Why Putting Together a Webinar is Easier Than You Think
Webinars are excellent, cost-effective tools for promoting your business, garnering new leads, and creating new revenue streams. Surprisingly, many people shy away from conducting webinars because they feel like they may not have anything to say worth hearing. But nothing could be further from the truth. If you’re an expert in your business’s products and services and you have a solid understanding of the pain points that they solve, half the battle is already won. All you need to do now is market your webinar to the right people, and you’ll easily attract an eager audience.
If you’ve never conducted a webinar before, it may seem like a daunting task, but putting together a webinar is easier than you think; you just need to keep these eight simple points in mind.
1. Plan and Develop a Clear Message
One of the most critical factors to the success of any webinar is the clarity of the message. What is it that you want to communicate to your audience? Without having a clear-cut objective for your webinar, it can be easy to unintentionally ramble or drift. Begin with the end in mind by asking yourself what you want the audience to walk away with when you’re done. To put it another way, what information would you consider to be indispensable for them to know? Consider the needs of your audience, determine the amount of time you need to present the information and adjust your subject matter accordingly.
2. Create an Agenda
Once you’ve determined what you’re going to say, you’ll need to nail down the order in which you will say it. Develop a written agenda that allots time for your introduction, basic ground rules (a.k.a. “housekeeping”), the meat of the presentation, question-and-answer time (if applicable) and conclusion. Numerous studies have shown that the optimal duration for any type of presentation is typically 60 minutes or less; anything beyond that usually leads to a drop-off in the attention span of your audience.
3. Choose a Favorable Time Slot
Possibly the most important decision is the time of your webinar. Consider your audience and when they’ll be most likely to make time for your webinar. If you’re a B2B company, your target customers may be most willing and available to attend on a weekday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. If not, think about the schedules of your customers and adjust accordingly. It may be neccesary to host your webinar in the evening or on a weekend morning.
4. Choose a Webinar Service
There are tons of great webinar services out there, many of which offer turn-key access to a complete suite of webinar tools to help make the presentation process as seamless as possible. Some of the most popular webinar services include GoToMeeting, join.me, WebEx and AnyMeeting. The majority of webinar service providers offer pricing packages on a sliding scale based on the number of expected attendees. If you choose a webinar service that requires attendees to download some type of software in order to access the webinar, make sure to include the download instructions in your invitations. And speaking of invitations…
5. Create a Well-Planned Invitation Process
A webinar without an audience is just a monologue. Planning and executing a well-designed invitation process will ensure that your webinar receives the appropriate amount of exposure, so that you won’t be talking to an “empty room” when the day comes. Webinar invitations are most commonly sent by email, and they typically include a link for registration or direct attendance. Apply the “three-touch rule” to your email invitations; send one out roughly two weeks before the webinar event, then another one 3-5 business days prior to the event, and the final one 24 hours before the event. Many webinar planners send their final invitation on the day of the event just to be on the safe side. Be sure to include the title, date and time of your webinar in every email, as well as the appropriate registration or attendance links. Include a brief overview of your agenda as well. If at all possible, customize your invitations with the names of your invitees, as this will add a nice personal touch.
6. Schedule a Couple of Practice Runs
Proper preparation prevents poor performance. The best way to boost your confidence for the big day is to practice your presentation at least two or three times beforehand. This way, you can work out any kinks and determine how to adjust each phase of your presentation so that everything fits within the stated time frames of your agenda. These practice runs will also give you the opportunity to run equipment checks and get comfortable with operating the webinar software.
When it’s time to go live, you have to bear in mind that you’ve done your homework and made all the proper preparations, so all you can do at this point is put forth your best effort and don’t worry about anything else. If you stumble a little or experience any technical difficulties, find a way to treat it with humor, and you’ll be surprised how the audience will warm up to you. After all, let’s face it: The fate of the world is not at stake, even though it may feel that way at times. Approach your presentation with a positive attitude, and view any mistakes as teaching points for future improvement.
8. Provide a Recording of Your Presentation
It is always a good practice to provide an on-demand version of your webinar within 24 hours of its conclusion. This will give your audience a chance to review what was covered, as well as provide access to the presentation for any invitees who were not able to attend. You can include a link to the recording in a follow-up email to your invitees.
The above tips will help you break down the process of putting on a webinar into simple, manageable steps. Use them as a guide for future webinars, and you’ll see how easy this powerful business tool can really be.