It’s one thing to understand the basics of how to run a webinar — but it’s much harder to ensure your webinar really connects with your audience.
To help you achieve maximum engagement, we’ve pulled together some tips at every step of the process, so you can not only continue to communicate with your audience remotely, but make all your virtual events as informative and entertaining as possible.
1. Planning your content
When planning your webinars, start with what your audience needs to know, rather than what you want to say.
Tip: One way to approach planning your webinar content is to start with a Venn diagram of intersecting circles. Put the topics of interest to your target market in one circle, and the topics about which you and your network can speak authoritatively and entertainingly in another: where they cross over is the sweet spot.
2. To charge or not to charge?
When offering valuable information — particularly that which is of interest to people well beyond your customers and prospects — consider charging for your webinar content.
Tip: Pitch your price at less than it would cost to attend the event in person to reflect reduced venue and travel costs but consider subscriptions and other creative approaches to offering value.
For example, if you’re holding a multi-session virtual event, such as a half-day conference, digital company subscriptions at much lower prices than it would cost to attend your event in person may see many more people within your target companies able to attend.
3. Choosing your format
Should you broadcast your event live or pre-record it? Live events offer more immediacy and opportunities to engage a live audience and may also be streamed live on your social channels while pre-recorded events may be edited for clarity or conciseness and hosted online to attract a wider audience. Read more about webinar formats here
Tip: You can have the best of both worlds with a pre-recorded event streamed as-live and then hosted on demand on your website. If you call for questions prior to the event, you can even incorporate a Q&A session and post the answers alongside the recording of your event online.
4. Where to present from?
Remote presentations are de rigueur due to the continuing COVID-19 situation but they are prey to unstable or overloaded local broadband connections, poor staging and other issues.
Tip: It is possible to present safely from a broadcast studio with COVID-safe practices and take advantage of built-in broadcast redundancy and the technical and production services of a studio producer.
Not only will you be able to customise the staging to suit the nature of your event, green screen backgrounds also make it possible to suitably brand the background. Talk to your webinar provider to see what they offer.
5. Selecting a technology provider
The webinar provider and technology platform you choose to broadcast your webinar depends on how distinctive you want your event to be, where your audience and presenters are located, the level of support you require, and your appetite for risk.
Tip: Use a managed webinar service provider for maximum presenter or audience support and minimal risk. Try one with a broadcast studio for a distinctive on-camera look. If your audience or presenters are located in regional or remote areas with unstable broadband, consider a provider that can offer an integrated teleconference and web- or videoconference as phone lines offer more reliable audio.
6. Briefing your presenters
You may already hold a meeting with all your presenters prior to your virtual event to go over the content, ensure you’re covering all bases and ensure it flows. Ensure they are trained on the specific webinar platform you’ll be using, test their broadband connection if they’ll be presenting from home, and make sure everyone knows how the interactive features such as live polls and chat work.
Tip: Use a moderator to introduce your key speakers and keep your event on track as well as to facilitate questions from your audience — it will free up your presenters to focus on the content!
7. When to hold your webinar?
The live-stream time that will be best for your event depends on when your particular target audience is available, though weekends are generally to be avoided.
While evenings are popular for face-to-face events, they are a less popular time to hold virtual events due to a desire, when working remotely, to keep personal time separate from work.
Tip: Consider time zones. If you’re seeking to reach a national audience, schedule your event when the biggest possible audience will be able to tune in.
8. Marketing assets and registration
Market your virtual event properly or risk attracting a smaller audience than all your hard work deserves! At a minimum, send an invitation to register email 7-10 days prior to your event, and a follow-up, as well as a confirmation of registration and an event reminder the night before or morning of the event. Within a couple of days of the event, send out a recording for on-demand viewing.
Tip: Last chance to register emails work! Send one two days before your event and create some urgency to persuade your stragglers to sign up.
9. During the event
Your audience is the most important webinar asset you have, so it’s important to ensure they remain engaged during your event. To do that, consider using the following interactive features:
- Private Q&A or Open Chat
- Live Polls
- Pre-recorded video
- Webcams showing your remote presenters
Tip: Aim to engage but don’t overwhelm your audience with too many interactive tools. It’s a good idea to launch a live poll early in the event to get your audience participating. For hybrid events, consider posing some questions to your online audience only to encourage them to jump in.
10. After the event
Make sure you get engagement metrics and individual comments from your webinar provider. This information can be a gold mine as it can indicate topics of interest for future webinars, and also those that may have had less impact than expected.
Tip: Launch a post-event survey as you close the event to get specific feedback on your topic, content and presenters while it’s fresh. And don’t forget to include a call to action to maximise the return on all your hard work.
On average, webinars take two people several weeks to organise. If it seems like it’s all too much, consider hiring a managed webinar service provider to do all the heavy lifting, provide presenter and technical support, run the technology and produce your event.
Reach out to Redback Connect to take the risk and stress out of your virtual event program.