Holding a Successful Webinar
Webinars can be great marketing tools, but there’s a lot that can go wrong. Plan everything out and make sure you’re ready for potential issues for a successful webinar.
Holding a webinar might sound easy, but if you want everything to run smoothly, it needs to be planned well in advance. Anticipate any potential issues and make sure you have solutions for them, to avoid delays or embarrassing mistakes once the meeting has started.
Webinars, or online seminars, can be an excellent method of promotion, or they can be used as a training device. For many business owners, offering an informative seminar via the web is the best way to reach out to a large number of people in a personal way. The Internet can make it difficult to connect with the people who purchase from you, so setting up a situation where they not only learn from you, but also get a chance to hear your voice and possibly even see your face is an excellent way to establish trust.
1. Plan the Basics
If you don’t yet have a topic, this is the first thing to think about. You’ll want something that will either earn you money as people pay to attend, or, if you’re offering it for free, a theme to compliment your business. A PR company, for example, could offer a seminar on the importance of press releases, or ways to garner attention for a website.
What platform are you going to use for your webinar? There are a number of choices available, but some of the more popular options include:
Finally, you will need to consider whether or not you will have guest speakers. Having another person to talk with can help make the webinar run smoother and it gives you someone to bounce ideas off of and interact with, rather than monologuing the entire time, which can be uncomfortable. Look to bloggers that write about your topic, as well as other industry experts, particularly those in a niche related to, but not overlapping yours. Then start putting out feelers to see if anyone would be interested in doing a webinar with you.
2. Publicity for the Event
There’s no point in putting on a webinar if no one shows up, so publicity is key. You have many options here, but since this is an online seminar, you’ll want to start with online method of marketing.
First, make sure to blog about the webinar on your company blog. You should have a separate page built on your site where people can learn more about the event and sign up for it to lock in their place. This also affords you a chance to get their email addresses, which can be handy in future marketing endeavors.
Next, start publicizing the webinar. Make sure you share with everyone you talk to, but you’ll also want to do things like create a Facebook Event and share it with your followers, Tweet the webinar information on Twitter, and share it on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to ask people to tell their friends, since the people you contact may not be able to attend, but they may know someone who would enjoy the information presented. This is a good chance to find some new followers.
Publicity and preparation should begin at least 2-4 weeks before the webinar is to be held so you’ll have time to really promote it. Make sure to mention it multiple times and remind people the day of the seminar, as well as an hour or so ahead of time, so they won’t forget.
Holding a contest where the prize will be awarded during the webinar is an excellent way to increase publicity and get people to share it with their friends. You may also want to do a press release on the event to spread the news even further.
3. Testing Everything
One of the more embarrassing things that can happen in your webinar is having the technology fail on you. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, do a test run ahead of time and familiarize yourself with the controls. On the day of the webinar, start a little early to test things out and make sure it’s all running smoothly.
Of course, the equipment isn’t the only thing that can fail. Make sure you have a basic script or notes to keep you on track during the webinar. If you are going to be using a presentation platform such as PowerPoint or doing a live action presentation, run over everything so you know how long it will take you to teach each point. Remember that you will need to allow for distractions, since part of the purpose of having a live seminar online is to interact with people.
Other Tips for Success
While interaction is important, keep in mind that if you have more than a handful of people attending the webinar, it’s easy to get distracted the entire time. To help with this, it’s best to mute everyone during the presentation.
Let everyone know that there will be specific Q&A times and then make sure you open up the mic for those times so people can ask questions. Keep in mind that not everyone will have a mic, so watch the comments area, as well, for questions. When answering a question, you should read it aloud or repeat it since other people attending may not realize what the question is. This also gives you a little time to consider your answer.
A successful webinar is mostly the product of good planning, but you need a great topic that will interest your target audience, as well. Promote the event as much as you can across all social media platforms and email and then sit back and have fun with those who attend.