Webinars are an effective tool for positioning thought leaders and nurturing leads. But the content of the webinar and the manner in which it is conducted affect the attendee experience. So, before jumping into your first webinar, here are 8 best practices…
1) Plan. Set measurable goals within the context of your larger marketing strategy and channel campaigning objectives. For example...Attendees: 100, Leads from Webinar: 10, Closed Sales: 3, Revenue: $10,000. There are other goals to consider. Just be sure they are meaningful and measurable relative to your overarching strategic goals.
2) Define. You have offerings designed to meet a need and/or solve a problem. Create a series of topics directly related to demonstrating your expertise solving such a problem or meeting an need. Promoting a Subject Matter Expert within your company is the best way to position webinar content in generating brand awareness, nurturing leads, and new revenue. Don't use webinars to as a long pitch. It doesn't work. It doesn't mean don't talk about how you use your product or how you leverage your intellectual capital in a services business. The best approach for engagement is using a story delivered with authenticity about challenges and triumphs...lessons learned, best practices, etc. That sells better than trying to sell.
3) Promote. Define the target audience and choose the channels in which to reach them with a compelling reason to attend. Use eMail, your preferred Social Media communities, and ask your sales people to invite prospects in their conversations. Tell your customers about it and ask them to tell others. Landing pages are the best platform in which to funnel your channel traffic for sign up. Lastly, be sure to send a reminder at least twice before the event...once 1 day before, and once 1 hour before.
4) Prepare. Make sure you and the Subject Matter Expert are prepared for the webinar. Review the material and cadence for the call at least a day before. Prior to go-live, have someone on your team dial-in to make sure the number is working for participants. This person must send a test question to see what it looks like inside the webinar software. Close ALL unnecessary applications, especially Outlook, Instant Messenger, etc. No need to display irrelevant or confidential info by accident. It’s important to maximize performance and reduce distractions for your audience.
5) Start promptly. Call into the meeting a minimum of 15 minutes in advance. Before you call in, By calling in early, attendees are assured they are in the right place. Set expectations by using pre-webinar slides and announcements such as a clock countdown and agenda. Start 2 minutes past the hour. This gives people time to call in, but does not irritate punctual attendees. Additionally, it sets the tone for future webinars while not disenfranchising latecomers.
6) Set expectations. In your introduction, communicate how you will field questions…whether you'll respond to select questions at the end, or try to take them during the session. If possible, assign a support team member to managing questions.
7) Don’t Rush. When reviewing information or data, don’t move too quickly with your mouse. Often, refreshes takes time to occur depending on user bandwidth. Plan on about 5 seconds every screen change. Have a definitive "stop" to the core material, within the allotted time. It’s a designed pause to bring all audience members to the same place in the content and flow of the webinar.
8) Replay available. Send a link of the replay to all attendees within 24 hours of the close. Set this expectation during the webinar. 10-20% of attendees request the info regardless. Prompt follow up increases long term connectivity with attendees, and it’s the right thing to do.
If webinars are something you think you could improve on with professional management, let us know. We can help with our webinar management services. Jut give us a call or email us @ firstname.lastname@example.org.