Webinars or online seminars have become a staple on online business to create and develop relationships with target audience, launch products and convey important information to a target audience in any niche or industry. Big brands, corporations and even the smallest of websites and blogs use webinars to develop their brand.
Every step of the webinar planning process is important. Poor preparation can cause the webinar to fail on a technical level or delivery level. Poor delivery can be a huge turn off to the audience. Poor follow up can cost you new business. Plan for every phase of your webinar well in advance of the big day!
This is actually not as scary as it may sound; the key is organization and lists. Lists can be a lifesaver when it comes to planning, so nothing is forgotten or accidentally overlooked.
Preparation is a key aspect of webinar planning, one that should not be taken lightly. Follow these steps to ensure that you are fully prepared for your event:
- Determine the goals and objectives of your webinar.
- Determine your target audience.
- Choose an alluring topic. The webinar does not have to solely discuss your company or product. Rather, think big picture.
- Create an effective marketing strategy. You will not pull in an audience without posting your upcoming webinar all over Facebook, Twitter, relevant news boards and forums, etc.
- Make sure to take into account your target audience when planning your marketing strategy. It is a useless waste of time to target members of a diet forum when your webinar is about dentistry.
- Brainstorm potential failure points. Place yourself in the shoes of your audience to think through everything that could go wrong.
- Arrange for a technical expert to be on hand to support.
- Test, test, test. All presenters should be involved in the software testing process.
Consider developing a written project plan to help guide you and your presenters through the process. Think of this plan as a technical how-to guide for everything related to your webinar. There is no such thing as too much detail when it comes to writing these guides.
Your delivery is also critical. If people find your presentation boring or inaccurate, or they become frustrated by technical difficulties or poor speakers, then you’ve already lost them. Follow these steps to perfect your delivery:
- If you are the host, make sure you have memorized your introduction for each presenter. Also, make sure that your presenters have copies of their slides and notes in case the video fails.
- It’s a good idea to watch webinars that are led by engaging presenters to get an idea of what appeals to an audience; it also can’t hurt to hunt down a boring presentation to see the opposite.
- If you are the presenter, remember to speak clearly and concisely.
- Instruct your audience members on how to use the chat function and other available software features.
- As you (or your presenters) speak, pause in between sections to ask if anyone has a question and to acknowledge any comments in the chat box.
- Towards the end, inform the audience about how your product or service helps solve the issues discussed.
- Open up the floor for Q&A.
People need to know that you care about them, so keep this in mind throughout your delivery. Webinars often set the foundation for new relationships, and new relationships lead to repeat business and to the development of a reputation.
In order to help secure more sales and to work towards building relationships, post-webinar follow up should definitely be part of your webinar planning.
- Between 2-7 days after the webinar, send an email to all participants thanking them and reminding them about your product or service.
- Attach a copy of the webinar recording to the email or include a link to a social media profile where you have posted it.
- Two weeks after the webinar, send out a survey asking how interested they are in the product and whether or not they have already purchased the product. This helps to track sales.
- Of course, you want to be sure to send follow up emails with sales page and/or buy links if the webinar was for a product launch.
A good planner is the difference between a successful or failed webinar. Common problems that occur due to improper planning include poor attendance numbers, technical problems and negative feedback. Even if you have presented dozens of webinars in the past, each one is different with a different target audience and/or objectives. Thus, each webinar requires a unique planning process.
You will reap many benefits (including a happy boss due to a boost in sales!) through a well-planned webinar. Keep in mind the fact that with practice and repetition the planning phase with become routine and much easier in the long run.