From merely a good-to-have marketing channel, the pandemic has made webinars the new home run. And rightly so. The webinar market will likely reach $800 million by 2023, and 83% of marketers find webinars an effective strategy (source).
When done right, webinars can build trust, help you reach people from all over the world, generate leads, and provide a chance to interact directly with your audience.
But creating webinars is no easy feat. The content and webinar execution can directly impact your attendees’ experience and perception of your brand. Some of the most common mistakes while creating webinars are:
- Information misaligned with registrants’ pain points
- Webinars are too long and boring
- Misplaced call-to-actions
- Lack of proper promotion strategy
With such high stakes, having a list of webinar best practices helps. And in this blog, we’ve created it just for you based on different stages of the webinar—from strategy to post-webinar follow-ups. So, let’s dive in.
1. Webinar Strategy
A webinar strategy has a lot of components: audience, visual branding, and mobile responsiveness. Here are some of the points to keep in mind during this stage.
A. Know your audience
First things first, as a marketer, you need to know the following:
- Who is your target audience?
- What are their problems or pain points?
- What are their goals?
- How will your webinar help them achieve their goals?
Knowing answers to these questions will help you plan laser-focused webinars that improve your audience’s lives. It will be relevant and, thus, have higher registrations and show rates, and lower drop-offs.
B. Visual Branding
Align your webinar with your brand's visual tone by inserting a logo in the deck or the main slides. Be consistent with your brand's fonts, color pallet, and other visual elements.
These small details are critical to creating a consistent experience for attendees, making your brand instantly recognizable.
C. Don't Forget the Mobile Experience
Even though less than 10% of people prefer attending webinars from their phones, it's good to have a mobile-responsive session so you don't miss out on any attendees. For that, look for a webinar hosting platform that supports mobile.
2. Webinar Management and Planning
Webinar management and planning involve various steps, from getting everyone on board to choosing a topic, the day and time, the format, and conducting a dry run.
A. Pick Your Topic
One of the reasons why people attend webinars is to learn. Therefore, focus on creating content that positions you as a credible source of information.
To choose your topic, be as specific as possible. Narrow it down to a topic that is relevant to your attendees. For instance, having a webinar on digital marketing can be broad and vague. Instead, identifying an area in digital marketing, such as how to run paid ads or SEO, can make it more specific and exciting.
Having specific topics will also make it easier for you to stay focused. To find the right topic, take inspiration from these five places:
- Your FAQ pages.
- Most popular organic keyword and top traffic pages of your website.
- Speak to sales or other customer-facing teams.
- Send a short survey to your audience.
- Look at your competition to see ideas that you can adapt.
B. Create a Resonating Title
Your webinar title is impactful. It's the first interaction between you and your audience and will decide if your attendees register or not.
So, create a title that resonates with your audience. While you do that, remember:
- Not to be too fancy. Keep it simple.
- Use your words wisely. Use impactful, attention-grabbing words.
- Promise what you can deliver. Don't be misleading.
C. Select the Right Day, Time, and Format
Numerous studies provide information on the right time and day to host a webinar. Studies show that Thursdays are the best days, while 11 a.m. is the best time to host webinars. Be mindful of the time zones when planning.
This is also the time to decide on the webinar format. Do you want a single expert or dual presenters? Do you think a panel discussion would be the best option, or do you want to maximize engagement by hosting a Q&A webinar? Test different formats until you know what works best for your audience.
If you want to play it safe, you could mix different formats, like a dual presenter and a Q&A, or a product demonstration, a guest speaker, and a Q&A. The choice is yours!
D. Do a Dry Run
This goes without saying, and you are probably doing it already. But it bears repeating. Do a dry run before the webinar to ensure everything is working fine, and everyone knows their part.
It will help minimize glitches and embarrassing gaffes before you go live.
3. Technical Requirements
This step is about deciding which webinar technology to use and ensuring your equipment won't disappoint you on D-day.
A. Finalize the Right Webinar Platform
Technical problems are every webinar planner's nightmare. But it doesn't have to be if you have the right webinar platform.
Narrow down your search by asking these questions:
- Is it within your budget?
- Does it have all the needed features, like live polling, Q&A, etc.?
- Does it allow you to record the session?
- How many attendees can you have in one session?
Look for free webinar platform that is easy to use if you are on a tight budget. Make sure it has a clean interface for a seamless user experience.
B. Use A High-Quality Headset or Microphone
When you host a webinar, the last thing you need is your attendees straining to catch what you are saying. Relying on your laptop's in-built mic is, therefore, not a great idea.
You need a high-quality headset or microphone to ensure a crystal-clear voice. The difference between a laptop and an external mic cannot go unnoticed.
C. Have a Stable Internet Connection
It goes without saying, but webinars need a stable internet connection, and we all know that. It's an online event that requires a wired connection to avoid dropping off!
This holds for both the host and the presenters.
D. Test Your Technical Setup
Technology isn't foolproof. Things can go wrong on the day of the event. And that's okay.
But that doesn't mean you should overlook some basic stuff. For example, never use new equipment on the day of the webinar. Always familiarize yourself with technology before using it.
Do a dry run with all the features and technology you plan to use to see if it works fine. You don't have to create hour-long videos. You could record a short clip to see if your sound and video quality are clear.
If you intend to use a webinar platform, know how to use all its features. And on the event day, be in the webinar 10-15 minutes early so you can test your equipment one final time.
E. Choose a Silent Spot
Avoid any background distractions and noises. For this, you can do the following things:
- Mute other devices like your cell phone or online messenger.
- Choose a spot that is inaccessible to children and pets.
- Don't sit in a public space.
- Close background applications that are running on your computer.
4. Webinar Promotion
Webinar marketing has several moving pieces, from creating a landing page to sending invites to guests.
A. Build a Landing Page
A webinar landing page is critical to drive registrations and offer essential information such as:
- The topic.
- What attendees will learn.
- Speaker bio.
- Date and time.
Remember, be particular about the visual branding and keep it simple. Too much information or graphic elements can be distracting.
B. Create a Blog About the Webinar
Create a blog post in advance to promote the webinar. You can also promote this blog on social media or through email signatures and email if you do not have significant visitor traffic on your blog.
C. Leverage Social Media Platforms to Promote Your Webinar
Social media is one of the most effective ways to promote your webinar. While promoting it, use hashtags to increase your posts' reach.
You can also create a branded hashtag, which you can ask people to use while asking questions. Not only will it increase your attendees' involvement, but it will further boost your brand's reach.
D. Promote Your Webinar via Email
Leverage your email database to promote your webinar. Create short email copies, have a clear call to action, and make it easier for people to register.
Studies indicate that the best time to start promoting a webinar is 15 days in advance. This gives you a window to send an invite, followed by a couple of reminders to people who haven’t registered.
To people who have registered, send a reminder a few days before and on the day of the webinar to maximize the show rate.
E. Use Website Popups
If someone tells you that website popups are a thing of the past, take it with a pinch of salt. Studies show that the conversion rate of top-performing popups is almost 10% compared to only 0.35% average CTR of paid display ads.
Long story short, don’t write off popups just yet. Test and try them out by using them for your webinar invitations. Remember to:
- Be clear about the webinar details and a CTA.
- Wait at least 15-20 seconds before showing the popup.
- Use the popup to show your brand personality.
5. After the Webinar
A. Mention the Next Steps
Once the webinar is over, ensure your audience knows what to expect next. Do you want them to download an eBook or experience your product with a free trial?
Offer them links in the post-webinar follow-up emails. When mentioning the next steps, ensure the following:
- They are easy to understand and easy to use.
- It’s an irresistible offer that they cannot get anywhere.
- It solves their problems.
- The offer is time-bound and only available as a webinar promotion. Create a sense of FOMO.
B. Crowdsource Your Next Webinar Topic
To keep attendees coming back to your webinar, ask them what they would like to hear from you next.
Use a short survey or poll, ask them on social media, or during the webinar itself. Giving a voice to your attendees and allowing them to participate in the webinar preparation process will make it easier for you to create engaging topics and build brand loyalty.
C. Send Post-Webinar Surveys
While sharing content with your attendees, send them a post-webinar feedback survey. Learn directly from them about how they feel about your webinar—did they like it, find it informational, or dislike it?
Asking for feedback will help you immensely improve your future webinars.
D. Track Results
You cannot improve what you cannot measure. Therefore, track key metrics of your webinar, including:
- The total number of people who registered.
- What were the key channels from where they registered?
- What was the show rate of your webinar?
- The total time they spent in the webinar.
A. Create Questions Beforehand
Although your attendees may have many questions, preparing a list of questions is good in case the engagement is not as expected.
B. Don’t Be Hard on Yourself If Things Go Wrong
Accept that it may not go as planned. And it is okay; some things are just out of your hands.
A power outage, a Wi-Fi downtime, or your laptop decided to go rogue last minute. Most of these situations are generally hiccups. But accepting that things might go wrong is the first step towards calmly addressing these issues.
C. Always Start on Time
Everyone is busy. Respect that and always start on time.
If your webinar is supposed to start at 11 a.m., be prepared to start it on time. Failing to do so might annoy your attendees, and you might lose your potential clients or subscribers.
D. Capture Your Attendees’ Attention Quickly
Hook your attendees as soon as your webinar starts. To do that:
- Avoid banter. Don’t bore your attendees with unnecessary details.
- Be direct. Get straight to the point.
- Create a proper outline of what your webinar is all about.
- Be enthusiastic and excited when presenting.
E. Create Visual Slides
Using bullet points is great for listing down things. But using too many of them is just lazy. When creating webinar slides, think of visuals and different multimedia formats.
One way to do that is by using less text and more videos or soundbites. Also, don’t read what’s on the slide. Attendees can do that themselves.
We can all agree that webinars are a highly effective, engaging format for communicating detailed information. Creating them takes a lot of coordination, well-thought strategy, and planning—from choosing a topic and speaker to preparing the presentation and tracking key metrics.
One small mistake and all your efforts can quickly go south. Use these best practices to ensure you offer actual value to your participants.