Are Webinars Still In Vogue?

Peter Poehle, co-founder and CEO of Boothted (Photo © LU-CIX)

Who hasn’t attended or organized an online webinar? Its peak seems to have been reached during the lockdown period but is the format still appealling today? This is what we wanted to know from Peter Poehle, founder and CEO of Boothted, a platform dedicated to the organization of online events.

Despite the resumption of face-to-face events webinars still seem to be holding their own. What is your analysis of the evolution of this format in recent years?

With Boothted we give our clients the right solution to create top-notch small to mid-sized webinars, workshops and hybrid events.

We see that webinars are an excellent opportunity to reach potential or existing customers, position yourself as a “thought leader” and to showcase products or services competently. In fact, webinars are nothing else than virtual events, with the great advantage that virtually anyone can host webinars – the costs play a rather minor role (in contrast to in-person events). In addition, the number of participants is almost unlimited, both in terms of number and geography.

Basically, you can assume that webinars are an integral part of the marketing strategy of many companies, even if especially smaller companies or even startups still shy away from throwing their hat into the ring. This is actually surprising because it takes little effort to host a webinar 2 times a month. But the impact can be impressive in terms of lead generation or customer retention.

Surprisingly, the software to host webinars has changed little in recent years. Very rarely do webinar platforms offer truly branded live streams, a very simple user interface, or even very trivial things like the ability to make documents available for download. Not even to mention that existing webinar solutions mostly do not extend into hybrid events, a format that becomes more and more common.

The viewing habits of participants are quite different: today, a certain level of professionalism is expected from a webinar. Simply switching on a webcam and speaking is only partially sufficient. Fortunately, it is now possible, even with a small budget, to produce webinars that inspire not only in terms of content but also visually by being more akin to TV broadcasts.

You’ve just been asked to organize over 150 webinars for Legitech and Anthemis. Is it only for training? And how will it technically work for you to deliver such a series?

In fact, they are almost exclusively trainings, even though they host as well several hybrid events. Anthemis and Legitech have a long tradition of conducting trainings with experts. It is a logical consequence to conduct these trainings almost entirely virtually on Boothted, since it is primarily about imparting knowledge and less about, for example, networking on-site. In this case, Boothted can of course play to its strengths and allow each participant to connect at the given time and take part in the training without leaving the office.

Technically and logistically, Boothted is a 360° solution for Anthemis and Legitech. All branding for Anthemis and Legitech is stored in the respective profile on Boothted and new trainings can be created within a few minutes, including the agenda, speaker profiles and documents provided for download. Since the individual trainings are very similar in structure, the process can be further accelerated by cloning and adapting existing trainings.

Boothted automatically creates a landing page where participants can register for the training. In total, a new training can be created in less than 12 minutes – including the link that is sent to participants. The trainings themselves are usually hosted by a person from Anthemis or Legitech, who takes care of both the process and the visual appearance on Boothted. Most conveniently, slides are controlled directly within Boothted – so traditional screen sharing is no longer necessary (although it is of course possible).

Interaction is ensured via the chat and the Q&As, which are also actively used by attendees. A particularly practical feature is that incoming questions can be faded in directly into the live stream.

Immediately after the training, of course, a complete replay is available, which not only includes the video, but also access to the provided documents, and the information about the company, speakers and more.

“We follow the philosophy not to implement every imaginable functionality that is technically possible, but exactly those that are highly useful for the customer.”

Peter Poehle, Co-founder & CEO of Boothted

Boothted seems to have found its place in this sector. How has your startup evolved?

In the beginning, we almost convulsively tried to distinguish ourselves from other solutions, which led to our communication being a bit confusing. In the meantime, this has changed and we have indeed found our place: Boothted is the solution for small to medium webinars, workshops and hybrid b2b events.

Basically, we don’t want to accept that a small event can’t look as professional as a big event with the corresponding budget. That’s why our motto is: No event is too small to be big.

The path of Boothted was (and is) not an easy one. We are bootstrapped and always had to work as efficiently as possible. Fortunately, from the beginning, we had customers in Luxembourg, but also in England and America, who believed in us, gave us valuable feedback and often put up with technical problems. This helped us enormously within 2 years to create a platform that helps our customers in every way to be visible and successful and to generate new leads.

We have used our experience with concrete projects to implement new features, and also to implement completely new ideas that our customers didn’t even know were possible. A great example is our slide sharing for hybrid events: with Boothted, you can control and display a presentation from any computer. So there’s no need to pull cables to view an on-site presentation in a stream.

Certainly, it’s not a reason to rest on any laurels just because we have customers like Deloitte, FT Live, Raiffeisen, the Scottish Government, MyConnectivity, FEDIL and others. It’s an incentive to do better every day and delight our customers.

How do you differ from other available platforms and what is your USP?

There is not necessarily the ONE USP that differentiates us. Rather, it’s the combination of 3 points:

• Boothted is extremely easy to use. Again and again, we hear from customers that there is no other platform that allows them to create professional events so quickly.

• Events on Boothted are fully customer-centric: both the user interface and the stream reflect the client’s brand. It is so easy to put together a graphically sophisticated stream in the studio. Whether it’s fading in the logo, creating a background, adding graphic elements through overlays, or more, it’s so simple and unproblematic that customers use it almost intuitively.

• Boothted is scalable: you can easily host a small workshop with 10 attendees today, a hybrid event filmed with low-cost footage and serving 15 on-site attendees and 40 virtual attendees tomorrow, and then a hybrid event with 250 on-site attendees and several hundred virtual attendees hosted by a professional AV provider the day after tomorrow.

We follow the philosophy not to implement every imaginable functionality that is technically possible, but exactly those that are highly useful for the customer. And exactly these functions we make so user-friendly that in the end, no previous knowledge is necessary to use Boothted efficiently.

Nevertheless, we are aware that we have to take our customers by the hand. We, therefore, offer personalized on-boarding and training. This customer-centric approach seems to have been forgotten by many competitors.

Taken together, this results in a solution that allows clients with limited resources, both human and financial, to achieve highly professional results that would otherwise be expected from much larger and more expensive events.

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