5 Webinar Marketing Trends to Expect in the Year Ahead

5 Webinar Marketing Trends to Expect in 2021

...and how to adjust your strategy.
By Omar
Dec 17, 2019
~ 6 min read
5 Webinar Marketing Trends to Expect in the Year Ahead

The game is always changing. 

Emerging trends show us where webinar marketing is headed in the year ahead. Webinars will continue to claim more turf in the marketing space, especially for independent entrepreneurs. But as more people — and smaller businesses — use them, webinars are going to take a new shape.

What shape exactly? I can’t say. But it’s going to be more attuned to the entrepreneur, the independent coach, the lay person — not the corporate enterprise users companies like Zoom and GoTo were thinking of when they started out.

Webinars are democratizing marketing in almost the same way blogs did about a billion years ago. All the teachers, trainers, coaches, starter-uppers, and other bootstrapping self-actualizers are catching on.

As for us webinar platform developers...we'd better keep up. 

Here are the trends that I think will matter most —  and what the WebinarNinja team have in mind as we launch WebinarNinja 6.

Trend: Webinars won’t be lectures

Interactive engagement is key to great webinars

Webinars are about the closest you can get to your audience. In other words, you are the primary benefit of attending a webinar. But you can’t be the only thing your audience gets. Webinars will become more interactive, and audience participation will become ever more important.

You can’t just turn the camera on and talk.

Between the usual need for engagement, the shrinking attention spans of audiences, and the million other things competing for a slice of those shrinking attention spans, a lecture just won't do. All marketing, including webinar marketing, has to be a two-way street. 

What it means for you:

You’ve got to be ready to stoke and engage in the conversation. That means multimedia, polls, and keeping your eye on that chat window. It even means inviting your attendees to take the stage on occasion (assuming your platform allows it). 

It also means daring to improvise. Comfortably speaking from a prepared text or outline is the first plateau of public speaking. As you get more confident in front of webinar audiences, you’ll be ready to make your webinar less of a lecture and more of a conversation. 

What it means for us:

We designed the WN6 webinar studio to make it easier to use the engagement tools.

You and attendees can quickly toggle between questions, comments, polls, offers, and more as you present — without losing track of anything. Attendees can upvote different questions, and quickly search the chat for specific answers later.

We’re also including a “Handouts” feature that lets you share simple downloads with your audience. 

Finally, hosts can invite attendees to join the presentation as "Presenters," sharing their own webcam and screen to address the whole audience.

WebinarNinja 6

Above: WebinarNinja 6 will feature new engagement tools, and a layout designed for easier navigation during the presentation. 

Trend: Email keeps the crown

Email: the once and future King of webinar promotion

This is not something I expect to change. As anyone who studies digital marketing will tell you, Email Is King. They simply have not created a way to reach people that’s more effective or higher-converting than email.

For webinar hosts, that means email is still the best way to get butts in the (digital) seats.

Marketing firm Deck 7 compiled a lovely little webinar benchmark report by aggregating data from multiple webinar platform companies. Almost the first conclusion they mention is the fact that email remains the best channel. Even the almighty social media can’t compete.

What it means for you:

Stay on top of your email marketing game, and make sure your webinar platform either a) has solid built-in email marketing tools, b) integrates with your email marketing platform, or c) both. 

What it means for us:
Fortunately, this is a long-established trend that we only expect to continue. WN6 has the same email sequencing capabilities (built-in and integrated) we always offered.

Trend: All the cool kids are automating

Automated webinars

I almost hate to use the word “trend” to describe webinar automation, because it implies something temporary. Automated webinars are here to stay. They’re just easier for you and your audience, because they eliminate the problem of finding a time that works for everyone. 

Do they convert as well as live webinars? No. But the extended reach widens the top of your funnel considerably.

What it means for you:

You’ve got to learn how to automate. Wait, did you think automation just meant recording a video? No, no, no. You have to record specifically for automation (no repackaging live webinars), and build a system to nurture all the new leads from that newly-widened funnel-top. 

If you’re really ready to get into automated webinars, join us for the 30 Day Automated Webinar Challenge in January. We’ll learn ya, but good.

What it means for us:

WN6 has a new focus on automation, with planned options for those who only want to use automated webinars. Our live game is as strong as ever. Stronger, actually. But we’re ready to make automation as easy as possible, either as a supplement to live webinars or as a closed, completely automated system.

Trend: Coaching is the new black

Coaching's on the rise - and so are webinars.

The market will be flooded — flooded — with coaches of every stripe. Life coaches, business coaches, coaching coaches, they’re all going to be client-hungry and keen to stand out from a very crowded field.

It’s hard to overstate how popular coaching is, especially the online kind. MarketResearch.com predicts an almost 7% yearly increase in the amount of $$$ the coaching industry hauls in, for the next several years. Despite the “flooding,” analysts can’t seem to find the bottom of public demand. 

The question is how individual coaches can increase their share of this (literally) billion-dollar industry.

That’s where webinars come in. If coaching is a personal, intimate, concierge service, a coach’s marketing strategy has to be personal, too. People have to feel like they know you before they trust you enough to coach them. What better way to let people get to know you than a webinar?

Organizations like the ICF (International Coach Federation) are trying to impose some semblance of order on the industry with a certification program, but paper on the wall isn’t what clients look for. The most important qualification for a coach is their ability to charm clients and give them a  win — exactly what you do for attendees at a webinar. 

What it means for you:

If you’re a coach, it means you need a way to stand out among the other 80 gazillion coaches. Which means you need a webinar platform that makes it easy for you to shine, be yourself, and engage. After all, yourself is what you’re selling.

What it means for us:

We have to be the platform that’s purpose-built for independents who need to focus on their audience — not the tech stuff. That’s why we made all the studio changes mentioned above for easy engagement. It’s also why we upgraded our streaming capacity for WN6.

Trend: Conference companies lose their grip

I don’t have anything negative to say about WebinarNinja’s primary competition, the likes of Zoom and GoToWebinar. Except maybe this: they’re not going to be our primary competition for much longer. 

Zoom and GoTo, as I’ve explained many times before, simply were not built for webinars. They were built for corporate conferencing. And they’re fantastic at it. I get together with my team on Zoom all the time, because it works beautifully for that. 

But webinars aren’t meetings.

I love the big conferencing companies for...not exactly pivoting, but adapting to the growing popularity of webinars by creating options and products for that market. But it’s kind of like when Budweiser releases a “craft” beer — they’re reaching for an audience that’s related, but totally different from their own. 


What it means for you:

You can expect more from webinar platforms. You can insist they be easy to use. You can demand an intuitive interface and loads of support. Webinar platforms that started as webinar platforms are on the rise, and they’re responsive to what you want.

What it means for us:

See above. Building WN6 was mostly an exercise in listening to our current users, and giving them all the functionality they requested. Then, it was just a matter of making it cleaner, simpler, faster, easier. 

If we don’t do it, someone else will.

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