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What is a webinar and how can you set one up

Webinars have transformed the way that businesses offer guidance, training and support to audiences across the globe.

Over time, this has become an effective way of generating high-quality leads, as professionals show an active interest in a business by tuning in, more and more companies are demonstrating their power and influence through webinars.

What is a webinar? 

Essentially, a webinar is a live video conference. Hosted via the internet on a specifically chosen platform, a webinar allows individuals from any location to view, interact and listen to a presentation or demonstration by one or multiple hosts.

While technology has made it much more accessible to host and attend webinars over the past decade, their history can be dated back to the 1980s, when early concepts of this type of communication (e.g. real-time messaging) were developed.

These days, webinars are utilized by businesses for all kinds of purposes; from workshops to seminars, Q&As to demonstrations and many more in between. Webinars are a chance to interact freely with an engaged target audience, share knowledge and ultimately encourage leads.

The right team

Hosting a successful webinar is a team effort. If you try and organize it alone, you run the risk of stretching yourself too thin and more than likely losing the quality necessary for it to be a success. Experts recommend you have 3 key people within your webinar team. Responsibilities for each will vary depending on the skills of your team, but you need to have people in place to develop content, promote and liaise with attendees, set up, handle any technical issues before and during the webinar and, of course, present.

Research your platform 

The market is inundated with webinar tools which will provide the platform on which it is hosted, choosing the right one is really down to personal preference and its fit for your content. Notable webinar services include GoToWebinarWebExGetResponse, and many others. We recommend shopping around and request demos, if available, to ensure you feel comfortable in navigating the software.

Choose an engaging topic 

No matter what your end goals are, when it comes to hosting a webinar you need to ensure that the topic you cover is something that your target audience will be interested in, and that it highlights your knowledge and allows you to connect with your audience. Some of the most successful webinars utilize more than one presenter and discuss different aspects of a particular topic; either in a Q&A format or as a panel discussion.

Content

Of course, the actual content of your webinar is key to its success. Well-designed slides and visuals will work effectively in engaging your audience. Don’t forget to also introduce the host/s with some relevant background and contact information to make it as easy as possible to get in touch following the webinar.

Some other questions you may wish to ask whilst developing content is whether or not your webinar will have a question and answer section, how users will interact, and whether you should record the webinar (this will provide even further opportunities for lead generation, so we would highly recommend that you do).

Launching your webinar 

Select your time wisely 

Choosing the ideal date and time could mean the difference between a webinar succeeding and failing. Research has found that webinars hosted on Wednesday or Thursdays, between 10am or 11am, attract the most registrations. If you want to appeal to audiences from around the world, you must also take into account the varying time zones.

Promotion

Quality webinar content means nothing if you don’t have the attendees to appreciate it, so using effective promotional tactics to encourage registrations is vital. Send invitations to your email lists, create a landing page, personalize emails and phone calls to your business contacts, share and invite on your social media platforms, advertise on your own and other relevant websites and don’t forget to follow up! According to data, 59% of registrations happen less than a week before the webinar, so don’t panic if your attendees are looking a little sparse, boost your promotion in the weeks leading up and you should see registrations rise.

Practice with your team

A practice run is vital to ensure that you are not only comfortable in presenting, but to iron out any technical glitches before the big day. We would recommend running through your entire webinar and recording this, so that you can view it as if you were an attendee and make any changes necessary.

After your webinar

Success! You’ve completed your webinar and all your hard work and preparation has paid off. But the work doesn’t end here. Following up with your attendees and gaining feedback on how they found your webinar will work to greatly enhance your future webinars. At this stage you can now put your webinar recording to work, using it as a tool for lead generation on your website by allowing visitors to download it whenever they like.

Once you get the hang of setting up, creating and running your own webinars, they can be a truly valuable asset for your sales and marketing efforts, not to mention a great way to add value to resources for your existing clients.

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