As the transition to digital becomes a necessity, webinars are becoming an important part of building a business and connecting with audiences. With the drastic changes that we’ve seen take place over the last year, we are no longer networking at marketing events, or setting up business meetings. For now, we are relying on remote working, video calls and webinars. So does your team know how to set up and run a successful webinar, or is this something you’ve had to try and get your head around in the last few months? If it’s the latter, you’re not alone!
As it’s now essential to ensure your webinars are successful to secure your company’s growth aspirations. A successful webinar provides the opportunity to have your voice heard, as well as being an inexpensive way to generate revenue for your business (Mary Kate Francis).
But this is, of course, only if they’re done right. While a select few enjoy success and over 500 attendees, most fall flat, with low attendance and high drop-off rates (Danny Goodwin). So what makes a successful webinar?
Plan your Content
You should always focus on content first – people attend webinars to learn (Danny Goodwin). Webinars tend to be time-consuming, so you need to ensure you’re executing a well thought out plan to keep your audience interested and engaged. The first step to a successful webinar is to plan your content based on your audience and what their goals are. Ask yourself, who will be attending? Based on this, you need to ensure you choose a specific topic that’s relevant to your audience and something that will encourage them to sign up.
Promote your Webinar
Next you need to think about search engine optimisation (SEO) and how you’re going to promote your webinar. Are you going to email existing customers with an invitation link? Promote it through social media channels? These are all questions you need to ask before you start producing your webinar (Dan Shewan). Email and organic social media are two of the most effective channels for webinar promotion (Mary Kate Francis). Ideally, you should spend at least one month preparing and promoting your webinar. This time allows your speaker to develop the message and for your creative team to develop the promotional artwork and drive the registrations (Mary Kate Francis). In this time, you can push email campaigns to generate as many attendees as possible, and then use social media posts to drive last minute registrations. When designing your promotional material, you must consider that this is the perfect time to show off what your brand stands for- be consistent and align everything with your brand’s visual tone.
Prepare to Go Live!
You may have successfully collated enough registrations, but the most important part is, of course, the webinar itself. Although it’s a virtual event, it is still in real-time, so there are many things that could go wrong – mixing up the content, going off topic or technical difficulties just to name a few. Make sure you do everything you can to avoid making any of these mistakes or driving your audience to log off.
- Prepare your speaker – make sure they are aware of the intended topic, audience and time frame. Always be early!
- Conduct a practice run – don’t expect things to run smoothly first time run. Give yourself time to practice to ensure the content is perfect
- Minimise technical risk – make sure everything is fully charged and connected before you start
Ultimately, things are likely to go wrong at one point or another, but don’t let this put you off and disrupt the webinar, come to terms with it and carryon professionally. “As much as you prepare yourself, there’s always hiccups that occur during the live event. If they didn’t, it would get suspicious if it was even live or not.” (Dan Shewan).
Follow up After the Webinar
One thing that isn’t always considered, is what happens after you’ve presented your webinar. Following up with the registrants is important to, not only continue the conversation with those you engaged with during the webinar, but also to convert registrants into “successes”- gaining new clients (Mary Kate Francis). Email marketing is a great way to contact the attendees and encourage them to connect with you further. (Mary Kate Francis).
Another essential aspect is to monitor and track the success of your webinar. You should consider the below:
- How many people registered?
- What were the top sources of registrations?
- How many people actually attended?
- How much time did they spend watching the webinar? (Danny Goodwin).
Keep an eye on the performance of your webinar over the following few months to highlight what kind of pipeline it has generated. You can use this information to influence how you approach your future webinars – constantly improving and evolving your brand!