Webinars For Dummies
Webinars have brought the old-fashioned seminar kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century. The ease, affordability, and virtual nature of the webinar give it many advantages over a traditional physical meeting. Webinars require planning ahead and come with their own unique challenges too, however. Review some tips for promoting, planning, and going live with a webinar, and read up on what to do once your event is over.
Driving Registration for Your Webinar
What if you gave a webinar and nobody came? That can happen if you don't promote it. Unless you like yammering into the ether, here are a few tips on getting the word out on your webinar:
Send out invitations two weeks in advance. If you send them earlier than that, attendees will forget about your event by the time it arrives. Sending them out later limits attendance.
Use a simple form for registration. Otherwise, people will not bother to sign up. Also have a welcoming and user-friendly landing page for registrants.
Send reminder e-mails one week before and another on the day of the presentation. Sending a reminder on the day of the event increases attendance by 20 percent.
Schedule your webinar in the late morning. That way, your participants won't have issues with commuting during rush hour or having to watch it over their lunch hour.
Have your webinar midweek. Studies show webinars on Tuesdays get the most attendees.
Planning Your Webinar
A webinar has many moving pieces, from the speakers and visuals to the Q&A and polling. For a successful webinar, it's essential that you thoroughly plan it, so consider the following:
Structure the presentation ahead of time. Make sure you allow enough time for each section.
Write a rough script, but don't stick to it fanatically. A presenter reading verbatim can sound insincere.
Make sure you have interesting slides. PowerPoint is an important part of the presentation, but not if your slides are wordy or if you have too many of them.
Rehearse — not just the speaking parts, but all of your materials, including your PowerPoint slides and video.
Handling the Big Day: Your Webinar
The registration phase is over. You've sent your reminders, hired your speakers, chosen a webinar service provider, and planned everything to the last detail. When the big day finally arrives, make sure that you're ready to wow your audience:
Go live on time, but start the actual event two minutes late. This gives stragglers a chance to log on.
Pay attention to the polls. Be sure to send out a few during the event to get real-time feedback and incorporate the results into your presentation.
Allow ample time for Q&A. Although participants want to hear your message, they also want to hear your answer to their questions.
Do not go over the 60-minute mark. Something happens when you cross over to the next hour and people tend to drop off.
After the Webinar Is Over
Just because the webinar ends doesn't mean your relationship with the audience is over. In fact, it's just beginning. To get the most out of your webinar, here are some follow-up actions worth doing:
Send the attendees a thank-you note for coming.
Send a note to participants who could not make the live event.
Include the on-demand link in all correspondence so that attendees can rewatch it at their leisure, or watch it for the first time if they missed it.
Answer all questions that didn't get answered during the Q&A session.