So you want to host a webinar. These can be genuinely inspiring, learning experiences, or they can be dull and a waste of time. To ensure yours is the former, and to make your experience of hosting a relatively stress-free one, here are the best tips. We include the planning, execution, and debriefing stages. We aim to make you and your webinar stand out in the very best way.
Webinars are interactive online seminars that anyone with an internet connection and the necessary software may virtually attend. Usually, a host (or moderator) is joined by one or more presenters who teach or speak on a topic for a set amount of time. Not unlike an in-person seminar, webinars generally end with a question and answer period.
Webinars are growing in popularity and for good reason. Often used as tools for marketing content, they can be highly successful. One of their main advantages is that they have no restrictions on geographic location. The host, presenters, and attendees may be spread across the world, but come together virtually to share ideas. This broadens the list of potential invitees and guests.
The format of webinars is also very flexible and lends itself easily to being repurposed. They can be recorded and shared with new audiences, made into advertisements, posted on social media, or even sold.
Tip 1: Visual Branding
Remember to include the visual tone of your brand in as many ways as it makes sense. For instance, add your logo in strategic places, and use fonts, colors, and other visual elements that match your brand’s style. This will help your webinar to point consistently to your brand and create an impression on your attendees.
Tip 2: Remember Mobile Devices
Statistics on exactly how many attendees are using mobile devices are conflicting but know that many of your attendees will be using their phone, tablet, or laptop. So remember to optimize for mobile. Other ideas include increased text and graphic size on your slides and annotations. Your mobile-using attendees will thank you for it, and the desktop users won’t complain either.
Also, choose a webinar platform that supports mobile devices for their interactive features, like group chat, polling, and document sharing.
Tip 3: Choose A Reputable Webinar Platform
This is not the place to cut corners. A good webinar hosting platform will make the process easy and go a long way in alleviating stress. They will also make registration easy for your attendees, with clear instructions and a simple process. A good platform will provide attendees with multiple ways to join, keeping in mind that not everyone uses a desktop computer.
Tip 4: Choose the Right Day and Time
Choosing the right day and time will make it possible for as many to attend as possible. To figure this out, you should consider your target demographic and what region of the world or area of the country most reside.
Interestingly, some research shows that Wednesdays and Thursdays are the two best days for hosting a webinar. The beginning and end of the week tend to have the worst attendance. Another way to choose the day and time is to check Google Analytics to see when your audience is the most engaged with your website. This could give you some clue of when they are likely to be free to attend your webinar.
Picking the right time of day is equally as important as choosing the right day. The same research says that 11 am Pacific Standard Time is when webinars have the highest attendance. For webinars within the United States – registrants could attend at 2 pm in New York and at lunchtime in Central and Mountain time zones. This is because it’s possible for attendees across the time zones.
Tip 5: Get Help
While it is possible to plan and carry out a webinar on your own, it might drive you mad to attempt to do so. There are many details to attend to – before, during, and after your webinar. And if you want everything to go well – delegate responsibilities.
Have someone who understands the software and hardware you’re using to work alongside you. They don’t have to be experts on the subject matter, but they can help with the planning, attend to glitches if they should arise, and monitor the chat room.
Tip 6: Choose Your Topic With Your Audience in Mind
What does your target demographic want to hear or learn? Focus on killer content, because even if the technical bits go over without a hitch, your audience still needs to feel that their time was not wasted.
Whether your webinar is paid-for or it’s offered free of charge, people want to know that they’ve learned something – that’s the purpose of the webinar. A large part of hosting the webinar is establishing yourself (or your presenters) as experts in the field. That won’t happen if your content is lacking.
You probably already have a general idea of your topic, but to narrow it down, consider the following sources:
- Check your FAQs for topics your customers often ask.
- Search Google Analytics for top searches on the topic.
- Poll your audience.
Tip 7: Promote Well in Advance
To maximize attendance, your audience needs to know about the upcoming webinar. Begin with an engaging landing page, where your audience will find intriguing content to excite and motivate them to register.
Tell your audience all about what they will learn and introduce your presenters to them. Highlight the date and time, and publicize the webinar on your social media. Have your followers share your posts with their friends and followers as well. You could even produce a short video to whet the appetite of your potential attendees.
Finally, on the lead up to the day, send out email reminders until just hours before the webinar begins. Make it easy for your registrants to remember to attend.
Tip 8: Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice your webinar over and over again. Create a script and do dry runs, presenting your topic using the equipment you’ll use on the day. This will help you be familiar with the equipment, and if there are any hiccups, you’ll know how to deal with them. How many times should you practice? Until you have a polished product. The added advantage of rehearsal is that it will give you confidence for the webinar – and confidence is crucial.
Tip 9: Engage with Your Audience
The most natural thing to do during the webinar is to forget all about the audience and just stick to the script. But it won’t make for much of a webinar. Interact with your audience by asking them questions and checking the comments or chat room for their responses.
Leave plenty of time in the end for questions and comments. Here, you’ll hear valuable feedback and be able to answer your audience’s questions. This will leave them feeling as though they’re received great value from the webinar – a great motivator to tell their friends about you and attend your next one.
Tip 10: Host Best Practices
Here are a few best practices for the host on the day of the event:
- Begin on time – show respect for the time of your attendees by beginning on time.
- Be prepared – be in command of the whole event.
- Capture their attention – be interesting and give plenty of value.
- Have your own questions – be ready for the Q&A Session in case you don’t receive enough questions.
Tip 11: Call to Action
Your audience must receive a clear call to action at the end of the webinar. There should be no question about what they need to do next, whether it’s buying your product, enrolling in your course, or just downloading a white paper.
Tip 12: Post-Event Goodies
After the webinar, send your attendees more content by way of emails. This is a means of adding value, but also keeping them engaged with you. If they didn’t follow through the first time by buying into your offer, you get another chance to win them over.
This added content should go to everyone, including the people who registered but didn’t show up. This will encourage them to take advantage of your offer and attend future webinars.
Tip 13: How Did You Do
Now that it’s over, you need to evaluate your efforts. Get honest feedback from the attendees, guest presenters, team members, and for the nitty-gritty stuff – you can use in-platform analytics.
We hope you found these tips helpful. Hosting a webinar is a service to your community and audience. It is an effective way to engage and build your audience, but they can cause significant stress. Using the tips above, you can plan and execute a great webinar and represent your brand well.