Today, B2B marketers have a wealth of options available to them. The digital medium, after all, has ushered in fresh opportunities for them to get creative with their content and try out new and exciting ideas to engage prospective clients.
Webinars, an important engagement tool for B2B marketers, have been around for a while and are becoming increasingly popular as companies discover the tremendous prospects they hold for lead generation, sales growth and relationship building. In fact, 73% of B2B marketers and sales leaders say that a webinar is the best way to generate high quality leads.
But what really is a webinar? And why does it bode well for your business?
A webinar, short for a web-based seminar, is a live video conference that over the internet connects the host to an audience from all over the world. The host has various options available to conduct this webinar. For example, they can either show themselves or share their computer screen to display visuals and deliver presentations.
Webinar solutions also include interactive features that allow the audience to chat with the host, ask questions and receive real-time responses. Easy information sharing is yet another amazing feature of webinars; hosts can share PDF files and other material with the audience to download during the session.
These features in totality make webinars a near-physical experience that is dynamic, fully immersive, and can actively involve the viewer from the get-go.
Webinars are also incredibly malleable in terms of their utility. They can serve multiple businesses for multiple objectives. For example, you can use them for educational purposes, training of workers, onboarding, or pretty much anything that fits the format!
Hosting a webinar might sound intimidating, but it’s no rocket science. If however, it’s your first time hosting a webinar, you might want to do some preparations beforehand to grow comfortable with the technology and get a hang of the format.
Of course, the best way to approach your preparations is to make a nicely organized to-do list and tick things off as you progress through it.
So here’s a comprehensive checklist that you might want to follow for your webinar preparations:
1. Determine your Objective
This, of course, is the starting point. Always tackle the “why” first. Why are you holding the webinar? Are you trying to generate leads, educate people about an important matter, build personal relationships, position yourself as an expert in your field, or simply generate awareness about your brand? Basically, what do you hope to achieve out of your webinar? Defining your objective right off the bat will help set the tone for the webinar, thereby facilitating a smooth and seamless workflow.
2. Identify your Target Audience
The answer to your first question will inform the second- who is your target audience? Whom does your objective concern? Which section of the audience must you focus on to achieve your outlined objective? It’s important to identify whom you intend to speak to, for the content you draft later will have to be tailored according to the general profile of your target audience.
3. Select a Topic
This one’s a no-brainer. You need to have a clear, well-defined topic in place to base your webinar on. Once you’ve chosen a topic, develop your content strictly around it- ensuring that your focus remains razor-sharp and doesn’t digress from the central issue at hand. Webinars that lack direction and are all over the place will fail to bring value to the audience, thereby defeating the purpose of the whole endeavor.
4. Pick a Webinar Software
Review the webinar softwares in the market. Do a comparative analysis of their features and see which one suits your budget and requirements the best. A software with all the necessary bells and whistles- multiple engagement tools, customizable landing pages, a dedicated helpline and an easy registration method- is most likely to secure optimal results. Remember, the software you choose will ultimately determine the quality of your webinar, so don’t skimp on it or settle for something substandard.
5. Pick a Speaker
You’ll obviously need presenters for your webinar. It’s up to you what format you want to go for: host and presenter, single presenter, dual presenter, or a panel. Get on board confident and articulate presenters who have a good grip on the material and can take out time to sufficiently prepare for the session. Equally important is to pick a presenter who is willing to do the job. Presenters who’ve reluctantly taken up the role just won’t be able to generate interest or deliver the impact that an enthusiastic presenter can.
6. Set the Date and Time
Set a date and time for the webinar. If you’re trying to go global with your reach, pick a time that can accommodate people from different time zones and publicize it well in advance.
7. Create the Content
Don’t be spontaneous with your content. You want to deliver a session that is structured, well thought out and ultimately creates enduring value for the audience. Make an outline of your salient points and then add extensive notes under each point. As pointed out before, make sure you don’t go off-topic.
Of course, it’s alright to crack a joke, ask questions or share an anecdote in between- something that helps lighten the mood or break the monotony. But your content should largely be built around the topic you’ve chosen to speak about. Moreover, pair your copy with visually compelling slideshows, images, or even videos to add more character to your content. Variety in your content will also help a great deal in sustaining your audience’s interest through the session.
8. Devise a Promotional Plan
No matter how well-prepared you are, your webinar won’t make an impact if nobody knows about it. Decide on a promotional plan- write emails to existing and prospective clients, promote the session on your social media pages, or run paid advertising. A few days prior to your webinar, be sure to send a friendly reminder emails.
9. Think about Registration
You might want to think about how you want people to register. There must be an option to register for the webinar so you can get a tentative idea of how many people are interested and plan to tune into your webinar. A registration process that is quick and easy will obviously drive a higher number of registrations.
10. Do a Test Run
This is a must before your webinar. Ensure your net connection is steady and reliable and your equipment fully functioning. Earmark a place beforehand where you can hold the webinar uninterrupted. Check the video and audio settings on your device. Test the software to see if it’s functioning without glitches. More importantly, see if you know how to navigate it. If you’re having trouble, reach out to your software provider’s customer support team to have your queries resolved before the day of the webinar.
This one’s for the presenter: The last few days before the webinar should not be spent getting things in order, or formulating the content; that should be taken care of well in advance so there’s time to spare for rehearsals. Rehearsing will help you master your content before you dive into the webinar. So be sure to practice in front of the webcam. See how you appear in the video, whether you’re using too many hand gestures or too few. Make sure your voice is clear and audible.
And now, it’s showtime!
Follow this checklist and rest assured, you’ve taken care of everything. A well-conducted webinar can be a great boost to your business. On the other hand, a dismal webinar experience will leave a very poor aftertaste of your brand. Thus, it’s best to be well prepared with a fool-proof webinar plan! Good Luck!
At vFairs.com, we strive to build a top-class online event platform that will help event organizers make memorable connections with their target audience. We’re obsessed with taking out the hassle normally associated with physical events and leaving organizers and exhibitors to focus on what’s most important: engagement with the audience.
Get in touch with an expert to learn more about vFairs here.