Tips for Giving a Successful Webinar

Tips for Giving a Successful Webinar

Whether you own a business or work in a corporate position, webinars are a valuable tool for both the presenter/trainer and the participant. Webinars create a space for learning, sharing experiences, lessons learned and best practices.

For a professional it can expand their network, client list, personal and/or business brand, credibility, expertise, and overall business opportunity. For the participant, it can provide a wealth of education, inspiration and motivation.

The most important factor for a successful webinar is for it to be focused on the value, the impact and the opportunity it presents to the participant for growth and success.  The ROI (return on investment) for your commitment, focus, time and possible spend is a critical measurement of success, not the number of attendees. Presenters leveraging webinars should be focused on that as the end game.   

If you are considering webinars, here are some key tips to ensure your success:

Define the value objective for attendees.

Start with the end in mind and create your message based on that.

Determine how you will express your message:

  • Stories
  • Lessons learned
  • Best Practices
  • Scenarios or business cases
  • Tips and Advice
  • Processes or Methods
  • Combination of above

Layout the flow of your message:

  • Is it structured with an agenda or free flowing with a short list of take-aways?
  • Is it purely educational or are you selling/upselling something?
  • When do you introduce and then present the offering?
  • If you don’t have a specific offer, how and when do you discuss your bio and provide contact information.
  • Decide when and where you will use personal stories, client experiences, use cases, tips and advice, etc.
  • How do you summarize the learning or overall presentation?

Define how you will present your message:

  • Images
  • Videos
  • Text
  • Lists
  • Combination

Create a powerful content deck incorporating the above.

Be sure to time the content out to fit your promised time table.

  • Nothing is more frustrating than going longer than the attendee expected. Ending early is never frustrating (unless you didn’t meet your value objective).

Practice, practice and practice some more.

Decide which webinar platform

  • Figure out what platform accomplishes your value objective – voice only, video conferencing, slide share/video conferencing or other.
  • Research and choose the equipment you want to use; headset, microphone, webcam or video camera, etc.
  • This tip is low in the list as the technology should not be the driver of your webinar. The result you want (value objective) for the attendees should drive which webinar platform you choose.

On the execution side

  • When scheduling, keep in mind domestic and international time zones for both the best day and time for your webinar.
  • Be sure your webinar platform allows the attendees to automatically update their calendar directly from the registration page. This may seem small, but attendee rates drop dramatically when attendees are forced to manually update their calendars.

Establish a marketing plan

  • The plan should give you enough time in advance to properly message it.
  • Target your marketing to the ideal attendee and then message them where they live, (Facebook vs. Twitter, LinkedIn versus Twitter, direct email vs. social media, etc.)
  • Be sure your marketing messages speak to the value objective you defined for the attendee. Always keep the WIIFT in mind (What’s in It for Them) when marketing.
  • Define a hashtag for your webinar –  one for the topic and one for you, the expert presenter, and use it in all of your marketing as well during the presentation.
  • Also tag your company and personal brand handles in your messaging to notify your entire network. Even ask them to share it for you.
  • Consider both free and paid marketing. You can use LinkedIn status and updates (free) or Facebook ads (paid).

Test, test and retest working with the equipment and in the webinar platform before executing your webinar.

  • Identify and test the work environment to ensure it is quiet, you can focus, and there are no distractions for you or the attendees.
  • Show up early to the webinar and test the technology again to ensure when you go live there are no issues.
  • Have someone with you that can manage the webinar platform, especially if you chose one that has chat/question forum capability. This is not mandatory but if your webinar platform allows for roster call, chat and/or Q&A capability, it will help the presenter focus on the content and not the function.

Amp yourself up before you go live. Your energy will drive how the attendees receive your message.

  • Keep a bottle or glass of water nearby to replenish your throat throughout the webinar.

Lastly, have fun. Whatever the subject, you have taken the time and your expertise to plan and execute a webinar. You might as well have fun doing it, and in return, your attendees will as well.

Bernadette Boas is Founder and President of Ball of Fire, Inc., a media, communication and publishing firm. She is also aleadership coach, keynote speaker, radio personality, and author of her first in a series of books; Shedding the Corporate Bitch: Shifting from Bitch to Rich in Life and Business. See Bernadette Boas's full bio here.