In recent years, webinars have become a vital part of a good marketing strategy plan. If you want to build your brand’s authority in the eyes of your leads and customers, this is a great way to show them your expertise.
By presenting yourself to them through an interactive channel, you’ll connect with your viewers. This will give you valuable (and free!) data to deepen your buyer persona and fine tune your product.
We started working with webinars last year, helping several of our clients to embrace them as a connection tool and as a qualified lead generator. Over time, it has led to higher reported sales and greater engagement, especially client contact.
Today, we’ll share with you the most critical elements to consider when planning an upcoming webinar for yourself or a client. If you overlook any of these points, it could kill even the best efforts, so be sure to take note of each one!
Do: Set up a Goal
Running a webinar without a concrete goal is worse than not running one at all. All of your favorite webinar pros always have something they want to achieve with every presentation, even for “surprise” sessions. By the way, when we talk about a goal in this context, we’re referring to your marketing goals, not the stated “lesson goals” of your webinar session.
For example, you want your webinar to dive deep into a problem your audience struggles with and demonstrate how you can help them solve it. How can you translate this from English into marketing-ese? How about this: gaining 10 qualified leads for your service- this is your post-webinar conversion goal.
How do you break this down to each stage of your webinar planning? Let’s view this through the lens of some recent statistics from ConvertKit.
- 15% of attendees to your webinar will convert.
- 40% of registrees will attend.
- 30% of visitors to your page will register.
We’ll save you the time doing the math: you’ll need at least 1,250 visitors to your site, of which at least 375 should sign up for your webinar, of which at least 150 should actually show up. Of course, this will vary by market and target audience, but it’s a good rule of thumb when thinking of how wide a net you need to cast.
Don’t: Forget the Basics
Got your goal? Now it’s time to set up your essential elements to get your webinar on the air. The sooner you narrow these down, the easier it’ll be for you and your team.
If you have a clear goal in mind, you’ll know what specific topic is right for your target audience. Once you have it down, you should start working on the presentation and flow of the activity.
Will you be the one on camera? Is there another member of your team who could step up as a host if you can’t (or if you’re camera-shy- no shame in that)? Make that decision fast.
Date and Time
In order to have a successful webinar, you should plan it out at least two months ahead of time. This allows sufficient time for your team to develop and distribute all promotional materials, and for your audience to sign up.
When choosing the time, bear in mind your target audience’s time zones. If you’re on the east coast of the U.S. and want to include your west coast audience, don’t schedule your webinar at 7 a.m. ET. They won’t show up.
Good Webinar Software
Here’s another obvious but often overlooked consideration. When shopping for a webinar broadcasting tool, make sure it’s easy for you and your audience to understand. Don’t waste 20 minutes of your hour-long session fighting with terrible software.
For our clients’ webinars, we’ve worked with Crowdcast, and we’ve had a positive experience so far. Try it for yourself and see!
A Defined Team
Can you do a webinar alone? If you were the ultimate multitasker, you could. However, if you want your message to come across effectively, it’s better for you as the host to focus on delivering it and rally your team to help you with the webinar’s promotion, moderation, and post-session actions.
Do: Plan Out How You’re Going to Promote Your Webinar
What’s a great webinar without promotion? A dress rehearsal.
Whether you’re going to send an email blast to your audience or buy social media ads, make a clear promotional plan for your webinar. Remember that if you want to ensure the maximum amount of attendees, plan to launch promotions at least three weeks before its intended date.
In a future post, we’ll outline our top tips for promoting time-sensitive events, so watch this space!
Don’t: Skip a Practice Run
At least five days before your webinar, you should do a practice run on your chosen platform with your team of collaborators. Create a private event only for them and test out at least the first 10-20 minutes of your content. This will allow you to get familiar with the software, and it will ensure that most elements of your presentation will run smoothly on the day of the webinar.
Skipping a practice run, especially if you’re using anything new (like a different software, a new template for your presentation or even a different computer than your trusty laptop) is like playing webinar Russian roulette. Save yourself the trouble and schedule your rehearsal.
Do: Start on Time
This is a cardinal rule you MUST NOT violate at any cost.
Ideally, have everything ready to go at least five minutes before showtime: your presentation is open, your team on call to answer any questions on the app’s chat, your mic is on and you’re ready for the spotlight.
Barring any unforeseen technical issues, like an internet connection slip up, always present yourself at the designated hour. You can give a couple of minutes for any attendees that show up a little late, but make sure to start your presentation no later than five minutes after the designated hour.
Don’t Ignore Your Audience’s Questions
It’s 100% certain that your audience will have questions for you during the webinar. If you chose an excellent broadcasting tool, they’ll write them down for you. However, if you’re too focused on the presentation, you might find yourself ignoring them. At the other extreme, you could risk interrupting the flow of the session by responding to each and every question as it comes in.
Tell your audience that you’ll have a designated moment during the webinar to answer any questions they have. As you give your presentation, your team will compile any comments you receive and hand them to you at the right time.
Whether you decide to answer questions at the end of the webinar or in between sections, by announcing it to your audience and delivering on your promise, you’re creating a reasonable expectation and winning trust points with them.
Don’t Forget to Reach Out to your Viewers/Non-Viewers After the Webinar
The webinar may be over, but your job isn’t! After the session is over, reach out to your attendees to thank them for their time, and provide any additional information you promised during the webinar (such as the session’s recording, exclusive downloadables, an offer, etc.).
Don’t neglect those who signed up but weren’t able to show up. Thank them for signing up and keep them posted with a future date for another session with you.
Are you ready to run your first webinar? Tell us in the comments below!