Our Guide to Webinar Best Practices

webinarIt’s easy to understand the appeal of attending a webinar. You don’t have to waste time traveling, the session doesn’t require face-to-face interaction, and – if you’re savvy enough to do it on a work-from-home day – you can learn in your pajamas.

But when it comes to hosting a webinar, it’s not such an easy sell. Why should you invest your own time, resources and brainpower into a webinar? Though the benefits may not immediately spring to mind, they’re real (and they’re quite powerful, too.)

Why host a webinar? Three reasons webinars generate high-quality leads

 

Willingness to invest time indicates strong intent.

If you’re like the rest of the working world, your calendar is jam-packed to the point where every free minute counts. Attending a webinar means sacrificing valuable time, so each sign-up should tell you that this person has some serious interest in getting to know more about your brand. At the very least, attendees are eager to learn more about the industry in which you operate and the kind of services your company provides.

Even if this person signs up for your webinar without ever even hearing of your brand, the presentation offers the ideal time to plant that seed of thought.

Your expertise serves as a valuable currency for correct information.

This is your opportunity to shine. Leverage what you know, balance that with what people are interested in learning, and voila! Your know-how will serve as an incentive for companies to provide more information than they would normally give to other brands.

Webinars and partnerships go hand-in-hand.

When it comes to webinars, leveraging your partners can make all the difference. Not only can they help fill in the gaps when it comes to insights and knowledge, having another speaker in your webinar will drastically improve the overall experience for the listener and help keep them engaged. What’s more, you’ll have twice the resources and manpower for promoting the webinar and managing sign-ups.

Webinar best practices

To help you learn how to better generate leads, we’ve put together a guide on webinar best practices. Learn what you need to do every step of the way to make the most of this excellent tool.

Before the webinar

When you’re wondering how to create a successful webinar, remember one thing above all else – preparation is key. By investing considerable time and thought into the planning process, your webinar will better serve your lead generation marketing strategy. Here are some tips for making sure your webinar is worth your while.

Choose your topic carefully

First things first, think about your core competency. When your colleagues stroll into your office looking for an expert opinion, what subjects do they bring to the table? If you choose a topic that makes you feel confident in your knowledge and experience, a strong webinar will follow.

With that said, make sure your topic isn’t too niche by doing some keyword research. Ensuring your topic has excellent search potential means you’ll be addressing the queries of people who actually want to learn more about your topic.

Work with partners to promote the webinar

Don’t leave the promotion for your online webinar until the very last minute. Instead, get organized and put together a plan for each channel you’ll use to distribute information. Some channels well-suited for promoting webinars include:

  • Landing pages
  • News releases
  • Social media channels
  • Blog posts
  • Paid digital media (search and social ads)
  • Email

 

It’s also essential to collaborate with any partner companies that are co-hosting. Share your social media posting plans and relevant URLs to be sure neither of you miss an opportunity to reach a wider audience.

Don’t forget the webinar hashtag! It’s not only great for boosting awareness about the webinar itself, but also for organizing any audience participation or discussion that you incorporate into the presentation.

Build your dream team

Once you’re set on hosting a webinar, it’s time to start an internal search for support. Building a team using the following two roles will provide you with the support you need to lead the webinar – and to knock it out of the park.

  • Organizer: someone who can invest time in the weeks leading up to the event, as well as during the webinar. Key responsibilities include:
    • marketing the event
    • setting up the registration
    • moderating, interviewing and organizing audience participation during the webinar
  • Assistants: One or two people who can make a small time commitment during the event to help troubleshoot any technical or logistical issues. These people are especially helpful if this is your first time running a webinar.

Develop your lead nurture plan

It’s important to have a lead nurture plan developed prior to the webinar. This will help prevent leads from going cold, so start thinking ahead about what you’ll do with any leads you may gain from this webinar.

Plan out a timeline for following up with leads at regular intervals. Some examples for initial follow-up include a thank-you email and sharing an additional content offer. Later down the line, when a lead has engaged with your brand multiple times, consider reaching out with a call from your sales representative.

During the webinar

Everything has been planned to a tee and you’ve been counting down the days. Before you know it, it’s showtime! Even if public speaking and presentations are your ultimate strength, webinars present a unique and exciting challenge for those who lead them.

Converse, don’t just present

A conversational tone is incredibly important if you want to avoid boring your audience and potentially losing leads.

Elise Gould, Senior Director of Content Marketing at LaneTerralever, says that you always want to keep it lively and smile while you’re talking, even though the audience can’t see you.

“Smiling actually helps you sound friendly and engaging,” Elise said. “Standing or walking, versus sitting in a seat, can also help with the way your voice projects.”

To create more of a conversation, break the webinar into pieces and include live surveys or polls throughout to keep the audience participating. You can also encourage your audience members to ask questions via chat to conclude the webinar with an informal Q&A session.

If you’re working with partners, leverage multiple voices

Keeping a webinar audience engaged for an extended period of time can sometimes be tricky. If you’re hosting with a partner, make sure that there are two to three voices speaking on the call. This helps to keep it casual and relaxed.

Record the webinar

This tip may seem a little bit obvious, but failing to record your webinar has a major ripple effect on how useful the webinar becomes after it’s presented. The recording allows you to share with viewers later. The recording can also be repurposed into a number of content offerings, which serve as great incentives for other prospective leads.

After the webinar

Whew! The most intimidating part is over. Now what? Don’t miss out on the valuable opportunities that come with consistent follow-up.

Initiate your lead nurture plan

This is the moment you’ve been waiting for! Kick-off your plan by following up with participants immediately. Send a quick thank-you message and share the recording of the webinar, as well as any other content incentives you may have promised.

Start creating evergreen content from your webinar

There are many content opportunities beyond the webinar itself. Here are some quick content ideas for extending the viability of your webinar:

  • The full recording can be shared on demand, behind a lead capture form, and used as a content offer to grow your email lists.
  • Shorter clips of any demonstration of products or tools during the webinar can be showcased on future landing pages or blog posts.
  • Sneak peek video clips can be housed on YouTube or Vimeo, posted with links back to the on-demand version for future use.
  • If a client or customer joined the webinar, you can clip out some of their sound bites and use them as testimonials.
  • If you hosted any polls during the webinar, you can compile the stats from those polls into a blog post or executive summary.
  • The slide deck can be shared on Slideshare.

Keep in mind that all of these individual content pieces can also serve as promotional fodder on your social media platforms.

Learn and improve for your next webinar

Depending on which platform you used to host your webinar, you may have access to valuable insights such as the length of time individual participants watched, which parts they skipped, or where they quit watching altogether.

Did the whole presentation need to be shorter? Were there lulls or awkward moments where participants dropped off? Were there enough opportunities for audience participation? Take the time to find the pain points of your webinar and use it to improve your next effort.

Looking for webinar examples?

If you need a little more inspiration to get started, check out an example of a webinar we’ve hosted here at LaneTerralever. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us.

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