Are you thinking of ways to keep your message top of mind to your trade show attendees? Or maybe you’re trying to figure out how to get the conversation started before the show? Webinars are a great solution for both of these problems.
Not only can you broadcast your well-crafted message to a targeted audience, people can login later and listen again and again or even share with colleagues and friends. This all sounds great, right, but where to start? Keep reading for 5 things to keep in mind when starting or refreshing a webinar programme.
Webinar Technology Isn’t One Size Fits All
These days the choices of webinar software can be overwhelming. A few things to consider before running to the biggest provider with a fist full of cash are:
- How many people do you think you’ll be presenting to? 10? 25? 100? Be honest with yourself. The number of maximum attendees could mean using free webinar software vs. a paid software product.
- Who’s managing the invite process for people who are interested in attending your webinar? Some services will automatically send invites and reminders on your behalf, whereas some will not and you’ll need to manually do it yourself.
- Do you want to live poll or survey people during the webinar? Is your webinar going to be interactive or will it be a blanket message going out? Again, this is something to consider because not all software providers offer live polling or surveys, but live polling isn’t right for everyone either.
- Do you need to show videos during your webinar? Not every provider offers this service, so double check the one you’re looking at will support that.
My Personal Must-Have Webinar Option
This is to record the webinar (both video and sound) with the ability for upload to a website later. This is great for follow-up emails to the people who registered, but couldn’t attend.
You can send out a link to the recording (don’t forget to track the opens and click through in your email!) to those people then upload the webinar to a website, place a data capture page on it and then collect more leads from work that’s already been done.
What’s Your Message And Who’s Giving It?
The most important thing about the webinar content is that you have to be clear, concise and to the point.
Is your webinar purely a sales pitch? You need to tell people that during the registration period. In all of my years of doing webinars I’ve found that if your content is mostly educational with a few sales messages woven into it then people are more apt to engage and share. The key words here being, few sales messages.
If your 30-minute webinar isn’t billed as a sales webinar and you spend 27 of the 30 minutes on a hard sell with 3 minutes on an educational piece, guess what, most people aren’t going to stick around and listen.
The other important thing is the speaker. You’ll want someone who’s good at speaking, knowledgeable about the subject and who can get to the point. And when you’ve found this person, find another. You never know if your first choice is going to come down with the stomach flu the morning of.
For the first time that you’re presenting the webinar, I would suggest a minimum of 2 practice runs. The first being not recorded so that you can get the timings down. Then the second as a dress rehearsal, with the full recording (as if you’re doing it live) and then listen to the play back and see what you can improve.
I also want to reiterate here that I said a minimum of 2 practice runs; the more you practice the better it’s going to get. Personally, I like having at least 2 people on a webinar; one as a moderator and one (or more) to present. This frees up the presenter to focus on the content while the moderator can ensure that everything is running smoothly during the presentation.
Timing Is Everything
Determining the optimal length and actual delivery time of your webinar is also crucial. Too short and you won’t have enough time to get your message in, too long and you’re going to lose your audience. For a webinar programme just starting out and building credibility I feel that no longer than 30 minutes is good; 5 minutes for a welcome and closing remarks, 5 minutes for questions and 20 minutes of content.
The time of day and day of the week that you run the webinar is also critical. Pick a time that works for your industry, it could be Tuesdays during lunch, or if you’re a B2C company, maybe it’s evenings, after dinner when the kids are in bed.
A good place to check on timings and days, is your competitor’s webinar schedules. This should give you an indicator of the optimal days and times for your industry. Don’t forget to factor in time zones. You’ll never have a day or time that’s good for everyone, so don’t try and please everyone either. Just pick the best date and time that works for as many of your customers or potential customers and your presenter.
Don’t End On Crickets!
You’ve just finished your amazing webinar and you then ask the audience, does anyone have questions? Don’t end up with proverbial crickets (silence/nothing from the audience).
You need to plant seed questions. Your audience doesn’t have to know that no one actually had questions for you. This is a great time to reiterate the most important part of your webinar, by creating questions.
These questions can be ones that your sales team hears often, they can be questions that you really want your audience to remember the answer to, whatever your questions are, don’t let this portion of your webinar go silent.
And Don’t Forget To Follow-Up!
Like any trade show the attendees to these webinar attendees have raised their hands and said, “Yes, I am interested.” Follow up with everyone, the people who registered and didn’t attend? Send them an email saying, “sorry we missed you, here’s the link to the webinar for you to watch at your leisure.”
And the ones who registered and attended? Those people are like gold! Email to schedule an appointment or call them, but whatever you do, follow up!
This list isn’t comprehensive, but hopefully it gives you some things to consider before starting your webinar programme. It’s a great tool for pre or post show, but it’s also great during those quiet times between shows to get your message out there.
PS. Jeannette has also provided some webinar script notes. Go here to see these.