There are times in life where you can throw caution to the wind and wing it! Needless to say, hosting a webinar is not one of those times. Webinars take planning and foresight to be successful and can become overwhelming at times. There’s lots of coordination going on of people, timelines, deadlines, etc. Every one of these needs to converge at precisely the right time or else you risk your presentation not reaching its full potential.
According to various studies, in order for a webinar to be successful the planning needs to start at least 8 weeks ahead of time and requires between 30 and 40 person hours to plan, promote, deliver and follow through properly. Check out this “how to” list of steps to ensure your webinar is a success.
This first step is critical and will define all subsequent activities. If you don’t know where you’re going, how are you going to get there? Figure out who your target audience is and what you’re trying to accomplish. This will help you choose the format in which to deliver your presentation. If you’re trying to create mindshare you may choose a panel discussion with customer Q&A. If your intention is to educate you could opt for an interview with an industry expert.
What about your attendance goals? This should be an objective you are clear on from the get go. As explained by Tech Soup, you can expect anywhere from a 30% – 40% attendance rate at any given webinar. Keeping this number in mind will help decipher how many registrants you’ll need to meet your ultimate attendee goal.
Setup a cadence with your team to have weekly check-ins on their progress. This will help keep your main objectives fresh in everyone’s mind and potentially eliminate anyone from getting sidetracked and setting the entire team back.
Promotion, Registration and Email Setup
After everyone is clear on the purpose of the webinar, it’s time to start promoting. Start designing your materials like the initial invite and event landing page. The theme of your event should be threaded through every customer facing piece of collateral and every webpage. Use the same color schemes, fonts and verbiage to create a cohesive campaign brand.
Follow up emails should also be created up front. This will free up your time later to focus on more pressing matters as the event draws closer. Draw up the Thank You email to be sent to registrants immediately after they sign up. You should also create all of your drip emails, or those emails sent out as reminders of your event, encouraging those who haven’t signed up to do so.
Go ahead and create the follow-up emails as well. You’ll need 2 versions: one for those who attended the webinar and one for those who registered but were unable to make it. Each one will say close to the same thing, but be sure to differentiate between them by using some iteration of the phrases, “thank you for attending” or “sorry we missed you”. Any work you can do before the actual promotion starts will be a huge weight off your shoulders when all the wheels start turning.
Once you’ve got the presentation ironed out you should do several dry runs with the team. You’re looking for any possible mishap that may occur the day of. This includes cohesive presentation topics as well as checking for possible technical issues with your webinar hosting site or software. Go over any final details with your team so everyone is on the same page. If presenting on your own, ask a third party to be present during your practice run in case they spot a snafu you may have missed.
The Day Of
It’s show time! All presenters should be ready to go and plugged in at least 30 minutes prior to the start time. Make sure the room is quiet and away from potential disruptions so throw your dog outside and make sure the kiddos have a playdate! Don’t forget to put that cell phone on silent. If you have a live chat component, type in some introductory questions to get the conversation started. Keep in mind that you should not be presenting and manning the chat desk, so get extra hands to help you if this is the case. Make sure to not forget the recording, yes you always want to record your webinar!
Great job! Your webinar went off without a hitch and everyone is happy with the results. So what now? Pat yourself on the back and keep it moving? Not a chance! One of the most requested pieces of information after a webinar is an on-demand version of it. Create an archive file to send to all participants and no-shows along with the “Thank you for attending/Sorry we missed you” emails. This is also the perfect time to promote your next event, webinar, or online sale.