The way we communicate and learn has changed drastically over the past couple of decades. Stuffy presentations that require people to travel all across the country are coming to an end. Now, we've moved into the age of the webinar.
A webinar is a presentation where a host shares information with an audience. The information can be anything, so long as it educates your audience by giving them new and exciting information, or provides value to them via information that may be much harder to understand without the host. According to a study by the Content Marketing Institute, 61 percent of B2B content marketers use webinars as an effective tool for marketing their business.
If you're ready to start hosting your own webinars, here are three tips to help you nail your first presentation.
1. Consider content over your pitch.
One of the biggest problems first-time webinar creators make is focusing all their resources on making the perfect sales pitch at the end. The goal of your webinar should be to spread awareness of your brand and provide value to the people who took time out of their day to watch your presentation.
Imagine if you were invested in an upcoming webinar, only to find out that it was a big sales pitch. Two things would likely happen. First, you'd probably be disappointed in the host, and second, you would be less likely to go back and watch the next webinar from that creator.
Harvard Business Review cites findings that webinars are at their most efficient when they teach a newly emerging technology. The reason for this is simple: People are looking for trustworthy information from a reputable source. Immediately jumping to the pitch can destroy your credibility.
There's nothing wrong with perfecting your sales pitch. However, your primary concern should be educating and engaging with your audience.
2. Use time to your advantage.
You always want to make sure you're smart with your time management on every other project, and webinars are no different. It's not just important that you work within your own time restraints either – you must work within your target audience's available time.
The thing with a worldwide audience is that their availability varies. Webinar Ninja did a deep dive into the numbers and found that there is no solid "best" day to host a webinar. The date of your webinar is going to depend on your audience and how their workweek flows, culturally speaking. For example, in the U.S., Wednesday and Thursday are considered the best days for webinars. However, if your audience is in India, you may want to host your webinar on Thursday or Friday, since their workweek lasts through Saturday.
A general rule of thumb is to avoid the first and last day of the workweek for your target audience. This is usually a time of starting new projects or closing up existing projects and loose ends.
Webinar Ninja did discover a "sweet spot" as it pertains to time, though. Typically, you can expand your reach by hosting your webinar between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on "good" days for your audience, and in their time zone. Webinar Ninja found that during this time, its webinar presentations had a 47 percent attendance rate. When mid-low 20s is the average attendance rate, it's safe to say there is a proper time to host your first webinar.
3. Use all of your marketing channels for promotion.
When you decide you're going to host a webinar, you need to let your followers and others in your target audience know that it's happening. You should try to start your marketing plan at least a month before the webinar goes live. Create a contact form for your webinar so interested people can sign up early. This is a great opportunity to allow viewers to ask a question early if you plan on doing a live Q&A.
You'll want to bring out the big guns – create ad campaigns via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or whatever other social media outlets you frequent. Make sure you market to your target audience, explaining the benefits of the webinar and the cost (if applicable).
At the same time, every customer who comes to your website should know that your webinar is coming. You can create custom opt-in popups for customers and encourage them to sign up for your mailing list for more information on the webinar as the date of the presentation approaches.
Finally, you'll want to send out reminder emails to your lead lists as the webinar gets closer. A good rule is to send a two-week reminder, one-week reminder, one-day reminder and two day-of reminders.
There's no doubt that it takes nerves of steel to do your first live webinar, but it's so worth it. The experience and personal interaction you get with your customer base are unmatched. You'll be able to reach a wider audience, providing valuable information about emerging technologies and ideas, as well as your brand and how you can help.
If you're using insights to track your traffic and sales post-webinar, you'll be able to see if your event had a marked impact on your business. Don't fear mistakes – we all make them. As you gain experience with hosting webinars, you will improve. Sometimes all it takes is the right tips, and the ability to find your voice.