Webinars are webcasts streamed live over the Internet to an audience and are often educational in its delivery. Once deemed as a remote learning tool, webinars are, today, used as powerful marketing tools. In this post we will help you nail your next webinar.
Although the business objective could vary from raising brand awareness to collecting leads, product promotion and direct sales, the power of webinars come from creating genuine engagement and build trust in you or your organization as an industry expert. When planning your next webinar, a business objective is very important to have, but if your plan is to have a sales pitch dressed up as a webinar – just forget it. People will tune out, exit the webinar and most likely never come back.
Let’s lay down the ground rules for your webinars:
- A webinar should look to solve a problem and provide the viewer with valuable information. Be sure you define what the value of the webinar is.
- Think about using different ways to convey your message – slides, video, pictures etc. Make sure you have fun and try to entertain – put on a show! There is nothing worse than watching someone who isn not enjoying themselves.
- Remember to open up for conversation with your audience. Webinars are great for creating personal connections and interactivity is key to keeping your viewers active.
Now, let’s start looking at the nitty-gritty behind organizing webinars that your audience will love:
1. ”By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”
Determine the goal
Start by figuring out the purpose of the webinar. Are you promoting your product or service? Is this going to be a product demo? Who is the target audience? Remember to focus on solving a problem and bringing value to your target audience. Define the call to action – what do you want your viewers to do once they are done watching? Also, how will you track the results from the webinar?
Date and Time
It has been proven that Tuesday, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days to host webinars. This is also true for mass emails, such as newsletters, but that is a different story – back to the webinars. The ideal time is considered to be morning or right after lunch. Therefore, you should look to schedule your webinar either at 10 am or 1.30 pm. If your audiences spans across time zones, make sure to take that into consideration as well.
Once you have determined the goal and figured out what the webinar should be about and you also know when the webinar will happen – choose your title! Pick something that people will care about and make them curious.
There are a number of ways you can do a webinar. Some popular options are:
Single/dual expert presenters – Either works, but we would recommend two presenters as it brings a more natural flow to the conversation.
Interview – Bring in an expert and ask them questions. This can sometimes encourage more active viewers as they will want to ask questions too.
Q&A – Let the audience do all the asking of questions, either via a built-in chat module or social media and you and your fellow experts can reply in real time in the webinar.
Product demo – if the goal is to promote the product, then go with a tutorial format.
When you have gone through all the points above you should know the big-picture outline of the webinar. It is time to start creating your script. Outline the talking points of the webinar, start designing your slide deck and develop the images and videos needed. Stay away from text-only slides as they tend to bore people. Last but not least, do not forget branding.
2. ”Build it and… you may still need social media”
It may seem obvious, but you would be surprised to learn the number of times people forget to market their webinars and other events. It is important to create some kind of buzz around your webinar because viewers won’t be able to find it without your help.
Send out email blasts to your mailing list. Send the first email somewhere between 2-4 weeks in advance of the webinar and make sure you also schedule reminders.
Also, promote your webinar on social media. Write about it in all the channels you manage – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. Make sure to add the link to the…
Create a nice landing page with a registration form (mandatory!). The count-down clock is optional. Not only will you know, beforehand, who your audience is, you will also be able follow up thanks to the lead generation.
3. Make it happen
The type of gear you require depends on the complexity of your webinar. However, the technical setup for a webinar will always consist of three major parts:
How many video sources will you need? Are you going to share your computer screen? Will there be a remote guest? etc.
There are different ways to do this and we would recommend the dual stream offered by Quickchannel’s products where video and content are shown in separate windows for a more dynamic feel and experience. Other options are full sized content with just a voice over or picture-in-picture.
Audio is probably the most important aspect of a webinar and is what can make or break your broadcast. In addition to ensuring your room is quiet, use high-quality microphones and that goes for everyone in the webinar.
Our live streaming and on-demand solution Quickchannel Broadcast lets you broadcast live events, webinars and webcasts, as well as present the video material for on-demand vieweing. Included in the Broadcast solution is a chat module, live indexing of chapters and the ability to add speaker names, to name a few functions. Broadcast is a solution made for webinars.
4. ”By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” – Part II
Test, test, test
We cannot stress enough how important it is to test all aspects of your setup before going live with your webinar. Make sure to test everything: equipment setup, audio, video, the webinar platform and also your Internet speed and connection.
Know what you will be saying, know in what order your slides are and know when you will be bringing in your guest or questions from the audience. If you are receiving assistance with switching slides, practice that as well, making sure everything runs smoothly on the day of the live webinar.
Keep track of time
As you rehearse, keep an eye on the clock and note how much time you spend on each point. Do not be afraid to cut down on your material if you fear you will run over time. Remember it is more likely that the audience will want to ask questions than hearing too much about your organization.
The day of
Make sure to get in early and test everything again. We can almost guarantee that something that worked yesterday is not going to work today. Also, make sure all cell phones and other noisemakers are turned off and stay calm, everything will be great!
5. We are Live!
As always when giving a presentation or speaking at an event, start with introductions. Take five minutes and introduce yourself, any guests etc. Then, start introducing the webinar itself. Why are you doing this webinar? Remember, the first five minutes is your chance to really capture your audience.
Don’t forget you are doing this webinar for them do make sure you have time at the end of the webinar for questions and, if possible, ask for their input whenever possible to keep them engaged. Also, don’t shy away from the complex or difficult questions, they could be a reason to get back to a potential customer in the audience ”offline”.
Stay on schedule
Yes, people are there to listen to you, but they also have other things to do. Respect that and stay on schedule and do not go over time.
Once the webinar is completed, sit down with your team and evaluate – did everything go as planned? Did you get out what you were expecting? Can we do this again? What can we do differently? There are many questions you can go through when evaluating the webinar. As long as you have clear goals from the beginning it should be fairly simple to evaluate your success.
Send a follow-up email to your audience and thank them for their participation, again, try to include a call to action.
Lastly, make sure you publish the on-demand version of the webinar. Again, create a landing page where you can gather information about your viewers for lead generation.
Now, go out there and create your own webinars! If you have any questions regarding webinars or online video, do not hesitate to contact us.