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Webinars are not anything new. In fact, businesses have been doing them for years. That said, there are many ways to go about creating a successful webinar. After all, just because you launch a webinar does not guarantee its success.
Webinars take practice and a lot of trial and error to get just right. There are tools you must invest in, strategies for success and adjustments to be made based on the audience that attends your webinars.
In fact, my company has been working toward releasing its first webinar, and while it has been very exciting, it has not come without its fair share of work. Here is some of my best advice when it comes to creating a successful webinar.
1. Have a clear plan.
When it comes to webinars, anything is fair game. However, it is important you pinpoint exactly what you want to get out of your webinar. Approach it this way:
To start, get people excited about attending your webinar. Have a signup form that they can fill out, complete with details about your webinar so they can immediately see the benefits of attending.
Consider adding a popup form or countdown timer to your website to announce your upcoming webinar and encourage registration. Post about your webinar on your favorite social media outlets. Even consider fellow businesses and bloggers to promote your webinar to their audience.
The key is to make it short and simple. Let the webinar do the rest.
2. Create the actual webinar.
After you have brainstormed the concept behind your webinar, you’ll need to create your webinar for audience members. Technology plays a big role in the success of your webinar, and the business you’ll generate afterward, so make sure you plan accordingly.
We use Keynote to make all of our slide presentations. Adding to that, we focus on making things as minimal as possible, while still focusing on delivering the right amount of content. In fact, reading Garr Reynolds’ book, Presentation Zen, has really helped my team develop visually stunning slides that relate to the audience without overwhelming them.
You don’t want your attendees to miss anything because your slides are too text-heavy. You also don’t want them to feel like they are wasting their time because your content is so thin. The key is to find that perfect balance. In the end, my motto is, “You are the presentation, not your slides.”
3. Pick a platform.
After you have your webinar outlined, and your slide presentation prepared, pick a webinar hosting platform. There are many to choose from, such as GotoWebinar, ClickMeeting, and EasyWebinar, and all of them will come with their own feature set and price points.
We use Zoom Webinar for its reliability and ease of use. There are neat features such as “hand raising,” polls, and a whiteboard for on-screen annotations. In addition, you can have multiple hosts or even invite others to speak or show up on camera.
However, the best part about Zoom Webinar is that we can rest assured technical issues won’t be an issue. This way we can focus on the webinar and our audience.
4. Focus on the details.
Small details such as audio can make a break your webinar, even if the content you are delivering is top notch. That’s why we recommend investing in a high-quality microphone such as the Rode Podcaster. It plugs directly into your computer with a USB so it’s super easy to set up. It also delivers great sound, which is crucial if your audience is only seeing your slide presentation and hearing your voice.
In addition, you might want to consider a table stand such as the Rode DS1 Table Stand to eliminate bumps and shakes while your talking. Any distractions during your webinar might annoy your audience or cause them to lose track of what you’re saying, which may result in lost opportunities.
5. Practice makes perfect.
Next, have a plan for your webinar. Don’t go in hoping to wing the entire thing. And definitely, don’t expect attendees not to notice your lack of preparation.
In fact, my company’s webinar host has this advice for people going live for the first time:
Live chat. Enlist the help of a co-host to help manage the live chat feature if you have one. This way attendees’ comments are addressed, but you don’t lose track of the webinar.
Practice. Set up a mock webinar with your team to practice before actually going live. This way you can ensure all the equipment works, you know what you’re doing, and you have touched on all the points you want to in the length of time designated for the webinar. This also gives you the chance to receive constructive feedback so when you do go live you feel confident.
Remember, no one is perfect. It’s okay to want your webinars to flow seamlessly. But the truth is, you are human and live events have the tendency to reveal small imperfections no matter how much you practice. Your audience knows you are live and is going to understand this. There is a huge difference between having technical difficulties and simply being unprepared.
As you can see, creating a webinar that converts attendees into customers is not that hard, as long as you take the time to organize your thoughts, invest in some high-quality equipment and have a plan of action that aims to solve your target audience’s most pressing issues.