Small Business Marketing Key in the keyhole

Published on May 15th, 2013 | by Jill Bastian

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Unlock Pro Tips to Creating a Successful Webinar

Webinars are not only fun to host and conduct, but they’re also an excellent tool for generating leads and sales for your business. In fact, according to ClickMeeting.com, 77% of webinars are conducted specifically for lead generation (aka getting more customers). For some people, hosting a webinar may feel overwhelming (similar to those pesky, nervous public speaking feelings), but it doesn’t have to. We have lots of webinar experience here at VerticalResponse, and in this post, we’re unlocking our pro tips that are sure to to make your first, or next webinar absolutely awesome.

Why do people organize webinars?

image courtesy of ClickMeeting.com

 

Consider webinar content – The first thing you need to focus on when planning a webinar is your content, as it’s your most important aspect and something you should consider thoughtfully to ensure it’s appealing. Although this may seem challenging, you’d be surprised by what people are interested in learning. Think about what your attendees should know, or want to know about your business, products or service. 
Here are some starting points to consider for your content:

  • What do people need to know in order to get started with your product or service?
  • What can you do to help people get past any obstacles they may have?
  • 
What advice or tips can you offer?
  • What are some frequently asked questions?
  • Provide a demo of your services or programs.
  • Create awareness for your business or organization.

If you’ve never hosted a webinar, pick a topic you’re comfortable with, as it’ll help you feel confident about your presentation. Also, consider having live questions and answers at the end of your webinar. Your attendees will appreciate the chance to ask questions and have them answered right away. Questions add value to any topic you pick, plus, they give great insight into how people interact with your products or services. And, you can pick and choose the questions that will be most helpful to your attendees.

Create a presentation  – For most webinars, you’ll need to create an interesting and compelling presentation. We use PowerPoint at VerticalResponse to create ours, but there are a variety of options including, Google Docs, Prezi and Sliderocket. Most tools have an array of styles for the slides.

You obviously want your webinar presentation to be visually appealing, but try not to overwhelm viewers with too many images. A good rule of thumb is to use one image per slide with text, two-three if you’re showing something specific or making a point. If your presentation offers images for slide backgrounds, use them sparingly.

Also, as tempting as it is may be to add a lot of details to a slide, don’t. Add a couple of lines of text or use bullets to make your points. Speak about a topic or slide as much as you need to, but adding more text to a slide makes it harder for viewers to concentrate – They get caught up in reading everything you’ve added to the slides and miss what you’re actually saying. Let the bullet points show your main speaking points and then you can elaborate as you need to.

After your presentation is complete, you’ll want to do a few practice runs so you know how it flows, what your viewers will see, and what points you’ll need to say. It also helps to get someone else to proofread for typos and any errors.

Get the party started – Before you’re ready to get the webinar party started, keep in mind how it’ll be perceived by your attendees.  All the prep work you’ve done will be for nothing if they can’t hear or view what’s going on:

  • Log in early, (at least 15 minutes prior), to set up, trouble shoot any problems, and to let your attendees know you’re there.
  • Find a quiet place to conduct your webinar. You don’t have to set up a sound booth, but find somewhere that has little outside noise, or people who could interrupt or distract from your presentation.
  • Whether you use a microphone or phone, remember that every sound in the room will be picked up and become part of the webinar. So don’t rustle papers or do other loud things.
  •  Ask questions or do a survey during your webinar. Many webinar programs have this feature built in so that your viewers can interact and give feedback live, and you can share the results on the screen automatically.
  • Have something to drink on hand; a glass of water, coffee, tea or even wine, whatever you prefer. Webinars are a talky business and you’ll want something to sip on to keep you hydrated.

Follow-up – Once you reach the end of your webinar, it’s not all over. Send out a follow-up email to close the circle. Some webinar hosting services will automatically send follow-up emails, which is handy, but you’ll want to edit the message to give it your own voice and include any important info including a link to the recorded version of the webinar, if there is one. You may want to create separate emails for attendees and non-attendees, offer different content and links and check your stats to see if you get different engagement.

Consider sending out a few emails to encourage sales from your customers, or help convert the leads you generated by hosting the webinar. If your webinar service doesn’t send out a follow up email, you can easily create one yourself (and VerticalResponse can certainly help you with that). Simply download a list of all attendees and registrants from the hosting service, then upload to your email service provider and send out a follow up.

Now that we’ve unlocked these 4 tips, your webinar will be a success! Knowing your topic and practicing your webinar beforehand will give you the confidence you need if you’re feeling a little nervous. And, if that doesn’t help, remember it’s just you in the room talking – You can’t see your audience, and they can’t see you, just pretend they aren’t even there and relax. For more webinar tips, check out our post, Be the Webinar Host with the Most.

Do you use webinars for your business? What tips would you add to this list?

© 2013, Jill Bastian. All rights reserved.

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Jill Bastian

Jill Bastian is a contributing author for VerticalResponse.



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