How Webinerds are Producing Webinars From Home

Professionals across the globe are still adapting to the new work-from-home reality. To that end, we asked our #webinerd community to share how they’ve adapted to webinaring from home and what they’ve seen as customers and partners come to rely on virtual events to get business done.

The responses have been overwhelming. We’ve had dozens of #webinerds respond to the call, share their #WebinarFH setups and offer tips they’ve found useful for adjusting to our new remote reality.

What, exactly have they been saying? Well, here’s a small sample of what we’ve seen with a few #WebinarFH tips:

How Rhonda Mihalic Facilitates Engagement from Afar

Rhonda and her team use webinars to help keep students engaged with the written word. To that end, the Junior Library Guild is organizing live, interactive webinars. One webinar series, called Quaran-teen, asks students to help develop and write a serialized book based on their own experiences. Check it out!

How Chioma Ejim Keeps Her Industry Informed

Chioma produces webinars for the American Staffing Association, and she’s been keeping busy over these past few weeks. What with? She’s been organizing and producing webinars packed with important industry information addressing how staffing organizations ought to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

How Jocelyn Robertson Keeps Webinars Going for Financial Engines

A longtime webinerd, Jocelyn is relishing the opportunity to help friends, colleagues and business partners to jump on the webinar bandwagon. As a Webinar Producer with Edelman Financial Engines, she’s found new ways to engage audiences across her many digital events, including the use of video formats and engagement tools for interaction.

Webinerd Tips To Take Away

Webinerd running

As more and more professionals settle into their new normal of video chats and physical-turned-digital meetings, we wanted to share a few webinar-from-home tips from our webinerd community:

Keep your events interactive 

Webinars drive interactivity and collaboration with virtually anyone at any time. For example, the Junior Library Guild is drafting a book series with its audience in real-time. That’s a creative approach for sure, but if you’re going to hedge towards more conventional webinar approach, make sure to take full advantage of engagement tools like Q&A, chat, polls and more to bring your audience in and involve them in your event.

Bring audiences together virtually

Don’t overlook the benefit of having audiences engage with each other. Audiences can do more than simply listen during a webinar. Have attendees engage with your speaker through polls Q&As, chat and other engagement tools. Think of a webinar as a two-way conversation instead of a static presentation.

Make sure your webinars are relevant  

Professionals are always looking for the latest news and updates, especially when face-to-face and in-person events aren’t a possibility. Chioma, for example, has seen a 21% jump in conversion rates since organizations have moved towards working from home.  Make sure your webinars are timely and relevant to pique audience interest and drive conversions.

Not sure what to talk about? Ask! Simple polls and Q&A engagement tools can easily provide your audience a forum to suggest topics and help you better understand what your audience actually wants.

Be creative with your formats

Webinars shouldn’t feel cookie-cutter or like everyone is doing the same thing. Try expanding your webinar horizons by using tools and formats that are new to you.

Always have a keynote speaker? Try a moderated panel discussion instead. Focusing on live audiences? Give on-demand webinars a chance and you’ll be surprised to see how many more people tune in at a time that’s convenient to them. Follow Jocelyn’s lead and capitalize on unique branding and customization for the audience console during your webinars. And, like Jocelyn, explore new video presentation styles to keep things interesting for audiences.

If all else fails, rock some kickass unicorn headphones to keep things interesting!

Benefitfocus Shifts to Virtual Summit in Eight Days, Sees 200% Participation Growth

Amidst the current global crisis, field and event marketers have been left scrambling to figure out how to handle upcoming events and programs planned for the year. Asking themselves questions like, Do I just cancel the entire event? Do I postpone my event? How do I salvage my event?

Hunter Smythe, Director of Corporate Events at Benefitfocus, faced this exact scenario earlier this year. She and her team decided the show must go on and took on the challenge of pivoting the company’s annual in-person customer and partner conference, One Place, into a virtual event experience. They manage to do so in less than two weeks. Here’s how they did it.

How to Move Forward After Last-Minute Event Cancelation?

Benefitfocus looked for a few qualities in a digital experience solution. Any platform the company adopted needed to be easy to use, provide content on demand for various audiences and had to be flexible enough to make Benefitfocus’s brand shine throughout the experience. Ultimately, Benefitfocus turned to ON24 to create a stellar virtual experience.

Benefitfocus started its move by mapping out what its virtual experience would look like. The team then decided to trim down the usual two-day event into a half-day online event and split that half-day event into a keynote speech and 14 breakout sessions. Each session and speech was pre-recorded and scheduled to run “live” using the ON24 Platform’s simulive features.

Continue on to learn the keys to the Benefitfocus team’s success and tips for bringing your own event virtual.

Benefitfocus’s Keys to Success

An Agile Team:

Benefitfocus assembled an agile team to quickly get to work and get the event up and running in eight business days. The team managed all this while navigating last-minute speaker preps and recordings, making decisions on what the experience would look and feel like and figuring out how to best use new technology. Here’s how they made it work:

Putting The Customer Experience First:

For Benefitfocus, it was important to make the online event as similar to the intended in-person experience as possible, ensuring that attendees still engaged with sessions and took away key learnings. To make this a reality, Benefitfocus focused on prioritizing the audience experience by making sessions easy to access and conversational and providing clarity on how the day would unfold.

  1. Providing attendees ability to register once, gain access to all content: Using ON24 Engagement Hub to house all sessions in one location, Benefitfocus set up a seamless registration experience. Meaning, once the customer registered once for One Place, they then had access to all content in the event hub, never having to input their information again to watch another session.
  2. Clear Agenda with Scheduled Breaks: Leading with an hour-long morning keynote, the team built in a 15-minute break right after, similar to what they would have done in-person, leaving people time to check email and take calls before the breakout sessions started.

  1. Survey Feedback Baked into Every Session: Traditionally at Benefitfocus’s in-person events, there is one survey for the entire event that is sent out after the event has concluded. With ON24, they could gather real-time audience feedback based on each session, helping Benefitfocus understand what sessions were the most popular and who might be interested in more details on Benefitfocus solutions. Compared to in-person, Benefitfocus received far more feedback than ever before.
  2. Tracks and Sessions Built for Different Audiences: Similarly to how Benefitfocus would have handled breakouts in person, using ON24 Engagement Hub, they set up different tracks intended for their different audience personas to run concurrently after the keynote, making the most of each attendee’s time.

On-Demand Strategy and Mindset from Start

Since this was the first time Benefitfocus would have a digital component to One Place, the team started thinking more about its general digital strategy and how it will use this event as a resource year-round. As the team built out its virtual event with ON24, they took advantage of key aspects of the ON24 Platform to prime the event experience for on-demand engagement.

  • One-Stop Event Landing Page with ON24 Engagement Hub: With ON24 Engagement Hub, Benefitfocus could organize and aggregate all content and sessions related to the event and set it up not only in a seamless way for the live event but also once the event concluded, the Engagement Hub was already optimized for on-demand usage, so Benefitfocus customers can return to the event hub all year round for resources.
  • Bookmarking Key Moments with Chapterization: Once the sessions concluded, the Benefitfocus team went back and chapterized each breakout session to make it easy for on-demand attendees to engage with the most impactful moments.

By taking a digital event strategy, One Place 2020 achieved 200% growth in attendance over the sign-up for the in-person version of this year’s event and engagement is continuing well after the event from on-demand viewership, as customers continue to revisit the One Place event hub for resources.

And, the ON24 Platform provided their team with another benefit that just isn’t possible with physical events: real-time data. The insights that ON24 delivered immediately gave Benefitfocus an understanding of their customer’s digital body language.

Now, the team knows a majority of attendees gave the virtual event experience a high rating, understand how many minutes they spent consuming content and can even drill down into which sessions resulted in the most people raising their virtual hand to learn more.

Announcing the W(ebinar)FH Social Post Winners

From improvised backdrops to makeshift studios, we’re all making webinars work even as we work remotely. As so many of us are trying to navigate these unprecedented times, we wanted to hear directly from folks in the webinerd community who’ve figured out the WebinarFH secrets.

That’s why, in the form of a friendly competition, we asked our webinerds to share their WebinarFH successes, tips and best practices with our community.

In return, every participant received a set of webinerd Wraphsody noise-canceling headphones while the top five big winners walked away with a WebinarFH survival kit, including a Blue Yeti mic, a headset, lighting rigs and more.

We received a lot of great submissions and innovative ideas — some of which we even stole for ourselves here at ON24! Without further ado here are the runner ups and winners of our W(ebinar)FH social post-competition. Drum roll, please…

Runners-Up

Junior Library Guild

Rhonda Mihalic, Director of Marketing at Junior Library Guild, shares how she invited children’s author, Rex Ogle, to collaborate and create an original story, “Quaran-TEEN” with students studying from home. To date, it had the biggest turnout for a webcast. Even better, the Q&A functionality allowed students to interact so genuinely and authentically with Rex that it felt like more than a virtual visit.

TOPdesk

Check out how Sanne van Opstal-Brakel, Marketing Communications Coordinator, sets up her home office! With basic items like shoe boxes that can be found around any home, she set up the ultimate home office while delivering the ultimate webinar experience for her audience. With her current at-home set-up at her dining room table, Sanne delivered a successful webinar about remote working with TOPdesk. She set everything up within a week and had over 300 registrants for the first edition, all from home.

SAS

After a year of planning, Dean Shaw, Global Advocacy Manager at SAS, had to pull the plug on his biggest in-person conference of the year. While nothing will ever replace the human connection of a live conference, Dean and the team quickly pivoted to the idea of a virtual conference. With two weeks to prep, SAS recorded 50 webinars with its presenters.

Winners

eNurture

This tactical guide that Robyn Hatfield, Marketing Automation, Email Marketing and CRM at Accruent, shared is a great resource that all webinerds can use.  If you’re struggling to ensure you have enough bandwidth while running webinars from home, this is the resource for you! You will definitely want to make sure you check all these boxes before going live for your event.

Edelman Financial Engines

The unicorn headphones may be the star of this photo photo…but let’s get down to business. Jocelyn Roberts, Webinar/Webcast Producer at Edelman Financial Engines shares how she is able to move all of her in-person events to digital with ON24, allowing her to host webinars from anywhere, even while quarantined at home.

D&H Distributing

David Labaugh, Creative Strategist & D&H Distributing didn’t let COVID-19 ruin his tech conference. Instead of canceling or postponing the event, he converted it into a virtual experience. The main stage became a fully live broadcast with their keynote speakers presenting remotely. The booths that they were planning to have at the physical event were re-imagined into on-demand digital “channels.”

Laserfiche

 

Talk about using your noggin! This was a favorite here at ON24. Check out how Danielle Gilstrap, Content Manager at Laserfiche hacked the ultimate background for her webinar. Not only is she ramping up her online offerings, but she did it in style. Remember when we said we stole some of the creative ideas from the submissions? This was one of them!

American Federation of Teachers

Lastly, but certainly not least, Kelly Booz, Director of Share My Lesson and AFT eLearning at American Federation of Teachers, doubled her virtual conference attendance in a matter of days. Together, she and her organization held 42 webinars over the course of three days. Presenters even adjusted their presentations to cater to more pressing issues, like the COVID-19 outbreak.

Congratulations to all of our runner ups and winners! A huge thank you to everyone who posted their W(ebinar)FH story. It’s great to see how we all are hanging in there and doing the best we can during these circumstances.

How To Use the COVID-19 Response Engagement Tool In Your Next Webinar

In case you missed it, earlier this week we announced an exciting new way every webinerd can make an impact through their day-to-day work in the fight against COVID-19: the ON24 COVID-19 Response Webinar Engagement Tool.

With the ON24 COVID-19 Response Webinar Engagement Tool, you can now mobilize your audience to make a direct contribution to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization (or charity of choice!).

With this feature, our goal is to empower YOU — a network of over 2,500 enterprises with a collective webinar audience of more than a half-million professionals per day — to join the fight against COVID-19. Additionally, for every interaction with the engagement tool across the entire ON24 network, ON24 will make a donation to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

Get started now by learning how to enable the engagement tool below and best practices for telling your audience about it.

How to Enable the COVID-19 Response Engagement Tool:

Step 1)

Open the Console Builder for your favorite upcoming or on-demand webinar(s).

Step 2)

Click the Engagement Tool Manager, then select COVID-19 Response engagement tool. The COVID-19 Response engagement tool will be the first engagement tool you see!

Step 3)

Decide where in the Console it will live. We recommend placing the engagement tool to the right of the slide window, but it’s up to you on what works best with your audience experience. The COVID-19 Response engagement tool will appear as a displayed CTA and will be included in the bottom console toolbar.

Step 4)

Click on the Engagement Tool Setting Gear and Customize it if you’d like!

Like any of the ON24 Engagement Tools, you can customize how this engagement tool works and displays. Out-of-the-box, the engagement tool points to the WHO COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, but you’re more than welcome to swap out for your own charity of choice and even update the look and feel.

Best Practices for Using the COVID-19 Response Engagement tool:

Once added to your upcoming webinar, there are a couple of things you can do to ensure your audience understands what it is and why they’re seeing it.

  1. Add to your housekeeping talk track or housekeeping slide. When doing this you’ll want to be sure you provide the engagement tool info to your moderator to introduce briefly.
  2. Add a dedicated slide to the beginning of the presentation.

This is just one way that the Webinerd community can come together to help keep our communities stay safe and healthy during this time.

How TOPdesk Gets Scrappy to WebinarFH

The new routine: Wake up. Brush teeth. Take shower. Get dressed. Brew coffee. All to make the long commute to your dining room table — scratch that, new office. As working from home is becoming the new normal, we are getting more and more innovative in how we transform areas of our homes into offices.

The Setup

Webinerds far and wide are getting their creative juices flowing to build their best at-home office. Here’s a ‘behind the scenes’ peek at how TOPdesk’s Sanne van Opstal-Brakel, Marketing Communications Coordinator, set up her at-home webinar station for, “What’s new at TOPdesk” right from her dining room table:

How It Helps to #Webinarfh

Take a good look at what Sanne used to prop her laptop up: that’s right — shoeboxes! Any household items are fair game to create the ultimate W(ebinar)FH experience. The set-up may look unconventional, but stacking her laptop on shoeboxes helps Sanne give a presentation at eye-level and provides nothing short of a wonderful experience for her audience.

Next Steps

To provide the best experience possible for her audience, Sanne uses ON24’s simulive functionality, which allows her to pre-record the event and get the perfect take — no need to stress about a doorbell ringing during a live event, or a two-year-old running in on the event.

One parenting-while-webinaring tip Sanne suggests is to coordinate with partners and arrange a time for them to keep an eye on and be in charge of children. This helps make sure mom can have alone time to record. When it is time to air live, Sanne is able to sit back, relax with her daughter by her side and produce the webinar with ease. “I LOVE simulive webinars because it’s so easy to give your audience a live experience with little effort.”

TOPdesk recently ran a very successful webinar about remote working with TOPdesk (due to COVID-19). Sanne set everything up within a week and had over 300 registrants for the first edition.

She may not be able to stay as focused as she is when in the office, but Sanne is able to get the job done easily with ON24.

How Your Virtual Events Can Help Support the Fight Against COVID-19

Digital-first events are the new normal. And, for us at ON24, this shift from physical to digital events have given our vision of creating experiences, everywhere a whole new meaning.

In March alone, the number of live webinars across the ON24 network increased by 330% YoY, and we’re on pace to deliver a total of 250,000 webinars and billions of minutes of audience engagement this year. These record-breaking numbers demonstrate just how important digital experiences are to keeping business running as usual, and we want to help you take that impact even further.

Today, we’re launching a first-of-its-kind COVID-19 Response webinar engagement tool. A new feature within ON24 Webcast Elite, every ON24 Platform user can simply add the widget to your webinars directly from Engagement Tools Manager inside the Console Builder. Once added to your live or on-demand webinars, your audience can seamlessly donate to the COVID-19 Response Fund in just a click. And, since ON24 captures all of your audience’s behavior, you can easily measure and track how your virtual events are contributing to the effort.

With this feature, our goal is to empower YOU — a network of over 2,500 enterprises with a collective webinar audience of more than a half-million professionals per day — to join the fight against COVID-19. And, for every interaction with the engagement tool across the entire ON24 network, ON24 will make a donation to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

At ON24, we know that technology is just one part of keeping us all connected during these challenging times. Let’s join together to mobilize our audiences and unify our support to fight this pandemic through virtual events across the globe.

 

How Fitbit Took Its Trade Show Booth Experience Virtual

If your team is like most marketing teams, there are probably a handful of trade shows that you plan to sponsor each year. Events you rely on to contribute to your demand generation goals and pipeline significantly. 

Amidst the recent coronavirus pandemic, Fitbit Health Solutions, a leader in developing health and wellness solutions, learned one of its major pipeline-fueling trade shows canceled the event with just one week’s notice. The Fitbit Health Solutions team needed a Plan B to make up for the lost pipeline opportunity.

How did they do it? Well, here’s what they shared with us:

How Fitbit Replaced Its Canceled In-Person Trade Show Pipeline

Fitbit knew it had an option to make up for its lost pipeline opportunity: webinars. If it could step up and flex its webinar channel, it could reach a remote audience and drive the pipeline it needed

“We run webinars all the time so it was important that in this unique situation that we try something different to stand out. In this instance we wanted to bring as much of the in-person, physical event experience and components to the digital experience as possible,” says Tara Shirakh, Field Marketing Manager, Fitbit Health Solutions. 

Using the ON24 Platform, the Fitbit team crafted a Virtual Booth Experience to meet and exceed the marketing team’s goals and objectives. The booth was designed for HR professionals to enter within a two-hour window on their own time to learn about Fitbit Health Solutions, ask questions to Fitbit experts and ultimately schedule meetings with the Fitbit sales team.

So, what did Fitbit do to make its rapid deployment of the Virtual Booth Experience happen? Here’s what the team had to share:

Rethinking promotional strategy on a tight timeline

Since the Fitbit team didn’t have a list of the trade show attendees, they had to rethink its promotional strategy. Eventually, the team decided to cast a wide net and focus on the target persona and audience they already have in their database. Since they only had two weeks to execute, Fitbit relied on two email drops and social posts to drive registrations.

Setting clear expectations

Most people who attend webinars are accustomed to a presentation or demo of some sorts. Since this experience was intended for folks to drop in and ask questions and engage on their own time, it was important that Fitbit set clear expectations for their registrants before they showed up to the virtual booth. They even included descriptions and images of the different engagement tools that the audience would experience at the booth.

Nailing the audience experience

Fitbit needed to translate its in-person booth components into its digital experience to ensure its audience got the most from the experience. To achieve this, the organization made expert use of imagery.

  • Booth Imagery. Fitbit repurposed the creative mockups planned for the actual trade show booth to create a virtual booth experience.

  • Swag Giveaway. Like they would do at their physical booth, Fitbit offered an easy way for audience members to request swag in exchange for a quick 15-minute call with a Fitbit expert.
  • Descriptive Speaker Bios. Each expert available to answer questions had a detailed description of the types of questions they could help answer. This aided in audience members getting answers to their specific questions fast.

Results: Fitbit was pleased to see more than 150 prospects register for the Virtual Booth Experience and saw more than 40 requests for a meeting with a Fitbit sales representative.

“With the help of the ON24 Platform, by creating an engaging Virtual Booth Experience, we were able to salvage what would have been lost pipeline from the last-minute trade show cancellation.” – Tara Shirakh, Field Marketing Manager, Fitbit Health Solutions. 

Fitbit’s rapid deployment of its virtual booth experience is a great example of what marketers can accomplish in a short amount of time with the ON24 Platform. Keep an eye on this space as we highlight more examples of customers who’ve successfully transitioned in-person to virtual experiences.

Webinar From Home and Win

Being a webinerd ain’t easy. Especially now that a lot of us are confined to the walls of our own homes.

But, on the bright side, our webinar programs are one of the only ways business is moving as usual. And that means you have an important job to do.

From improvised backdrops to makeshift studios, we’re all making it work, and redefining what it means to WFH. Today, we don’t just work from home, we webinar from home!

So, let’s celebrate our resiliency and ingenuity, webinerd-style. Share your WebinarFH story with us, and we’ll reward you with some sweet gear, including a Blue Yeti mic and noise-cancelling Wrapsody headphones, to help you create and deliver better webinars no matter where you are. All the details are below.

How it works:

Post a quick summary of your success on LinkedIn

Tag us @ON24 and use the the hashtag, #WebinarFH

Inspiration for your post:

  • Did you recently have to pivot from physical event to digital event? Tell us more.
  • Even though you’re stuck at home, how does ON24 help you stay in front of your prospects and customers?
  • What types of increased success (more registrants, higher conversion, more engagement) have you seen since running webinars from home?
  • Have you created any new, timely events in response to the COVID-19 outbreak?
  • We know wrangling speakers can be tough? How have you coordinated with remote speakers?

Bonus point for a picture of your WebinarFH setup!

What’s in it for you:

Top Five Posts: The most innovative posts, selected by ON24’s Chief Webinerd Mark Bornstein, will earn our WebinarFH Survival Kit. Includes Blue Yeti Nano Mic, Logitech Headset, Logitech Webcam, Dimmable Lighting Kit.

First 25 Posts: To help you stay in the zone, snag your very own webinerd Wrapsody noise-cancelling headphones!

3 Women taking the Role of the Webinerd to the Next Level

As we reflect on International Women’s Day, we wanted to give a shout out to the lady webinerds who think outside the box, get scrappy with their marketing and create captivating experiences that move business goals forward.

We’re excited to introduce you to three women paving the way in marketing and advocating for women in the workplace.

Erin Molnar – Senior Marketing Manager, Digital Events, SAP Concur

Erin leads digital events for SMB’s at SAP Concur. She loves bringing brand experiences to life wherever her customers are on the web. Erin recently had the challenge of translating a small, very hands-on in-person implementation workshop to a virtual event. She needed to enable her customers to get set up with products faster, with fewer resources on her side, all while maintaining a high satisfaction score.

Her team wasn’t sure if it would work virtually, but not only did they achieve their results, the implementation coaches actually preferred the virtual event, which they were very skeptical of in the beginning. They have now expanded a one-time pilot to twice-a-month virtual workshops in 2020. This is a huge step in scaling SAP Concur implementation for customers and efficiencies and time and money savings for the company.

Aside from crushing her marketing goals, Erin is a mom first and foremost and actively supports Mother Honestly, a platform that inspires, encourages and guides the modern ambitious woman to thrive in and beyond motherhood. See her insights on motherhood and the workplace below:


Blane Barker – Sr. Program Manager, Atlassian

Blane oversees Atlassian’s global webinar program, running more than 300 webinars annually. She’s spent her career building scale and driving innovation initiatives across marketing departments, systems and operations.

When Blane isn’t busy making sure Atlassian’s webinar program runs flawlessly, she’s sharing her thoughts and experiences about navigating as a woman in the workplace at events like ON24’s OWN IT, an event all about women leading marketing change.


Sarah Danzl – Head of Communications, Degreed

Sarah has been actively involved in the learning space for 11 years, leading marketing and communications efforts in both corporate and startup capacities. She currently leads the Enterprise Communications and Content Development efforts on Degreed’s Product Marketing Team.  She rolled out Degreed’s comprehensive webinar program in just two months with limited resources. She built a strategy that focused on segmented promotions, sales enablement and performance tracking and the results exceeded expectations. You can learn more about how she did it here.

In addition to leading the initial charge in getting Degreed’s webinar program up and running, she’s also shared her thoughts this International Women’s day on how we can all make an effort every day to raise women up, not just this day alone. Check out her five tips below: