7 Key Tips to Plan a Successful Webinar
Gone are the days of needing to shuffle into a seat in a stuffy, overcrowded auditorium in order to listen to a presentation or a seminar. Today, thanks to solutions like webinars, eager audiences can get their hands on the information and insights they need—without even having to leave their own offices.
Webinars are convenient for attendees. But, on the presenter side, they’re equally as beneficial. First of all, they’re cost-effective. The average cost of hosting a webinar is between $100 and $3,000, depending on how much you invest in marketing and technology requirements. That’s a rather large range, but it’s still far cheaper (and easier!) than hosting an in-person event.
Another selling point for webinars? They’re powerful. Webinars have been proven to be an incredibly effective tactic for generating and converting leads, which explains their ever-increasing popularity. But, here’s the thing: You can’t just coordinate a webinar and assume that it will magically do great things for your bottom line. You need to invest the necessary effort and planning to not only put together a webinar—but a successful and engaging one.
How do you do that? Here’s what you need to know.
Obviously, for your webinar to be effective, you need people to actually be there. But, that will be tough to pull off if you completely skip the pre-promotion process. Make sure that you post about your upcoming webinar on your social media channels. Write a blog post series that teases the topics that will be talked about. Include a link to sign up for the webinar at the bottom of your email signature. Do what you need to do to get your upcoming presentation on people’s radar.
Remember, with a webinar, you have the rare opportunity to engage with your audience—before their eyeballs are glued to your slide deck. So, while your promotional efforts are important, make sure to also engage with the people who are interested in attending. Respond to their comments, like or share their own posts, and answer their questions. That level of interaction will help get your webinar started on the right foot.
Nobody wants to stare at a bunch of black text on a white background with an endless amounts of graphs and statistics. It’s boring—whether you’re watching a presentation in-person or online. This is why you need to put the work in and make your slides as attention-grabbing and visually pleasing as possible.
Although you’ll be presenting via webinar, the standard rules still apply. Don’t put a ton of text on your slides and instead stick to more images and graphics. If you do need text to pull out some key points, don’t be afraid of short sentences and bullet points. Your slides are a visual aid—so, it’s important that they’re visual.
While on the topic of visuals, don’t hesitate to get a little creative. Sure, you’ll need to use some more traditional slides in your deck (they’re necessary, after all!). But, you also have the freedom to explore some different methods to engage your audience.
For example, maybe you have some sort of infographic or animation you want to incorporate. Maybe there’s a short video you want to embed in one of your slides. Or, perhaps sharing your screen for a portion of the presentation would help to bring some added clarity. Yes, slides are important. But, they don’t need to be the only tool in your toolbox when hosting your webinar!
It doesn’t matter whether you’re sitting in an auditorium or watching someone on a screen—a monotone and dry presenter will manage to bore everyone to tears. During a webinar, it’s far easier for your attendees to give in to distractions without you even knowing. So, it’s imperative that you find a speaker who is extra animated and engaging to hold your audience’s interest.
TIP: Consider incorporating multiple speakers into your webinar. Not only does it bring more valuable insights and perspectives to the table, but it also naturally keeps things more interesting. If you do go this route, make sure you have an assigned moderator in case the conversation gets off track.
During a webinar, you can switch between showing your attendees your slides or your screen and showing them your face. When presenting, the hustle and bustle of your office might look cool behind you. But, it’s bound to be distracting—while also making you that much more difficult to hear. It’s better to find a quiet and calm place where you can give your presentation without endless distractions.
It’s also important that you silence any notifications and make sure that your computer is set to go. You don’t want to switch into screen sharing mode, only to have your attendees greeted by a close-up of your personal Facebook page.
Yes, the goal of your webinar is undoubtedly to share your knowledge and insights with your audience. However, encouraging a higher level of engagement will keep your attendees that much more interested in what you’re doing—even if they’re across the country.
Think of some creative ways that you could incorporate some more interaction. Perhaps you want to leave adequate time for questions and answers. Or, maybe you’ll create a hashtag particularly for your webinar (that’s a great idea, by the way!) and include it in the corner of each of your slides, so that people can share their thoughts on social media—without interrupting you. The more you can encourage your audience members to be active participants in what you’re doing, the more impactful your webinar will be.
There aren’t many drawbacks to webinars. But, if there’s one that scares people the most, it’s the threat of technological glitches. Yes, these can happen every now and then. However, rest assured, they don’t need to be the be-all and end-all—particularly if you take the time to do a thorough run-through before anybody joins your webinar. From a sound check to testing screen sharing to clicking through your slides, do a quick rehearsal of everything you’ll need for your webinar. That way, when attendees are actually present, you’ll hopefully have any potential kinks ironed out already.
TIP: If you still feel nervous about potential technological hiccups, assign someone in your office to be your technical assistant. If something does crop up, they can deal with it—while you stay focused on the content.
Webinars can be a great asset to your business—especially if you implement these seven key tips to plan a successful one.
Ready to get rolling? Get in touch with us about our webinar solutions today.