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Video conferencing has become a powerful tool for almost anything nowadays. They are used to hold meetings, conduct classes, and connect with loved ones from miles away. Video conferencing is strategically used to host online seminars or webinars for marketers and businesses.
Webinars are an effective way for businesses to generate leads and create loyal customers. Simply put, webinars are events held virtually for an online audience to present or teach a specific topic.
Webinars provide customers with helpful information, which can, therefore, boost customer engagement. However, holding a successful webinar is easier said than done. There are a lot of planning and follow-ups involved to ensure that your business gets the most benefits out of the webinar.
A webinar is a seminar that is held online. These online seminars are usually designed to teach or instruct audiences, so the invited speakers are usually industry experts.
Webinars also allow speakers and audiences to interact over a hosting platform and facilitate Q&A portions like a live seminar.
Even though webinars have been around for a long time, their popularity increased with the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic. More events are being held online. Businesses use webinars to teach and engage with customers.
You can also use webinars to boost your credibility and find potential customers as a business. 73% of B2B marketers claim that webinars are the best way to generate high-quality leads. If you want to reap the benefits of a successful webinar, this article will teach you how to do just that.
Webinars are an excellent way for your business to teach prospects about your products or the industry. When done right, they can capture high-quality leads and boost customer engagement. Here are the ten steps to creating a webinar that improves customer engagement:
The first step to creating a successful webinar is identifying a topic that resonates with your customers. Twenty-seven percent of consumers attend webinars that teach them about their passion or hobbies, while 18% attend to improve their professional knowledge. Choosing a topic is one of the trickiest parts of the webinar campaign, but everything should fall into place once you find one.
More often than not, webinar attendants want an in-depth discussion about a core topic. Contrary to popular belief, webinar attendants want a longer webinar format than a short one. In fact, 60-minute webinars attract more attendees than 30-minute webinars.
Source: UX Testing
This webinar from UX Testing is an excellent example of that. Their webinar series, 24H of UX, gathered over 7,000 participants. Since UX design is a new and complex topic, attendants were willing to spend 24 hours on the webinar.
Like UX Testing, you should choose a unique topic that brings value to your prospects when you plan your webinar. Here are a few tips for choosing a topic:
You don’t have to narrow your potential webinars down to just one topic or limit yourself to trending topics. You can create webinar content for both trending questions and evergreen topics to attract different audiences.
Webinars come in different structures. Some businesses use panel discussions, Q&As, interviews, and speaker presentations. These are just some of the most common webinar formats to choose from, but you will have to choose one that best presents your chosen topic and achieves your objectives.
Each format has different speaker requirements. Panel discussions, for one, require industry experts from your chosen niche. That goes for interviews and speaker presentations, but you can mix it up and invite customers. You can also invite experts in your team to talk about your product or topic.
Having a single speaker knowledgeable about the topic is a practical format that you should also consider. In this example by Aweber, they invited an author and business director to talk about the importance of content in business strategies. Here, the speaker presented some data and tips that can be useful for the target audience.
The more interactive the webinar is, the better. Webinars that encourage communication and participation will likely be more fun and memorable for the audience. Consider taking questions from the audience or adding polls to your format.
If you’re planning to use webinars to teach customers about your product, on the other hand, you can use a case study format like this example from Lucidchart. This webinar tells the audience about Lucidchart and Quickbase, providing concrete examples of the solution in real-life and highlighting its benefits.
Once you have chosen a topic and a webinar format, it’s time to choose where you will host the webinar. There are various webinar hosting platforms in the market today, some of the most popular being Zoom, GoToWebinar, GetResponse, and ClickMeeting. The right webinar tool will depend on your needs and goals.
When choosing the right webinar tool, it is vital to be clear on your objectives. Here is a checklist you can use for assessing your options:
By choosing a webinar tool that suits your budget and requirements, you can offer an optimal webinar experience while keeping your costs down.
Once you have chosen a webinar topic and format, it’s now time to build your content. At this stage, you should map out everything that needs to be tackled during the webinar, from subtopics to essential facts and figures.
In building your content, outline the order of your webinar and list the necessary points. If you have multiple speakers, arrange them according to their topics and make sure their speeches are coherent to each other. This outline will help you organize your webinar and make discussions smoother.
Source: eLearning brothers
You can also add exciting segments to your webinar to make it more fun and interactive. Things like polls, Q&As, quizzes, icebreakers, or social media hashtags are the most common activities in webinars.
In the example above, the presenter used a poll to get a feel of the audience. They make attendants answer questions and spontaneously relate their discussion to the answers.
Like any presentation, having a script can come in handy to organize your thoughts. You don’t necessarily need to memorize it word by word—you wouldn’t want your webinar to sound robotic and boring. Outlining important points and writing down your insights will do.
Creating a script will give you some structure and help you hit all the essential talking points. Don’t forget that you are delivering your webinar to prospective customers, so it’s best to use an audience-first approach. To do this, use a blend of active and passive voice.
Understand what your attendants want out of your webinar and develop a script that will help them achieve it.
Source: Mojo Media Labs
Start your script off with a lively introduction. This portion usually includes a brief description of the company and its speakers. Like the example above, you can tell your audience a few instructions before getting started.
You can then proceed to the actual content. Keep your content informative and straightforward. Don’t use buzzwords or words that sound important but are meaningless. Make sure your audience can also understand your script. You want to be able to connect with your audience better.
Finally, end it with a powerful call to action. Engaging content can ensure more customer engagement after the webinar. Remember to supply data and research, so it’s more factual and believable.
No matter what webinar format you choose, you should still prepare captivating and valuable content to entertain attendants. Using visuals can help you do this. Not only will audiences be more entertained, but they will also be able to remember your content better.
As a business, it is essential to customize your content according to your brand so that prospects have a good idea of what you’re about.
Source: Design & Crafts Council Ireland
If you plan to use a PowerPoint-type webinar, make sure your presentation is not text-heavy. Make it more engaging by using animated graphics, illustrations, graphs, and videos. Avoid unappealing stock photos and icons, as they make you seem unprofessional.
Design & Crafts Council Ireland makes good use of visual presentations in their free webinars. They keep texts to a minimum and use on-brand colors and images.
Source: Mark Talks
If you don’t plan to use PowerPoint presentations, customizing your virtual background like this example from Mark Talks is also an excellent way to brand your webinar. The sky is the limit in terms of webinar visuals, so don’t be afraid to be creative.
The time and date of your webinar are essential to secure attendants. They have to be strategic and allow your audience to attend. So, you first need to understand your prospective participants and the date and time that are most convenient to them. You can determine this using tools like Google Analytics or simply research online.
The tips below will also help you decide the right time for your next webinar:
Remember, you don’t have to please everyone when you’re deciding on your webinar schedule. As long as the recorded copy and all the other material you used during your webinar is available to registrants, you can still use them to improve customer engagement.
Now that you have all the details of your webinars in place, it’s time to promote your webinars and collect attendants. Highlight how your webinar is different from other competitors and what they can get from attending.
The first thing you need to market your webinar is an attractive landing page where prospects can register and learn more about the webinar. This landing page can then be distributed and promoted through emails and social media channels.
This bi-weekly webinar by Vyond uses a colorful and friendly landing page. Customers will first see an actionable header where they can learn more about the webinar, what they can learn from it, and how to register for it. The landing page uses fun animations and videos, as well as a simple registration form. All these factors contribute to how your prospects will view your webinar and impact their decision to attend it or not.
Once your landing page is set up, you can promote it on social media and search engines. Emailing your subscribers about the webinar can be a great way to get attendants as they have already shown active interest in your brand.
Emails are by far one of the most effective ways to promote your webinar. Not only can you send out registration emails, but you can schedule recurring emails to remind them about it too. Having a solid email marketing strategy can significantly impact the outcome of your online event.
This campaign from Webflow is an excellent example of a webinar invitation email. It uses bright and colorful designs and gives recipients a sense of belonging to a community. The contents are straightforward. The email has everything you need to know about the webinar.
A follow-up email for everyone who has signed up should also be sent out to remind them about the event. You can send this days or weeks before the webinar. A test by Personify found that sending three to four email reminders two to 11 days before the webinar increased online attendance by 200%. Like the example above, be sure to include some event reminders and refresh them about what to expect.
Practice is critical to any event, even for webinars. To ensure your webinar’s success, conduct a practice run beforehand. Technical problems and disruptions may affect your brand’s professionalism and reputation, which can, in turn, drive away potential customers. A practice run can prevent these issues and help you pinpoint areas to focus on and improve.
A practice run will also help you familiarize yourself with your webinar hosting platform, especially if it is your first time using it. It can also help you test out your recording equipment and allow you to adjust it for better quality. But how can you do a practice run that helps you iron out the wrinkles in your webinar?
A practice run is essential for an informative, well-timed webinar. Keep practicing your presentations until you find a pace and flow that you’re comfortable with.
After all these preparations and promotions, it’s finally time to hold your webinar. During your webinar, make sure you provide audiences with an entertaining and productive experience. You will leave a positive impression among your audience members through all that hard work. They will remember your business weeks or months after the webinar.
Aside from providing helpful information to prospects, a webinar aims to generate qualified leads for you and improve customer engagement. They are excellent sales opportunities, so don’t stop interacting with your attendants after the webinar. Send them a follow-up email to extend the conversation.
Source: My Own Conference
Like this example from SemRush, don’t forget to thank them for attending your webinar. Provide them with a link to the slides and video recording so that they can rewatch it afterward. You can also send a follow-up email to those who have registered for the webinar but could not attend.
You can also feature your webinar recording on your website and promote the link on different channels like social media. You can also repurpose webinar recordings into different content or posts to make way for more customer engagement.
An excellent example of this is from Intercom. They have a dedicated page for upcoming and recorded webinars available for website visitors. Their most successful webinars are even categorized separately to highlight them.
Visitors are asked to register before getting access to a webinar recording. That allows them to generate more leads and hopefully get more customer engagement.
Aside from sending emails, assess your virtual event metrics and measure their success. Measure how many attendees were able to attend, how long you could retain their attention, the quality of leads you generated, and the amount of website and social media traffic you got after the webinar.
Measuring the metrics of your webinar will allow you to analyze which topics get the most traction and will help you plan more topics moving forward. It can also help you identify the low-performing webinars and why they did not perform as well as you hoped. Once you know these reasons, you can develop a strategy that increases your chances of creating a better-performing webinar the next time around.
Webinars are undoubtedly a powerful tool to generate high-quality leads for sales and improve customer engagement. To ensure its success, you need to plan your webinar carefully. Start by choosing a webinar topic relevant to your target customers, then decide on a suitable webinar format to complement it. Make sure you use a hosting platform that suits your objectives.
Once you have the basics down, craft a webinar content and script that will captivate and inform your prospects. Don’t forget to include enticing visuals in your presentation and promote your webinar on your website, mailing list, and social media channels. Moreover, launch your webinar at a convenient time for your target audience and hold practice runs to prevent any issues and improve the webinar as you go along.
Finally, send follow-up emails and measure the metrics of your webinar so that you can exhaust its potential. Don’t forget to feature your webinar recordings on your website and other promotional campaigns so that you can still generate engagement even after the webinar is done.
Follow these tips, and your webinar customer engagement will be through the roof.
David Campbell is a digital marketing specialist at Ramp Ventures. He helps manage the content marketing team at Right Inbox. When he’s not working, he enjoys traveling and trying to learn Spanish.
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