Hosting a webinar is a project that should take careful thought, deliberation and focus – all of which involve time. You’re not doing your company a favor by haphazardly throwing together a webinar presentation and hoping it all goes well. Taking the time to prepare for a first webinar that you can be proud of, and leaves your audience engaged and excited should be your end-game. It’s important to remember that a webinar is not for you, it is for people watching the webinar.
Putting together a webinar sounds scary, particularly if it’s your first time! You’re not sure where to start, what to say or how do properly get your message across.
We put together a list of 5 things you must do before hosting your first webinar. Each of these steps will help you focus on the people attending the webinar and ensures you meet your own business objectives. These 5 things don’t even cover the meat of the webinar and how to put it together – these are just the things you need to do first before beginning that process! Building a great webinar is an art form, and we can help you do it the right way.
5 Things you must do before hosting your first webinar:
- Determine your webinar goals and objectives
- Select your webinar target audience
- Select a webinar topic
- Pick a webinar software
- Pick your webinar speaker(s)
These 5 things can even be considered your ‘prep work and must-do’s for each webinar.
#1: Determine Your Webinar Goals and Objectives
Ask yourself, ‘what are my webinar goals?’ When you are putting on a webinar, it should not be for your benefit only. The webinar should also be for those attending. Your first thought should always be, what topic would be useful for registrants, and help achieve my goals? For each webinar, you should come up with 1-3 goal statements.
Sample Goal Statements for Webinars:
To generate 50 new leads
To convert 5 prospects into customers
To build brand awareness for product ABC
To be a thought leader in our industry
To help with your goal of lead generation, for example, webinars are a great way to do this and use as a means of communication with prospects and customers. It is very common for an organization to build webinars that touch on pain points their audience is experiencing and in these webinars, they will then provide ways to alleviate this pain. Typically, this pain is solved through their product and service offerings.
When putting on a webinar, your goal should always be top of mind, but you don’t want a sales-y webinar or product-demo based webinar. Those are incredibly annoying AND boring for all participants involved.
Now that you have selected your goal(s), you need to pick what objectives will help you to achieve your goal. If your goal is to generate new leads and build brand awareness, the way to do that is to not present your audience with just the features and benefits of a product. Instead, you want to provide webinar attendees with useful information that they can bring back to their job, all the while showing how to do that using your product. Even if you don’t bring in new leads, you are still providing your existing clientele with awesome information – which is a win/win!
When you are promoting a webinar, knowing the webinar objectives will go a long way in your messaging and you can better tailor your webinar invites, landing pages to these objectives and thus your target audience, which we will discuss below.
During this planning stage, you should also write a few objectives statements for why someone should attend your webinar and what they can expect to get out of it. This content will also help with the event registration write-up portion!
#2: Select Your Webinar Target Audience
Selecting your target market for the webinar is key. You must figure out what audience you want to speak to. Going back to your goals and objectives, if your goal is to generate 50 new leads then getting your webinar invite and registration page in front of the people who are more likely to be interested in your product and actually buy, will be crucial. If your organization has done the work to determine your buyer personas, this is exactly who your target audience is.
If you have not developed buyer personas, make that a to-do, as it will be highly beneficial for all marketing initiatives. Click on this link for more information on buyer personas and helping in your building yours!
Your target audience could be titles like Chief Marketing Officer or Director of IT, but your target market could also go by industry, such as education or government. If your goal is to generate new leads for the sales team, narrowing down your target audience will go a long way in ensuring the right people are attending your webinar and that the sales team is not wasting time in following up with unqualified leads.
#3: Pick a Webinar Topic
When building your first webinar (or really any webinar!) picking a relevant topic is very important. The topic and title alone will be the deciding factor on if someone is interested in your webinar content and if it even applies to them. Go back to your target audience, and who the best fit for your webinar is… what topic is meaningful to them? How can you help them excel at their job or make their lives easier? If your audience can get a tangible takeaway from attending your webinar, you’ve done your job.
Picking a topic should be well researched and thought-out. If your topic and content come from just one to two people, you are doing it all wrong. The best way to ensure a webinar is successful is to understand what is important to your target audience.
Here is a couple of ways to determine what is meaningful to your target audience:
- Survey your customer support & sales team. Do they notice any trends or top questions being asked? What are the biggest pain points they hear on sales calls?
- Survey your existing customers on pain points. Why did they pick your product and solution? How did your product solve that pain? And even just ask what topics they are interested in and likely to register for.
- Survey existing sales prospects to ask questions on why they had an interest in your products. From their answers, you can find trends that you may need to speak to help prospects learn more about how your product/business will be beneficial for them and lead them down the buyer’s journey from a prospect to a customer.
- Research current market trends on your industry and ask subject matter experts in your field.
As a follow-up after your first webinar, it’s a good time to also survey your webinar registrants what next webinar topic they are likely to attend – this will help in planning a series of webinars and building a consistent schedule. Your best content will come from your prospects and customers – make sure you keep those ears open and listen!
With all of this surveying and research complete, you should then have a list of potential topics or pain points to select from. Take a step back, and review this list and see:
- What is an interesting topic that people would be excited about
- Do you have someone that can speak to these topics
#4: Pick a Software to Host Your Webinar
Now that you’ve determined the goals, objectives, target audience and potential topics for your very first webinar you need to figure out how you’re going to actually deliver your webinar! There are tons of web conferencing, webinar hosting and video conferencing solutions out there to choose from. Knowing the goal of your webinar will help you to pick the best webinar hosting platform for your organization.
Far too often webinars are a simple screen share with little to no engagement with your audience outside of a chat box. This is not the route you want to go if you really want to develop a relationship with your audience and encourage further interactions.
When picking a software to host your first webinar pay special attention to the experience your registrants will have.
Things to think about:
- Is it easy for them to register and attend the webinar? Do they have to download plugins?
- Are there email reminders?
- What engagement tools is included in the webinar software? Chat, polling, Q&A options? Social media engagement opportunities?
Remember: A webinar is about your audience, it isn’t about you. When picking a webinar solution, keep your audience top of mind, always!
Additionally, what additional webinar services does the potential solution have? Are you on your own if should you run into an issue with the platform? How can you get help when you need it? There is nothing more embarrassing than being unable to manage your webinar live. Make sure your webinar provider has your back. This can be the difference between a good experience or a bad one that hurts your business’ reputation.
#5: Pick Your Webinar Speakers
Once you’ve decided on the above #1-4 things, one of the biggest deciding factors in a successful webinar is your webinar speaker!
Your speaker or speakers should identify to the target audience you picked. They should be relatable, speak their language (meaning, has similar experiences to those attending the webinar) and have a strong, confident presence both in the tone of voice and how they look on the screen should they turn on their webcam.
Another important thing on selecting the right webinar speaker is deciding if they are tech savvy! Your speaker might have to run the webinar software, do they have the skills to be able to manage this platform AND present? Some web conferencing providers offer webinar services that can help you manage the platform during the live event, but what if your budget doesn’t allow for this? Ensuring the speaker is well prepared in managing the conferencing software in and out is imperative for the success of the webinar.
Another final note on selecting a webinar speaker is making sure the speaker is a professional. Do you know if your webinar speaker will show up on time for dry-runs and even the day of the live event? The webinar speaker can’t show up late! When preparing for your webinar dry-runs (which you should do at least 3-5 dry-runs per webinar to work out all the kinks), does the speaker have their content ready, are they prepared to run through the entire presentation? Having the answer to these questions before picking your speaker will go a long way in ensuring your webinar is a smooth process and that they are prepared for your audience and leave a positive, lasting impression.
Now that you’ve read through our top 5 things you must do before your first webinar you are ready to begin this new, exciting initiative. Putting on a webinar is a great experience, especially if you’re prepared. Think of your webinar as a show – preparation for any show is key, and should you do this prep work you’ll be sure to get a standing ovation from your audience.