Planning a webinar takes time. It’s important to ensure your webinars are part of your overall content strategy for them to be effective and create a return on investment.
These are the steps to plan a webinar:
- 6 Weeks before: choose date and time, select topic, confirm presenter, set goals, set budget and choose location
- 5 Weeks before: create marketing assets
- 4 Weeks before: create first draft presentation, promote webinar, hold kick-off meeting
- 1 Week before: send last chance email, final confirmation with presenters
- 3 days before: final webinar promotion, physical set-up
- Webinar day: final reminder, soundcheck
- During the webinar: live social media posts, record webinar, Q&A, live poll
- After the webinar: promote webinar link, reporting
A webinar can be stressful to organise especially if it’s your first or if the attention of the company is fixed on this event. The planning of a webinar can be complex, and you need to follow a couple of steps to make sure that you don’t forget anything.
Want to get your webinar program off the ground?
In this post we offer you a simple checklist with clear guidelines which will make it easier for you to plan webinars. Our webinar planning checklist will make it easy for you to plan in 6 weeks maximum.
6 Weeks before the webinar
6 weeks before the live event, start thinking about the date and time of your webinar. Try to pick the best time-frame for your audience and take your industry and sector into account. This can be different for every business since every audience will not engage the same way.
Try to get data from your Google Analytics, your email stats or your social media analytics to see when people interact more with your business. Or, consider surveying your audience to find a suitable time for them!
You then need to select your topic – what are you going to talk about. Selecting a topic and appropriate content can be a long process and for most people this will be the most time-consuming point at this stage.
To find content for your webinar, it’s important not to reinvent the wheel. We urge you to browse through what content you already have – customer case studies, research reports, ebooks, whitepapers, and blog articles that can guide you towards a new or linked webinar topic. Also take a look at your Google Analytics, you can then easily see which content performs best in a specific timeframe.
If you will be relying on internal or external experts for your webinar, it can be a good time to send invites and confirm their participation. Webinars that include multiple speakers and experts on certain subjects can make your webinars more engaging for your online attendees.
Internal experts are a good resource to use for your webinars since they already have knowledge of your company and what you offer. Chances are you already have a rapport with this presenter which will come across on your webinar,
External experts can also be great assets as they can boost trust, increase credibility, and help you to promote your event.
At this point, it’s a good idea to think about and set webinar metrics you will use to measure your performance. The metrics you will use for your webinars will depend on your ultimate business goals. Do you want to generate leads? Increase your brand awareness? Educate your customers? Increase conversion? Increase authority? Depending on your business goals we advise you to look at 8 important metrics:
- Click-Through Rates
- Number of registrations
- Number of attendees
- Duration of attendees viewing the webinar
- Overall Return on Investment
It’s also important to set a budget before your webinar project begins in order to set expectations for promotion and execution. Your budget will also allow you to identify which resources you can use to bring your webinar to life.
Finally, you need to decide on the setup of your webinar presentation. Do you want to present the webinar from a specialised studio, from your office or from home? Keep in mind, every setup has different needs.
When presenting from a studio, you will need to work closely with your provider and ensure everything is set up to go in advance. You will also need to arrange presenters to arrive early to conduct a quick run-through of their presentation.
When presenting from the office, you will need to ensure you book a quiet space, ensure testing has been completed on your desired computer and confirm you have all the necessary equipment.
If you plan to present from home, don’t forget to prepare your background to make it professional and buy the necessary equipment if you don’t have it. Testing your internet connection is also recommended.
5 Weeks before the webinar
This is a great time to create your marketing assets such as your registration page and the various emails that will make up your webinar workflow. Ensure you have these assets created in advance and approved by your presenters so you’re on the same page.
Who will you invite to your webinar?
Always start with a clean database and ensure you have permission to send emails. Your invitation email should be focussed on one call to action – to entice people to register for your event.
Avoid adding too much information on this email, the goal is to get people to click over to your landing page to uncover the subject matter. Consider testing your subject lines to appeal to a variety of people.
Make sure you have clear, short forms that will capture the basic data that you need. Your landing page should also focus on your value proposition – why should people attend your webinar? Include a brief summary and at least 3-4 bullet points explaining what attendees will gain from joining.
Also include headshots and brief bios of your speakers – there’s no need for full length bios. The goal is to ensure people can register easily and that your call to action is clear and above the fold.
What happens when people register?
All emails following registration need to be automated. Your confirmation email should include clear instructions on how to attend as well as an add to calendar invite and any testing links. Reminder emails can be sent either the day before, or a few hours before your event begins. At this stage, it’s a good idea to remind people why they should attend live so you can increase your attendance rates.
4 Weeks before the webinar
By now you should be starting to create the first draft of your webinar presentation. For your webinar presentation, there’s a few best practices to follow.
Try to limit the number of bullet points and the content per bullet point to maintain the attention of the audience. We also don’t recommend placing content in front of a hero image since your webinar content will be hard to read. Always think of your webinar presentation as a support for what you say to the attendees. Therefore, keep it visual and keep it simple.
Get creative and display your information in bubbles, squares, or other shapes. To make it more appealing visually you can work with font sizes and backgrounds that will stand out.
At this stage, it’s also a good idea to start promoting your webinar. But where do you even begin?
Promoting webinars is similar to promoting other high-quality content, so consider using channels you are familiar with. Passively promote your webinar on your website, use your owned channels, team-up with influencers and industry leaders, use your sales team and invest in paid media (on Google Ads, Facebook Ads etc…). You can also send your direct invitation out now.
1 Week before the webinar
Pressure is on! With one week to go, you want to send a reminder invitation to those who haven’t registered to create urgency!
Use this time to get together with your presenters to review your registration list and practice the content. While a complete ‘word for word’ run through might not be necessary; you want to make sure you’re across the content and features you will use within the platform.
3 Days before the webinar
You’re almost there – and this is perfect timing to promote your ‘last chance to register’ content on social media and other channels. We have created a guide to learn how to promote a webinar.
If you can, try to review the physical setup of your webinar: background, technical equipment, connection. This is the best time to make changes related to your setup and make sure you are set to begin.
Show must go on! It’s finally game day and the last reminder emails should be sent to your registered attendees. No matter where you are presenting from, always arrive early and ensure you are set to go at least 30 minutes in advance. This will give you time to run a quick soundcheck and go through the presentation to ensure everything comes through nicely.
If you have a team to assist you, you can post live social media posts during the webinar which can help to boost the promotion of your webinar (think replay for after the event).
This is also the best time to answer all questions coming through Q&A and polls you might have. People tend to ask a lot of questions during webinars and the trust in your content will be increased if you are able to answer these queries.
It is also best to record your webinar in order to promote your webinar as an on-demand content on video specific platforms such as YouTube or Vimeo.
After the webinar
Your webinar is over, congratulations! Well, there’s still a lot of work to do.
Chances are, you would have had a 35-40% attendance rate on your webinar, which is industry average. This means you still have a huge opportunity to promote your webinar content to those who didn’t attend. That’s it, webinars are the gift that keep on giving!
Firstly, ensure you send a thank you email to everyone who registered for your webinar. This should include a copy of the recording, your slides, and any other supporting documentation.
Where will you promote your on-demand content? This all depends whether you still want to track who watched your webinars. If attendance is important to you, consider hosting your content on an on demand hosting platform which will allow you to track who watches and how long for. Redback Connect offers platforms like this.
However if you would like your content available for anyone to watch, consider uploading it to your website, YouTube or Vimeo.
Finally, after the webinar, you can collect all your reporting data to see how you performed against the metrics that you set at the beginning of the process. You can access your registration page data, your poll results, the Q&A results are other to calculate your webinar ROI.
Create great webinars thanks to our team of experts. If you need any help, please reach out on 1800 733 416. Webinars.com.au is an Australian hosted company that manages around 200 webinars per month for all types of companies.