Webinars are certainly among the most useful tools for disseminating and, at the same time, promoting our products and services to a specific target. Let’s see why they are important and how to organize an effective and successful webinar.
English neologism created by fusing together web and seminar, the webinar is an online training session, in which participation is in remote.
Although it is certainly not a new format, in times of pandemic, webinars have undergone strong growth in all sectors, from business to university, and are among the most useful tools to promote our brand and educate customers and prospects about our own products.
Webinars are a very versatile and adaptable format. They can last an hour or more, count several “episodes”, one or more presenters; they can be sponsored, free or paid. Whatever our choice of formats and topics, there are best practices that will help us plan, organize and deliver a successful webinar. Let’s see them together.
Table of contents
Choose the audience and the topic
It goes without saying, but the first thing to do when planning a successful webinar is to pick a topic. However, it is not enough to pick a topic that it is relevant to our business. In the current scenario, where supply often far exceeds demand, if we really want to arouse the interest of our target audience, we must intercept their needs and identify more precisely the topic of greatest interest.
To do this, social listening and feedback from customers and stakeholders can help us.
The choice of the topic must therefore go hand in hand with the identification of our audience and its needs.
Set your success metric
Once we have decided who we want to address and with what topic, let’s set ourselves a goal. What do we want to get from this webinar?
Based on the answer to this question, let’s choose a metric for defining success, i.e., the number of subscribers, participants, new contacts or subsequent requests for information.
Pick a platform
Choosing a professional platform through which to deliver our webinar is important to ensure access to all those who are interested and also to facilitate its organization. Webinars, in fact, are not online meetings and therefore Zoom or Skype may not be the best solution in this case.
Platforms created for webinars such as GoToWebinar, ClickMeeting, Demio, BlueJeans or other proprietary software, will allow us to take advantage of a multitude of useful tools to set up our webinar, and support us with webinar automation, that is, sending invitations, reminders, sharing the registrations or participation certificates, and more.
Alternatively, if we do not want to invest in a platform or if we want to test the waters first, it is also possible to rely on sector publishers, who usually provide sponsored webinar services. This is the case, for example, of ipcm® – International Paint&Coating Magazine, published by EOS, which makes its database of contacts and its own platform for organizing webinars available to the surface treatments sector. In this case we will not only have organizational support, but we will also be able to count on highly profiled contacts relevant to our business.
Prepare the event
At this point we should have identified targets and objectives, picked the topic and the platform that best suits our needs. We are therefore ready to set up our event.
First of all, based on the topic and the time needed to present it, let’s define the duration of the webinar and set up a schedule that regulates the various phases. Generally, a webinar includes a very short introduction to the topic, a longer central part dedicated to the actual presentation and finally a moment reserved for questions and answers. There is no real rule in terms of duration and schedule, but keep in mind that attending an online seminar is not the same as attending a seminar in person: the attention span is much shorter online and therefore the pace will have to be faster and more engaging.
Let’s choose date and time, which will be clearly visible on the invitation. If we address an international audience, let’s not forget about time zones.
Then, let’s identify the speaker(s), that is, who will do the presentation. It is also good practice to choose a moderator who supports the presenters during the webinar, making sure that the schedule is respected, moderating the chat, and managing the Q&A phase.
Finally, let’s decide if we want to offer a free or paid webinar.
Promote the webinar
After having finalized the details and sent the first invitations, we must not forget to continue promoting the webinar.
As anticipated, if we have chosen a professional service, we will be able to rely on the automation offered directly by the platform. However, it is important to promote our webinar on all the channels available to us, from the website to social networks, by setting a kind of countdown until the date of the webinar.
In our experience, reminders, both automatic and via web and social channels, are very important, even close to the event: often, many decide to register at the last moment, when they have a clearer idea of the time they can dedicate to our webinar.
Test test test
If there is one thing that this pandemic and the hours spent talking online have taught us, it is that technical problems are always around the corner, regardless of our efforts to avoid them. So, let’s arm ourselves with calm and patience and prepare ourselves for the possibility of having to face some technical issues.
Having said that, before going live it is always useful to run some tests to make sure the audio and video are working properly.
Not only that, since the webinar usually has a very specific duration, let’s also rehearse the presentation to make sure we stay on schedule.
Engage with attendees
We are now ready to go live!
During the webinar, let’s not forget to welcome attendees, make sure everyone can see and hear correctly, and encourage any question, which we will answer at the end of the presentation.
Let’s also remember to register the event: it can be useful both for future promo and to share it with those who could not participate or with anyone who requests it.
Finally, let’s provide the necessary contact information and invite attendees to follow us on our channels.
Follow-up and evaluate the performance
After the webinar, let’s remember to contact those who have requested further information, to share the aforementioned registration and to send the certificate of participation. The automation guaranteed by the webinar platforms can help us with all this.
Last but not least, let’s analyse the performance and evaluate the metrics to establish the success of our webinar.
The ultimate webinar checklist
To help you organize the webinar, we have created a checklist that includes the most important steps to take before, during and after the event. Download it here for free and contact us to find out more about our marketing and communication services.