APM Hosting a Webinar

10 Tips for Hosting a Webinar

Has hosting webinars offered your business a way to connect with prospects, clients and delegates? Many organisations have embraced webinars during the period of remote working.

The Benefits of Hosting a Webinar

With a potentially wide reach, webinars offer a means to:

  • Train and educate
  • Collaborate and establish communities
  • Build brand value and trust
  • Demonstrate products and services
  • Highlight the impact of new practices
  • Respond to current needs
  • Enrich online content
  • Video Conference

Being proactive and using webinars as a communication tool is commendable, but brand reputation is vital. A few poorly prepared or disappointing webinars could disengage prospects.

If your organisation views webinars as a long-term marketing strategy, we offer 10 Tips. These will help to ensure that professionalism, engagement and brand values are maintained.

Tip One – Chose the Right Webinar Platform

In the bid to get things up and running quickly, your organisation will have selected software such as Zoom, GoToWebinar or Microsoft Teams. Now is the time to review whether this is the best option.

Every option has unique functionality, pricing and limitations, so, if you have any gripes with your current software, there could be a better platform out there. This Webinar Software review, prepared by Small Business Prices, could support your decision.

Get familiar with your chosen option to confidently use the available features to enhance webinars.

Tip Two – Get Equipped for Webinar Success

Yes, you can just use the in-built camera and microphone, but it isn’t advised. Remember, it is important to present the most professional version of your organisation as possible. We recommend that you invest in:

  • Microphone – look for quality omni-directional audio and possibly built-in noise reduction to minimise background sounds.
  • Camera – Consider HD for live streaming and recording quality, an auto-focus feature is great, especially for animated presenters.
  • Lighting – A non-dazzling light positioned on the presenter’s face stops them from fading into the background or casting unflattering shadows.
  • Ethernet Cable – Your back-up plan; prepare for untimely internet disruption and have what you need to get things quickly back on track.

We use Logitech products. They hit the top spot in the recent Tech Radar Microphone and Camera review (along with most other recommendations that we’ve seen).

Tip Three – Presenting the Right Image

You may be working from home, but a professional image is still vital for maintaining a positive brand reputation. Where can you set up the webinar to minimise disruption and background noise? What is in the background of your set-up? A roller banner or green screen can be used to disguise home life. What will you wear to feel confident?

Practise your presentation style and tone. Tailor your presentation style to reflect your brand and the audience. If you find webinars daunting, a confident presenting course can be invaluable.

Tip Four – Create Visually Appealing Slides

The slides used in a webinar should be concise and visually interesting. Consider using infographics, charts, images and video clips to illustrate the key points in your script. Ideally, all text will be presented as a limited number of bullet points. More really is more with webinars to maintain interest.

Tip Five – Encourage Engagement

When planning your presentation, ensure that your content is varied and interactive. It is difficult to hold an audience’s attention online, so get them involved. Make appropriate use of whiteboards, chat, emotions and raise hands features for questions and polls. Ask your audience questions or share a video clip to vary the format.

Tip Six – Prepare and Practise your Script

Prepare and practise your narrative as you would for a keynote speech. A script will give confidence that all crucial points will be covered and that the presentation will stay on track.

Limit the webinar to 45 minutes. If this isn’t sufficient time to cover everything and answer questions, divide the content into two or more presentations.

Keep in mind your target delegate and what will be of value to them. Why not ask them to submit questions in advance and address them in the script? Tell a story or case study that brings the message to life.

Remember to kick things off with the aims and objectives. Give an outline of how the webinar will work (raise hands, chat, mute, opportunities to ask questions) and the expected duration. If you plan to record the webinar, inform participants and explain how the recording will be used.

Tip Seven – Recording Webinars

Webinars can be live or pre-recorded.

  • Live Webinars – Offering a live webinar is the best way to engage with the audience, build rapport and tailor it to specific areas of interest.
  • Recording Webinars – Live webinars can be recorded to make accessible for those who could not attend the live event. This ‘on-demand’ option has the potential to extend reach.
  • Pre-recorded Webinars – Some presenters get nervous about live webinars and prefer to pre-record and edit, then present the pre-recording as the main element of a live event. Whilst this can result in a polished version with no surprises, how will you add a personal touch?

There are plenty of editing tools; we have used Shotcut and Descript. Both offer basic options for free and priced options with fewer limitations.

Tip Eight – Honesty is the Best Policy

Let the audience know if you are presenting a live webinar for the first time. Be upfront and ask for feedback at the end. Then use comments to inform changes that can be made for the next webinar.

Equally, if you face a technical hitch, be honest. Deal with it as quickly as you can, apologise and then get the presentation back on track.

Tip Nine – Make Good Use of Webinar Content

A webinar should not be restricted to a one-off event. For a start, the full recording can be published to your website for ‘on-demand’ viewing. You might charge a fee to access or request newsletter signup to view.

Snippets of the event can be posted on Social Media – how about your response to a question or a bullet point summary? The posts can link to the full webinar or help to promote future webinars.

A transcript of the webinar can be used as a blog, for a report or even contribute to your e-book.

Tip Ten – Follow Up with Participants

After the webinar, it is imperative to follow up with all attendees. If they stayed until the end, they are interested in what you offer. Don’t miss the chance to continue building that relationship!

Thank them for attending, ask if they have any further questions and request feedback. At a later date, send ‘early bird’ invitations to future webinars or events.

Participants might leave early for a variety of reasons, so still get in touch. Ask if there was anything that they hoped to learn from attending. Answer questions, appreciate feedback and end the conversation on a positive note.

Tailored Marketing Support

With the right equipment, preparation and presentation webinars can offer an ideal communication, training and marketing tool. Our 10 Tips aim to help your organisation get it right and we wish you every success.

For tailored support with your wider marketing strategy, please call Alison on 07963 002065 or email hello@alisonpagemarketing.co.uk.