I have to admit it — I’m addicted to webinars. I probably listen to at least one a week, and often it’s two or three. I will sign up for webinars on marketing, healthy living, any subject that piques my interest . . . and of course, I listen in on as many webinars from Weaving Influence clients as possible.
Webinars are a wonderful marketing tool: they are helpful in building email lists, creating advocates and selling products. For the attendee, webinars are a great way to learn something new and have access to a writer or thought leader you admire.
But let’s be honest, not all webinars are created equal. While some leave you excited and energized, others can bore you to tears.
Are you planning a webinar? Here are 5 keys to making sure you leave people wanting more.
1. It’s a visual media. Use great images!
Researchers estimate that 65% of the US population are visual learners. That’s why YouTube is so successful! Webinars are visual, so put some time and effort into your slides. Have a graphic artist friend? Get help designing slides that are beautiful, with images that help expand your ideas. Please do not just type a lot of text and then expect to read it to your webinar audience. They will leave. In droves.
Another tip: Consider going on camera for a portion of your webinar. By getting to see you, your audience feels more connected and they’ll be more receptive when you make your call to action. Sharing short videos is a winning strategy, too.
2. Don’t go it alone.
Do you talk to yourself? Do you enjoy talking to yourself? A webinar without a moderator/host or additional speakers feels like you are talking to yourself for an hour. Does that sound appealing? Probably not, for you or your audience.
Get someone to lend a hand. A moderator can help keep the pace of the webinar moving, ask pertinent questions, run a poll, and make a sales pitch, so you can focus on sharing your message. Having additional guests helps the webinar evolve into a discussion. Doing a Q&A format with multiple guests can be an exciting and informative hour.
3. Let the audience participate.
Webinars often feel like a lecture, but the best ones feel like a conversation. Invite your audience members to type questions in the chat window and answer as many as you can. During one recent webinar, author Mark Miller spent nearly the entire session answering questions, then promised to answer more in his “Today’s Challenge” blog posts on Fridays. You can bet his webinar audience will make sure to read his blogs each week. I’m guessing many signed up for his RSS feed, too, so they don’t miss a post. His generosity and real interest in helping people came across in the webinar. Expressing genuine interest and concern is how you build a strong community of advocates.
4. Get social.
You’re creating a community — so create a hashtag that brings them all together. The hashtag can help drive awareness in advance of your webinar. It can help you interact with participants and field their questions during the event (you’ll want some help with this, trust me!). It will also help you follow up and answer any lingering questions or comments.
5. Get the bugs out.
This is a no-brainer, right? Technical problems like crackling audio, videos that won’t play, or slide glitches make you appear unprepared. Test and re-test your presentation, from the audio to slide progression to any mixed media you may plan to incorporate. Technical issues can pop up even with the best advance planning, but practice will help eliminate as many issues as possible in advance and help you become more comfortable and focused.
The most important tip is sometimes the hardest: relax and have fun!
This is an opportunity to share your passion with others. You may get tongue-tied, you make skip a slide, or a misspelled word may slip by all your proofreaders — but don’t focus on these small hiccups. Instead, realize that you have an amazing opportunity — you’re connecting with people who feel passionate about the same subject that fascinates you. You are building a community.
Tell me something! What’s your best tip for creating a successful webinar?
If you’re interested in finding out how Weaving Influence can support your next webinar, connect with us here. To register for our upcoming (free) events or to watch a replay of one of our past events, visit here.
Christy Kirk, Vice President of Client Services, is a social media strategist, writer, and former television journalist, who’s done everything from launch a news department to create social content and strategy for Fortune 500 companies and brands including Pampers Diapers, Pantene, Luvs Diapers and Carlson Rezidor Hotels. Now, Christy manages marketing projects for Weaving Influence, with an emphasis on social media marketing. She is also a wife and mother of three children, one dog, and one cat. She loves reading, baking, running, hiking and exploring new places.