A webinar is a live online educational presentation in which the audience is encouraged to interact with the presenter by making comments and asking questions throughout the presentation.
The history behind the webinar.
In the mid-1990s web-based chat and instant messaging software were produced.
Then, in the late-1990s the first “webinar” was born. Web Conferencing, web seminars (webinars), and peer-level web meetings all meaning essentially online collaborative services.
Starlight Networks launched Star Live! which was one of the first web conferencing capabilities. Throughout the 1990s many companies released versions of the same concept to provide an interactive, online, multimedia presentation to multiple attendees simultaneously. The term/product itself originally called WEBinar trademarked in 1998 by Eric R. Korb was abandoned because it was difficult to defend and is currently owned by InterCall.
Ok, let’s get into it! How do we come up with a strategy?
Start off by asking yourself a couple of key questions. Who will be attending the webinar? What challenges are they facing and needing answers for? What are their goals?
Knowing your audience is very important in providing them with a valuable experience. Make sure your visual branding is consistent. Be sure to choose a platform that supports individuals using mobile devices. Feel free to incorporate information about your products and services, but make sure you have valuable content as well. You may consider a paid webinar series because your audience will have higher expectations and value your webinar. Of course, make sure you deliver what you are promising.
Next, layout the plan of action.
First of all, don’t be afraid to seek help! It is important that the webinar flows nearly seamlessly. Having someone assist you in the planning, promotion, and the webinar itself will make the process go much smoother.
Picking your topic can be a challenge, so remember that your content is most important and to be an expert in this content is equally as important. Your audience is there to learn and your job is to engage them and inform them as the subject matter expert. Therefore, a great speaker is needed! They should be credible and have authority over the topic at hand.
Deciding a time that makes sense for your audience is also something to consider. 6 pm on a Friday is likely a no go!
What about your webinar format? Do you want one expert or multiple? Maybe a panel of experts? Or, you could make it a QA session to create more engagement with your audience. Having a popular influencer to co-host with you could be a unique spin. Also, a product demonstration or tutorial can be informative. What it comes down to is deciding what works for you and your audience. So, try some things out and see what your sweet spot is, then stick to it!
Remember to practice beforehand. Maybe even record yourself? Your webinar will always flow better when speakers are prepared. The only way to find out how to execute a successful webinar, truly, is to do it. Prepare as much as you can but also understand that until you actually start your webinar, you won’t know exactly what works best for you and your audience.
Market Your Webinar
Now that you know what you want your webinar to focus on, you need attendees. There is no value to a webinar that no one sees. Create a landing page with key webinar details such as topic, speaker bio, date/time, and brief description on what attendees will learn. The more information they know upfront, the better chance you have of grabbing the attention of qualified leads.
Create a blog post and share it on your social media channels in advance so that you get the word out there! A branded hashtag can be a good interaction tool throughout the webinar. Promoting via email is a great tool as well. Keep it short and concise. Make it easy for people to register!
Follow up after the webinar.
Make sure your audience knows the next step they need to take. Call to actions should be obvious. Do you want them to sign up for a free trial, download a white paper or click on a recording of the webinar; whatever it maybe make it clear.
In your follow up email ask attendees about another topic that they are curious about. It may be helpful to create a survey as well.
Lastly, track your results. Tap into analytics. What sources were the top for registration, how many people actually attended, and how long did they stay logged in?
Now that you have the steps to create a webinar get brainstorming with your team to come up with some powerful content for your audience!