Can you remember what the world was like about a decade ago? When the internet was still nothing more than a place for chat rooms and research? Since then, everything has gone online. There has been a real drive towards globalization in thanks to the internet, and tools and processes have had to be developed to make sure this globalization continues to be possible. For instance, nobody talks about seminars anymore, focusing instead on webinars, which allow for much larger audiences, as well as attendees from all over the world. Webinars are incredibly important, with some 80% of online marketeers stating that they are one of their preferred methods of generating new leads. However, when organizing webinars, the old rules of seminars no longer apply. The goals are different, the setup is different and the guests are different. Having a successful webinar depends on a range of things, including how you promote your personal brand identity, how you can integrate social media in your work, and how you can work with the metrics and stats of your webinars and how to do this in real time. Here are five tips for a successful webinar.
1 – Focus on the Technology
You are using a technologically advanced tool to connect with your audience. It stands to reason, therefor, that you have to use the most advanced pieces of technology to do so. Hence, if you are going to invest money into developing a webinar, make sure it goes on the technology.
If the software you use isn’t up to it you might as well throw in the towel as you can’t afford any broken connections or desperately long waits while the next slide loads. WebEx and Adobe Connect are pretty trustworthy. DimDim is for those with limited budgets. Be careful of using Voice over IP when your bandwidth is limited – best to do a phone conference and then have screen-sharing virtually.
2 – Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance
This is an old army mantra and it is just as true within the world of webinars. You have to be fully prepared before you even start, and even in the lead up to the actual event, you have to continue your preparations. For instance, you have to get the right speakers, make sure you invite the right people, follow up on your invitations, get your slides together and so on. Without good preparation from start to finish, you may as well not bother.
Appoint a moderator and empower this person to be the “MC” of the webinar. They will be responsible for orchestrating the event, keeping track of time, moderating questions and avoiding “dead air
3 – Set Your Goal
You should now have the practical side before your webinar in order. You have the right technology and you have prepared everything. Now you have to make sure that you have a clear goal that you are working towards. Without knowing exactly what you want to achieve, you will not be able to deliver a webinar that actually delivers. Make sure your preparation and technology fits in with your goal as well. Remember that goal setting is quite a difficult task, so make sure you spend sufficient time on this issue.
By having a clear end-goal in mind, you can better prepare specific topics you want to discuss and present, and how you want to structure your presentation. You will then know what kind of media you want to use in your presentation: slides, images, documents and videos. You will be better prepared to structure your delivery, and also how to lead your audience to your end-goal. Without having a clearly defined goal though, you are just going to waste your time, and theirs.
There are no rights or wrongs when it comes to goals. They are yours to set and to work towards. What matters is that the clarity is there, also in terms of getting more people to sign up to your goals, identify with them and help you to achieve them. Webinars are all about building those networks, leads and contacts, so you have to make sure that your goals are suitable for other people as well.
4 – Introduce Yourself
You should now be at the point where you actually hold your webinar. You have set your goals and worded these, got all your paperwork and slides together, checked and double checked all your technology and invited all the right people. You have appointed a tech person to make sure you can just deliver your speech and you are ready to go. You now have to captivate your audience to actually make it all come together, and that starts with a good introduction of yourself, as well as those who are in attendance.
The webinar format enables you to be creative and deliver your message in a variety of ways. You can show video, draw sketches, run a terrific presentation, brainstorm, sing, or do anything else that fits your project and your participants.
Because it is often difficult to see the other participants, unless you are using webcams, it is even more important to run introductions.
5 – Remember that Leads Will Come Later
What you really want to achieve is to get more leads from your webinar. Again, this has to do with the goals you have set for yourself. They have to be achievable, but that doesn’t mean they will all come together the second you sign off from your webinar. Your leads will come after the fact.
Webinars are not a singular event. Anita Wehnert, Director of Partnerships at ReadyTalk, mentioned their lead from webinar recording have jumped 3x-5x over the past year. In a recent study I did I found only 16% of people care to watch a webinar live. The other 84% didn’t care if it was pre-recorded. So put more effort into promoting your recorded webinars to get more “Juice out of the squeeze.
Hopefully, these five tips will assist you in making sure your webinar goes from good to world class!