Webinars are one of the most effective ways to establish trust with your audience and distinguish yourself as an expert in your industry. Webinars are a major part of the content marketing strategy for B2B marketers. This is especially true when they are trying to attract new leads, drive traffic, and compel existing leads to move farther down the sales funnel. That means that knowing how to host a webinar is vital. Since attendees are devoting time out of their day to listen to you, they tend to be more highly qualified and ready to buy than those who have simply clicked on an email or downloaded an ebook. So, how do you host a kick ass webinar? Here’s what you need to ensure:
1. Interact with Your Audience before the Webinar
Developing a good rapport with your audience prior to the start of the webinar will help you establish credibility and put your viewers at ease. This does not mean spending time with your audience only in the moments leading up to your webinar, but starting weeks or even months in advance. That’s how you build relationships. Create a page on social media for prospective attendees to join and discuss topics they would like to see covered. This not only drums up excitement and anticipation, it also provides you with a wealth of information about what your customers and attendees want to see in the webinar.
2. Identify How You Can Help Your Audience
When people are going to spend their time participating in a webinar – reading content or listening to a speech, they want that material to solve a problem or answer a question – in other words it provides value. Once you figure that out you need to convey it to your audience. There are several ways this can be done. Surveys to existing customers or your target audience can help identify needs, as can engaging with your followers on social media. The key is to listen – and then act.
3. Create Kick-ass Content and Deck
To keep an audience engaged for 30 minutes to an hour, you’ll need to give them something nice to look at; so, engage their senses. Use video, PowerPoint, infographics, images, and other visual media to perk up your presentation and keep your audience interested. You can also provide supporting material that they can get prior to the beginning of your webinar. Remember, though, fancy visuals don’t make up for solid content that adds value. Thoroughly research your material and make sure that it is valuable to your audience.
4. Pick the Right Host/Presenter
Knowing how to host a webinar means that you understand how to bring the various elements together, so that they work and draw the audience in. Picking the right host or presenter can make a huge difference in how your webinar is perceived by your audience and how they respond to it. You want to find someone who is a strong communicator, is credible, has good presentations skills and is able to engage the audience. Pay attention to how your prospective hosts act and present themselves, but also watch how others react to them. You don’t want a one-sided presentation; you want the host to draw the audience in and get the involved.
5. Use a Hashtag Dedicated to the Webinar
Create a clever hashtag to accompany all of your social media posts, as well as your internet banners, websites, posters, and other promotional channels. When creating your hashtag, make sure it is relevant to your webinar, that it is unique, and that it is short. A shorter hashtag has two significant benefits: It is easy to remember, and it is less likely to get cut off when your posts are retweeted.
6. Know Your Stuff – Prepare and Practice
Preparation is the key to any type of presentation. When hosting a webinar, you want to make sure that you are on top of your game, so do your homework. Start with an outline and a clear goal of what you want to achieve, then practice so that you know your material front and back. One great way to prepare (and test your material, host, and set up) is to conduct your webinar internally. This practice run will allow you to identify any bugs or potential problems you may encounter and address them before you go live with a full audience.
7. Create (and Test) an Enticing Registration Page
Hosting a webinar is much more than choosing great webinar software or creating terrific content – and it starts long before the launch date. Create an enticing registration page that will attract people and compel them to sign up. Your registration page should utilize color, images, and legible fonts, but nothing that is overwhelming or garish. It should have a strong call to action that is placed above the fold on your site.
8. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Pre-webinar Emails
Send a series of pre-webinar emails to your subscribed attendees, three to four should work. You want to keep the webinar fresh in their minds, so drop little prompts about the webinar and encourage them to share with their friends, set alerts on their phone and save the date on their calendar. Use language that will get them excited. You can also send them information or visual aids that will help prepare them for the webinar. If you plan to include a Q & A, you can encourage attendees to send in questions and they will be addressed during the webinar.
9. Promote Your Webinar
Incentivize sharing. Give them something tangible and something to look forward to. For instance, allow them to use your product for free. Give them memberships or limited period free usage. Also, create colorful, engaging images, memes, and infographics (don’t forget to include your hashtag on the images!) with useful information then post them to your social media channels and your blog. If the content is catchy and well done, it will be shared.
10.Use Your Speaker and Company Twitter Handles to Promote
Don’t limit your promotion to just one social media profile. Use your company Twitter account as well as your speaker’s Twitter account to spread the word. If you know influential people in your industry or who are related to the topic of your webinar, ask them to promote your webinar for you as well. Or you can tag them to let them know, and most likely, they’ll share the link with their audience. The key is to spread the word and get people excited about it so they will share.
11. Test Before Going Live
It is always a best practice to test any type of software, especially when using it for a presentation, before you take it live. Different webinar software function in different ways. You want to make sure that you are comfortable with it and can use it without any glitches. You also want to take the time to work out any bugs or issues that would hang you up or cause problems during your webinar.
12. Keep it Lively and Engaging
When you are live, avoid any lapses is activity or speaking. In other words, don’t be boring. Take regular breaks, but fill them with interesting, engaging visuals or even different speakers. Welcome Q & A and invite your audience to submit questions ahead of time. It is important to engage your participants. Create interactive segments within your webinar or tweet key statements or updates during the webinar – and don’t forget your hashtag.
13. Send Thank You Mail and Touch Base with Participants on a Regular Basis
The key component of knowing how to host a webinar is knowing that even when it’s over, it isn’t really over. Send a thank you email to your participants and keep in touch through email from time to time. Include a brief feedback form or survey for the to complete so you can get a feel for what your audience found useful, what they enjoyed – and what really didn’t go over so well. Use this to launch a specialized marketing campaign to promote your brand.