Webinars are considered to be one of the most effective ways to generate leads. A ReadyTalk survey showed that 20 to 40 percent of webinar registrations turn into leads – so if you have around 50 attendees at your webinar, you might actually end up getting 10 qualified leads! Webinars are a great way for your target leads to gain a first-hand look at how you operate as a brand and connect with you live. It is a chance for you to prove your credibility and earn their trust.
Thus, it is essential that every step of the webinar – right from its conception, to the development of promotional collaterals, all the way up to the D-Day – are well-thought out to the finest details.
Here are the 7 steps to host and ace your webinar:
Step 1: Decide topic + guests
Selection of the topic is the most vital step in the entire process. An ideal topic will:
- Either solve a problem or answer a specific question.
- Be contemporary – preferably a trending topic specific to your industry.
- Be non-generic; topics such as 5 ways to run your startup is a strict no-no.
- Showcase your brand as an expert in your domain.
- Be important enough for people to devote 1 hour of their working hour to listen to you.
- Connect to current happenings in the field so that the audience can easily relate to it.
For example, one of our clients recently conducted a webinar called Startup Founder Burnout – How to Persist and Win. Elon Musk’s recent revelations regarding his inhuman work hours and exhaustion made this a ripe time for a discussion on why founders should introspect and focus on avoiding burnout. The webinar brought a crucial yet insufficiently discussed topic into focus through personal anecdotes among the panelists. It then showcased the symptoms of a burnout and then gave solutions as to how founders can conquer the burnout phase.
The solution phase is the most important phase of a webinar because it has to give a solution to the stated problem or a call for action. The panel, through personal stories demonstrating solutions, establishes credibility and trust in the brand among attendees who could be potential leads.
Which brings us to the selection of the guests for the discussion panel.
The ideal composition of the panel should be:
- One of the panelists should be the CEO of your organization.
- The other panelists should be from outside of your organization.
- All panelists need to be successful subject matter experts who are comfortable sharing anecdotal experiences of the topic at every stage.
- The number of panelists should ideally not be more than 3.
- The discussion needs to be candid and free-flowing and it’s important that the panelists have a good chemistry among themselves.
- Engaging the audience is as important as imparting knowledge of the subject.
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Once the panelists have been identified you need to make their short bios with their image and designation. The bio should speak to their experience in their professions and lend credibility to them as a voice to speak on the topic.
After you’ve decided on the topic, date, panelists, structure, date, and time of the webinar, it’s time to invite people to register for the webinar through the landing page.
Step 2: Set up the landing page
The landing page is the focal point of the entire preparation period to the webinar. It is the first and only chance to impress a visitor to convince them to sign up for the event. It is the conduit between the promotional materials and the live webinar event. The landing page has the potential to make or break the entire event registration process. A well-designed page can lead to a lot of registrants whereas a poorly made one can drive away potential attendees.
The elements of a good landing page:
- Company logos of all the panelists at the top
- The description of what a registrant will learn from the webinar in the form of bullet points outlining the different sections of the webinar.
- The time and date of the webinar should be clearly mentioned.
- The registration box where people can register for the webinar. This process needs to be short, not exceeding 2-3 steps, and the fields should be easy-to-fill details such as name and email. If the form is long and tedious, landing page visitors will not register for your event.
- A section containing the bios and designations of the panelists. This is another place where you get a chance to make a mark on potential attendees. The credibility of the speakers lends credibility to your brand.
- You can add a section which points to your previous webinars if any.
- Finally, there should be a section which shows the contact details of your organization.
- Care needs to be taken to ensure that the background images, page color, and text fonts are in sync with the tone of the topic that is going to be discussed.
Ideally, the landing page should be created at least 2-3 weeks prior to the webinar date.
While there are many landing-page creation software, we use Unbounce for its easy-to-use interface, excellent templates, simple forms, and a variety of design options.
Step 3: Set up a webinar platform
Once the landing page is created, the next step is to connect it to a platform where the live webinar event will be hosted. We used Zoom to host our webinars. Zoom collects the registration details from the landing page and sends a unique attendance link to each registrant. It also sends a separate host link for each of the webinar panelists.
Zoom also allows for the panelists to share their screen with the attendees, automatically mute attendees, and in addition, provides a chatbox for participants to ask real-time questions to the panelists. Zoom also sends email reminders to registrants about the webinar close to the go-live date. Zoom allows you to record the entire session and track webinar metrics such as the number of people attending the webinar, how long were they present, etc.
Step 4: Start creating promo material
Now that your registration flow has been created, it is time to spread the word through promotions. The first step is to decide what kind of digitized promotions are best suited for this purpose. For this, you need to be well-versed with the structure of the webinar and the panelists need to have a broad idea of what is going to be said. It is on this basis that you create the promotional collaterals.
Promotional collaterals are typically a variety of Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin posts, blogs, and targeted email campaigns to your database of prospective leads. The social media posts should be well thought out and in the form of video teasers, audio teasers, countdown banners, and e-invites. The link to the registration page should be clearly mentioned.
For the email campaign, you need to have a bunch of emails that are designed keeping in mind the profile of your intended recipients. The first cold email sent to your database promoting your upcoming webinar will be vastly different from a registration reminder email sent to those who did not take any action on the first email.
Social media postings for the webinar can be created beforehand and scheduled using Buffer.
It is important to create a content calendar which helps you realize your strategy, schedule the promotion of the content, and keep on top of all the content getting promoted.
Step 5: Start the Promotions
Promotions should begin roughly 3 weeks before Webinar day.
Emails are sent to your database of target leads having the following template:
- Description of the webinar
- The call-to-action
- The registration link
Here is an example of a promo email template we had created and used:
Social media posts will be in the form of e-invites, countdown banners and audio, video, and textual content.
It is advisable to use paid promotions for video content as it increases outreach and effectiveness. Video promotions are recorded one-minute clips of each panelist talking about the webinar topic, urging the viewers to register for the webinar. Video promotions are essential for building trust and credibility between the panelist and potential viewers. If done well, it can spur an individual to register immediately!
Tweets/Facebook posts accompanied by a banner or an e-invite can be shared by the social media handle of each panelist with the goal to increase registrations. The countdown banner promotes a sense of urgency to register on the spot. The e-invite gives the viewer all the necessary information for the webinar at one glance which facilitates immediate registration. The hashtags used in each post should be related to the topic and should resonate with your target audience.
Step 6: Creation of the presentation
The presentation is the face of the webinar event. The attendees of the webinar get to see the presentation on the screen and listen to the conversation among the panelists as a voice over.
The basic elements of the presentation:
- Company logos of the panelists in the header of every slide.
- Creative illustrations of the main talking points as well images.
- Spacer slides in the form of a quote or an image which will serve as a marker for the panelists to understand that they are being led to a new section of the topic.
The color, font, and theme of the slides should remain consistent across all section slides.
It is important that each spacer slide has color and fonts different from the section slides so that it is easy to differentiate between them.
For the attendees, the slide serves to reiterate the talking points under discussion.
For the panelists, the slides are a key guide. They use the talking points to build upon the content and discuss it among themselves in a spontaneous manner. The spacer slides give them a momentary pause in the flow of the conversation before moving on to a subsequent topic.
If the slides are poorly made, the panelists will not be able to corroborate with the script and structure of the webinar and this will disrupt the entire flow.
Spacer Slide between sections:
As we can see in the above graphics, the section slides have all the talking points as well as the same background color, text font, and font color. This is why a contrasting stand-out spacer slide is essential as shown above.
Step 7: Go Live!
It is finally time to put on a show in front of your attendees. This is when the panelists engage the audience and make them feel that it’s worth their time to attend this webinar. It is essential that you send a quick reminder email to all registrants to tune into the webinar at the allotted time. It is also necessary to put out a last-minute “few seats still left” social media banner. Registration numbers have generally been found to swell on the day of the webinar with 29% of attendees registering on that day.
By the end of the webinar, the attendees need to be convinced that your brand is a subject matter expert and that they can reach out to you for a chat.
Thus, it is essential that the flow of the panelists is uninterrupted and energetic, and that they stick to the points on the slides and elaborate on them at all times. The panelists will also have to strictly adhere to the timelines specified for each section so as not to overshoot the speaking time of the webinar.
The final 15 minutes of the webinar should be devoted to answering the live questions sent by the attendees through the chat tool. This keeps the audience engaged and answering their questions establishes your brand credibility and expertise. It will also keep your audience hooked till the end of the webinar to hear the answer to their questions.
Once the webinar is over, it is time to send thank you emails to the attendees with a feedback form. It is also time to send clippings of the webinar to those who missed it and to ask them to view the recorded version of it. It has been found that a lot of additional viewings and leads are generated from viewers who watched the recorded show later on. 84% of the registrants prefer watching the recorded version of a webinar.
Webinars have been found to be one of the most effective lead generation tools, second only to email marketing campaigns. Thus, it is vital that you spend a huge amount of time and effort in preparing and perfecting every aspect of the webinar. A perfectly delivered webinar can generate new leads, establish your brand as a subject-matter expert, and raise brand awareness as well. Thus, it is essential for you to tap into this successful marketing strategy to boost your brand image and gain traction.
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