If you conduct business online, you may have participated in a webinar. They are a great way of converting casual visitors into a proper following for your product or service. The internet is awash with webinars, making the space highly competitive, so you should aim to create webinars that grab your audience’s attention, and don’t let go.
Here are eight practical ways to help you host a webinar that engages, converts and captivates your audience.
Before you start your webinar, make sure you have a sizable group of people willing to get involved. A successful webinar is usually well planned beforehand to ensure as many people as possible get to participate. So, how can you do this?
You can use social media to reach out to people who might be interested in what you’re offering. Simply create devoted hash tags for the event, offer promotions online and send email reminders to those who have signed up. This will rally people around your webinar, and encourage them to speculate and get excited about it beforehand.
You can also live tweet during the event to inspire your participants to interact with you and each other while it is going on.
2. Capture the attention of your audience
You should aim to make your webinar memorable, from the video production to the presentation. You might have thousands of people tune in, but if they can’t put what they’ve learnt into action then you will lose your following as soon as you gained it.
So how can you capture their attention?
The answer is simple - just concentrate on a few points. People are likely to remember three, perhaps five, highly impactful points rather than ten or more. Present the key points, explain them and reiterate them during your webinar.
You should also create proper follow-up emails for your participants. People have multiple tasks and distractions every day. This can sidetrack them, or make them forget something they learned during your webinar. But if you frequently engage through follow-up emails, many of them will remember to put your lessons into action.
3. Ensure your webinar has high quality video and audio
Have you ever tuned into a radio station with poor reception and you had to strain to hear what was being said? You probably switched to a different station, or simply turned it off. The same thing happens when a webinar has poor audio. High quality video production and audio is very important.
Before you even start to prepare for your webinar, make sure you have a professional-quality microphone. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be clear enough for people to understand what you’re saying. You should also make sure you have a strong internet connection with fast upload speeds (preferably more than 2-3 Mbps). Check your voice is not coming through too loud, or too soft. It should be at an appropriate level and clear enough to articulate your points.
4. Learn how to deal with questions
Questions play a huge role in gauging the success of a webinar. Questions demonstrate that your participants are engaged, and following your presentation. If you don’t have a proper, predetermined manner of managing audience questions, you’re doomed to lose the confidence of your participants.
Before you start, you should explain to your audience how you expect to handle questions during the whole session. This will make sure everyone knows how and when to ask questions. Be a little flexible; there are some questions which should be answered as soon as they’ve been asked. For example, if the main aim of your webinar is to sell a particular service or item, any question that seeks to clarify its benefits should not be ignored. There’s a high possibility that other audience members are thinking that same question, and it’s important to clarify it sooner rather than later.
Any question that involves the comprehension of a point or slide should also be dealt with immediately. Understanding your points will help participants keep a lucid train of thought throughout the presentation. Audience members who feel confused, or ignored when asking a question will usually switch off.
5. List the goals of your webinar
It’s very important to clearly outline the goals of your webinar to your participants. The visitors joining will want to know how this particular webinar will solve their problems. You should aim at reaching out to an audience in a particular state, with the promise of helping them get to another state.
You should also specify this clearly in the title of your webinar. This will help all participants to understand what they stand to gain from your presentation.
6. Understand what compels your audience
No one wants to offer a boring presentation, however much it might be helpful to the audience. It will only lead to more and more people drifting away. You should aim at understanding what compels your audience during your presentation. In other words, don’t stick to having points on all your slides. Have little pointers which will constantly help your audience get back on track. This might be in the form of jokes, funny pictures or short, entertaining videos.
If you’re presenting a complex point, you should first start it off by offering a story or something that will make the audience relate to it once you start your presentation. This will help you and your audience relate with every aspect of the lesson by making references back to your story.
And again, make sure you have high-quality video production. The visual experience of the presentation is of paramount importance.
7. Make a recording
Not everyone who is interested in your webinar will be available on the date and time you scheduled it. You should make sure you record it, as well as engage a video production expert to make necessary edits.
Unavailability is not the only reason why you should record your webinar. Recordings will also help you create a library where you can keep every presentation you make. You can also use the recording as part of a series, or as an advertisement for future webinars. It all depends on how you’ll plan to utilize it. It could be a great resource for you that could be monetized in several ways.
8. Make your recording available in different formats
This is one of the most important lessons of making a webinar. If you don’t put any of the above points into action, then you should at least make sure you follow through with this one
Not everyone can sit down and go through a full video webinar. Some people have hectic schedules and though they might want to learn, their schedules might not allow them to sit through a video production. You should therefore release your presentation in different formats, i.e. audio and written forms (transcripts of the recording). You can also share your slides with people who are not keen on following the entire transcript, and if possible make a blog post that details everything you have explained in your webinar. Your followers will thank you for this.
These points will help you make your next webinar more engaging, and will help you convert a sizable number of your audience in the process.
Have you ever hosted a webinar? How did it go? Share your experiences with others in the comments section below!