7 Tips for a Successful Webinar

Webinars are increasingly popular in business. They enable you to hold a meeting or presentation over the Internet instead of asking people to come to a venue.

With a webinar, you are not restricted to the number of people who can physically fit into a meeting or conference room. What’s more, participants do not have to spend time and money travelling.

A webinar is therefore convenient for all parties.

However, if you decide to run a webinar, you need to plan ahead. The principle of a webinar is simple, but the execution requires careful thought.

Use the following 7 steps as a check list of items you need to think about before you hold your webinar.

1. Pre-Book the Webinar

Do not assume that people will simply log in to your webinar, even if you have advertised it extensively. Make sure your intended audience pre-books. Ask for details such as names and email addresses.

2. Send Out Reminders

The people you want to attend the webinar have competing demands for their time. Send email reminders a week and then a day beforehand. Ensure these emails have a link to the webinar site.

3. Manage Starting Time

Ask your audience to be ready for the webinar two minutes before it is due to begin. To occupy people while they are waiting, your webinar screen should confirm how people can ask questions, and contain a brief introduction to the webinar’s contents.

4. Assume Leadership and Maintain Control

With a webinar, people can easily turn away from the screen or even wander off. Grab the audience’s attention from the very beginning with a hook in the form of a startling statistic, a contentious statement or a direct challenge.

Once you have the attention of the audience, introduce yourself and explain how the webinar will benefit people. You should also be clear about when and how the audience can ask you questions.

5. Manage Questions

You must provide a means of asking questions to encourage a greater level of interest. Some webinar organisers use instant messaging; others prefer audio links or phones.

It is up to you when you invite questions. Depending on the subject matter, you may prefer to pause for questions at various stages throughout the webinar. If you do, restrict the questioning or your webinar may exceed its allotted time.

6. Provide Engaging Support Material

Support your webinar presentation with screen images. Your audience does not want to watch you speaking relentlessly without a break. Create interest with relevant pictures and text.

When you use text on images keep sentences brief. Do not present a series of bullet points: the audience may feel confused. Stick to one point per image.

7. Summarise & Provide Clear Next Steps

When you reach the end of the webinar, summarise what you have covered. Also clarify any points that may have come up during the questions.

If you expect the audience to take certain actions after the webinar, make sure they understand this. Do not leave the audience confused about the purpose of the webinar and what they should now do.

Now over to you…

Have you run a successful webinar?  Do you have any tips to share?  Your thoughts below please…

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Omar is MD & Chief Strategy Officer at Sandstorm Digital. His experience includes 10 years in traditional marketing and advertising in the Middle East and a further 10 years at two of the largest media agencies in the UK. Follow Omar on Twitter for updates on the latest in digital, branding, advertising and marketing.

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