Drew Hendricks quoted,
“Marketers have begun to look beyond Ebooks, blogs and social posts towards more diverse types of content. Webinars are extremely powerful for drawing in and keeping in touch with prospects. They showcase your brand’s expertise in your industry and give your company the human voice.”
Living in a digital era demands a good level of presentations by means of interpersonal and digital formats like webinars.
Webinars, inbuilt, shield the speaker against stage fear and on the other hand, brings up the challenge of impressing the audience who is practically not seated in front of you.
There is a stringent need for technology enabled learning that the consumers can consume, at the comfort of their time, place and money. And webinars are undoubtedly one of the best answers to the given concern since it’s a powerful mode of learning across varied sizes.
Webinars are an awesome way of interacting with the live audience so as to demo a product, offer tips, best practices or show off a new feature or hacks and preferably to introduce oneself to customers.
Research shows that many people who have attended the webinar are guilty of accessing their emails or facebook during the webinar session. So the key is to come up with a webinar that the audience wants to pay attention to.
Essential groundwork before starting a webinar
- It’s all about them
Be equipped with the action-oriented solutions which your audience might face during the webinar, to ensure that they get genuine value and returns for the investment they have made in terms of time and money.
Don’t make your webinar a promotional drive for your product even though your underlying intent has had been this. Bring forward your brand as the subject of discussion and the speakers as the solution provider of any query related to the subject. Modify the content on the basis of your, motive behind the webinar.
- Partnering and co-presenting
Sometimes partnering and co-presenting with the other brand which complements your brand and the target audience remains the same, puts both of you in a win –win situation where credibility is enhanced.
- Find the right tool
Opt for a webinar tool which is friendly on the scale of money, time, ease of use and returns. The tool should be technically sound and should allow ease of registration on part of participants.
Also ensure that your webinar can be accessed through multiple media like a smart phone, laptop or desktop.
- Buy the time for pre-webinar promotion
Schedule the event in a manner that it gives you enough time to promote it via free as well as paid channels.
- Reward the RSVPs
Delight your audience. Apart from the valuable knowledge, you deliver via webinar session, win their hearts and rule their mind with perks like special offers, transcripts, related eBooks, additional supporting materials and replays on demand. Share this information regarding extras in your promotional drive for the webinar. This does increase the number of registrations.
- Hold a webinar with a purpose
Having three novel webinar topics are much better than twelve stale webinar topics. Do not host a webinar simply for the sake of hosting a webinar.
- Plan the content much in advance
Behave like a teacher who is always well prepared with the curriculum he/she is going to decipher to his/her class. The audience is a very good judge and can easily filter an under prepared session from a well prepared one.
- Return on time
Have clear cut goals and targets defined under the umbrella of return on time. Since you and your audience both invest an expensive share of your valuable time during the webinar session, you should have a clear idea of what the end result or output is going to be.
The audio and video equipment should be flawless. So test each and every element related to the webinar – the audio, video, slides, recording process and the interactive components. Have a human backend support who will be the solution provider to every query raised from both the ends.
Just before beginning the webinar, prepare your computer by closing bandwidth-hogging applications, check for backups, resource-intensive processes and stop the notifications. Have a clean work area. Switch off any mobile or other sound producing devices. And then finally sign in for the webinar.
The Webinar slides
Timm Buff quoted,
“The key to success is to appreciate how people learn, understand the thought process that goes into instructions, design, what works well, and a range of different ways of achieving goals.”
Tim Buff has very well summarized the facts, which are to be detailed out in the following content.
Designing of the slide deck is one of the most significant features which drive the success of any webinar. Unlike other seminars where the face of the speaker is the main visual, in webinars, the slides are the main and the only visual. And therefore they need a high level of precision. So the secret to come up with an engaging webinar is effective slides. These webinar slides are a composite food for the left and right side of the brain, where the left brain looks for a clear structure, logical flow, and systematic progress to satiate its hunger and the right brain searches for the design and engaging slides.
Therefore, you will be guided through a series of parameters which assists in getting a final output in form of a creative webinar.
The Slide Deck
The introduction slide though remains for few minutes, is an essential slide as its sets the direction and tone for the entire presentation. The introduction should comprise of:
1) Title slide- Webinar title, name and photograph of all the speakers. You may or may not include sponsor name and logo, your contact information and logistics information for joining.
2) Logistics slide- Includes information on how the webinar progresses. For example, how to ask questions, whether you will keep questions anonymous, whether a recording is available, and so on.
3) About the presenter- This slide talks about the name, contact information and other credentials of the speaker so as to establish a personal connection with the audience.
4) Overview slide- This slide talks about the main headers of your presentation. The participants have a complete idea as to what the entire session will be about. As the presentation progresses, this slide can be repeated, with the highlight of each heading to be discussed.
This section of slides enjoys the largest share of presentation time. Although the main body slides vary with the nature of the topic, there are few essentials which need to be adhered to.
1) Timeline – It is very useful when your presentation has a timeline as its spine or is business specific. You can talk about the past, present and the future.
2) Geography – There are topics which are location specific. An example can be a topic related to climate change. In such case, the slides should talk at the macro level location, and then progress towards the individuals. Like, country, city and finally individual.
3) Problem, and solution – Detail out the problem faced by the audience relevant to the topic, identify the actual cause of the problem, its effect and then provide the answer to the solution.
The interaction session need not necessarily be at the end of the webinar. You may induce your audience to interact in between the topic through certain slides. Have a slide with text “Any question?” This will send the signal to the audience that the speaker is waiting for the question. Have a distinguished slide asking for audience poll or audience experience with the webinar.
The conclusion section slides are:
1) Summary – summarize the entire presentation in a clear and crisp manner.
2) Action – Your webinar might end with some action plan. So be specific as in what action needs to be taken.
3) What next- In this slide tell your participants, that now they will be given the special offers and handouts if any and many things more.
Attractiveness of the slides
Since webinars take place online, the internet speed has a very big role to play. But the speed of internet at participant’s end cannot be controlled by us. So what we can do is make use of images, transition, animations and more, of quality which does not deter in the absence of broadband speed. So here are few useful slide design tips:
1) One point per slide
2) Make use of SmartArt PowerPoint feature if multiple points are to be expressed in one single slide.
3) Make use of small graphics against each bullet point
4) Don’t make use of any graphics in the background. A single solid color background is the best choice.
5) Keep your animations minimalistic to ensure speedy movement of slides.
6) BUILD or REVEAL is the only slide animation which is equally fruitful and essential for slides when one needs to keep adding points.
7) Say no to transition.
8) Use the images of compressed size.
9) Avoid decorative slides, because decorative slides take more time to load on the internet.
10) If possible make use of PPT icons, clip arts and shapes in place of pictures, since these inbuilt PowerPoint illustrations are of low file size.
How to connect with an audience who is only virtually connected with you?
- Market Your Presentation:
Share the webinar details with all your contacts inclusive of your blog subscribers and social media friends or followers. Leave a message on social media platforms that initiates the call to action, and which induces your contacts to spread the word further. Notice shared 2-3 weeks prior to the online event is a good time to keep the message fresh in the mind of the attendees. Few marketers also leave a personalized message in form of handwritten letter.
Reach out to your attendees to remind them an hour or two before the webinar to confirm that the event is as per the schedule. Also update them, if any extra downloads or essentials are needed.
- KISS Webinar:
Keep It Short and Simple. A webinar of time duration 40-45 minutes is good enough to offer the audience the promised information and value and also to have their undivided attention. 10-15 minutes time should be reserved for question answer session. Remember when your attendee is online, there are varied other online distractions to make him steal a minute or more from your session.
- A Catchy title is must:
A catchy title is essential to necessitate the audience to listen to your webinar. The title should very well communicate what the entire webinar is about.
- Present unique or original content:
Audience considers it a waste of time if your webinar has the information which can easily be searched online. So go ahead with novel ideas and thoughts.
- Share the webinar material:
Try to share the webinar material immediately after the session, so as to provide your attendees with information they can use later on. Sharing the webinar transcript will help your audiences in referencing the webinar content when they need it.
- Make an interactive session:
When technology is at your disposal, make the best use of it. Encourage your attendees to have a two-way communication in form of email, questions or tweets with hashtags. Have a backend support who can respond to all queries on real time basis, while you continue with your session.
- Multiple speakers:
Having multiple speakers on the same boat has its own set of advantages. The audience does not get bored. And also each speaker can further popularize the event in his network thus increasing the level of reach.
- Maintain a proper time interval between the switching of slides:
Maintain a steady pace while moving from one slice to another to ensure that the viewer’s attention is maintained on screen. The screen should be engaging.
- Avoid background noise:
Proper care should be taken to avoid any kind of background audio distractions in form of background noise or by way of multiple dialects from multiple speakers.
- Create a checklist:
Create a thorough checklist of the essentials like creating content, completing slides, testing the AV equipment, engaging with attendees, doing a full rehearsal, promoting the webinar, and so on which play a vital role in the success of the webinar.
- Reuse your content:
You may record and reuse your webinar session via blog, YouTube or Slideshare.
Technical tips for an effective webinar
1) Make use professional equipment
If you don’t want to become the reason for echoing laughter, make use of professional setup only. Be it the platform being used or the microphone being used.
2) Recording and transcription is must
Each and every prospect cannot be present at the time of the webinar. So it’s advisable to have a recording of the entire session along with the webinar transcript so that your target customers can avail the session even offline and at the comfort of their place and time. This will also capture more attention and thus lead to more sales.
- Start your broadcast on time.
- Check sound levels and do so by asking the participants to text thumbs up if the sound is ok, via chat box.
- Say aloud any status updates or special instructions at the beginning.
- Provide compatible social sharing info.
- Introduce all of your participants/panelists individually.
Tips to be followed after the webinar
- Strategic follow up is essential
Maintain the record of your webinar participants, so as to keep in touch with them, to stay fresh in their minds always. Distinct list of those registered but did not turn up, attendees in the past who did not register but present now etc. More the number of categories, easier and manageable it becomes for follow up.
- Reuse, recycle and repurpose the webinar
The entire preparation and execution of webinar undergo intensive hard work, and so once the webinar the, its entire content cannot be disposed of off. You may reuse the content somewhere else via social media, on your website or in your newsletters, etc. Or, convert it into a video, add it to an email drip sequence, and then combine the content with previous webinars to form an e-book. Think for more ideas, if you can.
Few examples of some of the best webinars
Here are top eight webinar examples with their outstanding attribute listed next to them.
|1||How to Find Where Your Website is Leaking Money (and How to Fix It) by Peep Laja (ConversionXL) for Moz.||Peep has a unique tell-it-like-it-is style of presentation, uses lots of cheeky imagery and backs it all up with data.|
|2||Beyond Lead Generation: From Landing Page Forms to Email Follow-Ups by Hunter Boyle (AWeber) for Unbounce.||Their Twitter feed blew up during this presentation. Hunter reciprocated by engaging the audience and answering participant questions long after the webinar was over using the hashtag #unwebinar|
|3||A/B Tests for 6 Stages of Your Company’s Growth, Brendan O’Rourke (Optimizely) for KISSmetrics.||KISSmetrics makes it easy for you to share their webinar. Signing up for the recording gets you an email with friendly prompt|
|4||Webinars: More Than Just Lead Generation, Wayne Turmel for Adobe Connect.||Wayne fields over 20 minutes of attendee questions in this webinar. This shows his expertise and his willingness to deliver as much value as possible to the audience.|
|5||Building a Better Social Business Series, Amy Ullman for Hubspot.||For each of the webinars in the series, Hubspot provides a list of “next steps” and resources so attendees can make changes to their social media plans while the presentation is still fresh in their mind. Super actionable!|
|6||Leveraging Marketing Psychology to Boost Revenue Per Session by Ryan Urban and Sean Shahparast (Bounce Exchange) for KISSmetrics.||This is a great example of a webinar that engages the audience by making the presentation about participation.|
|7||Agile Content Marketing for Increased Conversions by Heidi Bullock (Marketo) for Content Marketing Institute.||At the end of the presentation, Heidi pauses on a slide of “Tweetable Takeaways.” This encourages people to spread the word and also serves to summarize all of her key points in a digestible format.|
|8||The 3 Landing Page Mistakes That 98% of Marketers are Making by Oli Gardner (Unbounce).||If you sign up to watch the recording, pay attention to the landing pages you see and the emails you receive.|