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Webinar Best Practices

Whether you work for a B2B software firm or a law firm, it’s likely that you’ve attended (or even hosted) several webinars over the last few months. Covid-19 has meant that industry seminars and lectures now seem to belong to a distant, scarcely remembered pre-lockdown past.

Although we’re hopeful that industry events will return to their former glory days, webinars are certainly here to stay. One thing that lockdown measures have shown everyone across all sectors is how much time and money doing meetings online can save.

Interactive online events form part of a future where people spend less time travelling across the country to attend meetings, social events and seminars as they would prefer to attend them online.

In this context, there’s no better time to start hosting a webinar.

Hosting a webinar, however, isn’t simple if you want everything to run according to plan. You not only want people to attend, you also want your audience to be engaged. Doing a webinar well means great planning, promotion and delivery. 

Here are our webinar best practices:

Do some initial planning

A great webinar involves a fair amount of planning (although you don’t need to worry about venue hire and attendees can get their post-webinar drinks from the fridge!).

You need to consider:

  • Your audience - What are their needs? What could they benefit from knowing?
  • Subject matter - Do something that has traction at the moment. Ensure it’s fresh and relevant.
  • Time - Webinars should be relatively condensed - most online audiences lose interest after about an hour and a half, so keep it sharp.

Promote your webinar

You might be familiar with that famous philosophical thought experiment: ‘If a webinar takes place on the internet and no one is around to watch it, does it make a sound?’

If you’re hosting a webinar, you want people to actually attend and get value from it.

You should promote your webinar across your social pages, leading to a landing page where they can register for the event.

This landing page should include all the essentials and reasons why people should attend.

You could also promote the landing page elsewhere on your site. Maybe you could link to it through a CTA on your homepage or a subtle pop up on your blogs.

We think it’s worth writing a blog to promote your webinar and uploading this a couple of weeks before it happens.

Lastly, remember to send out a nice mailer to your mailing list, informing them of your webinar and showing them why they should attend.

Stick to an effective format of your webinar

There are a few commonly used formats for webinars.

If you don’t use a format, the webinar might seem unstructured, meaning the key messages might become convoluted and attendees might start logging off after 10 minutes. A webinar like this could reflect negatively on your company’s image.

Here are some popular formats:

  • One Speaker
    A single speaker leads the entire webinar. They present and then answer audience questions. This format is the most manageable but can lack depth.
  • Interview Style
    An interviewer asks an industry thought leader a range of questions. It’s best to come up with some predetermined questions as a guide and deviate from them based on the interviewee’s responses.
  • Moderated Panel Discussions
    Here you have multiple people on the line at the same time, with a moderator facilitating the discussion. This is a very engaging format but it brings with it an increased risk of technical mishaps.

Keep your webinar exciting and relevant

Hosting a great webinar means drawing your audience’s curiosity from the word go. We’d recommend starting the event with a slide that contains some interesting information. Another technique that has traction is starting with a funny anecdote.

It’s also worth mentioning that you should detail at outset what you’ll be discussing during the event, and the running order. Ensure your audience knows that they’ll leave with actionable advice and recommendations at the start.

Make sure it’s interactive

There are several ways you can make an interactive webinar, one that will keep your audience immersed in the subject matter:

Use slides to illustrate your points if you’re following the single speaker format. However, don’t fall into the trap of just reading content from your slides when you present.

Think about sharing your screen at certain points. For instance, if you’re discussing a website, go to the website and navigate through it rather than sharing a screenshot of the site.

Allow participants to ask questions during the event itself, rather than just during the ‘questions period’ at the end. However, if you have a really large audience, you might want to reconsider this as too many questions can disrupt the flow of the webinar.

If you’re thinking about branching out into more interactive forms of marketing, we’d love you to get in touch. We are experts in delivering all sorts of creative digital marketing campaigns - the kind that drive revenue while portraying your brand as innovative and ahead of the curve.

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