Virtual conferences and webinars offer great opportunities for content marketers to meet and connect with new audiences. Content marketing involves giving your audience helpful information, and webinars can be fantastic tools for presenting that information in an engaging way.
InsideSales.com found that 73% of sales and marketing leaders believe that a webinar is one of the best strategies for finding prospective customers. The reasons for this include:
- Webinars are highly engaging. GoToWebinar estimates that the average webinar viewing time is 61 minutes.
- Webinars can effectively move prospects from the first step of awareness to more education, and eventually to a closed deal.
- Webinars can help you find high-quality sales leads thanks to the information they gather about your prospective customers.
How to Create a Webinar
Creating a webinar may seem daunting, especially if it’s your first time. These steps will help make it a painless and ultimately rewarding process.
1. Decide on the right topic.
If you will be using your webinar to attract a new audience, you first have to figure out which topics are in demand. One way of doing this is through keyword research. Keyword research is the process of finding out what people are typing into search engines like Google.
2. Choose your webinar format.
Do you want to create the webinar all by yourself, as the organizer and speaker? Or do you need a team to organize it for you? Will you have only one speaker, or several? Will it take the form of a lecture or discussion?
Think about your topic and see which format works best. A typical webinar usually includes one or several speakers and a Q&A toward the end.
Whichever format you decide on, remember this important tip: one way to make the webinar experience as close as possible to a live seminar is making sure the audience sees your speaker’s face. This means that your speaker(s) will do well to have their webcams turned on while they’re speaking.
3. Choose your webinar tool.
The tool you choose will depend on your goals for your webinar. For example, some webinar creators want to have the chat option so that the participants can engage more with the speaker. Others prefer not to have a chat option so they can eliminate all potential distractions.
Some of the most popular webinar software tools include GoToWebinar, Adobe Connect, WebEx, YouTube, and Zoom. You can also use Facebook Live to host your webinar—though not technically a webinar software, it gets the job done and is highly accessible.
Zoom saw a rise in popularity during the first quarter of 2020 with the global coronavirus pandemic. With Zoom, a free account gives you 40 minutes of meeting time. If your webinar lasts longer than that, you may have to sign up for a paid account in order to avoid getting cut off after the 40-minute limit.
Some of the questions you can ask yourself when choosing your webinar tool are:
- What are the goals of your webinar?
- How easy or intuitive is the tool for you?
- How much will it cost?
4. Prepare your content.
In preparing your presentation, remember that webinars rely heavily on visuals. Here are some tips to bear in mind:
- Use visuals to help cement the information that you will be sharing. This means that you will not be pasting information word for word on your slides; instead, bullet points will help your audience remember things better.
- Text alone will not hold your audience’s attention. Make good use of infographics, short video clips, and images.
- Add an introductory slide where you can share an outline of what you will be sharing. People love knowing what to expect, so giving them a preview will help them get in the right mindset.
- Close with a summary of everything you have discussed. This will remind the audience of any questions they may have had and encourage them to engage more in the Q&A session, if you have one.
- If you want to utilize the chat throughout the presentation, either include chat prompts in your slides or in your personal presentation notes.
5. Schedule the day and time for your webinar.
Depending on your topic, you need to choose the best day to hold your webinar. For example, if your audience is mostly stay-at-home moms, it will not matter if you choose a weekday afternoon.
But if your audience is mostly people who work 9–5, a weekend or an evening may work better.
You can determine this by:
- Doing a quick survey of a sampling of your target audience
- Checking the time and day for competing webinars
6. Set up your space and equipment.
Because webinars rely on the quality of audio and video, you need to make sure you have a quiet room in which to conduct your webinar. If you will be conducting it from your home, be sure you choose a quiet room with no background noise, and where you will not be interrupted.
Also make sure you have the right equipment for your webinar. This includes:
- a fully charged laptop computer
- good quality headset microphones
- good lighting
A word of caution: if at all possible, be sure you also have a fully charged backup laptop with all your webinar data also in it. This is to make sure you can continue with your webinar in case any technical difficulties arise in your main computer.
Also, if you live in a country where Internet interruptions are common, find a backup plan for your internet connection as well.
7. Promote your webinar.
Promoting your webinar is crucial for getting the maximum number of participants. Some things you can do include:
- Make a landing or squeeze page where people can sign up for your event
- Create a poster to advertise your event. You can easily make one on sites like Canva.
- Promote the event on Facebook and other social media sites. You can create an event and make an original hashtag that you can use at the event itself to interact with your attendees.
- According to a GoToWebinar report, Tuesdays seem to be the best days for webinar promotion.
- If you don’t want to do everything manually, create automated emails using tools like Aweber or Mailchimp. These emails can be sent to participants who have signed up to remind them a few days before the webinar and on the day itself.
- These automated emails can also include post-webinar emails. Remember, the webinar should not be the last time your audience hears from you. You can automate an email to all attendees with the link to a replay of your webinar video.
8. Practice your presentation.
Whether or not it’s your first time holding a webinar, practice is essential! This means going over your presentation beforehand, but also making sure all the technical aspects will run smoothly (like sharing your screen, navigating to the chat window, and other features you may need to use).
If you have speakers other than yourself, politely request a dry run to ensure that everyone knows what they need to do. Also collect all presentation slides at least a few days before the webinar.
Using Your Webinar as a Lead Generator
Finally, if you intend to use your webinar as a lead generator, be sure you intentionally follow up with your attendees even after the event itself.
Remember, the goal is to build relationships and trust with your audience and hopefully convert them into future customers!
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