Contrary to what some people think, webinars are not extremely difficult to pull off. It doesn’t take rocket science to run an event and get the results you need. It does take a bit of work, though. You must be willing to invest the effort to methodically prepare all the necessary details that make up for a productive and fruitful session way before the session begins.
So how do you prepare for a successful webinar? How do you make sure you’ve covered all the bases so your event runs without a single hitch, and you maximize every marketing opportunity?
Some of the first things you need to establish to kick off your pre-webinar prep are the event details:
Time and Date
Make sure that you have ample time to prepare and promote your event. A lot of marketers advise to schedule your event eight weeks from the first day you start your prep. This will give you enough room to develop, test, and polish every detail of your webinar.
Some marketers with extensive webinar experience – and a highly engaged audience – can manage to pull off a session with only a week’s worth of prep, but we wouldn’t advise it, especially for those who are just getting started.
Think of your audience’s pain points and your expertise. Find a happy combo of both, so you’re sure to present an authoritative session.
There are loads of options out there, both expensive and cost-effective. You can even go free with Hangouts or Facebook Live. Whatever webinar software you pick, make sure it has the features you need and the capability to broadcast efficiently.
We recommend WebinarJEO as the software has true live-streaming technology, which means no delays in broadcast. The system also allows users to host unlimited sessions with unlimited seats, has polls, surveys, interactive whiteboard, and all the marketing bells and whistles a host would need to effectively convert attendees.
Arguably the most important part of any marketing strategy, your content should be the focus of your session and therefore should require considerable preparation.
Once you’ve decided on the topic for your webinar, you need to focus on two things for your content prep: your script and your slide deck. This part of the prep should be done about four weeks before your scheduled event.
There’s no such thing as being over prepared, especially with webinars, so a script is not overkill.
You might be tempted to just go with the highlight points and decide to ad lib the rest of the time, but this is not something we recommend. Sure, you’ll sound more spontaneous, but what happens when you forget a minor detail that’s not in your highlights? Dead air kills webinars, too. Better to be too prepared with an excessively detailed script than flounder because you forgot some minor points that turned out to be necessary to your presentation.
THIS is where you only focus on the highlights. While your script should be thorough, your slide deck should only include the main points you’re trying to make. Make your slides engaging and complementary to your presentation, but make sure the presentation itself hinges on what you say. The slides are there to help, not do the work for you.
MARKETING & PROMOTION
You have the schedule and you’ve prepared your content. Next is to make sure people know about your event.
Promotion should be done as soon as you’ve decided on the basic event details. A mention to your followers on social and a quick email to watch out for the event should suffice at first until you can launch full-on marketing.
Provide your potential attendees with the info they need to decide whether your webinar is something they want to spend their time on. This means you make sure that your landing page doesn’t only have the time and date for your event, but a bulleted list of the value you’re going to be offering in the session. It’s also good to include a picture of the speaker if they are well-known enough in your industry.
You need to build hype around your event by posting about it on all your social media accounts. Start conversations about your topic – mention the pain points you’re going to be solving in the webinar so your audience can start anticipating the session.
Webinar promotion and marketing hinge a lot on emails. As pre-webinar prep, you email to promote, to confirm, and to remind.
Get your list interested in your event by giving them a sneak peek into the content you’re offering. Provide value in your email, enough of it to get your audience eager for more.
This is sent as soon as your audience confirms they want to attend your webinar. Include event details in this email and have the time and date convertible to the local time of your attendee. And make sure they can easily click to add to their calendar.
A good percentage of webinar sign-ups don’t attend the event itself, according to statistics. Maybe they suddenly have somewhere else to go, or more likely, they forget about the event. You can avoid this by sending a reminder email three times after the confirmation – three days before the event, one day before the event, and an hour before the event.
How about you? What are your necessary pre-webinar preps? Let us know in the comments!