The global pandemic has forced companies to cancel in-person events and substitute them with virtual experiences. As a result, webinars have seen a resurgence in popularity over the last several months.
Webinars are used as a vehicle to present documents such as videos, voice notes and presentations. They give businesses the opportunity to educate customers or attendees about the value of a specific product. They also allow attendees to put a face to the name and build personal relationships in real-time, even if it’s not in-person. Primarily utilized to educate potential customers, webinars can assist in captivating a large audience in addition to generating leads for your business.
So how do you host an effective webinar? Start by following the best practices outlined below:
Webinars have plenty of uses and are applicable to any industry where communicating to an audience is a key factor for professional success. Before you schedule a webinar, decide what your goal is. Do you want to educate the audience about your business or a key topic of concern? Do you hope to demonstrate how to use your product or service to help customers overcome challenges? Do you want to generate leads for your business? The end goal should be a deciding factor of how the presentation will unfold and what content and visual aids your webinar will incorporate.
It’s becoming increasingly harder to keep your audience’s attention for longer periods of time. Keep your presentation to an hour at most and try to leave room for a brief Q&A at the end. Sometimes webinar attendees may be shy about asking questions, so have a few canned questions ready to go to kicks things off and inspire others to ask for further clarification on their areas of concern.
Always be sure to provide contact information at the end so attendees can reach out to you after they have viewed the webinar. Remember, not everyone will be viewing your webinar live, especially if you host your webinar recordings on your website, so you need to make it easy for viewers to gather more information if they need it.
Hosting a webinar that presents information on a general topic is not likely to have an impressive turnout. Choosing a highly specific and relevant topic that allows you to go into detail will make it easier for your audience to stay focused. As such, it minimizes the chance of skewing away from the topic at hand and avoids tangents.
Additionally, make sure that your topic is well-suited to your target audience. For example, if you’re presenting to industry professionals and veterans with more than five years of experience, make sure the content isn’t too simplistic. If it is, they won’t find the information useful unless they manage employees with less experience. If the content is too advanced, it may be beyond their comprehension and equally irrelevant as a beginner’s topic.
Webinars are a great tool to use to position your company as an authority in your industry, which is why it’s important to confirm a subject matter expert that is skilled and knowledgeable in the field. Ensure that your presenter is well-versed in the topic and is comfortable presenting and talking on camera.
You may find that one presenter is adequate for your webinar, or you may want to compile a panel of experts to lead a thoughtful discussion. When curating a panel, consider inviting a diverse group of experts to the table to bring different viewpoints and varying levels of expertise to the webinar.
The complexity of the chosen subject and subject matter expert availability should inform your format choice. Will you have two speakers? Will it be a Q&A style or a panel discussion with several guests and a moderator? Once that’s decided, begin creating a PowerPoint presentation that best fits the chosen topic. Taking into account the webinar style, the presentation deck or format should emphasize the points you intend to make and use as much data and evidence as possible.
Technology is great when it works. Although we’ve come a long way with technological advances, it’s important to test the equipment beforehand and prepare for any technical glitches to ensure the webinar will run smoothly. Do at least one run-through before the live event to ensure that each presenter knows what’s expected of them and that all technology is functioning correctly. You’ll have greater confidence going into the live webinar and you’ll be better prepared in the event that something does not go as planned.
Webinars are a powerful tool that can help educate customers, generate leads and continue to develop personal relationships with all customers. By following these best practices, webinars can help increase brand awareness, position your business as a thought leader in the industry and increase customer interaction.
Looking to host a webinar? Reach out to our team to discuss your goals.
Jessie Koerner is a Senior Account Executive at Mulberry Marketing Communications, an award-winning full-service B2B communications agency based in Chicago, London and Australia. She has a deep passion for media relations, strategic PR and marketing campaign planning and content creation.