How To Prepare For Your Next Webinar
Need to launch a new product, educate users on how to use an existing feature or share the thoughts of an industry expert?
Why not hold a webinar?
A lot of of B2B businesses are using webinars as part of their lead nurture campaigns, and if you take one look at your email inbox today, you’ll find that the practice is still incredibly popular. The reason for this is simple – webinars offer a unique opportunity for businesses to assemble a captive audience and demonstrate why they should be listened to and invested in. There’s just one catch. You can’t simply throw a webinar together in a couple of days – it requires weeks of planning, rehearsing and audience building.
In this blog, we’re going to look at ten ways to help your next (or first!) webinar be a success.
1. Get your audience excited long before the webinar
You need to begin interacting with your audience before you start the webinar – that’s a given.
Unfortunately, it’s a step many people forget to take, which ultimately results in very few attendees (or none at all). To counter this, tweet about the fact it’s upcoming and set up a landing page on your website dedicated to the event.
Think of a hashtag that best suits the webinar and share it judiciously.
Lastly, make sure you pick a hosting platform everyone can access. YouTube is the obvious example, but there are plenty of other software options, just make sure you call in some professional help to make sure it’s accessible for every attendee, and compatible with both desktop and mobile devices.
2. Lean on email marketing
If you’ve already got a sizeable email marketing list, it’s a goldmine of potential webinar sign-ups – so use it!
Email is an incredibly effective way to elicit interest in a webinar and ensure you get as many people to attend as possible.
Schedule three or four emails leading up to the event that go something like this:
Email 1 (three weeks out): announce the webinar and link to the landing page you created in step 1
Email 2 (two weeks out): reminder of webinar that also delves further into the topics and panel
Email 3 (1 week out): ‘final’ reminder for people to sign-up and reiterating the benefits of doing so
Email 4 (day before): ‘last chance’ to sign-up before the big event tomorrow!
3. Create a brilliant presentation deck
Webinars typically come in two forms. The first will be video-based, while the latter will simply be a presentation backed by audio.
Whichever route you choose, you’ll need a great presentation deck to both display during the webinar and share as additional downloadable content thereafter.
It therefore pays to spend time putting together some engaging, image-heavy slides that back up the topics being discussed.
4. Choose your panel wisely
Webinars live and die by their choice of speakers, which is why the panel you put together for yours is vital to its success.
There’s nothing worse than tuning into a webinar that features a bunch of people who are either boring or capable of sending even the most alert of attendees to sleep.
To avoid this, try and find people in your industry and organisation who are energetic, personable and who are clearly experts in their field.
If you’re going for a fairly big panel, try and pick a couple of people who you know will clash, because a bit of lively debate will turn a great webinar into one that is shared significantly on social media afterwards.
5. Share details of the speakers’ and company Twitter handles
While the webinar is underway, you want plenty of people to interact and send in questions, and one of the best ways to do that is via Twitter.
To make this process effective, you need to share details of each speaker’s Twitter handle (assuming they have one) and the company’s. Do so by adding them to your email campaigns (see point 2) and tweets leading up to the event, encouraging people to use them come the big day.
6. Use a host
Webinars without hosts or moderators can quickly fall into disarray, which is why it’s vital you rope someone in for the task.
You may have someone within the business who is capable of hosting the webinar, but if not, it might be a good idea to call on the services of an experienced PR person.
The host needs to be comfortable in front of camera and microphone and able to keep a potentially rowdy bunch of experts under control. It isn’t an easy task, which is why it needs a knowledgeable pair of hands!
7. Experiment with different forms of media
As previously noted, webinars come in many forms. The most common (and recommended) is video, but you could get just as much engagement from an audience with a simple screen share.
Technology allowing, you can also combine traditional video webinars with other forms of content – for example by enabling audiences to download checklists at the start to help them follow along the discussion.
Think about how different forms of media could complement your webinar, and use them.
8. Perform a thorough sound and video check
You could host the best, most engaging and well-attended webinar ever, but if the resulting sound and video is below par, people will quickly turn off.
Worse still, if, for example, the sound quality is inaudible, you’ll have recorded something that simply can’t be used again – wasting everyone’s time.
To avoid this, spend a good hour before the webinar throughly testing the sound and video output.
Leave nothing to chance.
9. Think about timezones
One of the great things about webinars is that they open the doors of your business to a potentially global audience. But that creates it’s own challenges.
When deciding on a time to host your webinar, take into account the timezones of any countries in which you think certain attendees might reside. Sure – 10am in the UK might sound perfect, but it’s less ideal for the guy in New Zealand.
10. Pick the best (quiet) spot
We’re going to assume that you don’t have the ability to call on a TV-quality recording studio for your webinar, and it’s true that the majority simply take place within the business host’s premises.
With that in mind, take some time to scout out the most attractive spot within the building for the webinar. A nice backdrop is essential (make it branded by using pull-up banners), but the importance of a quiet location can’t be underestimated.
The last thing you want is for webinar attendees to be subjected to the incessant chatter of office staff, ringing telephones or deliveries crashing through the front door, so pick somewhere that is as quiet as possible. It makes a huge difference.
Don’t get too dispirited if, after following each and every tip above your webinar suffers from what you deem to be a poor attendance – because it probably wasn’t that at all.
It’s generally accepted that you’ll score around 40% of the registered attendees during the webinar itself, therefore if you had one hundred sign-ups and ‘just’ fifty attended, you’re ahead of the curve!
Enjoy planning your webinar. It’s tough and time consuming, but the results will more than make up for it.