A Guide to Putting Together and Hosting a Webinar on Your Website

Hosting a webinar on your website can be one of the most fun and rewarding ways to generate new leads as well as reinforce existing customer loyalty for your business. Although the benefits of hosting webinars are many, it can be a somewhat intimidating affair if you’ve never done it before. After all, webinars put you directly in contact with your audience, which definitely requires you to be on your toes. Without a well-thought-out strategy and solid plan of execution, you could possibly run into unnecessary technical glitches as well as performance anxiety, both of which can hinder the effectiveness of your presentation. In light of these realities, we’ve assembled this 12-step guide to putting together and hosting a successful webinar on your website.

1. Preparation is absolutely vital, and perhaps the most important aspect of your preparation is nailing down which topic you will cover, and to what extent you will cover it. Adopt a concise and focused approach to your subject matter. Webinars inherently operate within a limited time frame, so you will need to spend some time determining what is nice for your audience to know versus what they need to know. Select a topic that addresses common customer questions and/or concerns, and resolve to provide as much valuable content as possible within the limited time frame that you have.
2. Select a speaker/presenter for the webinar. It can be you, or it can be someone who will represent the face of the company. Make sure that the person you choose has a warm personality and solid verbal communication skills. They don’t necessarily need to be a professional speaker, but they do need to be comfortable addressing an audience in a friendly and clear manner. You can also choose to be a moderator of the Q&A session to add another level of interactivity to the webinar.

3. Select a date and time for your webinar. Go ahead and resolve the fact that no date and time will fit everyone’s schedule. Typical webinar dates and times for the average U.S. attendee are in the late afternoon or evening hours on weekdays. Try to keep the time zone of your average prospect in mind when settling on a time.

4. Choose a webinar system. There are a ton of them to choose from (e.g., WebEx, GoToWebinar, Adobe Connect, brightTALK, etc.), and all of them can accomplish the task, so which system you ultimately choose will be a matter of personal preference. If you’re dealing with budget constraints, choose a system that allows you a free 30-day trial (or something similar) in order to try out their service for your first webinar. Once you select a system, spend a lot of time familiarizing yourself with how it operates until you are very comfortable with the various features it offers.

5. Develop your slide show. Start with a rough outline and work your way through all of the finer details until you have a fully completed set of slides. Once this is done, practice the presentation over and over again until you’re comfortable with completing it within the allotted time frame.

6. Create a landing page for webinar registrations. Display the basic webinar information (e.g., date, time, subject, etc.) on the page, and double-check it for accuracy. Include a form that captures the prospect’s name, email address, and company name or title in order to register. This way you’ve captured their valuable information, making them leads you can nurture through the buying process.

7. Roughly four weeks prior to the webinar, begin promoting it via news releases, social media, your blog, and your email list. You can also list your webinar for free on websites like webinarhero.com and webinarlistings.com.

8. Twenty-four hours before the webinar, send out a reminder to all of your registrants. You’ll be surprised how much this will increase your attendance numbers.

9. On the day of the webinar, send out another email reminder to your registrants list roughly one hour prior to the start of the webinar. Don’t worry about overcommunicating; the world we live in is terribly busy, and most people will appreciate the additional reminder.

10. Double-check all of your equipment (microphone, computer, etc.) to make sure that you’re ready to start the presentation. Also make sure that you have logged in to the webinar system yourself!

11. Once the webinar starts, spend the first two minutes sharing the “housekeeping items.” These include providing an overview of what you’ll be covering, when and how to ask questions and any information related to how your attendees can obtain a recording of the webinar after it’s over. Also, don’t forget to press the “Record” button!

12. Now it’s time for the presentation! Relax, have fun and don’t forget to conduct a brief Q&A session once your main presentation is complete. Also, remember to thank your audience at the beginning and end of your presentation.

Congratulations – you have just completed your first webinar! In the days following your webinar remember to conduct the requisite follow-up activities, including soliciting feedback from the audience and contacting any new leads that you may have acquired. It is also a good practice to set up a page on your website where people can watch an on-demand replay of the webinar. If you plan on doing webinars on a frequent basis, you can set up an “Archives” page to give people easy access to each webinar, organized by date. A day after the webinar, send a link to the archived video to your email list; this creates a great additional opportunities for lead nurturing.

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