How to Run an Online Webinar
Running an online webinar is a great way to reach more people, show your knowledge, and help your community. But many aren't sure the best place to start, what programs to use, or what should be included in a webinar, so here is a great place to start!
1. Choose the Right Technology
Many people starting out with running webinars get stuck with researching which webinar software will be right for them. Don't let this get you stuck! Just remember that, although it's good to make an informed decision, you can always change what tech you are using in the future, so don't let this step stop you!
Here are a few different webinar softwares to consider:
This is the best platform for people just starting out and trying to run their webinars through one or more social media platforms. The basic plan starts out free and allows you to connect to one platform like Youtube to run your webinar. With the free option, the Stream Yard Logo is always on display. You can also upload your power point into the software.
When a person is viewing the webinar they can view it on Youtube, comment on Youtube, and that comment will show for you the presenter. Once the webinar is complete, the video will be automatically uploaded to your channel online.
If you move to a paid version you can broadcast your webinar across multiple platforms, change the look for your branding, and get rid of Stream Yard logos.
Overall this is a great way to broadcast your webinar to social and the free version is very useful.
With Zoom webinars has the following functions:
Scheduling a webinar without registration
Scheduling a webinar with registration
Scheduling a recurring webinar
Customizing webinar registration
Creating personal webinar templates
At the basic plan of $690 a year, this software might be a good option for someone looking for a little more advanced features without a huge yearly cost.
Big Marker is packed full of features which includes everything you need to run a webinar. It has the ability to invite quests via email lists with limit of 10k emails to be sent per day. It automatically creates a landing page for each webinar for registration. It also has the ability to upload videos to play during the presentation, as well as pdfs and power-points uploads.
One of the most notable features is the pop-up call to action. So you can ask your attendees to schedule a consultation or follow up meeting. This software is not the cheapest but is worth it with all these features in the Starter pack coming in at $99.00 per month.
2. Webinar Collateral
The subject matter in each webinar will vary greatly depending on the industry and subject, but here are some great general guidelines to keep in mind.
Here are some pieces of visual collateral you will want to be prepared with.
A screen saver, starting video, and slides. A screen saver is great to have on display while you're waiting for people to sign into the webinar. this shows the attendee the name of the webinar and various other pieces of information ensuring that they are in the right place. This can be made on any design software like Canva. You'll want to make the size 1280 x 720 px. See the example below:
Another item that really brings the feeling of professionalism is a count down video. This video allows your attendees to get ready for the webinar to start. It also can bring a bit of excitement and increases a feeling of professionalism. A 10-30 second countdown with a little music is great. This can also be made on a program like Canva, See the example below:
3. Webinar Structure and Flow
This is your time to talk about yourself or even have another person talk about you. This is when your history, qualifications, and experience can be highlighted. You can also introduce the company if you are representing one.
Then you can go into the outline of the subject matter. You want to make sure people know what to expect, and how long it is. This will increase the likelihood of longer participation.
Your slides should follow some general best practices like sticking to more visual aspects and bullet points rather than paragraphs of information. Use the appropriate fonts and colors for the branding. Specifically with webinars, you want the presentation to be a bit more interactive. I'm sure you've experience a 60min+ webinar that is just a talking head, that is not fun for the attendees. You want to educate, but also entertain the attendees.
Some easy ways to break things up is to include a chance for attendees to interact and participate through polls. Most webinar programs allow you to ask questions with pre-determined poll answers. Then the attendees get to see what the general response is.
You'll also want to put Questions and Answers sections throughout your presentation. Don't leave it for the end because many times people can't focus if they have this nagging question they want answered before they can think about the new information coming in. Having multiple spots for Q&As breaks up the presentation, allows participation, and frees up people's minds to focus on the new information coming in.
4. Call to Action
A call to action is a clear call from the business to the potential client/customer to do something. This can be giving information like an email, clicking to read a blog, or even scheduling a follow up call.
At one or two points in the webinar, you'll want to put up a call to action.
Most webinar programs allow you to put up a clickable call to action which allows a person to schedule a follow up appointment with you. This is how you get the leads from your webinar to engage at that next level of purchase decision. Perhaps you're an estate lawyer, you can put up a call to action for a complimentary meeting to review a person's estate. Attendees of the webinar should be able to easily click to schedule this meeting.
You want to make the CTA very clear, when they click the CTA they know what they are clicking and if they fill out information they know what to expect in giving the information. For instance, you wouldn't want a button to say "learn more" if it brings them to an area to schedule a meeting. That button should say "schedule Now".
5. Get Attendees
This might be the most difficult part of running a webinar because it's the one you have the least control over. You can work all the places your business is located, any online social media profiles you can make an event, invite your followers to the event. You can also run ads online, and post the event to Google my Business. You can also offer it to any online groups, so long as the rules allow
Another way to get this webinar in-front of people is to offer the webinar to already established organizations that you are involved with. For instance Blue Beam Marketing is doing a webinar for SCORE all about search engine optimization for business owners. Blue beam marketing is also running a webinar for our local Chamber of Commerce.
5. Follow Up Plan
After a webinar is conducted, you'll want to have a follow up plan for registered attendees. The most simple way to do this is an email drip.
Thank you email for coming. Can have a summary of information, and even a recording of the presentation.
Wanting to learn more email. Give additional information about the subject matter like a link to a blog or video.
Another call to action. This is your last effort to try to get that conversion before moving this contact to the general email list.
If you want to run a successful webinar you'll need to choose the right technology, have the right collateral, design an engaging presentation, have a thought-out call to action, as well as a follow up plan. And with all that, you'll also need some attendees!
After you have run a few webinars, it will start to feel a lot less daunting because you'll already have made some lasting decisions with tech, and you will be more aware of how to use all the webinar functionality. You might also want to have an assistant join you to help filter questions, run the polls, and filter any comments.
If you're interested in using the countdown video featured in the blog for your webinar, we are happy to send it to you, just ask and we can email it over! 😊
We hope this information was useful for you! If you have any questions, go ahead and contact us and we are happy to answer them.