It often seems like everybody’s doing them, and you are tired of feeling left behind. Whether you are just starting to grow your audience, or you already have a solid readership/viewership, this article will help you create a successful first webinar. Learn how to set up a webinar for beginners.
What Is a Webinar?
Perhaps you’ve already got a vague idea that this is some sort of web conference. However, to make sure we’re on the same page here is a more detailed definition.
A webinar is an online seminar held via the web with the help of special software. It can be transmitted in real-time. However, many are recorded to be evergreen and automated.
Both big businesses and individuals have been using webinars as a useful tool for a variety of purposes.
If you are intrigued and want to learn how to set up a webinar for beginners, keep reading.
Before the Webinar
Setting your priorities
Before you do anything here, ask yourself – what is the ultimate goal of your online event?
That will determine the type of your webinar. Here are some common options:
1) Marketing webinar
Marketers love webinars since they bring an incredible return on investment. Do you want to advertise a particular product, service, or influencer in a more personal and interactive way? If the answer is yes, a marketing webinar is a way to go.
2) Sales webinar
When marketing webinars mean to raise awareness and improve brand recognition, sales webinars are in it for profits. If you’ve got a good offer for your audience, a sales webinar can help you showcase it in the best light and close the deal.
3) Meeting webinar
Such webinars are common in a business environment, where good communication and networking are crucial.
4) Training webinar
Company trainings help boost morale and improve employee qualifications. They can be difficult to pull off in person when employees are spread all across the world: this is where webinars come to rescue.
There are many other webinar types. These are just the most common ones.
Once you determine your event type, it will be easier for you to formulate the topic and main points.
Here is more information on how to find a webinar topic that works for you and your audience.
Finding partners and presenters
Now is the time to consider partnering with like-minded individuals to promote and enrich your content. Find people with similar areas of expertise and audience. Try to cooperate with them.
Here are just some things you can try:
- Invite them as a co-presenter. This strategy is a win-win for both of you since you get to preach to each other’s audiences.
- Engage in affiliate marketing. Ask your partner to advertise your product/service to their viewers for commission.
- Write guest posts. Create an exciting blog post to be published on their website with a link to your site.
If you are no star, you may get a lot of denials at first. It is essential to be realistic here: if your following is 10 times smaller, most likely that person won’t cooperate with you.
Just don’t get discouraged and make sure your offer is clear and beneficial both for you and your potential partner.
You should select your hardware/software with the webinar’s format in mind.
If you mostly plan to talk and show the slides, you may not need an expensive camera. If you plan to have more than one presenter, you should look for software with this option.
Once you know what opportunities and limitations your software and hardware present, it will be easier for you to plan the webinar’s content.
It’s a good idea to schedule your webinar about a month in advance. Once you have set the exact date and time of your event, you will be less likely to procrastinate or give up on the idea altogether.
The mornings of Wednesdays and Thursdays are generally considered to be the best times. However, you should first and foremost consider the needs of your audience and co-presenters.
For example, if your TA (target audience) is located in a different part of the world, you should do your best to accommodate their time zone.
If your speakers can’t show up in the morning, you may need to settle for evening times.
Every case is individual, and you should not be disappointed when you can’t get your time and date to go by the book.
Promoting a webinar
Promotion is the key to your webinar’s success. All your effort will be useless if you don’t start an intensive promotional campaign for at least two weeks in advance.
Utilize all tools for webinar promotion: your website, blog, social networks, word of mouth. Do not be shy, but prioritize quality over quantity. You do not want to be spammy in your reach-out attempts.
Do posts, videos, images – do not be stuck on one type of content. Your promotional strategy should include versatile elements if you want to attract a diverse audience.
For example, Pixlee published webinar anons on Facebook and then sent a newsletter.
Writing a script
A webinar script is a must for any webinar to even have a chance of success. You should be writing it while doing all the necessary promotion.
By this point, you must already have an outline with the title and major points. Now you just need to sit down and elaborate on everything in more detail.
Never disregard this step. It is not enough to have a bullet list. You must write everything down just as if it was a college paper.
The primary reason for this thorough preparation is the time limitations. You may think you can explain the point in 5 minutes, but once you pin it all down, it can turn out to be 10 minutes.
In this case, you will need to cut corners, shorten the sentences, maybe exclude some of the minor ideas. Perhaps, with a little bit of repetition, you will learn to speak faster; however, you must remain intelligible.
What is more, you need to coordinate your speech with the slides. Make sure to have only one point per slide if you care about your viewers’ comprehension.
If you have co-presenters, ask them to review your script and provide criticism. Do the same for them: you are a team, after all.
Once you have a detailed script for the intro, body, and conclusion, you can start practicing. Do it for as long as it takes you to become 100% comfortable with the content as well as the webinar software.
Remember that a live webinar will put extra pressure on you, so you must be extra prepared.
During the Webinar
Log in at least an hour in advance to make sure everything works just fine.
During a webinar, try to look directly into the camera for a more personal connection.
Do not forget to check the chat to ensure no trolls got through. If that happened, however, do not hesitate to block them.
If you are not sure you can handle so many things at once, it’s a good idea to have a moderator on site. It can be your friend, co-worker, one of the co-presenters. Just make sure to invite them beforehand, so they have time to become familiar with the platform.
Try to relax and improvise a little. Even if you know the script by heart, you won’t sound natural simply retelling it, unless you are some good actor. Do not be afraid to steer off course and make a joke now and then. But don’t stray away too far – try to keep the golden middle.
Many beginner presenters feel really uncomfortable pitching a sale or making any other financial proposition. Our tip for you is to take a deep breath and just do it.
It may be awkward at your first webinar, but practice does make perfect. Besides, do you want to spend so much time and money only to chicken out at the last second?
In the end, thank your participants for their time. No matter how professional your webinar is, it would be nothing without them. It only makes sense to express your gratitude.
After the Webinar
Even though you are a beginner, do not just go about your business once the webinar is over.
Follow up with your participants with a thank you email as well as some sneak peek on what’s to come next. Perhaps, you already have some future webinars planned or have a special offer for the attendees.
Do not keep all that exciting news to yourself. Your viewers will be more likely to subscribe when they know you are not a one-off thing.
To tie the knot even further, offer them some free materials such as the slides, a pdf script, some interesting articles on the topic. Be a good friend to your participants – this will pay off in the long run.
Here is a list of steps you should follow to create a successful first webinar:
- Determine the webinar’s type (marketing, sales, training)
- Think of the title and main points. Create a short outline
- Find partners and co-presenters
- Choose the right software and hardware
- Promote extensively
- Write a script and practice the delivery
- Run a webinar
- Follow-up with a thank-you email and more offers
Just remember: you are only as capable of holding a successful webinar as all those people you see online. And this article should help you get started.
MyOwnConference blog. Lifehacks, reviews, useful tips for preparing, holding and promoting webinars and web conferences.