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💻 How to Run Great Virtual Events — Webinar and Q&A


Running virtual events can be challenging, especially if you’ve never run one before. However, with a little preparation, tips, and knowing what to expect, you can rock your next virtual event. 


As part of our Small Business Support Kit, Constant Contact has been hosting a free weekly webinar series that includes practical advice on putting your action plan to work. We were fortunate to have a full panel of speakers providing their own knowledge on how you can make your virtual event successful. A few topics covered during the webinar include:


  • How to prepare for your virtual event
  • Running your event and keeping people engaged
  • How to follow-up after your event



Here are some of the questions during the webinar from our attendees:


What webinar platform should I use?

This was the most popular question that we received! We can’t suggest one over the other because each platform has its own features and you might find that one works better for your event needs. Do you need to have participants interact with you or do you prefer to have them muted and send in questions through a chat function? Is there an attendance cap for your event? Do your research and compare.


Does Constant Contact have a webinar integration?

We do not but you can include links to your meeting through our Event Management tool. You can link to the webinar by inserting the link under Event Basics


How long should an online event be?

This really depends on the type of event. Take a look at what others in your industry are doing. For webinars targeting a B2B audience, one hour is about right. Anything less than one hour, people don't think there will be enough time for them to receive value out of attending.


Do you recommend creating pre-event questions or polls to drive attendance?

Yes, have people answer a poll question in your registration form and you could reveal the answer in your event. You can gather a lot of information from the registration form depending on what you’re asking registrants to provide but try to keep it short. Asking for too much might make people shy away from registering.


Can you talk about how polls work in an email invite? Could this be a good tool to use to find out what attendees would like to discuss in the webinar?

This would be a great tool to use! Polls can’t be inserted into an email sent through the event tool but you can create a list of registrants and send them a campaign email that includes a Poll block


What kind of equipment or devices do you recommend for those of us who don't have fancy equipment?

You really don't need fancy equipment. Our speakers were using their laptop cameras and had their own microphones to use. Jenna and Matt had desktop microphones and Dave and Stephanie used headsets.


You mentioned the best time to start promoting my event is at least a month out. If I don't have a month of lead time, what's the best way to promote my event? Is there anything special or specific that works well "last-minute"?

If possible, promote it as part of a regular series that happens around the same time so your attendees know when the next event might happen. As far out as possible, announce your event, and then a week before, remind your customers or whoever you work with to register. Finally, a day or two before, send a last-chance reminder. This can be done via email as well as on social.


What are some best practices for surveying the participants for feedback?

Keep your questions short and sweet. Ask them to rate your webinar and then ask for comments. This is really the meat and potatoes of understanding that feedback. What specifically did they like or didn't like?


How do you engage the audience when you have a prerecorded webinar?

This one is hard. Encourage them to do the activities and then share something later. Maybe you can have them share their activity on social media or in a document. 


If we create an event that links to our webinar through Constant Contact, how can we send a reminder email a few days before?

You can create an event email for registrants and schedule it in advance. Our system will recognize who has registered for the event and send it to those in that status. 


I prerecorded my webinar and I want to send it out to my contacts. How can this be done?

There are a few different ways to accomplish this. You can insert a video into an email that will link off to where the video is hosted. If you wanted to create an event so you can record who “attended”, you can create an online event when setting up the Event Basics and insert the link into the Additional Information section. This will be included in the confirmation email sent to the registrant. 


How can I make my online event accessible for people who have hearing loss or vision loss?

This ultimately depends on the platform you are using. Some have the ability to create auto-generated subtitles. You may also want to consider sending out an agenda or a slide deck with notes attached beforehand so attendees can be prepared.


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