Hosting webinars is an important part of any marketing mix for several reasons. They help you build your brand, generate leads, and help position you or your company as an authoritative leader in the field.
And since it’s a cost-effective alternative to hosting an in-person event, over 60% of marketers are already using webinars as a content marketing tool.
However, hosting a successful webinar isn’t a cakewalk and you need to focus on some important elements that can make or break it.
Here are 11 proven tips on how to run a great webinar that will actually grow your business and generate more leads.
11 Proven Tips To Run A Great Webinar That Your Audience Will Love
1. Choose The Right Webinar Platform
Right off the bat, you should have access to a webinar platform that you can trust. Don’t make that mistake of choosing a free webinar platform with limited features and full of technical issues.
Since creating a webinar is a time-consuming task, you wouldn’t want to deal with downtime or lag during a session.
For that reason, you need to go with a reputable webinar platform that’s powerful and stable, offers must-have webinar features, and marketing tools. Moreover, it should make it extremely easy for the audience to join webinars.
We have been hosting webinars for several years now and throughout our journey, we have testes dozens of webinar platforms. To save your time, we have put together a list of top 16 best webinar platforms that you should check out.
If you’re in a hurry, our #1 pick is WebinarJam that help us create registration pages, collect leads, send reminder emails, and deliver feature-packed webinars with CTA offers.
2. Plan Your Content In Advance
Thanks to today’s multitasking work styles and shorter attention span, it’s difficult to keep the grab and hold your audience’s attention throughout the session. Marketing webinars usually last between 30 minutes to 60 minutes (source) that can lead to dropouts (attendees who become bored quickly.)
But, if you plan your webinar content in advance with proper time allotment to each sub-topic and time for refreshment if possible, you can keep the audience engaged for long.
Moreover, the topic of your webinar, and what you’ll be covering is eventually what attracts the audience. So, you need to ensure that you aren’t picking a generic topic and trying to fit in everything within a single session.
For example, “Social Media Marketing” is a broad topic and a lot of marketers target it making it difficult for you to stand out. Instead, you can target a narrow-focused topic such as “Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn Lead Generation”
Doing so will help in two important ways – 1. You can create an in-depth webinar on a specific topic and 2. The targeted crowd would be more likely to watch till the end.
However, if you must choose a broad topic then make sure to break it down into a series of webinars.
3. Know Your Audience
Great content and a perfect audience go hand-in-hand. If your content is top-notch but participants aren’t actually interested in it, they’ll naturally drop out.
When you have a rough idea of what your content is going to be, it’s time to know your audience. Specifically, you must find the right answer to these three questions:
- Who will be attending? Their age, work background, experience, and other basic details.
- What challenges/problems are they facing? Find whether they are struggling with marketing, sales, collecting leads, or any other challenge.
- What are their goals? This is of utmost importance. You need to know what they would expect from your webinars and how you can help them achieve their goal.
If you have the answers to these questions, it’ll be much easier for you to market your webinar, talk about the pain points, collect leads, and deliver your sales pitch.
4. Set The Date & Time for Your Webinar
Certain things are meant to be done at a certain time. For example, the perfect time to walk on a beach is – sunset.
In a similar manner, some days and times work better for hosting seminars that you should know. After going through the data from thousands of webinars as collected by GoToMeeting, we found some handy scheduling tips that can boost your webinar registrations.
- 71% of the crowd prefers to watch webinars in the middle of the week (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday)
- The best time to host a webinar is between 11 AM to 2 PM
- For attendees in multiple time zones, the best time for a webinar is 12 PM pacific time
- 24% of all webinar registrations occur on Tuesdays. So, make sure to send email invitations on Tuesday morning
To maintain a sense of self-accountability, you should give yourself no more than 4 weeks to prepare everything and do the marketing.
5. Promote The Webinar Everywhere Possible
“If you don’t market your business, you won’t have one.”
Those words couldn’t be more true for webinars. Due to severe competition, you can’t expect the audience to automatically find your webinar and join it. And in order to get maximum attendees, you need to start the promotion from day one.
Fun fact: Only around 50% of people who registered for a webinar actually show up. So, if you want to get 100 attendees, your goal should be to gather at least 200 registration.
Here are a few effective ways you can market your webinars:
- Create an attention-grabbing webinar landing page
- Write a blog post about your upcoming webinar
- Promote on social media channels
- Record a 1-2 minute teaser video
- Promote your webinar to your email subscribers + update your email signature
- Send occasional email reminders
- Ask other speakers to share a word about your webinar
- Paid advertising
It may feel like a lot of work to target different platforms, but the result will be worth the effort.
6. Create Your Webinar Slides (Adding Visual Elements)
You have a content plan ready and now you need a way to present it in the best way possible. This is where presentation slides come into the picture.
While you will most likely be doing face-to-face conversation, it can quickly bore the audience with all the talking involved. To hold the attention, you can switch between presentation slides as they add a level of professionalism and authority to your webinars.
Moreover, it’ll be easier for you to explain particular topics, keep the webinar organized and goal-oriented.
However, it doesn’t mean that you should put up everything on the slides and just read. That’ll become counter-productive and affect your webinar performance. If you are struggling, follow these tips that we use to create a webinar presentation.
7. Start With A Story
It’s 10:55 AM. Your webinar is scheduled to go live in the next 5 minutes. And at this time, hundreds of thoughts are crossing your mind. Most importantly, you’re struggling with the perfect opening that can grab the audience’s attention right from the beginning.
What to do? Start with a story.
The best way to introduce yourself is definitely not reading a long bio or a slide. But, narrating a story and explaining what brought you here to host the webinar is what will help you establish trust and connection.
Remember to keep your story brief, to-the-point, and personalized with a few suspense elements (that’ll drive people to stay till the end.) Another trick is to smile while you are telling your story to show your enthusiasm.
8. Keep Your Audience Engaged
Surprisingly, the average attention span of a typical audience is just under 10 minutes. It gets worse when it comes to webinars as you can’t control their always open social media channels, phone calls, emails, and whatnot.
To get around it and hold your audience’s attention, you need to follow a few tips:
- Limit the text on each slide so that the crowd is focusing on what you are saying instead of reading
- Ask them questions and initiate interaction every 4-5 slides
- Include mini-challenges and tasks (polls, feedback, etc.)
Interact in the live chat section
- Play compelling videos and music to add visual elements
You can also use data visualizations to show interactive graphs and charts. And if your webinar platform allows, use the whiteboard to draw which should immediately grab their attention.
9. Swiftly Pitch Your Product or Services
Assuming everything is going great so far and you have the audience’s attention, it’s time to turn your webinar into a conversion machine. Now, there’s no perfect time to promote but how you do it matters.
For instance, you shouldn’t be forcing the audience to visit the product or talk like a salesman insisting them to make a purchase. It can be an instant turn off for many and with a single click, they’ll be out.
Instead, you want to pitch your offers in a more natural way that doesn’t look salesy. The best way to go around is to share a few lines about the product and show a CTA offer on the screen. If the audience is interested, they can click on it to know more.
Few webinar platforms such as WebinarJam allows adding urgency and scarcity elements to offers. This way, the audience is more likely to click due to FOMO (fear of missing out)
However, don’t be repetitive and throw CTA offers on the screen without giving a context. In our experience, we found that pitching offers and asking participants to purchase something works better in the latter parts of the webinar.
10. Prepare A Set of Questions To Discuss At The End
In an ideal scenario, attendees will likely ask plenty of questions that you may even have to ask them to keep their questions for the end. If this is the case, you don’t need to worry about anything and try to answer all the questions at the end during the Q&A session.
However, things can and will go wrong so it’s a smart idea to have a set of questions ready. If in case the audience isn’t as engaged as you expected or they’re afraid to ask questions, you will have something to discuss at the end.
It can also possibly motivate others to chime in and ask their questions that will improve the overall engagement. To find these questions, you can refer to Quora, niche forums, Facebook groups, or other places where your target audience spends their time.
11. Follow Up With Attendees
Congratulations! You just hosted a fabulous webinar.
But, it’s not where you close the laptop and call it a day. In fact, it’s now your turn to take advantage of the webinar.
First thing first, use the analytics shared by your webinar platform (or Google Analytics if you have integrated it) to evaluate the event.
More specifically, analyze registration and webinar performance factors. Metrics like average attendee rate, offer or CTA button clicks, dropout time, poll results, etc. can help you collect invaluable data that you won’t find anywhere else.
Use this data to improve your upcoming webinars and test other strategies.
Secondly, take this opportunity to follow-up with the attendees via email (given that you’ve collected emails during webinar registration.)
A few specific emails you can share are:
- A feedback form asking them to rate the overall experience
- Deliverables or files that you may have promised during webinar
- Product promotion and discounts
And of course, next time you are hosting a webinar, you can very well use this audience for promotion.
No matter what others say, Webinars are here to stay. They are the single-most online marketing strategy that can hold the audience’s attendance for 30-60 minutes. Plus, webinars are highly effective to help you communicate in-depth information in a digestible format.
Follow these tips on how to run a great webinar and increase your chances of success – and hopefully, convert your webinar into a sales machine.
If you have any other webinar hosting tips that can improve this article, please share it with us in the comments section below.