Whether utilized for internal training or external marketing, webinars, or web-based seminars, are cost-effective tools for getting your message, or product information, out to a number of people in different locations. Attending a webinar is the next best thing to being at a seminar in person, so, needless to say, their popularity is growing. If you haven’t held a webinar before, or need some suggestions for improvement, here are a few tips to turn your webinars from good to great in 2012.
1. Use a host company. There are quite a few options some are fee-based, like GoToWebinar or WebEx, and some offer basic services for free, like AnyMeeting. These companies can host your webinar and assist you in the process, ensuring that your webinar goes smoothly and that you have the features and tools you need, like video and screen sharing. In addition, you will want to confirm the level of support provided with your plan to help with any technical issues that may arise.
2. Define your purpose. What is the main message or theme of your webinar? Are you educating or selling? Most of us are doing a little of both and that is perfectly acceptable, but word to the wise, if you’re primary purpose is to sell your product then don’t try to disguise your webinar as an altruistic educational session. People love to discover new products and good deals, so if your primary intention is to give prospects a tour of your product, then create your presentation and promote it accordingly. Keep it on topic, easy-to-understand, and entertaining.
3. Focus on image. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? So find more pictures and save the words. To engage your attendees, use more quality images and fewer words on your slides. This will keep viewers engaged and attentive to your presentation, rather than focused on reading the slides.
4. Promote! Promote your webinar on your company website, through email campaigns, direct mail, social media, and more. Create a #hashtag and encourage registrants to use it and share information about the webinar. Use all avenues to ensure that you get your desired attendance. You want to build a reputation for high-quality webinars so that your attendees want to participate in future offerings.
5. Practice makes perfect. Don’t go into your webinar green- although it is a very green way to have your meeting. Run through it several times alone and then with your team so you work out all the trouble spots before show time. You don’t want it to sound “rehearsed” though so make sure to include some humor and fun in your final presentation. Put a tabletop mirror nearby to help you remember to smile. Attendees will hear you smiling and it will help to ease any feelings of nervousness or fear. Relax and have fun!
6. Encourage participation. Include time for questions and answers in each segment, but also include ways to encourage attendee response throughout your presentation. You want your webinar to be interactive and engaging.
7. Drive traffic. Make a copy of your presentation available on your website after the presentation. Attendees can visit your site to download or stream the webinar, then share the information with colleagues that weren’t able to participate.
8. Follow-up. Following up with your webinar attendees is essential. Send an email to thank them for attending and include a survey to get valuable feedback that will help you improve future webinars. By the way, are you adding webinar attendees to your newsletter mailing list? Be sure to give them the option to receive future email communications from your company and keep them regularly engaged.
You can also attend webinars that other companies are hosting to get ideas and see new trends. When done right, webinars are easy-to-do and highly effective. Focus on making your webinars creative, informational, top quality, and fun.