The 7 ins and outs of hosting an outstanding webinar
Webinar, probably the best know compound word of 2020. ‘Web’ and ‘seminar’: a seminar or presentation that takes place on the web, the internet often hosted by a main speaker or host. It allows participants in different locations to follow the presentation and ask questions. We listed the 7 most essential steps to go through when you are planning to host a webinar with the flair of Walter Capiau:
#1 Know your audience
First step: who is your crowd you are targeting on? Analyze them or even make personas if that can clarify their profiles. Define the needs of your audience and respond to them.
#2 Define your why
What do you want to get out of these webinars? Is your objective to claim thought leadership? Create brand awareness? Showcase expertise? Create leads? Your objective dictates the final form of your webinar.
#3 The main topic
The next big question to think about is: what topic will you discuss during the webinar?
Choose an interesting topic that speaks to your target audience. Don’t stay too broad, go into the details and specialize your webinar in to some subtopics relevant for your audience. Always keep your audience in mind and make it relevant for them. Make it meaningful. Keep the SMART principle in the back of your head: Is it Specific? Can your audience Measure it somehow if they want to apply the learnings themselves? Is it Acceptable for the target audience? Is it Relevant (yeah, we know it’s Realistic but relevant suits the purpose better 😉)? Is it Timely (is there a sense of nowness to it)?
Timing is also important. Don’t choose a topic on which you can talk for hours and will never finish on. Do not go for a subject that is too limited either. An ideal webinar session is between 45min-1h. A longer time frame is too exhausting for your audience. Think about how you can make your webinar interactive. Add polls, add voting tools, breakout sessions if needed, Q&A… Also take the time of the day into account: 9 am will attract more people than 6 pm, when the workday is coming to an end.
#4 Let’s get technical
It may sound scary, it doesn’t have to be. With the new technological progress due to the crisis, there are many tools on the market that make it easy to host a webinar.
List of useful tools:
- Zoom – Ah, the webinar cousin of the online meeting tool. With a limited up to 50 000 attendees and a Q&A functionality, a great asset!
- GoToWebinar – As the name says, it’s your go to-tool for hosting webinars. This platform is dedicated to webinars and has helped over 50 000 clients over the last few years.
- VideoScribe – Fancy something else? VideoScribe makes business videos with whiteboard animations. A webinar with a twist, let’s say. Experience has shown that it improves communication. You can integrate this technique into your webinar.
- Livestorm – This newbie on the market is one to keep an eye on. Livestorm thinks about everything you need to set up your first webinar. There is even an analytics section to instantly measure the ROI of your performance.
#5 Just do it
No, this is not a sponsored ad for Nike. Sometimes, all it takes is just that one big step. Do it, go live, host a webinar and make something meaningful for your attendees. Always do a practice in advance. Before you go live, do a final rehearsal to check if there are no technical issues. A few practical tips:
- Test your audio up front
- Choose a neutral background or upload your designed background with a logo
- Showing video? Download the video on your local hard drive and play from your computer. This bypasses potential problems with buffering.
- Make sure you have a stable internet connection
- Don’t be afraid to check in with your attendees: “Can you hear me clearly?”, “Can everybody see my presentation?”. Technology isn’t always on our side and that’s okay. Nothing to get nervous about, but it’s easier to flag it at the beginning than noticing 30 minutes in that your audio isn’t coming through. 😊
#6 Measure, measure, measure
We can’t stress this enough but measure your performances. Which topic was successful (in case of several topics or speakers)? How many attendees stayed during the whole webinar? Did you receive some in-depth questions at the end?
To analyze the success of your webinar, there are also some handy tools – lucky bastards as we are – like Google Analytics, Hubspot and others.
Here are the VIM’s (Very Important Metrics) according to team MMBSY:
- Reach overall
- Total registrees
- Total attendees
- Attendance rate (the average webinar attendance rate is 46%)
- Total downloads afterwards
- Total leads coming from the webinar
#7 Think about the life span of the webinar
Start by setting up a communication planning including an extended prelude. The announcement of a webinar is best done one month in advance with reminder emails and teasing on social with content that will be heard in the webinar itself. Use smart email flows that target different predefined audiences. We also suggest inviting people personally. The attendance rate is higher with people who’ve been invited directly, for example by sending them a direct personal email.
After all, keep in mind that an hour of webinar content = a month or more of social content. Make use of that. Record your webinar and make it available afterwards. Create social snippets for LinkedIn to extend the life span of the webinar and publish quotes from the webinar speakers. You can also relaunch your webinar after a month to the people who haven’t attended the first one.
Did we get you warm to launch your first webinar? Or is this all a bit too much? We can help you with the setup, content and client care. We’ve hosted several successful webinars for Duval Union. Read all about it in our case!