By: Pankaj Gupta
Webinars have become the talk of the town again! With the unprecedented pandemic, the world has come to a standstill and webinars have replaced physical events. The skyrocketing growth of webinars brings with it an opportunity to reach hundreds of people over a short span of time. To make the most of this wonderful tool, here are some tips that will not only help in building personal relationships with the participants but also creating cumulative brand value.
- Choose the Right Webinar Platform
Essentially, one of the most important factors in a successful webinar is the platform. If the platform is not up to standards, your viewers will have an unpleasant session, leading to a poor association with your brand and product.
When selecting a platform, consider whether it meets your webinar needs such as Ease of use, Budget, Interactive features such as polling and real-time Q&A, number of attendees allowed, and so on.
- Ensure your Content is Interesting
Resist the temptation to cover everything in a single webinar. Instead, focus your energies on a highly specific content idea that you can deep dive. This will allow you to control the discussion and manage the questions that participants may have.
Utilise interesting and engaging visual aids to strengthen and emphasise your key content points, especially the data points and trends. It should not be the script for the presenter to read off from, but a well-designed deck to deliver both the impact and content of your message.
- Choose the Right Speaker(s) and Have Co-host(s)
When all the participants see and hear the presenters, you need to take special care to choose the right ones. The ideal speaker is skilled, knowledgeable, authoritative and is comfortable speaking on-camera. Subject matter expertise is particularly important to fill unexpected questions, which will almost definitely come if your webinars are interesting and insightful.
Having a co-host to help facilitate and moderate the webinar is a must. Provide him with the admin control to mute and unmute panelists, and provide audio and video capabilities to selected attendees by promoting them to panelist.
- Continually Engage Your Audience
The webinar need not be a one-way engagement. You can offer informative and interactive experience with interactivity tools. Enhance the experience by giving the participants a chance to engage the hosts via a Q&A segment, Polling, Chat, and Feedback. These could be at the beginning of the webinar, during the webinar or towards the end.
- Set up your Studio Space
Whether you are delivering your webinar from your home, office, or a studio, ensure that everything that is within or just outside the camera frame is conducive for the presentation. Ensure that your kids, co-workers or pets do not interfere or make any noise during the webinar.
Keep your space clean and free of clutter, and turn off your computer & cell phone notifications, and background applications that can distract you and your audience.
- Have Technical Support on Standby
The last thing you want to do is to have to troubleshoot a technical issue, while continuing to engage your audience. It is preferable to have one or more people working with you to make sure that everything goes as planned. They must have a good understanding of your webinar equipment and platform, able to troubleshoot issues, and moderate interactions with your participants. To have a seamless webinar, we recommend using a hardwired internet connection. This avoids any issues with an unstable Wi-Fi connection affecting the experience of the participants.
- Host no more than 1 hour – Keep them coming for more
Host a webinar with an average duration of 30 minutes to 1 hour. Anything more than that will lose audience focus and increase drop off. The best day and time to host your webinars is on Wednesday or Thursday and at mid-morning or middle of the day. However, it is always recommended that you experiment on this and choose the one that works well for you. We recommend you start your event 5 minutes early to allow your attendees to join before the content kicks off.
- Extend your reach
Make the most out of the webinar that you have invested so much in. This virtual event does not have to end when it stops. The entire webinar, including the content that was shared and Q&A segment, can be recorded and sent to a wider audience with little extra effort by streaming/pushing them to popular channels like YouTube/Facebook. Before your presentation, it is always good to let your attendees know if the content will be recorded and shared afterward.
Helping businesses thrive amid COVID-19, webinars have cemented a place for themselves in the future. The trend of using webinars for purposes such as lead generation (for B2B companies), brand awareness, and so on, is likely to outlast the pandemic and with these tips and practices, one can unveil the power of this tool for the best business outcomes.
(The author is CEO and Founder at EnableX.io, a cloud communication service provider and the views expressed in the article are his own)