Webinars, or web-based seminars, are a great and cost-effective way to speak directly to your audience about a whole host of issues. The COVID-19 pandemic has also driven many events online in a bid to continue to connect when face-to-face meetings are not available. Webinars are great to add value to memberships and to help build networks of like-minded people around current topics and issues pertaining to your industry.
But how do you get started? What’s the key to holding a successful webinar and how do you leave your audience eager to know more and keen to connect?
Find a reliable provider
Once you’re confident that holding a webinar would be an effective way to contact your audience, find a reliable webinar provider. It’s important to get this right, as the technology must run smoothly on the day. Technical glitches can ruin the flow of any well-prepared presentation. Or ask the virtual events specialists at Association Plus to give you a few tips and suggestions or get you started.
Get creative with your topic and headline
Avoid jargon and opt for something catchy and engaging that will grab people’s attention. Questions are a good way to do this, such as, ‘How do you win new members on a tight marketing budget?’ Choose something that will be easily searchable for your audience too. What type of search terms might they be using to find information?
Create a landing page on your website
Including all the information about the webinar, including what it will cover and what participants can expect to take away from it. The page should include a form for people to register their names and contact details. Make sure each person receives an automatic reply containing all the information they need for the webinar, and ideally an automatic calendar invite that they can simply add to their calendars. Decide how or if you’ll charge people to attend, and make sure there’s a safe way for them to pay online.
Communicate far and wide with your target audience
Give them plenty of notice that the webinar is taking place and make sure you emphasise the benefits of attending. Plan in advance how you’re going to distribute the information – will you use press releases, blogs and social networks, newsletters or direct email marketing, for example? You could even consider creating a short video to explain what people will learn by tuning in. Keep it simple and informal, and present a friendly yet professional overview of what it’s all about.
Prepare your content thoughtfully
Ensure that you’ve paid attention to detail when compiling your presentation. Remember that people don’t have a lot of spare time in their working day, so keep it concise and keep to the point. What new insights can you provide on the topic in hand? How will the information you provide help your audience? Make sure that you communicate clearly and provide a sufficient amount of detail, while providing links to more in-depth follow-up information. Prepare a clear agenda, factor in time for questions and answers and make sure you use compelling visuals.
Assemble a strong team around you
You’ll need a facilitator and subject matter experts (one of whom could be you!) and you might want to consider asking your facilitator or another colleague to act as an assistant, collating questions for speakers and responding to people’s technical queries during the webinar. It’s a good idea to do a practice run before you go ‘on air’ for real. Schedule a time when you and your team can go through the whole webinar from start to finish. This will help you to make sure you keep track of time accurately.
Measure your success
Measure your audience’s response to your webinar, right from the moment you first publicise it. Track how many people are responding to emails or via social media, for example. And when it comes to the webinar itself, don’t be disappointed if not everyone who registered attends. Expect at least a third to drop out on the day. Send an email after the webinar to everyone who registered with a link to the recorded content. That way, you can see who visits and downloads the information.
We run virtual event for many associations and membership organisations, and our team are always willing to share their expertise, even in front of the camera. If you would like us to help you run your next webinar, from promotion through to data capture, content generation and sponsorship, please get in touch here