unique angle and perspective tailored to the roles, industries, interests and professional needs of your customer personas.
  • Present engaging content backed by data/statistics and real-world case studies.
  • Prioritize great webinar moderation so hosts are aware of questions and chats. 
  • Are well-structured, with each element — from hook to transitions to calls to action — building towards specific goals in a seamless journey.
  • Offer an interactive content experience with fun elements like polls, surveys, Q&A, attendee spotlights, and more. 
  • Run on easy-to-use, engaging platforms like Demio that simplify attending and hosting webinars while providing rich analytics features.
  • Provide nuanced participant analytics such as focus time, engagement levels, and no-shows, so you can improve future webinars and segment leads for follow-up.
  • Give clear options for attendees to continue their journey through calls-to-action, resources, meeting bookings and remarketing.

The unifying thread? Killer webinars prioritize their audience, pulling out all the stops to capture attention, provide value, and nurture participants through your funnel.

Photo of two smiling webinar hosts recording their webinar

10 Proven Webinar Best Practices to Captivate Audiences

While every webinar audience and goal is different, these ten battle-tested tactics will help you to create immersive virtual events that earn attention and drive action across different audiences and use cases. But to maximize your impact, you’ll need to customize all webinar tips to your unique goals, brand voice, and customer needs. 

1. Get Specific on Your Audience 

Trying to be all things to all people is a surefire way to create an unfocused webinar that ends up resonating with no one. Getting hyper-specific makes sure you’ll directly speak to your audience’s precise interests, pain points and priorities.

Get laser-focused audience insights by: 

  • Gathering information and key behavioral attributes through market research and your existing customer/lead database. 
  • Using surveys, polls and other voice-of-customer research tactics to surface unfiltered thoughts directly from your target attendees.
  • Tapping into digital communities or online forums where your prospects connect to see their raw, unvarnished perspectives.
  • Interviewing customer-facing colleagues like sales and customer support/success who intimately understand your audience, their jobs to be done, and their roadblocks.

2. Define Goals for Your Webinar

Get crystal clear on your specific objectives and desired outcomes for your webinar. This acts as your North Star for every decision down the line, shaping your content, messaging, and promotions strategy. 

If you’re looking to acquire new leads and customers, you’ll want to determine which funnel stage you’ll target with your event. Top-of-funnel webinars might center on building brand awareness and establishing thought leadership, while middle-of-funnel content might be more about nurturing prospects by addressing their core challenges. Leads who are at the decision stage might be best served by product-focused webinars with Q&A opportunities so they can resolve doubts and move towards conversion. 

If you’re more focused on engaging and retaining existing customers, you might want to create webinars focused on product education for new features, explaining new use cases, and giving surprise extra value-adds that help their jobs to be done. 

Once you're super clear on your top-level event goals, you can break them down into quantifiable targets for your webinar and marketing KPIs.

Those might be: 

  • Get 250 new qualified leads from registration list
  • Have 45% of registrants view >75% of the webinar
  • Improve webinar engagement rates by 50%
  • Hit goal of 2,000 webinar registrants to grow brand awareness
  • Get 125 existing SQLs to book demo after webinar

A goal focus is key to maximize marketing results from your webinar.

3. Lock In the Perfect Topic

Select a topic that’ll bring your audience real value — if your webinar comes across as more of a sales pitch than a useful experience, attendees will jump ship. 

Choose themes that address a particular challenge, need, or area of interest for your audience and positions you as an authority on the subject. 

Not sure how to pick a webinar topic? One good approach is to ask the source directly. Send attendees surveys before and after your webinars to provide you with insight into what your demographic wants to learn next. You can also use social media polls to gauge interest in specific topics. 

Other tactics include: 

  • Analyzing burning questions, comments, and feedback continually coming up across your marketing channels.
  • Looking for demand spikes around related search terms in SEO tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs.
  • Staying up to date with industry thought leadership and trends by joining Slack, Reddit, and LinkedIn communities and engaging with podcasts and conferences.

Pin down your topic based on combining your audience needs with your webinar goals. 

Let’s say you’re a healthcare analytics company targeting an audience of hospital administrators. If your goal is top-of-funnel lead generation, and your audience needs to center on improving patient outcomes, you might run an educational webinar "How Real-Time Data Drives Better Decisions at the Bedside". That will give attendees the high-value content they need while attracting qualified leads interested in your solutions.

A SaaS project management tool running a conversions-focused webinar might instead want to run a session on something like “Enhancing Your Workflow with [Our Tool] Integrations", helping their audience to understand exactly how their solution will integrate with their existing tech stack and simplify their jobs to be done.

Demio, Banzai, and Strikepoint teamed up on this webinar, designed to meet audience needs for expert, actionable strategies on webinar scaling

4. Establish Clear Messaging

A good webinar should have a clear direction and message. Early on, define the messaging and core takeaways you want to reinforce throughout your webinar content and marketing promotion. Memorable messaging also hooks people from the start. 

Ask yourself: What message do you want your audience to leave with? What are the big ideas you want your audience to receive? 

Start by distilling your broad topic into 3-5 concentrated key messages or themes you want to drive home. These will act as guideposts for your content outline and talking points. Make these data-driven where possible. 

For example: "72% of sales leaders say they struggle with X. Key message: Legacy CRM and sales engagement tools are no longer built for the modern buying cycle — you need a new solution."

Once this is clear, embed elements of your core messaging across all marketing channels, including email, digital ads, social posts, and landing pages, as well as within the webinar itself.

Screenshot showing Demio Boost feature for social sharing and virtual event promotion
Demio's Boost feature is a game-changer for marketing your events across social media — you can turn attendees into promoters by incentivizing them to share content

5. Book Rockstar Presenters and Special Guests

You’ll generate more interest in your webinars if you feature expert guests. Invite top names from your industry or popular social media influencers to speak in your webinar and help you gain more authority in your sector. 

Not all presenters need to be well-known, though —what’s most important is finding webinar speakers who are subject matter experts, dynamic speakers, and either connected to your brand or industry.

To find great speakers, you can: 

  • Identify internal experts/executives who have experience with public speaking and are recognized as thought leaders in the space
  • Use existing connections or trusted third-parties to source external guests like authors, influencers, analysts, cross-industry leaders
  • Find customer advocates or case study participants who are comfortable presenting and can add social proof 

During the webinar itself, while it’s tempting to lead with your best or most well-known speaker to keep your audience riveted, it can be a good idea to save them for later on in your webinar. That way, your audience has an incentive to stick around, and you’ll have the opportunity to interact and engage with them until the speaker they’ve come to see presents. 

While your guests are presenting, open up a moderated chat and hold an informal Q&A session or run a timed poll or survey. The excitement of your audience may lead to valuable connections.

6. Choose the Right Webinar Platform 

Using a bare-bones webinar tool with limited features means selling your audience - and your own marketing efforts - short. You need a platform built for interactivity and data if you want to move the needle.

A great platform like Demio makes it easy for users and presenters to join and participate (no download needed!). You’ll be able to boost attendance with automated reminders and improve engagement with live chat, poll and survey features, featured call to actions, attendee spotlights, Q&As, and more.  

You’ll also want to make sure your platform lets you run live webinars, automated sessions, and on-demand webinars so you can repurpose content and offer flexible attendance options. 

A Demio webinar featuring multiple presenters and an engaged live chat
With Demio's interactive engagement features and data-first analytics, improving webinar ROI is a breeze

7. Optimize Your Webinar Marketing & Promotion

Implement a comprehensive, multichannel webinar marketing strategy to promote your event across every channel that’s relevant to your audience. 

Simply blasting emails isn't enough to fill seats — you’ll need a coordinated, sustained campaign to break through the noise and get your webinar on people's radars.

  • Make sure all your communications convey both urgency and value to your audience and get them excited to attend. 
  • Map out a promotion schedule that starts 4-8 weeks beforehand and increases in marketing touches as the event approaches.
  • Ideally, depending on your resources, use a multi-channel mix of emails, social posts, PPC/paid ads, sales outreach, and partner promotions.
  • Create consistent social media posts using custom hashtags and visuals to spark buzz and drive registrations.
  • Create a compelling webinar landing page that succinctly communicates the value of attending and all the key information. Make sure it’s visually appealing with a clear CTA and optimize key terms for SEO to boost incoming traffic. 
  • Use incentives and gamification like contests, early bird discounts, or free downloads to drive sign-ups.
  • Consider adding a countdown timer to induce urgency and build excitement. Remember, you don’t want to be too salesy, so keep your content simple and informative, focus on the real value you’re offering, and only give purchase incentives if they flow organically with your content. 
  • Send engaging email invitations, reminders, and follow-up messages.

Demio’s all-in-one webinar platform makes it easy to market your webinars. You’ll get customizable automated email reminders and notifications for your registrants, which you can set for different time periods, so you can manage your attendee information. Demio integrates with a wide array of marketing tools and CRM platforms, letting you synchronize your webinar promotions with your broader marketing campaigns. That means consistent messaging and efficient lead management and scoring. 

One of the standout features of Demio is its ability to help you segment leads based on their engagement during your webinar. You can track how attendees interact with your content, who asks questions, who participates in polls, and who stays until the end — and use integrations to pipe that information directly into HubSpot or your CRM of choice.

This information is golddust for tailoring your follow-up communications and nurturing leads based on their interest.

Smiling webinar attendee looking at laptop

8. Run Engaging, Interactive Sessions

The best webinars feel like two-way conversations. Keep your audience engaged with a high-value, interactive program.

Make your webinars engaging by breaking up topics into bite size chunks, so you don’t overwhelm your audience with an information dump. Speak with your audience, not at them, and make sure you leave plenty of time for questions, either in the chat or live.

Keep your webinars relatively short and to the point — generally an hour max. Do practice runs, and if your webinar runs long in rehearsal, cut the dead air and streamline your messaging to hold your audience’s attention. 

With a great webinar software like Demio, you’ll be able to easily incorporate engagement features that keep your attendees interacting. Prep polls and surveys and embed them throughout your presentation to pique attendees’ curiosity and gauge their interest. Moderate Q&A sessions verbally or via chat. Spotlight attendees and bring them up on stage, turning attendees into true participants. You can also schedule downloadable goodies like handouts to go out at a certain point in your webinar, and drop in featured actions and CTAs. 

Say goodbye to dull, one-way webinars with Demio's intuitive toolkit for weaving in polls, Q&As, resources, and featured actions like demo videos

9. Nurture Leads Post-Event

Webinars generate new leads, but effective nurturing converts those leads into customers. Building ongoing relationships after the live event is essential for marketers to maximize ROI.

Here are the key best practices:

  • Create customized segments for all registrants and attendees with relevant attributes like job role, intent signals, and behaviors.
  • Send personalized post-event emails based on engagement level. 
  • Create multi-touch nurturing workflows with personalized follow-ups, goodies, discounts, and valuable content, and invites to future events. 
  • Schedule and promote live Q&A sessions or exclusive webinars for highly engaged segments as an incentive for top-of-funnel leads.
  • For no-shows, trigger a customized workflow with webinar highlights, a recording link, and an invitation to a future live webinar.

A dedicated webinar software like Demio will make this process quick and easy by segmenting your attendees and sending automated, customized emails to different groups.

10. Analyze Webinar Metrics and Improve 

It’s important to understand your webinar and attendee data so you can optimize future events, prove their ROI, and connect with your audience.

Make sure you track registration and attendance, including no show rate, and use this data to see how successful your webinar promotion was — and spot opportunities to get more butts in seats with automated reminders.

It’s a good idea to analyze lead quality, scores, and conversion rate by traffic source, so you can focus your future webinar promotion efforts on the highest-converting channels.

You’ll also want to measure engagement during the webinar by visualizing participation in polls, questions, downloads, and clicks on featured actions. Clear focus time analytics will also help you to gauge interest and identify warm leads who are ready for follow-up. 

Send out post-event surveys asking attendees what they found most valuable and what they’d like to see next. That might be different webinar formats as well as different topics —  live vs pre-recorded sessions meet distinct audience needs.

Make sure you use the analytics you collect to share your results with stakeholders, educating your team members to optimize success and showing clear proof of ROI and growth over time.

Demio analytics dashboard showing webinar attendance, poll results, and focus time metrics
Demio gives you rich webinar analytics on engagement, and focus time as well as attendance so you understand exactly where your audience is at

Do More with Demio 

It's time to raise the bar on what webinars can do for attendees — and for your business. Your audience needs more from virtual events: more insights, more interactivity, more personalization. And you need more: more high-quality leads, more opportunities to build audience relationships, more analytics that prove your ROI and help you optimize your sessions. 

The best virtual events start with understanding your audience's needs. But turning your webinar vision into reality requires strategic promotion, engaging and interactive content, and personalized post-event follow-up. You’ll need the right webinar tools and analytics behind you. 

Demio's full-suite solution provides interactive engagement features, customizable branding and promotion tools, automated email notifications, a glitch-free no-download webinar hosting platform, and clear data analytics. 

With Demio's audience-obsessed platform in your corner, you can turn webinars into a powerful engine for audience engagement and growth. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Webinar Best Practices 

H3: How can I maximize audience engagement during a webinar?

The key to maximizing audience engagement during a webinar is to make it an interactive experience. Don't just lecture at them — get them involved! Here’s how: 

  • Throw out some poll questions to see what they're thinking. 
  • Run surveys that hold their attention. 
  • Open up the floor for a lively Q&A session so they can get their burning questions answered — or bring attendees to the stage to participate. 
  • Take advantage of live chat features. 
  • Incorporate featured actions — like demo videos.
  • Use a tool like Demio with inbuilt engagement features.  

H3: What are some effective promotional strategies for driving webinar attendance?

The most effective promotional strategies for driving webinar attendance focus on generating excitement, using multichannel marketing, and creating a sense of urgency. 

Where appropriate, you can use urgency and scarcity in your messaging: remind your audience to save their spot while they still can so they don’t have FOMO (fear or missing out). 

Build a buzz and get the word out far and wide, using email campaigns, social media posts, direct network connections, and even influencers or partners who’ll cross-promote to their audiences. Make sure your advertising speaks directly to your ideal attendees and the value they'll get.

Look at your data from past webinars to see when your target audience is most available and likely to attend — and run your event at an optimal date/time. You may also want to offer a replay/on-demand option for those who can’t make it. 

Oh, and don't forget about incentives! Everyone loves free stuff. Offer exclusive content, product discounts, or other goodies just for signing up or attending live.

H3: What key metrics should I track to evaluate webinar success?

Key metrics to track include click-through rates for links and CTAs, number of attendees versus registrants, engagement rates, focus time analytics, and webinar ratings and satisfaction scores. 

You'll want to look at the full picture from start to finish. Before the webinar, pay attention to email metrics like open and click-through rates on your registration link. How many people are you actually getting to register? 

During the live session, you'll want to know your actual attendance numbers compared to registrations. Were people engaged with things like polls and chat? What was their focus time like? How long did they stick around for, and when did they drop off?

A great webinar tool like Demio will make it easy to collect all of that data — and use it to optimize future webinars and segment your attendees.

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