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Live Vs. Pre-Recorded Webinar: Difference, Pros, & Cons [With Examples]

Ayesa LubagMarketing Content Specialist

Ayesa Lubag,

Marketing Content Specialist

Sep 24, 2021

Image Source: Better Meeting

Over the years, our way of attending meetings, events, and seminars has changed drastically. Not only this, but the concept of events has also changed to suit the current situation. The companies that used to host tons of seminars to spread the message and offers are now doing the same with webinars, which is more productive and has a better reach.

Companies that have incorporated the idea of webinars in their marketing strategies have seen the world of possibilities for connecting with individuals anywhere in the world. Even after giving such drastic results, not everyone is aware of the fact that there are two types of webinars: live and pre-recorded. Though the aim of both these is the same, they come with some differences.

In this article, we are going to discuss those differences, and the pros and cons of both these types are. We’ll also see some of the examples of live and pre-recorded webinars. But before we dive into that, let’s first completely understand webinars and their significance in the modern world.

Quick Reads

What Is A Webinar?

Webinars are presentations given by an expert to more than one person through the online medium. It’s almost like seminars and training that takes place in a company. The host can sit at his/her place and start the meeting, and relevant people from all over the world can join it if they have permission to.

It’s not what it appears, though; it’s not only for tuning in and watching the video. The purpose of a webinar is to have interactions with the participants and solve their queries related to the topic. However, there is no fixed format for a webinar. People can host a webinar designed best to suit their needs. But one format that’s been working successfully for so long is:

  1. The duration of the webinar should be around 30 to 90 minutes, not more than that.
  2. Provide free and valuable education for the 2/3rd part of the webinar. In this period, you can address problems so that the viewers can identify them.
  3. The last session will be for making the conversion, sale, and for QnA. Your product/service should solve the problems that the participants identified through your webinar.

Now that we have understood what webinars are, let’s move on to why is it a significant part of the marketing industry.

Significance Of Webinar In Marketing

When we talk about modern marketing, the top elements that we discuss are customer experience, feedback, relationship building, and continuous adapting. Marketers have to continuously work on the always-increasing number of platforms to gain identity-based customers. In these tough situations, webinars are nothing less than a blessing for them. Let’s look at a few reasons why webinars are so important for businesses:

It brings convenience. Think for yourself, would you want to attend a seminar if you have to commute to someplace far from where you are, or would you rather sit at the comfort of your home and participate? In most cases, the latter will be the choice of people. Attending webinars through the internet is convenient for people, which means more and more of them will be willing to participate.

Helps you reach your target audience. When you host a webinar, there’s always a topic on which you’re going to give the presentation. It is obvious that the topic will be somehow related to your business, and the people who’ll participate will also be interested in that. So, when the interest of both the company and participants align, more often than not, those people will eventually convert.

Saves time and money. Commuting to the place for offline seminars or meetings demands both time and money. Moreover, if the place is too far then your energy will also be completely drained, which will make your visit to that place unnecessary. With webinars, you can not only save your money but that of your audience too.

These are only some of the many reasons that show why webinars are important for businesses. Without any further ado, let's jump into the types of webinars. So, webinars can be classified in two major categories based on the way it’s streamed. They are Live Webinars and Pre-Recorded Webinars. Let’s discuss these in detail.

What Is A Live Webinar?

As the name suggests, in the live webinars, your audience watches you present your matter in real-time. There must be a host to start, manage, and then end the webinar. There are various pros and cons that come with live webinars. Let’s take a look at those.

Pros Of Live Webinar

Connect Emotionally With The Audience: Just because the webinar is live and not like a youtube video, participants tend to develop some sort of emotional connection with it. When these participants watch you in real-time, their focus level is higher than normal. They connect with the stories you share and are more convinced to buy the course or product that you’re selling. Not only the good part, but you can also use your mistake to form a human connection. You can joke around and laugh with them, so come to them as an authentic person.

Option Of Live Q&A. What is the most compelling content that you can share in a webinar? It’s something that solves the actual queries and needs of your audience. In a live webinar, you get an opportunity to answer questions and fabricate content to cater for the needs of the audience.

Connect With Your Top Fans. In live webinars, due to good interaction, you can identify the individuals who are attending your webinars consistently. They are actually into your business, and giving them a little extra attention will only make things better.

Product Is Quicker. Your goal should always be to deliver content as soon as you can. So, a live webinar with a live webinar management system is much better than spending months creating a piece of content. Moreover, if you wish to hook procrastinators then a live webinar is what you should opt for because of the sense of urgency.

Cons Of Live Webinar

Technical Glitches. You cannot rely on a home internet connection as much as you can on the one in your office. Any lags in the internet, bugs in the software, or other technical issues can send the presentation away from the desired track and time frame.

Unexpected Visitors. If you worked from home during the pandemic, you must be aware of the interruptions that might come your way while delivering a presentation. It can be anything from a dog barking to a kid falling down near you. These interruptions make things slightly embarrassing.

Finding The Right Time. This is one of the biggest problems with live webinars. To manage a worldwide audience, you’ll have to work on finding the time that suits the majority. Though it’ll bring most people, the fact is that many people will miss out on your webinar too.

Example of Live Webinar

Do you think that you need to be from a hot niche or industry to make webinars? Well, that’s not the case. You can grow any type of business with the help of a webinar. The Arketi Group managed to generate sales of around $300,000 from one single webinar. The purpose of this webinar was to educate people about the importance and best practices related to document and data control.

This was not some exciting topic, but as they went on with it, it worked and gave the results they desired. In this webinar, the number of attendees was 30% more than what was predicted by the management. They managed to do this using two simple marketing techniques. To start with, they made a special CTA for the attendees that promised an extra discount to everyone who had registered for the website. Furthermore, they used the recording of the webinar to generate more leads, i.e., they repurposed their marketing assets.

What should you take from this example? Your live webinar should always be focused to make conversions, and then you can use the recording to generate leads and form a relationship with the audience.

What Is A Pre-Recorded Webinar?

These webinars, as the name suggests, are pre-recorded. This means you record the content for the webinar, edit it as needed, and only after you’re completely satisfied with it, present it in front of the world. They are slightly more important than your YouTube marketing videos.

You can add all the other features in your pre-recorded webinar like interactions, comments, polls, etc. However, for that, you’ll have to create a video streaming app and integrate it with your website. The app should have features like pop-up polls, comment boxes, pause-play, playback speed, transcriptions, and others to make it more useful. Let’s look at the pros and cons that come with pre-recorded webinars.

Creating a video streaming app will give your users access to all the webinars you've hosted. More importantly, you can arrange them in an organized way to make it easier for your users to find the one they're looking for. While creating the app, it is also essential to keep in mind that the app will produce the required results only if its user interface is up to the mark.

Moreover, you should also ensure that the development of the app should lie under your budget. The usage and benefit of developing the app aren’t limited to webinars only, you can also find some other uses of its functionality.

Pros Of Pre-Recorded Webinar

Edit Your Mistakes. If you intend to record the webinar to present it in future, then you get the benefit of planning every part of the content, second by second, beforehand. Moreover, to make it look more professional, you can add extra elements like photos, reference videos, music, etc.

Option Of Re-recording. There will be times when you’ll not be satisfied with the content you’ve recorded. You can re-record that specific part of that content and swap it with the one that you’ve newly recorded.

Post-production Work. Editing the video content and making the video look visually better is only possible with pre-recorded webinars. You can add transitions and special effects to make the video look more professional than that of the live version.

Goodbye Stage Fright. There are many people out there who are more comfortable in front of the camera compared to the live audience. If you are someone who has stage fright, the pre-recorded webinars are a pretty good option for you.

Cons Of Pre-Recorded Webinar

Lack Of Audience Engagement. When you’re presenting in a live webinar, you have the option to get real-time feedback from your viewers. This feedback helps you change or divert the course of your webinar to best fit the needs of the audience. With pre-recorded webinars, you don’t have this option. You cannot change it once people have started viewing it.

Less Emotional Resonance. There are some viewers who dislike pre-recorded videos. Since it is in their subconscious, they even find it harder to concentrate on the subject of the webinar. Though if the content is above-par, the audience will definitely love it.

No Host To Fix Issues. Though it’s easy to pre-record webinars and show them to the audience. But since there is no host in pre-recorded webinars, if any technical issue arises, it’ll blow up the whole thing. In live webinars, however, your technical team can monitor the issue and fix it as soon as possible.

Examples of Pre-Recorded Webinar

Jenna Soard, the owner of YouCanBrand.com generated around $17,000 from two pre-recorded webinars. However, the second webinar inspired sales much later than it went live. From the first webinar, the sales were somewhere near $5,000, with a participant count of only 30. In the first webinar, most of the sales occurred right after the webinar went live.

However, the second webinar did not generate even $5,000 when it went live. But Jenna followed a proactive approach and found ways to generate sales through the pre-recorded webinars. She used this webinar again to bring close to 70 people, and then the total sales generated using the second webinar went to $12,000.

The takeaway here is that what you do once the webinar is over can also influence the profits you make through them.

On A Concluding Note

Businesses are generating leads consistently by using webinars. In case you are not running any webinar as of now, it will be best for your company to start it as soon as you can. The lead generated by both webinars, live and pre-recorded, is of high quality. They have been working for companies, and they’ll work for you too if you can incorporate it appropriately.

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