I recently attended a 1-hour networking webinar and it got me thinking about just how useful webinars are for small business.
You can pack so much information into a short webinar, people can engage with you and you can then use the recorded webinar as an additional resource for your clients as part of a course or online library.
Over the past 10 years, I’ve attended dozens of webinars. Some were amazing, and others were really bad.
How can you use a webinar?
How to ensure your next webinar is a success?
1. Plan your webinar – Take some time to plan what will go into your webinar. You can create a slideshow presentation featuring the primary points of the webinar and what participants will take away from the event. You can also use this to remind you of what you’ll be talking about and to help give the webinar a natural flow.
Top Tip: Include an introduction slide to show whilst people are waiting for the webinar to start. Include any important information such as if it’s being recorded and when they can ask questions.
2. Marketing – If no one knows about your webinar, no one will attend. Include details of your webinar in your marketing plan. What does this mean? Post about it on social media at least once per week leading up to the event. Write a blog post or feature it on your website. Include it in your newsletters and spread it through your networks and groups.
Top Tip: Remember to send reminder emails so that the participants are fully aware of when and where your webinar is taking place.
3. Choose your location – You can film your webinar from almost anywhere. Just ensure that you have a strong internet connection, no distractions and no background noises. One of the worst things I heard whilst on a webinar was a dog barking for 20 minutes in the background – in fact, it’s all I remember about that particular webinar.
4. Test run – Do a test run to ensure that your software all works correctly and that you have enough quality information to fill the allotted time.
Top Tip: Close any unnecessary apps or programs that you have running on your computer to ensure that things run as smoothly as possible.
5. Turn up early – One of the quickest ways to make a bad first impression is to turn up late to your own event. The participants will think you don’t really care and may even leave before the webinar starts. Show up early and have an informal chat with your participants to keep them engaged whilst you wait for everyone to attend.
Top Tip: Don’t delay the event waiting for everyone to arrive. If most participants are logged on, get started at the scheduled time, and no more than two minutes after. If you’re recording the event, you can send it out afterwards for anyone who was late or unable to attend.
6. Check Audio – Before starting the webinar, do a quick check to ensure that everything is working correctly. Ask participants if they can hear you, if the chat function works and if they can see your screen.
Top Tip: Have an IT person, or someone on-hand to help in the event of any technical difficulties.
7. Don’t talk too quickly – Remember that participants will likely be taking notes, so you need to adjust your talking speed to allow them to keep up with what you’re saying. I remember one webinar where the host spoke so quickly I had to watch it again twice just so that I could take accurate notes!
Top Tip: When users first sign up for the webinar, provide them with a worksheet download that contains sections for them to fill in and note down ideas, key points etc during the webinar.
8. Take questions – Allow time at the end of the webinar to answer any questions that your participants may have.
9. Follow up and send the recording – After the webinar, it’s important to send the recording out to all subscribers, whether they attended or not, so that they can watch the webinar at a time that suits them. Some users like to re-watch a webinar to ensure that they’ve not missed anything important.
Top Tip: You can send follow up emails to encourage sales or to request webinar feedback. If you have permission from your subscribers, you can also add the participant email addresses to your mailing list, to keep in touch with them in future.
10. Upload the webinar – If applicable, you should upload your webinar to your online library, course or even social media sites if you want to give access to more users and encourage engagement.
There you have it, follow our 10 tips for hosting an effective webinar and provide your customers with a positive, memorable experience with your small business.