Webinars have many plus points. They can be an excellent promotional and training tool and can even generate income and help to build your email list quickly. It’s not particular difficult to hold a webinar either, all it really takes is a little in the way of organisation, some registrants and the correct software.
So today, let’s have a look at how you go about setting up and running your own webinar. It doesn’t necessarily have to be for promotional purposes, by the way, a webinar is a great way of training staff and it’s possible to build an effective ‘library’ so that you have a bank of training materials.
Of course, if this is something that you find that you’re good at, you can also create training webinars and sell them as an online course. You do however have to ensure that they are well run and provide some excellent material.
Like most things in life, the key to a successful webinar lies in the planning. You should aim to begin this process a couple of months before you plan to air, to give you time to recruit attendees and gather materials.
Firstly, choose your topic. Research it well and ensure that it has plenty of ‘meat’ so that you won’t run out of things to say, especially when it comes to questions after the webinar.
Then, consider the following:
- Who is going to speak? Will it be in the form of a presentation, or will you be inviting an expert guest to interview them?
- Settle on a firm date, it’s even worth doing a little research on your audience here to determine best times too when it comes to zones and who may be attending.
- Get some software such as GoToWebinar, which you can try out first with the free trial, if you like.
- Organise your helpers, it’s unlikely that you’ll want to do it alone.
- Create your registration page for people to sign up to – don’t make it too cluttered, aim instead for a minimalistic page that gives a good overview of the topic and what attendees can hope to learn.
Remember that people will only attend if they believe it will be worth the time and effort, so ensure that everything about the topic comes across as useful and interesting.
Next Steps to Webinar Success
Next, you’ll want to start on creating your slides and promoting the webinar via all of the available channels that you have. Your existing email list is of course your starting point and you should also make heavy use of social media. You can also promote on your website and/or blog of course and there are a few sites around which are specifically for promoting webinars such as WebinarListings.
It’s also worth carrying out some research to see if there are webinar promotion sites within your own niche.
So now you should have a list beginning to build. Remember that on social media, it’s often not enough to post just once and whilst of course I’m not suggesting that you indulge in spam, you should post regularly to capture all interested parties, especially when it comes to Twitter. You can also pin the post to the top of your feed on several of the social media sites, but I’ve found that this isn’t as effective as regular tweets on Twitter, although it’s useful on other sites and your blog.
Creating Your Slides
You want the presentation itself to be interesting and actionable. Don’t create slides that just use text, you’ll soon bore everyone silly as they will be both listening and reading.
Build your slides by:
- Bulleting salient points and presenting them as a few lines at a time to punctuate what you’re saying
- Use images to further illustrate your points and provide more interesting visuals
- Use transitions too, so that as you’re speaking further information can be added to the slide in a nice way
You need the slides to offer up the information in such a way that it complements what you’re talking about, rather than makes everyone stop listening as they attempt to take it all in. With this in mind, make sure that your slides are highly visual, with bite-sized chunks of information which can be taken in at a glance.
Once you’ve built your slides, prepare your script to go with the visuals and practice it lots of times to ensure that you get the timings right and you don’t falter on the day.
Getting Ready to Go
Once you’re all prepared and the day of the webinar is looming, prepare reminder mails to send out to your registrants. Keep it short and sweet but do remind them why they signed up in the first place by providing a brief overview of what will be covered. You can do this with a line or two and some bullet points, don’t bother writing up a short story.
Once the day has arrived, ensure that you and your team are 100% prepared for the Q&A session that should be held when the session is finished and create a landing page if you’re giving away something at the end (great way to build your email list – you could offer a copy of the webinar, an eBook, video, money off a course, etc.)
Make sure that you sign in early, but don’t start the webinar bang on time so that any latecomers won’t appear in the middle of your introductions.
Make sure that you can be heard by all attendees by creating one of your own to test once you start.
And that’s it really. Once you’re ready to go, it’s just a case of screen sharing, ensuring that the audio can be heard and the slides can be seen. With careful planning of your subject matter, you should be able to present a useful webinar that at the end, brings you whatever it was you set it up for. Most of the time this is leads of course, so do ensure that you have some way of collecting these when the webinar is finished.
Webinars can be highly useful tools and every business should try them at least once in order to test their effectiveness for promotional and educational purposes.