Webinar Poll Questions: 3 Key Types to Use

Asking poll questions during a webinar has become a common way for companies to increase attendee engagement, but more importantly collect insights from attendees that can be used both during and after the webinar. But what is the right number and type of poll questions to ask?

How Many Poll Questions Should You Use?

There is of course no exact number of poll questions to use during a webinar, but following are a few questions to help you arrive at answer that works for your individual webinars:

  1. How long is the webinar? It can generally make sense to use more poll questions in a 60-minute webinar than versus one that lasts only 15-20 minutes.
  2. Is the webinar mostly a conversation between speakers with some slides as a guide, or are the presenters pounding through 60 slides at a fast pace hoping to finish in 50-55 minutes?
  3. Does the topic itself lend to seeking lots of input from the audience? Or is the topic focused on a complex topic or future trends where the audience may not have a lot of input?
  4. What is the level of presentation skill of the speakers? Are they adept at ad libbing and making sense of the poll responses and incorporating it their talk track for the next section of slides? Or are they inexperienced speakers or not comfortable thinking on the fly and might just read the poll responses and move on without any comment or interpretation?
  5. Can you actually come up with several strong poll questions? If not, don’t force it and keep it to just one or two really strong ones.

3 Types of Poll Questions to Consider Using

While there are obviously thousands of different poll questions that you could ask, I generally recommend thinking about them in 3 types of categories.

Demographic/Psychographic/Firmagraphic: If you ask the right questions in your registration form you should have a sense of things such as the countries of attendees, types of companies and industries represented. But you probably don’t know what the specific responsibilities of attendees are or what types of products they use.

A strong opening poll question can uncover things like which department they might work in, do they use a certain type of product, how much experience they have, or other questions that uncover the mix of attendees. If you find that you have more people in an IT role versus marketing, for example, your speakers can tweak their talk track and language to better line up with the needs and interests of IT people.

And finally these responses help your sales and marketing teams better understand how to message and target future webinars, content and follow-up interactions.

Challenges: Poll questions that get at understanding current and key challenges provide great insights for the webinar presenters to use in tweaking their talk track in upcoming sections and slides. Ideally you already have a sense of what the audience members key challenges are and have designed your slide presentation and talk track accordingly.

But if you guess correctly, the speakers can refer to those top challenges as they cover them in the presentation. Referencing those responses in upcoming sections creates credibility with the audience that you actually understand their challenges and had the foresight to design your presentation to directly address them.

But the second, and perhaps more important use of these poll question answers, is providing the responses to your inside sales team to use as conversation starters when they follow-up. Understanding the top challenges of each individual prospect (or existing customer) provides sellers and customer success managers information to focus on when they follow up.

The final value is that this information provides your product and marketing teams either confirmation of existing understandings of needs and challenges, or insights to drive new features or future webinar and content topics.

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Call-to-Action (CTA): The goal of an individual webinar can be wide ranging from just increasing brand awareness or positioning your company as a thought leader, or attempting to cross-sell existing customers, or drive leads for a new product or service. Regardless of the goal, you likely have some type of call-to-action. It might be to request a demo, receive a free audit or checkup, to receive your latest white paper, or have a sales person call to discuss your solution.

These CTA poll questions may not generate a lot of “hand raisers” but they are valuable to help your inside sales or customer success team know who to follow up with first and who is actually interested in your solution or offer. It conveys actual interest from the attendee and helps prioritize follow-up among the potentially hundreds of webinar attendees.

Phrasing these CTA poll questions correctly is important. You want to find a balance of making it clear someone will follow-up with them but at the same time convey value to those who say “Yes, please have someone contact me.”

All of the above said, rules are meant to be broken and advice from so-called experts should always be questioned. If your business has the need for different types or has a culture that permits poll questions in a humorous or fun style – by all means go for it.

But the above is generally a safe bet for B2B companies getting their feet wet using poll questions.

What works for you? Let us know in the comments.