Over the past 12 years, our Convince & Convert team has created, hosted and promoted hundreds (maybe even thousands) of webinars and virtual conferences. Done right, they are an incredible way to generate leads and connect with your audience.
Indeed, a Content Marketing Institute study found that 58 percent of B2B marketers implement webinars in their content marketing strategy. This is not a surprise as webinars can be very engaging and their creation or distribution is not very expensive.
In my more than 12 years of experience in B2B marketing and sales, no other content could move the needle in the sales process as far as a webinar.
Because webinars are so important for B2B marketers these days (and even for some B2C marketers), we’ve put together the following tips to help you build a webinar from scratch.
1. Choose your team
A webinar usually consists of three main actors. The success of your session depends on them. I recommend that you carefully review your options when choosing:
- The organizer: The host or moderator is the key person responsible for developing the content for the webinar. You are also responsible for finding a suitable speaker and promoting the event. You are responsible for registration and communication with participants at the beginning and end of the webinar.
- The moderator (s): Speakers or subject matter experts should focus on developing and delivering the webinar presentation. They take care of programming and troubleshooting webinars, registering events and other details to deliver an engaging presentation.
- Assistant (s): Assistants help answer questions for which the moderator and the moderator do not have much time. They help by answering technical questions. (Example: “Audio and video are out of sync!” Or “No sound is heard!”) For webinars with a large audience, assistants are often required.
2. Set the webinar format
The next step is to set the format of your webinar. I suggest you choose a format that will best convey your message while addressing your audience. You can consider the following four webinar formats:
- Single speaker: As the name suggests, this is a single speaker who communicates with the participants. The speaker also demonstrates the content of the webinar and answers all questions asked by the participants. I recommend this type of webinar if you have a small audience.
- Interview format: This means that a speaker acts as an interviewer and asks the expert a number of predetermined questions. This type of webinar can be very engaging as participants watch how SMEs answer questions. It also encourages them to ask questions about what makes it interesting.
- Moderated panel discussion: Like a panel discussion, a panel webinar has several speakers who speak about a predetermined topic. A moderator must enable this type of webinar.
- Questions and answers: Similar to the interview format, this type of webinar also enables the speaker to answer questions, but this time the questions come directly from the audience. I recommend that you collect the questions beforehand. This ensures that you stay on schedule and review audience questions. Questions and answers are usually added at the end of all webinar formats.
3. Plan visuals for your webinar and get your presenters ready for the camera
As a web-based seminar, webinars largely rely on audio and video material to demonstrate their content. Foils filled with text are not enough.
In fact, the best webinars should be more like personal experiences. You should ask the moderators to use their web cameras during the presentation.
This allows the audience to see the speaker during the presentation, adding another level of information such as non-verbal cues, etc.
However, this presupposes that each presenter not only has a decent camera (ideally better than the integrated laptop camera), but also suitable lighting.
This isn’t necessarily a big challenge, but it’s another wrinkle that moderators don’t have to deal with in a personal event (and another reason why you need runs).
With regard to transparencies, we recommend that you consider the following points when preparing the graphics for your next webinar:
- Have an introductory slide with information such as when to start and the points to be discussed in the webinar. But make fun of it!
- Then have a slide show you a summary of the topics covered in the webinar.
- Add a slide with tools and websites used in the process. I recommend that you use the tools and websites in real time during the webinar so that you have a better impact on the audience.
4. Select a webinar solution
Here at Convince & Convert we are big fans of Zoom. However, we have used many solutions in the past, including GoToWebinar, BigMarker, Adobe Connect, WebEx, ClickMeeting and more. Everyone has their advantages and disadvantages. There is no perfect solution (we will be happy to help you determine the advantages and disadvantages of each solution – just let us know).
You can also use your webinar solution to conduct post-session and post-session surveys. This will give you valuable insights to further improve your webinars.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when choosing a webinar tool to invest in:
What are the goals of your webinar?
Before choosing a webinar service, you should think about the goals of the webinar. If it’s a product launch or promotion for your business, it’s likely that you’re targeting a larger audience. In this case, you need a webinar service that allows you to interact with a large number of participants.
How user-friendly is the product?
Because webinars are limited in time, it is important that you choose the right service tool so that you can make the most of it within the timeframe set for the webinar. If you are planning a webinar in single speaker format, look for the simplest possible software with which you can successfully demonstrate your business content to the participants.
How much does it cost?
With so many webinar service tools available on the market, it can easily get confusing if you choose the right webinar service tool for your webinar. I think it’s best to consider the target group when I look at the costs. For example, if you are addressing a large target group, you need a corporate package. With a medium or small audience, however, you can easily purchase a premium edition.
The answers to these three questions determine how much you should spend on a service tool.
5. Set up the right equipment and space
You need a quiet place to hold your webinar. Imagine a conference room or other place that is free from background noise and interruptions.
Choosing the right equipment is also critical for your webinar. Consider landline and headset microphones as they are less likely to cut off when you get in touch with your audience.
Have a Keep a fully charged backup laptopwith all the data copied and saved in it. This ensures that everything works smoothly, even if you have technical problems with your primary computer system.
Choosing the right equipment and the right space not only improves the quality of the webinar, but also ensures a great experience for your audience.
6. Publish and promote your webinar
To ensure that your webinar receives maximum participation, it is important that you advertise it as much as possible in advance. I suggest that you advertise:
- First, create a landing page that presents the webinar topic, speakers, date and time, and a call to action to attend the event.
- Create a banner or display an ad on your website’s home page to alert visitors to the upcoming event.
- Use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to spread the word. Create a dedicated and original hashtag to make the event known. You will benefit from this hashtag at the time of the event because you will use it to interact with the participants.
- Send multiple reminder emails with the countdown for your event. 45 percent from marketers say email is the most effective way to control registrations (in my experience this is true).
- On the day of the event, make sure to send emails with the direct link to your webinar.
- Tuesdays These are generally the best days to advertise your webinar, according to a GoToWebinar report.
7. Choose the right date and time
You should keep in mind that not all of your viewers come from the same place. The webinar should be held on a specific date and time so that the maximum number of participants can be present. If your target audience is in Los Angeles and you are in New York, start a webinar at 6:00 p.m. may not be a good choice as it will be late for those living in LA.
It is important that you choose the right date and time for your webinar event. The best time to run your webinar depends on the target audience, but it is done by a survey ON24 suggests that The best days for your webinars are on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. GMT.
You can use Google Analytics to localize the regions of the world where most of my online traffic comes from. You can also send surveys to your potential attendees asking them about the best times to attend the webinar.
These are important factors that should not only be considered but also prioritized. They should be thoroughly researched and planned so that you can get the most out of your webinar and boost your business.
8. Choose a topic of interest
If your topic does not interest your potential audience, it will be very difficult for you to lure it into your webinar. Because webinars typically last an hour, you can either talk vaguely about many topics or talk about a single topic and deal with it in depth.
For this reason, I always recommend that you be very careful when choosing a topic for your webinar. For example, instead of just talking about digital marketing in general, you could talk about digital marketing trends or budgeting for digital marketing, etc.
When looking for an interesting topic, consider the following:
- Previously created content: When searching for an interesting topic, take into account the content that you have already created. This can be a blog post, a social media post, or an article. Search these posts and articles to find the one that has received the most attention. This will help you better understand what topics your audience is interested in. Now you can delve deeply into the topic you have chosen to give the audience a thorough understanding and keep them busy.
- Participation in other webinars: Attend various other webinars that take place in your area. This helps you not only to get new ideas from your competitor’s topic, but also to understand trends in the types of topics discussed. With these insights, you can decide on a sustainable topic and perfect it through research.
After choosing your topic, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
- Is there a specific question that your customers and potential target groups ask frequently and that you could answer in a webinar?
- What are your strengths and what would be really entertaining to teach?
- What would be the most valuable thing you can offer in 40 or 60 minutes?
If you can find the most appropriate answers to these questions, congratulations! You have just found your topic for your upcoming webinar. If it’s the other way around, keep looking until you find a better one.
9. Keep practicing
I always make sure that I practice for a webinar a few days before the start to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Start doing dry runs This helps everyone involved in the webinar to get an idea of its entirety. Check all devices to make sure they are working properly. A final trial run two to three days before the live webinar ensures:
- Confirm that everyone is familiar with the webinar software technology and content of the webinar.
- Finalize the presentation slides to avoid last minute changes.
- Choose the communication methods that best suit the team.
- Assign activities to individuals that need to be monitored during the webinar, such as: B. Polls, questions and answers, group chats, etc.
- Verify final registration against details such as participants’ names, their respective industries, etc. The host should be fully aware of this information.
10. Contact the participants
I noticed that some marketers are not contacting their webinar participants. This can be a serious mistake as you miss the opportunity to further involve your audience.
Send them an email thanking them, along with a survey asking them to share their feedback and rate their experiences, and call for action for future webinars. Make sure that you send a follow-up email with a webinar recording to those who signed up for the webinar but were unable to attend. The follow-up will greatly encourage the audience to attend future webinar events and even participate in your company.
Once you’ve successfully hosted your webinar, begin evaluating your efforts. Use the feedback from your participants in the follow-up emails. Take these into account and make adjustments to ensure that your future webinars are even more successful.
Great webinars are well planned, organized and carried out by a close-knit team. You should spend enough time planning and testing the program to fix any bugs.
This post was originally written by Shane Barker in 2018 and updated by Megan Leap in 2020.
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