Using webinars had not been overly common among small and medium sized companies. However, since the world went under lockdown due to Covid, we have seen a dramatic spike in companies opting for a virtual forum to conduct their meeting/seminars. Most companies have reported improved revenue and online presence.
Pros For Setting Up And Using Webinars
There are certain advantages with setting up a webinar with the help of some readily available tools, particularly for a small business that isn't attainable from a physical conference.
- First of all, you have already engaged your audience as they have willingly left some of their information on your platform by signing up.
- It is a platform where you can talk about any topic you feel relevant about, and the audience will hear it without physical interference.
- Instead of consulting clients one by one, reaching out to a group of people provides the opportunity of making more sales at once and giving the advantage of saving time and increase productivity.
- For small person companies, webinars enable them to manage a hundred, five hundred, or even a thousand clients as the audience at once.
Cons For Setting Up And Using Webinars
- Hosting these webinars is not easy and takes a lot of time and effort to find topics.
- You need to create guest list and set things up without direct physical contact with anyone.
- The task of finding purposeful and meaningful content can become tiring and cumbersome.
- Promotions through webinars may not provide enough efficiency affecting the registration volume and your rate of conversion.
- Not everyone can be comfortable with hosting a presentation online. Talking live online in front of the audience and spectators through a webcam might not be an easy job for some.
Webinars and Data Collection
Webinars are an efficient means of gathering more data in a limited time. They allow you to understand your clients through polls, questions, or behavioral data and various other means.
Webinars also provide more benefits by generating leads, delivering content, engaging prospects, and driving sales, which boosts productivity.
Webinar tools for small businesses especially make it easier to gain the necessary data for the set up faster than most means.
There are some aspects of arranging a webinar that is essential for you to know and deal with before you start setting up yours. The following are a few of them.
- Organizing the webinars
- Delivering outstanding presentations
- Stimulating your audience after the show
- Gauging your performance
- Finding the right tool for the webinar
Webinars: What Are They?
“Webinar” is a term used to describe a seminar that is web-based. Webinars can take the form of seminars, workshops, lectures, or presentations. It entails video conferences that transpire online, as opposed to in person.
One key webinar feature involves its interactive components: an ability to discuss, provide, and obtain information to large audiences from one or more presenters in real-time.
When presenters speak, their screens can be shared, and documents can be displayed to an audience.
Firstly, you need to establish your business goals and define your objectives.
What are you expecting from the webinar? The answer to this question can help you establish the type of presentation to make.
It will stimulate the entire process of content creation, as well as help you determine what tool to use.
In addition to lead generation, webinars can be used for all sorts of purposes. The three main ones they are used for include:
- Customer training.
- Content webinars about your expertise.
- Sales webinars.
There are certain requirements necessary to deliver a great webinar, no matter what it is for.
Spend Some Time Perfecting Your Headline
The initial conversion attribution factor involving the registration process is your headline. Strong headlines generate interest in your message. Some people will be interested enough to become part of the discussion.
Specificity - Is your headline specific enough? Can it be addressed within a half-hour?
Clarity - Is your headline clear enough? Will everybody understand it? People are interested in learning new things, but their knowledge about a subject may be limited.
Value - Based on the headline, will value of any sort be obtained from the webinar? Everybody’s time is very precious and shouldn’t be wasted.
Defining Success Metrics
Sadly, attendees/registrants aren’t sufficient for knowing if your webinar was a success or not.
Specificity is key. Put yourself in the audience’s shoes. You need something from the event. If you didn’t get any value, then you wouldn’t be spending your time on the webinar. Find metrics that are actionable. Consider the following examples:
- Trial extension for free
- Event registrations
- Activation of promo codes
Create a Team for Your Webinar
There is definitely a connection between the webinar program you use and the amount of people on your team. You won’t need very many people if the software you use is efficient.
Nevertheless, you can limit your team down to the following roles:
A moderator oversees audience moderation as you speak. A host oversees the presentation and organization of the webinar. A promoter does the marketing work (social media, emails, images, etc.).
You can handle some or all of these roles without allocating extra time to them if you are using the right tool.
Invite Guest Speakers
It’s always worthwhile to invite guest speakers for all sorts of reasons:
- It shows legitimacy (assuming your guest is happy)
- It shows expertise (assuming someone is well-versed on the subject)
- Everything ends up being more dynamic - interactions and focus are pushed forward to an audience
- If team members are involved – perhaps for technical profiles of some sort – value will be added to the discussion
Limit your guest speakers to 2 at a maximum. More than that will lead to negative consequences, including the following:
- Potential digressions
- Inactive or passive audiences, which will negatively impact focus rates
- Insufficient clarity
The tool you choose should accommodate more than one presenter.
The process involved will be contingent on the type of tool you use. This is the process for most real-time webinar platforms, which will be advantageous to your company.
- Select “Create Webinar” and fill out the information required (title, descriptions, dates, speakers, and the like).
- If desired, your registration page can be customized, as can email reminders.
That’s all it takes to prepare a landing page. Your emails will also be good-to-go.
Promoting Your Webinars
One basic approach to promoting a webinar involves using the network of your attendees. Social shares can be used during the webinar or registration. Email forwards can also be suggested.
On your network:
- Relevant blog articles containing a “click here to learn more about our webinar” link
- Blog image/link/widget on either the bottom of your posts or the sidebar
- Homepage promotion (pop-ups, top bar, section, etc.)
- Relevant LinkedIn article containing a “click here to learn more about our webinar” link
- Put together a list of leads from Twitter beforehand, then get in touch with these individuals
- Twitter cards containing a sign-up link (this should be done with one simple click, which will result in higher conversions and less friction)
- An email database
Consider the following ideas outside of your network:
- Facebook groups or forums, based on the industry you’re in
- LinkedIn groups (refrain from being overly pushy. Rather, endeavor to contribute value to a community).
- A slack channel
- Inbound.org and growthhackers.com (refrain from being overly pushy. Rather, endeavor to contribute value to a community).
These principles can also be applied to guest audiences (assuming you have them).
You can also attempt to offer something that is exclusive in order to increase conversions (feature access, promo codes, etc.).
Emails are an optimal approach to driving traffic towards the registration page. HTML emails that are manually designed should be consistent with the registration page. Emails with plaintext are also an option, but your email should be personalized (parse customer data with template logics).
During Your Webinar
Make sure your presentation is strong, and engage with audiences and guests to the best of your ability. Your most efficient promotion lever will be your webinar.
You can ask your staff to repost polls or answers if you decide to use a hashtag for your webinar on Twitter.
Attempt to interact with people on Twitter to expand your exposure and attract people to the webinar.
Endeavor to deliver extra attention to certain people once your webinar concludes.
Send question transcripts, slides, the video, and perhaps even data. By doing so, you’ll optimize visibility, and perhaps increase conversion rates in the future.
Choose a tool capable of handling post-webinar emails for those who couldn’t attend.
- Think about republishing the webinar onto your YouTube account or a replay page.
- Don’t be afraid to republish content on your blog, SlideShare, or Twitter.
- Answers to questions can be reposted on Twitter as well. The webinar hashtag you created earlier can be used for them.
When Should the Promotion Be Started?
Your webinar should be promoted when the week begins. Pre-Registrations will be higher on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.
You’re more inclined to achieve success by promoting the webinar over a 3 to 4-week span. 2 ½ weeks before the promotion will also be effective. In fact, 95.4% (approximately) of early registrations transpire one day before the live event.
Concentrate your efforts on emails about “Starting Now.” These types of emails tend to get between a 35% and 40% CTR!
Deliver an Outstanding Presentation (One Week After)
No universal approach exists when it comes to successful webinars. There are a number of best practices you can use, though:
- The slide deck should be clean, simple to read, and basic.
- Be didactic and avoid jargon.
- Text ratios should be kept low. High-resolution images should be in abundance.
- One idea per slide, and don’t use too many bullet points.
- Equipment should be tested. Ensure that the microphone you use is of good quality. Video quality shouldn’t be inhibited by the type of Webcam you have. More often than not, MacBook-integrated devices offer quality visuals.
- Potential distracting noises should be turned off.
- The room the webinar is conducted in should be quiet, have natural lighting, and contain a background that is neutral.
- Everything should be tested out a half-hour before your webinar.
- Look at the camera as frequently as possible.
- Don’t forget to smile! That will keep your speech less monotonous. Smiles stimulate energy, and others will be much more inclined to interact with you.
Your Environment Should Never Be Overlooked
Choose a spot that is quiet – environment tends to be overlooked by many people. Choose a meeting room that is quiet when settling things up with your staff (for instance, if moderation roles have been assigned to them).
Ensure that you’re comfortable. External noises aren’t something you should be interrupted by (for instance, people walking into the room).
Make sure the room has sufficient light – lighting is everything when it comes to photography and video.
Light will affect the way you look, how the company comes across, and the video’s quality. The more well-lit the video is, the more validity it will have.
Investing in high-tech equipment isn’t necessary. Simply select a room that has a decent amount of natural light. The light’s source shouldn’t be behind you (backlighting is something you should avoid).
Brand your setting (this is optional, though) – if you are sitting in front of a wall, consider branding it (print out a logo, use stickers, etc.). The setting you choose for your webinar can be used to promote the brand.
Just about any type of advertising situated behind you should be worked your advantage.
Creating a Set-Up for Your Webinar: Technical Requirements Must Always Be Checked
How “webinar compliant” is the network? – This may be the trickiest aspect of your webinar’s set-up. This perimeter should be checked early on.
Many companies – start-ups included – emphasize network security, but not all of them realize that specific protocols enforced may inhibit live video streaming.
Make sure you don’t find yourself in such a situation by consulting your IT department.
Will your Internet connection be stable and fast enough to host a webinar with? – Bad connections on the Internet is something everybody hates.
The last thing you want is an unstable and slow Internet connection during a live stream! To bypass such issues:
- Ensure that a minimum of 5 MB per second can be uploaded and downloaded.
- Stop applications from running on your PC or laptop if it warrants a lot of bandwidth (scripts, cloud apps, torrents, etc.).
How modern is the browser you’re using? – You’ll need to consider a couple of scenarios: you’re either a host, or you’re one of several hosts.
You will likely stream either your Webcam or screen (if not both). As such, a browser will be needed that is supportive of screen sharing.
It must also be in compliance with WebRTC. Review the following checklist:
- Safari doesn’t support many video fluxes or screen sharing, nor does Edge.
- Firefox is safe to use, but will warrant some configuration.
- Opera is safe to use.
- Google Chrome will be your safest option.
Every browser should work, no matter what device you’re using. The safest browsers recommended are:
- Opera (very safe).
- Firefox (very safe, no configuration required)
- Google Chrome (the safest option).
- Internet Explorer (version 10 or higher) and Safari will work, however, there will be a downgrade in the video’s resolution.
Both your camera and microphone need to be inspected. Little things make a big difference. For example, the microphone in your EarPods might be sensitive to your beard hair.
Conduct a test using free tools for video chats (for instance, appear.in). Check to see if an external camera or mic is what you’re using.
If your Webcam/microphone settings are changed in Google Chrome, you’ll need to refresh your page.
Webinar Set-Up Creation: Setting up Your Keynote/PPT and Screen
Every app and browser behaves differently, so consider the following before beginning:
- Switching between your screen shares is not an option. Screen sharing will need to be shut off before you change to another one.
- Keynote apps and screen shares cannot be displayed on a full screen. That is not how Keynote works. However, exporting it to a PDF is a workaround.
- Are you trying to display a demo and a PDF? – This configuration will be tricky. You will be forced to stream the whole screen. Once you attempt to switch between the apps (for instance, Keynote/PPT and Google Chrome), the audience will be exposed to other apps during the transition.
- A couple of computer screens will be necessary for this set up (for instance, external and laptop).
If you have a PDF and a demo, here is what you’ll need:
- A computer screen showing your presentation on a full screen.
- A Chrome window that is open on the laptop (your demo should be ready to go).
- Another window on Chrome should be open with the webinar app.
- If desired, you can use a third screen for team chat or note purposes, though this might be overkill.
Everything else is fairly straightforward to begin streaming the presentation app.
After you are done and are ready to move on to your demo, screen sharing can be switched off.
This will revert back to the Webcam. A demo announcement can be made.
Switch it on one more time, then share the Chrome window for the demo.
That is all that’s required, and no awkward transitions are necessary. The result – a perfect webinar!
Bypass Awkward Moments
Conduct a few last-minute checks before moving forward. Checking out such things can help you bypass an awkward moment:
- Turn your notifications off.
- Your browsing history should be cleaned. You just never know what might inadvertently come up during a demo.
- Tidy up your desktop – it shouldn’t look messy.
Hosting Webinars: When to Do It and How
Structure will be the first thing you need. A path should be followed to ensure that everybody understands what you are all about.
Consider the following structure example, which can be changed completely or slightly, based on either the guest or content involved:
- Subject reminder (what will you be discussing?)
- Webinar housekeeping (when/where questions can be asked, what hashtags to use, rules for the webinar, etc.)
- Company description (just what exactly do you specialize in?)
- Speakers (pic + bio)
- Table of contents
- What the audience will learn (use brevity and keep bullet points to a minimum)
- Polls (begin with a poll to stimulate engagement)
- Content (the meat and potatoes of your message)
- Wrapping up (a recap of the things you spoke about)
- Main takeaways (concentrate on important points you want people to remember)
- Putting things into action (actionable items should be given here, though this is optional)
- Questions and answers
- Thank you (promotional codes, where slides can be found, bios, etc.)
This structure shouldn’t go any longer than one hour and will typically be broken down as follows:
- The first 12 steps should be covered within a 20 to 30-minute span.
- Steps 13 and 14 should be done within a 15 to 30-minute span.
Use Twitter hashtags. By doing so, people will have the ability to share things on Twitter about your content. You’ll also be able to engage and promote beyond the webinar.
Create a poll (the average participation is 47%), respond to queries, and share links/documents. Interact with audiences during the webinar. Provide all you can in an effort to receive just as much.
The best hosting days are between Tuesday and Thursday. In order to optimize attendance conversions, webinars should be hosted on either a Tuesday or a Wednesday. By doing so, you can bypass peak presentations that transpire on Thursdays.
Webinars tend to be mostly attended around 8 AM Pacific time.
Post Webinar Activation
Choose a tool capable of sending emails to registrants that didn’t show up, as well as live attendees.
Configure your message to include the replay (and/or relevant documentation) to both groups of people.
Look under your hood and evaluate audience data in an effort to find sensible patterns from it. It should be relevant enough to accommodate your business objectives.
Understanding the Webinar Audience
For the most part, traditional webinar tools provide fundamental audience data. By downloading a CSV of it, you’ll have raw data to play with. Here is what to keep an eye out for:
- Which user properties are relevant to the lead profile you created?
- Out of those people, who’s been paying the most attention?
- Out of those individuals, which ones seem the most interested?
Sending the Proper Message
After a relevant lead niche has been established, data can be reused to put together customized emails.
This can be manually done, however, if a large volume is involved, this process should be automated. Ensure you have sufficient data before creating an email template.
When business objectives are established properly beforehand, this aspect will be very easy for you. All you’ll need to do is convert your objectives into KPIs, as well as conduct some research.
Generally speaking, the ratio of registrants to attendees isn’t sufficient. This will only reveal if you made the description of your webinar appealing for a registrant.
This is an aspect of a bigger picture. Aim for a final analysis involving visits and deal closing (assuming that’s your objective). Find out:
- The amount of people who saw the page.
- The amount of people that started registering.
- The amount of people that actually registered.
- The amount of people that showed up.
- The amount of people that remained by webinar’s end.
- The amount of audience members that were considered hot prospects.
- The amount of prospects you reached out to.
- The amount of individuals that agreed to a phone call, demo, or something else.
- The amount of people you were able to close a deal with through the webinar.
Essentially, the webinar can be seen as a pyramid value scale, which moves from the least important details to one’s considered crucial.
Finding a Suitable Tool
The best kind of webinar software will be one that can rectify a webinar problem.
Webinar software are great business drivers, however, existing tools may not exploit webinars to their full potential.
The key problems involve the lack of communication between each tool and not really knowing who your audience is. Be sure that you try to find a tool that will resolve such issues.