Looking for ways to improve brand recognition, demonstrate expertise and attract new business leads? If you have compelling content to share, hosting a webinar is a relatively quick, easy and inexpensive option...if you know what you're doing.
Follow these 10 tips for the path to a foolproof webinar.
Tip #1 -- Clearly Define Your Target Audience and Webinar Goals
Looking to educate new clients? Trying to establish thought leadership on a particular topic or with a specific audience? Focused on generating new sales leads?
Knowing the answers to these questions and clearly outlining your webinar goals will help to craft the content and prove essential when it comes time to select your webinar conferencing software/service provider.
Tip #2 -- Use Tip #1 to Drive Selection of the Right Webinar Software/Service Provider
The truth: there is no right or wrong webinar provider. The best webinar provider for your needs will depend on what you've already defined as your webinar goals in Tip #1.
When considering each provider, openly share your webinar goals with the provider. The provider can then help steer you toward the appropriate product for you and address key considerations like adding a toll-free conference bridge (so webinar participants won't be charged to attend the webinar), your anticipated number of attendees (some providers cap at 1,000 or less), how interactive you'd like the webinar to be (e.g., polls, surveys, etc.) and whether or not you will want an on-demand, recorded version post-event.
Tip #3 -- Don't Rush Through Creating Your Webinar Registration Form
You've got the date, time and webinar provider selected and are ready to get the word out. Although it's tempting to rush through webinar registration form set-up so you can start sharing the news, it's important to take a strategic approach to building your form.
Again, back to Tip #1 -- if you're looking at this as a potential lead gen effort, you'll want to select the form fields that will capture all relevant information. Consider your long-term goals -- do you anticipate issuing additional research on this topic? Hoping to make this webinar a series? Consider adding a checkbox for registrants to opt-in to future research and webinar invitations.
Finally, treat your registration page like... a registration form page. The same optimization tactics apply like using minimal form fields and keeping form visibility above the fold.
Tip #4 -- Make a 'To Do' Timeline & Send it to Everyone
Now that your registration form is up, it's countdown to Webinar Day. To stay organized, create a master to-do list including everything from marketing pushes to technical tasks. Date and assign these items. The sooner everyone knows what's required of him/her, the more time you have to gauge pre-webinar marketing efforts and troubleshoot forgotten items.
Create a separate Excel tab or document for the day of the webinar. Outline a play-by-play of everything to be done prior to hitting the 'Live' button so there's zero confusion as to when and who is supposed to hit record, mute, etc.
Tip #5 -- Get the Word Out!
With the to-do timeline you've created in Tip #4, you should already know the how and when of spreading the word.
Don't be shy about promoting your webinar -- send an E-mail to your existing subscriber base if you have one or consider renting an E-mail list or running an ad. Mention the webinar on your Web site. Tweet, blog and spread the world in your online communities and forums like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Tip #6 -- Friend Your Webinar Provider Account Rep
As the webinar draws near, make friends with your account rep -- the more they know about your webinar, the better they'll be able to help make your webinar a success. And, knowing someone is a phone call or E-mail away should anything go wrong provides invaluable comfort the day of the webinar.
Tip #7 -- Practice, Practice, Practice
The week leading up to the webinar, set aside a daily one-hour window for practice. Begin with practicing the basics of giving controls, recording and launching interactive features like questions and polls. Later in the week, invite attendees (coworkers) to mimic the webinar experience for both the presenter and the audience. Your presenter also gets extra practice, which is always a plus.
Tip #8 -- Designate at Least One Person as Day-Of Tech Support
Technology + People = Problems. During the webinar, make sure to have someone monitoring the questions box for anyone who is expressing difficulty with audio or visual. Although many issues will be relative to the user's own device, it can still alert you to larger issues and will send a positive, professional message to attendees.
Also check the E-mail address used as the default address to send the registration confirmations. Many attendees experiencing trouble will try and E-mail this address the day of the event for some last-minute help.
Tip#9 -- Thank Attendees for Attending & Share with all Registrants the On-Demand Version within 48 Hours
Whether or not a person attended the webinar, it's good practice to send a link to your on-demand version to all attendees and registrants within 48 hours, when the presentation is still fresh in their minds. You may also consider sharing the presentation slides using SlideShare or another online presentation sharing site.
Tip #10 -- Get Your On-Demand Version and Additional Webinar Questions on your Web Site
Want to continue the webinar buzz after it's over? Consider posting answers to all webinar questions you weren't able to attend on either your company blog or Web site. Hoping to continue to use your webinar to show thought leadership and gain additional leads? Make sure to post your on-demand version to your site with a registration component.