Due to the unique combination of the COVID-19 pandemic forcing people to gather at a distance (if they want to gather at all), and the advancements of modern video conferencing technology, we have arrived in the golden age of virtual events.

When planning your virtual event, the first step is to choose a trusted video conferencing platform on which to host your speakers, panelists, and attendees. If you are planning to host a large, lecture-style event that is open to the public, hosting a webinar on Zoom is one of your best options. 

To learn how to successfully execute your next Zoom webinar, follow our how to guide.

By the way…the Meeting Owl Pro is now officially a Recommended Hardware Partner of Zoom. The Meeting Owl Pro is Zoom's only recommended 360° camera and features 1080p HD camera resolution, 360° visual and sound, and an 18-foot audio pickup radius. 

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What Zoom account do you need to host a webinar?

In order to host a webinar on Zoom, there are a few prerequisites you need to check off. 

The first prerequisite is to purchase a webinar plan from Zoom. During the process of buying your webinar plan you will have the option to choose a plan that hosts 100, 500, 1,000, 3,000, 5,000, or 10,000 view-only attendees. While this decision is early in your webinar planning stage, it is essential that you choose the plan that fits your intended audience. There’s nothing worse than planning for a public event and capping your audience, inadvertently closing out a bunch of hopeful attendees.

After selecting your webinar plan, you are all set up to buy your webinar license, schedule your event, and begin registering attendees.

Buying a Zoom webinar license

The cost of your annual Zoom webinar license will depend on the size of your intended audience, with plans ranging from $400 to $64,900 a year. To purchase your webinar license, log into your accounts billing page. Regardless of size, all webinar licenses include:

  • 100 possible interactive panelists, with 49 max viewable at a time
  • Screen Sharing capabilities for all panelists with annotation and whiteboard tools
  • User friendly Q&A tools with voting and polling features
  • A live chat box for panelists and attendees
  • The option to promote any attendees to panelist-status during the webinar
  • Customizable branded registration pages with automatable pre and post-webinar reminder emails
  • Practice tech session for panelists pre-event
  • Recording and transcript of all webinars
  • Integration with CRM and marketing tools for registration and attendee information
  • Integration with Facebook Live and YouTube for an unlimited audience

Scheduling a Zoom webinar

When you are scheduling your Zoom webinar, you will have the option to either require attendees to register before the event or to have your event be public without registration.

Scheduling a webinar without requiring attendees to register will grant attendees the opportunity to join your webinar spontaneously, without signing up beforehand. They will simply be required to enter their name and email address to join. 

Scheduling a webinar with registration will require your attendees to fill out a form with their name, email address, and other information before they receive the link to your webinar. Benefits of requiring registration to your webinar include:

  • Having the option to automatically or manually approve hopeful attendees
  • The opportunity to customize your registration questions to gather additional information from attendees
  • Edit the pre and post-webinar emails 
  • Use various URLs to track where your registrants are finding you
  • Customize your registration page

How attendees can register for Zoom webinars

When you choose to require your attendees to preregister for your webinar, you have the option to automatically approve all registrants or to manually approve them. Additionally, the webinar host can turn on or off registration at any time and regardless of registration being required, attendees will still be required to enter their names and email addresses before joining the event.

When you choose to automatically approve your registrants, they will receive an automated and customizable confirmation email upon registration. When you choose to manually approve each registrant, they will receive said email if they have been accepted by the host to attend the webinar.

Once they have been approved to attend the webinar, the email registrants receive will include all of the event details as well as the Zoom login information for the event. At the time of the event, attendees simply have to follow the webinar link provided by the confirmation email.

What is the difference between a Zoom Meeting and a Zoom Webinar?

When you choose to use Zoom for your virtual event, the first thing you have to decide is if the event is better suited to be a Zoom Meeting or a Zoom webinar. While Zoom is a trusted video conferencing platform regardless of which form your virtual event takes, your decision will set the atmosphere and tone for your event (and its capabilities). To determine how you want your virtual event to look and feel for your panelists and attendees, weigh the benefits of Zoom Meeting and Zoom webinars to determine which is the best choice for you.

Zoom Meetings

  • The better choice for high levels of interaction between event attendees and panelists
  • The better choice when you plan to base your event around attendee participation and synchronous communication
  • The better choice when you plan to invoke breakout rooms for attendees
  • With the Large Meeting feature your Zoom Meeting can hold up to 1,000 live attendees at a time

Zoom Webinars

  • The better choice for a lecture hall style virtual event
  • The better choice when you want the attendees role to be more “audience member” and less “active participant”
  • The better choice when you want your event to be public and widely accessible
  • Depending on your chosen Zoom webinar license, your event can hold up to 10,000 live attendees at a time

How do you start a Zoom webinar?

When you are ready, you have three choices on how you can start your webinar.

  1. Sign in to your account in the Zoom web portal and click webinars. Scroll to the appropriate webinar and click Start. Once you click Start your panelists and attendees will be able to join your webinar.

Source: Zoom

When using the Zoom client, click on the Meetings tab. Find the appropriate webinar and click Start.

Source: Zoom

If you previously added the webinar to your calendar, log into your Zoom account and click on the Calendar Reminder link that is displayed.

Zoom Webinar FAQs

Before you begin planning your Zoom webinar, you may have some questions about the process of executing your virtual event. Here are some Zoom webinar FAQs and answers to help guide your journey toward Zoom webinar success.

Can you host a webinar on Zoom for free?

No, at this time you are unable to host a webinar on Zoom for free. To host a Zoom webinar you are required to purchase an annual webinar license. These licenses range from $400 for 100 attendees to $64,900 for 10,000 attendees. The cost of webinar license scale depending on how many attendees you would like to host at your webinars.

How do I host a Zoom webinar with panelists?

Panelists are attendees of your webinar with full participation abilities including screen sharing, annotation, and sending videos. You can include up to 100 panelists (including yourself as the host) in your webinar, and at any time during the webinar you can promote an attendee to panelist status.

To invite attendees:

  • Before your webinar, sign in to the Zoom web portal and click webinars.
  • Click the topic of the webinar you would like to add panelists to.
  • Go to the Invitations tab and click Edit in the “Invite Panelists” section.
  • Enter the name and email address of your invitee.
  • Click Add Another Panelist to invite more people to attend your webinar as panelists.
  • Click Save to send invites to all the panelists you’ve entered.

How do I invite attendees to register?

Attendees are view-only participants in your webinar, their webinar experience is controlled solely by the host. The host can unmute individual attendees if they choose, and attendees can interact with the panelists through the Q&A chat tool.

If your webinar registration, the host will need to share the registration form link prior to the event. If your webinar does not require pre registration, the host will need to share the join link.

There are three ways to invite attendees to register for your webinar:

  • Copy the webinar link URL and share via email, social media, your website, or anywhere else you see fit.
  • Choose to Copy the invitation created by Zoom and send it out to your potential attendees.
  • Choose to Email the invitation created by Zoom to receive a copy and then forward the invitation to potential attendees.

Now that you have purchased your webinar license, scheduled your webinar, and invited all of your panelists and attendees it is time for your Zoom webinar! Happy Zooming!

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