Are you looking to create a webinar your clients, prospects, and target audience will actually want to attend? Webinars are a great way to build and engage with your audience, share specific content and expertise, and they can play a large role in your lead generation and inbound marketing. However, effectively executing a live webinar takes careful planning and consideration. To help you, let’s take a look at the four keys to successfully creating and hosting live webinars.
1. Finding the Right Topic
The first step to a successful webinar is to pick the right theme or topic that is engaging and relevant to your target audience. This should be something that will make them want to take time out of their day to attend and listen to you speak about.
If you don’t know where to start, think about what expertise you have or what your specialty is. Provide tips for how to save money or operate more efficiently with technology, or share some Office 365 hacks. As always, cybersecurity is a huge opportunity for MSPs to talk about, as many small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are looking to get smarter about IT security. Any of these are great topics to build a webinar around. The key to finding a great topic is to talk about things that relate to the problems that your prospects and existing client are trying to solve. Once you find that topic, spend a couple of minutes thinking about it to make sure it’s on target with your market, your audience, and your readership.
2. Consider Including Guest Speakers or a Panel
Next, it’s a good idea to consider lining up some guest speakers or even a panel for your webinar. You might need to have some expertise—something that proves that you know what you’re talking about. Get some proven speakers or guests involved who can present on some of the slide or points you’re making. Now, it’s possible that the expert is actually yourself, or this can be a member of your team or organization. Additionally, it can even be an existing client who can act as a testimonial or case study, which can go a long way on a webinar where interested prospects may be listening in.
Including outside guests might also be a good idea because it will help add a little personality to the webinar. It’s important to have different people speaking and different opinions being shared. This can also help bring in different types of experience and background into the conversation, so that you have a variety of insight into the topic or theme that you’re discussing.
If you want people to attend your webinar, you need to promote it! Promotion is really important for live webinars because you’ve put all this thought into what you’re going to talk about, so you have to encourage people to register. Also, they need to be informed on the live date and time when they’re going to be tuning in.
At a minimum, you’ll need promotion to start four to six weeks ahead of time. This will include sending dedicated emails out, and featuring it on your website, your blog, and your social media accounts. Use any distribution channel that you have to get that message and link out there where people can go sign up for your live webinar. In your promotion, make sure you’re very clear about the date and time (be mindful of different time zones) and when folks should be expecting to tune into the live session. Also, it’s a great idea to give registrants the option to add the webinar date to their calendar via an Outlook or Gmail invite once they’ve signed up. Platforms such as GoToWebinar do a great job of providing that feature for you.
Overall, make sure you’ve got a solid promotional schedule in place so that you can get a good number of registrants to sign up and attend your webinar.
4. Engage with Your Audience
Lastly, the key to a great live webinar is to be engaging and interactive. Your goal should be to have people ask questions and comment on the topics you’re talking about. Registrants and attendees are taking time out of their day to tune into this session and learn more about this topic, so it’s important to be engaging and interact with these people. Let them raise their hand and say “can we talk more about that?” or “I have a question about that last point you just made, can we dive a bit deeper into this?” You always want to open the floor to the pool of participants and allow them to ask questions.
It’s also equally as important that you’re ready to answer their questions. Be proactive and prepare yourself to interact with your attendees and address any questions that might come up. For something you aren’t able to answer right away, though, you need to have a good follow-up strategy in place so that you can go get the information that someone is requesting and provide it to them after the webinar.
What’s more, the piece that’s great about live webinars is that it doesn’t have to be a one-and-done kind of deal. After you have all this build up and host the live session, it’s pointless to just stop right there. Instead, you can record your webinar, providing you with an on-demand piece of content that can help in your lead generation, marketing to both prospects and existing clients, and it can really extend the shelf life of the effort you put into the live session.
All in all, webinars are a great way to engage with clients and prospects, but you need to make sure it’s worth their while. Do to so, make sure you’ve picked the right topic to speak about, you’re providing some form of expertise, you’re being engaging and interactive, and then once the session actually takes place that you’re putting the right steps and mechanisms in place so that you can share it on-demand for months to come.
By Courtney Swift
By Scott Wittstock