To state that webinars are effective is to make a great understatement. Webinars allow you to connect with your target group and interact with them live. In addition to conveying your message, you have lots of opportunity to understand your audience by allowing them to ask questions or posing your own. You can also show your audience videos, powerpoint slides, conduct polls and use calls-to-action to bolster your message. And, all this at a fraction of what it would cost to organize a physical event.
But, holding a successful webinar is requires careful planning. You need to have adequate content and a proper presentation structure so that everything moves along smoothly and, most of all, you achieve the intended goal of the webinar whether that goal is boosting sales, building your brand or educating your customers.
Our 7 point checklist below will prove invaluable when planning your webinar.
1. Email Promotion
For your webinar to be successful, word needs to go out several weeks in advance. Your customers must be informed and reminded every so often. Email is a great way to get the message out.
Unfortunately, webinars have become very popular and people have become accustomed to seeing webinar invitations in their inbox. So, you have to go the extra mile to make your webinar invitation really stand out. The best way to do this is to conduct a two week test a month before the webinar to find out which emails get the best response.
In particular, test out various combinations on the “From” and “Subject line” fields. Go with the combination with the best response. Send out promotional emails to your email list two weeks before the webinar. Send reminders every three days thereafter and daily in the last three days to the webinar.
2. Take Advantage of Social Media
One of the advantages of using social media to promote your webinar is the potential wide reach it offers. You can reach out to potential customers who may not be on your email list and, may not find your content in any other way.
A month before your webinar, tweet 2 to 3 times per week. The tweets should include a catchy phrase, the webinar handle of your company and the presenter, as well as the date, time and web address of the presentation.
- On Facebook, post a link once a week that includes a catchy description date, time and web address of the presentation.
- On LinkedIn, find relevant groups and post a discussion describing your webinar. You could also post an article about your webinar.
- And, on the actual day of the webinar send out live tweets to further extend your reach.
3. Prepare a Presentation Schedule
As with every presentation, planning should include preparing a schedule. This ensures your presentation isn’t all over the place. It must follow a logical and coherent structure but also be flexible enough to allow for audience interaction.
Think about the content you want to present and when you want to introduce it during the webinar. Do you intend to incorporate polls and surveys? At what point do you want to have a Q and A session?
4. Content Remains King
It’s almost a cliché these days but it remains true. High quality content wins every time. The webinar should never leave attendees feeling like they have wasted their time. As a general rule, a good webinar will contain authoritative content that’s backed up with scientific studies. So, if you make a claim, you must immediately reinforce it with the scientific basis. A good webinar also makes use of bullet points, images and infographics as these tend to have better memory recall. Many of the top webinar providers have excellent tools which you should take advantage of.
5. Everyone Loves Free Stuff
Free items of value such as instructional eBooks are a great way to draw people to your webinars. The rule, though, is that the giveaways must actually be of value and not something anyone can get on the Internet for free. The entire webinar in PDF form is a great giveaway.
6. Test Before You Go Live
Nothing would be more embarrassing to your brand than a technical hitch during a live event. Test all the equipment several days before the event to make sure everything is working. On the actual day of the event, presenters should dial-in/connect one hour before the webinar and confirm they are ready to start on time, check call quality, perform sound checks and eliminate background noise like cell phones.
7. Have a Contingency Plan
Take Murphy’s law to heart, “anything that can go wrong will go wrong”. You must have a plan to deal with contingencies such as presenters not showing up, Internet disruption, a computer crashing and all manner of things that could possibly go wrong. Think carefully about all the risk areas and have a realistic plan to mitigate each risk.
Webinars are certainly a powerful way to interact with customers and leads. Executed correctly, webinars can be the go to reservoir for repeat sales and new sales. We hope this checklist has helped you see things a little clearer. It certainly isn’t exhaustive but getting these seven points right will definitely put you on a steady footing and ensure you are firmly on the road to success. After all, 90 percent of success at anything begins with proper planning.