Webinar Production Essentials: A Complete Technology & Equipment Checklist

Planning your next webinar? Perhaps it’s your first webinar? Regardless of what’s in your pipeline for webinar production, you’ll want to ensure you have the best technology and equipment at hand to be successful.

Many companies and organizations use webinars as a large part of their marketing strategy, which means a reliable in-house set-up is crucial for their webinar production value. If webinars are a big part of your marketing strategy, you’ll need your webinars to be as polished and professional as possible to maximize your marketing impact.

Webinars nowadays have a wide reach when it comes to marketing. Anyone can find an on-demand recorded webinar from your website, social shares, YouTube, emails, blog post; the list goes on! So, you never know who might see it, could be your next customer. Therefore, you should opt always to put your best foot forward when it comes to webinar production.

Read on for the ultimate essentials checklist for webinar production technology.

 

Essential Technology for Webinar Production

 Technology for Webinar Production

Webinar Software:

There are many options available for hosting your webinar. Each platform has a different set of features that in many cases, don’t overlap.

Determine your feature requirements of a webinar platform before researching and make sure to start a free trial as well. You want to determine if the experience on the host and end-users side matches the experience you wish to deliver for your webinar production.

 

Fast Internet Connection:

Streaming a live webinar takes up a lot of internet bandwidth. Ensure you have a fast internet connection or the ability to wire into your network. If you have low broadband speeds or if you’re still on dial-up service, you can count on having frequent delays and connection issues throughout the course of your live webinar.

As part of your webinar production set-up, make sure to test your speed. (We recommend this speed test.)

 

Marketing Automation Platform:

Your webinar platform likely comes with a tool that allows you to build a registration landing page. Your landing page gives your registrants the ability to fill out a form to register for the webinar so you can capture their information. If it doesn’t, you will need a separate solution or tool that allows you to build this registration landing page for each webinar.

Additionally, if your webinar platform does not give you the ability to send out email reminders or updates to webinar registrants, you will need to use a marketing automation platform to do this as well. Emails are a critical part of webinar production, especially when it comes to following up with webinar registrants. You don’t want to leave your audience hanging!

 

Audio Conferencing:

Most webinar platforms come with VoIP, or they will provide a conference line for attendees to dial into. However, not all webinar platforms allow dial-in. In case yours does not, or if the provided audio quality is poor, you might want to source your own audio option to combat against this issue.

 

PowerPoint:

More often than not, a webinar host will run through a PowerPoint presentation during their online event.

If you do not own Microsoft PowerPoint, now is the time to invest or seek an alternative solution like Keynote.  These tools allow you to put together the visual component of your webinar production. Doing so gives you the ability to brand the presentation to your company or share your “voice.”

For example, if your company tends to be quirky or funny, you can show that off in your slides. Some webinar platforms have the ability to upload PowerPoint files directly into the platform as well, which provides a cleaner view for participants.

Video Editing Tool:

Video is huge right now in the marketing space and is a great form of content to integrate into your webinar production.

Chances are you might have existing videos or training sessions recorded that you’d like to share during your webinar. If you plan to use video during your webinars, it’s always a good idea to do a little editing to make it work with all your other webinar content.

For example, if you only want to show 45 seconds of a 90-second video during the webinar, this is your opportunity to not waste any time and cut out the parts of the video you don’t wish to show.

Image Editing Tool:

Image editing tools, like Photoshop, are another worthwhile investment for your webinar production. This is especially true if you have someone on staff with graphic design experience.

You might use an image editing tool to help craft your PowerPoint slides so you can insert branded images. You could also use image editing software to edit a webinar speaker’s headshot and perhaps even use to assist with the creation of your registration page or email invites. Using a tool like this throughout the set-up process of each webinar will help your webinar production look polished and professional.

 

 

As for the equipment part of your webinar production package, this includes the physical equipment you should strongly consider having on-hand for an in-house studio to produce your webinars. Read on for the ultimate essentials checklist for equipment.

 

 

Equipment for Webinar Production

Equipment for Webinar Production

High-quality webcam:

Audiences like to see webinar speakers on webcam.

Seeing the presenter on camera helps attendees connect to the speaker and delivers a more in-person feel. You’ll want to source a high-quality webcam to give your webinar speaker the best chance at looking good.

You won’t want yourself or your co-hosts to look grainy on screen or even worse… your webcam might not work at all. Hopefully, your laptop has a quality webcam built-in, but if you’ve tested it and it isn’t up to par, look at buying webcams that plug in via USB to your laptop or computer.

 

Lighting:

If you’re on webcam, it’s ALL about the lighting. Without proper lighting equipment, your webinar speaker could be left looking washed out or completely overshadowed. Review this article for fun tips on using lighting to your advantage while on webcam!

Backdrop:

A backdrop is a staged background behind the webinar speaker. This is only required if you plan on using a webcam during the webinar.

Instead of having a messy desk or boring white wall behind you showing up in the video feed, you can purchase a backdrop set to control the entire camera view. During your webinar production you can customize your own backdrop to have the company logo or other landscape of your choosing. Having a backdrop is a cool touch to add to the experience of your webinar.

 

Microphone:

While your computer or laptop likely has an internal mic already built-in, we encourage investing in a standalone mic to achieve superior sound quality.

This could be a headset microphone or a mic that sits on your desk.

If you plan to be on webcam, we highlight suggest a discreet microphone, and only use a headset that is not very visible. Otherwise the webinar host might look more like a call operator and than the industry expert they are.

Laptop or computer:

It’s no secret that you’ll need a computer or laptop to host a webinar.

In many cases you’ll need multiple computers to facilitate your webinars. This is especially true if you plan to have multiple webinar hosts. However, it is not unheard of for some folks to only use a phone nowadays. It’s even rumored that Marketing Guru, Gary Vaynerchuk, only uses his smartphone and no longer has a laptop, for example.

Even though this one might seem like a no-brainer, it’s important to discuss all of the necessary equipment and technical requirements with everyone involved in your webinar production as far in advance as you can. This will ensure everyone is adequately prepared before you go live.

Also, if you’re on a laptop, make sure your charger is nearby. Webinars can quickly drain your battery. You don’t want to have that snafu – big ouch!

 

 

Webinar Production Budgeting

Now that we’ve run through the essentials checklist for the technology and equipment you should consider investing in as part of your webinar production, we want to discuss the dreaded topic of budget.

You likely already have a budget in mind for what you want to spend on webinar production, or what budget you are allowed to spend from your boss.

If you do have the budget to move forward with the highest quality technology and equipment then, by all means, please do this. You won’t regret it.

However, you can quickly drive up costs by going with the top of the line options for everything we listed above, which might not work for you. If you need to start small or bootstrap your way when it comes to webinar production, that is ok! We believe in your hustle.

If you don’t have the budget then you’ll need to pick and choose what technology and equipment to initially invest in. You will want to scope out all the essential items above, pick your ideal technology and equipment to purchase, then price it out and match against your budget.

While every item above is an essential for professional webinar production, if you’re bootstrapped on the budget, consider the below essentials first and foremost before purchasing anything else:

 

Top 4 Webinar Production Essentials:

  1. Webinar platform – this alone accounts for what will make or break your registrant’s webinar experience with you. Plus, you need a way to host a webinar! Select a webinar platform that fits within your budget, but will allow you to provide the best experience. From the registration process, to signing in, the live webinar and finally even leaving the webinar. This is not the item to skimp on.

 

  1. Fast Internet Connection – nowadays, most people have fast internet connection, or an option to directly wire into the network. If you don’t, this should be a top priority.

 

  1. Lighting – if you plan to be on webcam, lighting is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to make a good impression. Whether it’s a lamp from home or professional lighting. This is a must-have.

 

  1. PowerPoint – most webinars use a PowerPoint presentation throughout their webinar anyway. So, since you likely already have this software, check out our blog on perfecting the webinar PowerPoint design!

 

Get started!

As mentioned, you’ll need high quality webinar software to ensure your webinar production is a success from start to finish. Check out BigMarker today for a modern, feature-rich webinar experience that both you and your audience will love. Start your 14-day free trial now or send us a message to get in touch.

What To Expect Before, During, And After Your First Webinar

A well-executed first webinar can boost your brand exposure, inform a designated consumer group, and deliver your marketing messages to a targeted demographic. The powerful combination of content, graphics, and a live, interactive exchange of data can convert prospects into actual sales as well as grant your audience an up close look at everything your business has to offer.

Despite the many benefits offered by webinars, many entrepreneurs still hesitate to host their first webinar simply because they aren’t sure what to expect throughout the entire process. They worry they won’t know how to adequately prep, execute, and follow up, so they opt to leave webinar hosting out of their marketing mix altogether. Don’t let fear of the unknown prevent you from reaping the benefits of running your first webinar; know what to expect before, during, and after so you can prepare for optimal success.

 

Before Your First Webinar

You should expect a lot of strategic planning before your first webinar. Pre-event preparation is often the most crucial component to an effective webinar. Some key items you will want to put on your pre-event checklist include:

 

Will Your Material Work in Webinar Format?

While webinars work well to present a wide range of ideas and materials, it’s still important to determine if what you want to announce is relevant for the webinar format. In short, if you’re asking people to clear their schedule to tune into your session, you should have a fairly significant announcement or event to share. Leave minor announcements like press releases and inconsequential service updates to other mediums. Your first webinar should focus on more relevant ideas such as:

  • Panel discussions
  • Product demonstrations
  • How-to tutorials
  • Interview with industry authority / trendsetter
  • Fresh takes on current niche topics

Taking the time to identify if you have enough to share is a key first step before hosting your first webinar.

 

Set Specific Goals

Not having any outlined objectives before a first webinar is a common mistake. You should treat webinars as you would any other marketing initiative and develop a list of specific goals you’d like to achieve with each session you host. Include both general and specific targets:

  • Further brand exposure and reach
  • Launch new product/services
  • Number of attendees
  • Total qualified leads
  • Sales conversions

Knowing what you want to achieve before your first webinar can help you fine-tune the presentation as needed so you accomplish it.

Get Writing

Once you’ve determined you have something to offer as well as your marketing purpose, you’ll want to hit the keyboard to start drafting your content. A well-rounded, engaging webinar will use a solid mix of both audio and visual material to captivate listeners.

Work with your team to develop an outline of various components to include. Once you know what you want to convey, it’s time to start writing the slides and script you will need to keep the audience tuned in from start to finish.

Send and Manage Invitations

Even the most captivating webinars fail if no one knows when to tune in and listen.

Before hosting your first webinar, you will want to develop a strategy to invite your targeted demographic to your session. Start by choosing when you will host your first webinar, remembering to consider various time zones so as many prospects as possible can check you out.

Once you’ve identified your date and time as well as desired audience, you will want to get the word out by using as many resources as possible. Emails, your website, a press release, and social media pages all prove an excellent way to help spread your announcement.

No matter what invitation forum you use, be sure to include ways to RSVP so you can manage attendance totals as well as field any necessary questions in advance.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Setting aside enough time to rehearse your session is quite possibly the most important thing to expect before hosting your first webinar.

You should host dry runs on every component of your webinar, beginning with the technology you use. Practice using the webinar software before going live to guarantee everyone involved understands all the needed functionality in advance.

You will also want to rehearse the presentation itself. Copy that reads well may not have the same desired impact when spoken. Gather up a makeshift audience to listen to your material before going live so you can adjust and edit as needed before guests beginning logging in.

Finally, as part of your practice session, you will want to setup your meeting space for optimal results. If you’re hosting from home, ensure that everyone you live with knows to not interrupt you during the conference time. If you’re hosting from the office, you should sign out a quiet room where you won’t have to worry about disruptions.

Your immediate space should be organized and clutter free to eliminate the risk you will knock something over when you do go live.

Last thing on your checklist – turn off your computer notifications and put your cellphone on Do Not Disturb.

 

Before hosting your first webinar

 

During Your First Webinar

You will want to prepare for what may occur during your first webinar. The first thing to expect during a webinar? The unforeseen can (and often does) happen.

There’s truly no foolproof way to plan ahead for the limitless possibilities of “what ifs” that can occur throughout your presentation. However it’s still important to understand some of the basics of what may go down when everyone starts logging in:

Dealing With Nervousness

Even if you are reading everything from a script, there’s still a chance that you may find yourself battling butterflies and nerves when going live. It’s perfectly natural.

Walking in place and moving a bit (as much as your webinar setup will allow without compromising the quality of the demonstration) whenever you start to feel tense can help relax you so your listeners never notice your anxiety.

Show-Up Rates

As with any audience-centric event, some of your participants will simply not attend your first webinar, for various reasons. Illness, changes in schedules, forgetting about the event, and a simple loss of interest can all play a role in guests not attending your presentation.

The key is to not take their absence personally – track those who don’t attend so you can develop a plan to remind and encourage guests to tune in on your next session.

Timing is Everything

No matter how many times you’ve rehearsed your presentation, you may still find that your live execution is off. Some newbie exhibitors run too long and risk people having to leave the demo before it’s finished; others finish up too quickly and experience the awkward tension of “dead air.”

If you do start to notice your timing is a bit off, plan accordingly. If you’re going over the planned time, you may have specific sections you can omit in order to focus on the most crucial elements of your expo. Or, if you feel like you’re racing through your delivery, slow down and insert some ad hoc Q&A sessions with your audience.

Stopping for inquiries not only gets you back on schedule, it also instantly adds an interactive component between you and your audience as well.

 

What to do during your first webinar

 

After Your First Webinar

When you finally log off and think your webinar work is over…it’s not. Managing the aftermath of your event is critical to help you achieve all those goals and objectives you identified before your first webinar. After every session you will want to:

Follow-up

Far too often, newbie presenters fail to follow-up with the leads garnered during the webinar. As soon as possible, you and your team should work through your entire list of webinar attendees to identify what type of lead category they fall into. For the most part, these lead categories will include:

  • Invited
  • Signed-up but didn’t attend
  • Attendees
  • Conversions

Once you’ve identified lead type, you will want to develop a follow-up specifically designed to bring them to the next level in your pipeline. Emails, sales links, freebies, and exclusive opportunities are just some of the many ways you can connect with and further nurture your leads.

 

Analyze Data

After hosting your first webinar, you will have access to a wealth of critical data and information. Analyze some key facts such as:

  • Attendance levels
  • How long session actually lasted
  • How many attendees stayed until the end
  • Technical difficulties
  • Areas for improvement
  • Negative feedback
  • Most powerful segments
  • Questions asked by audience

No detail is too small for consideration; gathering up everything you can will help you identify trends in your performance, what worked, and what didn’t.

Get Ready For Round Two

Armed with your newfound webinar experience and careful data analysis, you are officially ready to get started on your next live webinar.

Reevaluate your initial presentation to pinpoint how you can strengthen your brand messages and further your promotional objectives in the future. You may find there are pieces of the original presentation you want eliminate for upcoming conferences. However, you may still identify a use for relevant materials.

Go through your demonstration to determine if you can repurpose content in other campaigns and strategies.

Finally, you may also want to develop a method for storing your first videoconference (and any other subsequent sessions that follow).

Offering access to your specific demographic after the live event is an excellent way to optimize long-term marketing momentum. Live links on your website and social media pages give interested consumers a chance to review your demo at their convenience. Online access to your presentation increases total promotional impact for maximum overall return on investment.

 

Start hosting!

In order to host your first webinar, you’ll need to start with great webinar software. Check out BigMarker for modern, no-download webinar technology you and your audience will love. To get started, sign up for a 14-day free trial or send us a message to learn more about the hosting experience on BigMarker.

 

After hosting your first webinar

 

 

 

Sources

http://www.techsoup.org/support/articles-and-how-tos/10-steps-for-planning-a-successful-webinar

http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/08/26/how-to-do-a-webinar

How to Create a High-Quality Webinar Landing Page

Are you planning to host a webinar in the near future? If so, you probably know there are a number of elements that go into doing this successfully. While it’s not a part of the actual presentation, your webinar landing page will play a huge role in whether or not this important form of content is successful.

 

The Importance of a High-Quality Webinar Landing Page

Before we start showing you how to create a successful webinar landing page, let’s really quickly cover why it’s so important.

After all, putting together a webinar is a lot of work, especially the first time you do it. By the time you finish putting together your presentation, you may feel tempted to simply slap together a webinar landing page so you can start promoting it ASAP.

We really advise you against this, though.

Your webinar landing page is going to be seen as a direct reflection on this important piece of content. While you don’t have to spend nearly as much time on it as your webinar presentation, you should make sure that it sets people up to have confidence in the actual webinar that’s about to follow.

Let’s begin with the basic ingredients every one of these landing pages absolutely must have. Just because these are the basics, though, doesn’t mean you can afford to take them for granted.

If you’re able to nail these elements, your landing page will be very powerful. Nonetheless, after these five concepts, we’ll continue by showing you some very promising tips you can implement.

 

Communicate Your Unique Selling Point (USP)

A high-converting webinar landing page will only be possible if you display your unique selling point or USP prominently at the top where it will be easy to see right away.

In other words, the moment someone lands on your webinar landing page, they should see what it is your webinar has to offer.

Take time considering what your USP is, too.

Ask yourself questions like: Why should people attend my webinar? What’s waiting for them at the end? How will their lives change for the better after attending it?

These things are your USP.

Now, the other part of this equation is coming up with the most efficient way of explaining your USP to the people who come to your webinar landing page.

Simply deciding on your USP isn’t good enough. You also have to communicate it to your guests in such a way that they won’t miss the point or otherwise decide to head elsewhere.

This copy is going to be extremely important, so take your time coming up with it.

 

Use compelling images on your webinar landing page

 

Add a Compelling Image

Your webinar landing page should have an image near the top that fits the USP you’re displaying, too.

For many of you, this will be simple. If you’re interviewing someone, just include a picture of them. They’ll probably have a headshot they can send you. It couldn’t be any easier.

Other times, this is going to be a little more involved. You’ll want an image that communicates the USP.

For example, if you’re going to be showing people how to increase traffic to your landing page, your landing page may display a graph that shows a positive trend.

If you were showing people how to get in shape, you might choose a before-and-after photo of your success or that of your clients.

Pro Tip: If you do decide to use a headshot or some other picture of a person, make sure they aren’t staring directly ahead. This makes it too easy for the reader to lock eyes with them which, in turn, interrupts the reading of the copy. Instead, have their eyes pointing toward important elements on your page.

 

Explaining the Benefits

A good USP only needs to be about a sentence or two. Remember, its job is to simply grab your visitors’ attention and make sure they don’t go running off to another page until they’ve scrolled down the page.

Provided they do this, you’ll want to list the benefits that they’ll receive from attending your webinar. If you went through the aforementioned process of coming up with a USP, it shouldn’t be too difficult to now expound on it and list out benefits for your attendees.

Generally, you should use bullet points for this. Doing so will let you list out a number of benefits without making bulky copy with lots of paragraphs. This could easily send potential attendees running.

 

Leverage Social Proof

One of the best ways to get people excited about attending your webinar is showing them what other people received after doing so. You want to give them testimonials because this kind of social proof is extremely powerful.

For instance, if you’re showing people how to make money in their free time, you’d want to show them statements from past attendees who have used what you taught them to do just that: make money in their free time.

At the end of the day, anyone can claim to teach just about anything. That’s why the more ambitious your claim, the more important it is that you back it up with testimonials that provide evidence.

Your USP and list of benefits regarding your webinar are still very important. Don’t think that just having a ton of testimonials on your webinar landing page will be enough.

It’s great if you have that many, but the other two components provide important context. You don’t want to waste those testimonials because people are getting confused.

 

Give a Clear Call to Action

At this point, if you’ve done all of the above, your webinar landing page should be coming along nicely. Anyone who lands on it should immediately be drawn down the page through the past four elements.

The last piece it needs is a call to action. You need to tell people what it is you want them to do.

This may seem too obvious to even need its own section, but don’t take this piece lightly. It’s been proven that people lose business when they aren’t straightforward with their potential customers. You must tell them exactly what it is you want them to do.

Tell them where to enter in their information to attend your webinar and make sure the forms are impossible to miss.

 

Bonus Tips

If you’re in a hurry and need a webinar landing page right away for some reason, you now have all the essential pieces for putting one together. That being said, if you have a bit more time on your hands, the following additions can make your webinar landing page even more powerful.

 

Create a high-converting webinar landing page

 

Use Custom Registration Fields to Grab Extra Information

We left on the call to action of your webinar landing page, so let’s continue there.

While you’re designing that part of the page, why not add one or two more registration questions to it?

Most people just ask attendees for their names and email addresses. That’s definitely enough. You can use their email addresses for a number of powerful reasons.

While you have them there, though, go ahead and ask for other helpful pieces of information.

You could ask about how they found out about this webinar, for example. Maybe it would help to know what kind of profession they’re in. Would learning about their biggest sticking points relative to what you teach be helpful?

Instead of asking these questions in future emails and hoping people respond, you already have this information. You can even use it right away to segment the initial emails you send out following your webinar.

Just don’t get carried away. Two or three questions are probably the maximum amount you should ask. You don’t want to lose potential attendees because they simply don’t want to keep filling out your form.

Provide a Sample

This is something we’re seeing more and more of and for good reason.

On your webinar landing page, you could include a brief sample to show your potential attendees what to expect.

This way, they can be confident that the speaker and equipment being used will lead to a webinar that’s worth their time.

Many of us have set aside time for what seemed like a promising webinar and then been horribly disappointed when it came time for the program to start.

There’s still a large disparity in terms of quality across webinars, which is why you can expect to see more and more sign-up pages including these previews. Companies appreciate that people want to be assured that their time won’t be wasted.

Use Urgency and Scarcity

Most webinars have urgency built in. If it’s a live program, people have to sign up before the show goes live or they’ll miss it. Thus, they need to act right away.

We’d still recommend you make this very clear to people. Many of these landing pages even include meters that track how many days, hours, minutes and seconds are left until the webinar goes live.

The other thing you can do on your webinar landing page is introduce scarcity. Tell your audience that you’re only going to allow a certain number of people in and, once they’ve signed up, you won’t take anymore.

This will do a couple of important things.

First, it’s going to knock people off the fence. Instead of thinking about it or putting the decision off until the last possible second, this scarcity means they might not have another opportunity to attend your webinar if they don’t sign up right now.

Second, it’s going to make them value it more. As you probably know, when you don’t allow everyone to have something, it naturally becomes more valuable to everyone.

Aside from the fact that this will dovetail nicely with urgency in terms of pushing people to take action; it also means that people will be more likely to appreciate the information you provide them.

Eliminate Navigational Tools

One hallmark of a good website is that it’s easy to navigate. People should have no problem jumping from one page to the next.

However, your webinar landing page is a little different. You actually don’t want to make it easy for your visitor to jump all over the place. You want to keep them on the page until they fill everything out and click “register.”

Obviously, they can use their browser controls whenever they want. The point is that you don’t want to lose someone simply because their attention went elsewhere for a fleeting moment and that was enough to take them off your page.

Along the same lines, despite all these elements we’re recommending, you want to keep your webinar landing page simple and streamlined. Keep it easy for visitors to comply with your wishes.

Don’t Try to Appeal to Everyone

This is a great time to bring up this important advice. You’ve probably heard the old adage that trying to please everybody is how you end up pleasing no one.

The same goes for the copy on your webinar landing page. It’s understandable that you’d be tempted to take a large net approach and simply do your best to catch as many attendees as possible.

However, you probably also have a purpose for putting on a webinar in the first place, right? Is it to generate leads or will you actually be selling a product/service?

Whatever the case, if you attract people who are never going to be good prospects, you’ll be severely reducing your closing percentage. Also, if you do decide to keep your webinar open to only a certain number of people, it’s even more important that you’re selective about who’s allowed in.

As you can see, a lot of work goes into creating a successful landing page for your webinar. However, the work is definitely worth it. Furthermore, after you do this once, you’ll have an easy time leveraging this landing page over and over in the future to continue promoting your webinars.

Nonetheless, if you have any questions or would like help setting up your webinar landing page, contact BigMarker. Not a BigMarker user yet? Start your 14-day free trial today.

 

 

 

 

Sources:

https://instapage.com/blog/webinar-landing-page-examples

https://blog.crazyegg.com/2015/06/11/webinar-landing-pages/

https://zapier.com/blog/best-webinar-landing-page-copy-and-design/

http://blog.wishpond.com/post/115675435901/how-to-create-the-perfect-webinar-landing-page

5 Landing Page Secrets to More Webinar Registrations

How to Scale Your Webinar Audience From 10 to 1000 Attendees

Webinar hosting is a powerful and proven marketing resource. Executives in virtually every field can integrate webinar services into their business development strategy to broaden brand recognition, strengthen existing partnerships, and establish (or reinforce) their organization as an industry authority. Most importantly, webinar attendees can associate a human face and name with your company, instantly making it more relatable to consumers and affiliates alike.

Despite the extensive advantages offered by webinar software, many speakers still struggle to optimize results with their overall participation totals. This goes far beyond simply boosting registration numbers. Increasing your webinar attendees isn’t just about getting participants to signup…it’s also about ensuring they actually show up.

It can be a common occurrence for people to register for an event, only to pull a no-show on actual broadcast day for a wide range of reasons. Scheduling conflicts, forgetting about the discussion, or just losing interest can all deter prospective listeners from logging in when you launch. This “absentee audience” trend can negatively impact any presentation.

While demonstration drop-off can be frustrating, it is preventable. You can develop a strategy to boost webinar attendance and game day participation. Follow these tips to scale your next webinar’s turn-out:

 

Know The Numbers/Set Some Goals

It’s not enough to say you want to increase attendance. Get specific about your objectives and create actual goals for yourself. A good place to start? Create both a registration goal and an actual attendance goal. You should begin to notice trends in the number of registrants who eventually attend your session. Use this information to gauge how many registrants you will need for future webinars to ensure you hit the number of webinar attendees you’re striving for.

 

Choose Your Topic Wisely

Perhaps the best way to get people plugged into your webinar is to deliver a topic your prospective webinar attendees are interested in hearing and learning about. This isn’t always easy. Many business owners have a diverse range of consumers within their demographic. What intrigues one sect can repel another. Zeroing in on a subject that engages, informs, and proves useful to participants can trigger a positive response in attendance.

 

poll webinar attendees

Poll Previous Webinar Attendees

Don’t automatically assume you know what your targeted audience wants to hear. Ask them. Before putting together your presentation, send surveys with specific questions regarding topic to past audience members. You can also send post-webinar polls to ask about ideas not originally discussed to gain insight on future focus areas.

 

Create An Attention-Grabbing Incentive

As a webinar host, you have to give registrants every reason possible not to miss out on what you have to offer…and it can start with an enticing participation incentive. Think about what motivates your targeted webinar attendees and develop a giveaway they will not only appreciate, but will actually use. Viable suggestions can include a free gift, eBook, product promotions, and even discounts on future services. You could also offer access to various “members only” pages and reports on your website to generate interest in attending your webinar.

Also, don’t underestimate the power of a social media contest. Create a special hashtag and encourage participants to post on their pages leading up to your webinar for a prize drawn at the conclusion of your presentation; this both markets your webinar as well as offers an incentive to attendees for a win/win. It doesn’t have to be an expensive giveaway to command attention; you only have to offer something that will have perceived value with your webinar attendees.

Time Matters

Think about the time you generally schedule your webinars. Are you competing for attendance during “prime time” business hours? Oftentimes, speakers attempt to host their webinars during early morning or late afternoon hours to grant as many participants as possible the opportunity to attend. However, this often means your webinar isn’t the only one vying for their presence on any given day. While you definitely want to select a time that accommodates all necessary time zones, shifting your schedule, even by an hour or two, can instantly free up enough bandwidth for listeners to actively tune in.

Scheduling Tip: Schedule business or “work-related” webinars between 11am and 3pm CST during the workweek. Or, if you’re hosting “lifestyle” (non work-related) webinars, schedule them after 6pm CST on weekdays or on the weekend.

 

Day Of The Week Matters

Of course, it’s not just the time of the day that can make an impact on the number of webinar attendees you get; the actual day itself matters. Mondays can prove a busy day for prospective participants to catch up on outstanding action items. Additionally, no one wants to be committed to a work-related presentation of any length during weekend. Once you’ve pinpointed the right time, schedule your webinar on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays to improve the chance of participation.

 

Promote On Your Website

Help get the word out about your upcoming session by creating a specialized landing page on your website. Here is where you can outline all specifics including the who, what, where, when and, most importantly, why. Give details on the specific problem you will solve and the advantages offered simply by attending your webinar. You can also provide information about any giveaways or contests held during the presentation on this landing page.

promote your webinar to webinar attendees on social media

Promote Via Social Media

You can promote your webinars directly on your social media pages as well. Your social media accounts are an excellent method to consistently market to both existing and prospective webinar attendees, without fear of them feeling “spammed.” While social media pages provide a direct channel to consumers, it’s still important to carefully consider how you will promote your event using these resources. Beyond relevant hashtags, include imagery whenever possible. Graphics can quickly grab attention as followers scroll through their feeds, making a bigger impact than just content posts alone. Also, whenever relevant, tag presenters and participating brands in your posts to optimize the reach of updates.

Use Your Manners

Don’t only send a registration confirmation – send a thank-you note with it. This adds a personal touch to your session, as well as serves as a periodic reminder of the upcoming webinar in their inbox. Some of your registrants will automatically copy and paste the details of your confirmation email directly into their schedules; be sure to focus on the highlights to encourage participation so they aren’t only reminded when it’s time to go…it also reinforces why they want to go.

 

Short Really is Sweet

For so many of us, long meetings are the equivalent of corporate kryptonite. Don’t buy into the belief that your webinar needs to be a specific length or it won’t add value. If you can create an impactful presentation that only runs 20 minutes, do it…and then tell everyone you know about it. You may find your shorter sessions actually get a better response rate than your longer demonstrations.

 

Leverage The Blogosphere (And Other SEO Channels)

Use SEO content to promote an upcoming webinar. Online articles, blogs, and even press releases can all use optimized copy to get your message out to people actually looking for what you do. No matter what online forum you use to market an event, always provide links to your website and registration page to drive attendance numbers.

 

Know What Not To Advertise

While you will want to advertise relevant details to the masses to scale participation, there is some information you may not want to offer in order to keep as many guests as possible in their seats during your live presentation. For example, if your goal is an exponential attendance surge, you may want to hold off letting guests know that their registration allows them access to the slide deck and recording after the event. Letting your audience know their registration means they can listen and read your material whenever they want instantly allows them to view your live session as “optional.” Only post links and details about materials covered after your webinar to encourage peak participation.

 

Showcase Panel Experts

Nothing mandates webinars must be run as “one-person-shows.” However, many presenters do exactly that; they manage the entire process alone, relying on their own marketing efforts and internal networking capabilities to generate webinar attendees. Broaden the scope of your presentation by allowing a panel of industry experts to offer their insight during the demonstration. Ask your panel to post information about your conference on their websites as well for an added promotional push. Each speaker will deepen the discussion dynamic and also increase the reach of your message within their specific networks to grow your attendee numbers.

 

Advertise Q&A Opportunities

Your question and answer sessions should absolutely be marketed as the distinctive opportunity it is. Don’t merely plug your presentation as “interactive.” Instead, get specific about the access the audience will have with all of the speakers, as well as planned Q&A sessions spread throughout the conference. Knowing that there’s an opportunity for genuine dialogue and exchange of information can prove enough to not only get listeners to log in, but also keep them engaged until the very end.

 

Send Customized Reminders

Email/text reminders offer an effective tactic to keep your conference on registrants’ radars. It’s not enough to merely blast out the date and times. Chances are, your registrants marked their calendars the day the signed up. However, they may have forgotten why they registered in the first place. Customize your reminder to include information on the value your event lends and why they won’t want to miss out on your message.

 

Follow Up With Future Sessions

Pre-webinar promotions can help you develop an attendance upswing for future events. Once again, customization is key; create emails with relevant details that will resonate with your intended audience to ensure they don’t end up unread and, worse yet, deleted. Follow up emails can build marketing momentum within your existing network of listeners and scale webinar attendees exponentially for noticeable results at your next webinar.

 

Start Hosting!

At BigMarker, we offer robust, modern webinar software that can scale to accommodate webinar audiences of all sizes. Sign up for a 14-day free trial today or send us a message if you’re interested in learning more.

Webinar Hosting Mistakes You're Probably Making and How to Avoid Them

Quality webinars are great for building up an audience, selling products and services and getting your name out there.

However, if you don’t avoid the following mistakes, your webinar will be more trouble than it’s worth.

 

Not Hosting Webinars

If you’re here reading this, you’re probably not going to make this mistake, so we’ll keep it quick. If you’re here because you’re thinking about hosting a webinar but aren’t sure if you should, we would heartily recommend it.

Any time you can leverage another form of media – whether it’s webinar hosting, infographics, podcasts, etc. – you stand to win in a big way. You now have one more channel for reaching your audience.

Sure, it might make you nervous at first, but that’s no reason to write off webinar hosting entirely. You’d hate to find out that it was the exact medium your market loves most after a competitor was so successful with it.

Using the Wrong Webinar Technology

“If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”

We’ve all heard this line before. It definitely holds true, though, when it comes to webinar software.

If you’ve ever seen a webinar done with a low-quality camera and/or software, you know that it’s like the world’s slowest train wreck. It’s incredibly sad, too, because, most of the time, the person hosting the webinar has put a lot of time and effort into what they were going to say. They may even have a lot riding on the results.

Unfortunately, their technology stood in the way.

Whether it’s fair or not, people will judge your webinar hosting abilities based on the result. They’ll do the same for your company and its products/services. No matter how much you know or how great your products/services are, if their webinar experience is poor, your attendees will leave with a bad impression.

The good news is that high-quality webinar software doesn’t need to cost you an arm and a leg. Premium hosting packages start at just $19/month, which won’t break the bank if you’re hosting webinars on a small budget.

Not Hosting a Practice Run

Presumably, one of the reasons people go ahead with hosting a webinar even when they’re using unreliable webinar technology is because they don’t know about it. This wouldn’t be an issue if everyone did a practice run first. By doing so, you’ll get an opportunity to check the visuals and sound levels. You can also test to see how the webinar displays for your audience.

Aside from ensuring your webinar technology is working properly, doing a practice run will help you work through any nerves you might have or simply troubleshoot your script. Something that sounds good on paper or in your head may come off a lot differently when you say it aloud.

Sharing Too Much Content

If you’re going to make a mistake with your webinar hosting, this may seem like a fairly forgivable one. Nonetheless, it’s still a problem that will negatively impact your presentation, so do your best to avoid it.

This issue often manifests itself when the webinar host uses text-heavy slides. Regardless of how much content you’ve planned to cover during your webinar, slides containing lots of text often run the risk of losing the attention of your audience.

Every time a slide changes, that’s an opportunity to bring people back to what you’re talking about. Any change of scenery will do this (more on that in a moment). It’s only natural for your eyes to be drawn to a sudden movement like that.

Take advantage of this by keeping the text on your slides lean.

There’s no magic formula for this. Everyone’s presentation is a bit different. When you practice, though, try to get a sense for if you’re spending way too much time on a slide or if it’s otherwise becoming stale.

Not Mixing Up Your Media

A webinar that features nothing but you speaking into the camera is probably not going to be very interesting for your audience. Sorry. Get as dressed up as you want, but it’s just not going to be enough.

Think about it: people are on their computers watching you, right? Your webinar hosting is competing with everything on their mobile devices, notifications from social media, emails and more.

Aside from using lots of slides, you also need to think about other ways you can grab their attention.

This could mean photos, illustrations, videos, graphics, animations, etc. Slides with text are great, but even then, use some color and an appropriate font. If your slides are nothing but black and white, you have some work to do.

marketing and promotion tips for hosting webinars

Not Doing Enough Marketing/Promotion

Depending on how you look at it, webinar hosting might be a lot harder or a lot worse if no one is watching. On the one hand, there’s no pressure if you hardly have anyone signed up. Of course, that kind of defeats the purpose of the webinar.

If you agree that it would be better to have the pressure that comes with a large audience, then please make sure you thoroughly promote your webinar.

Regardless of how big or small your social media following is, push yourself to continuously share your webinar on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn two weeks before you go live. Refrain from sharing too much further in advance, though, as people may not want to add a webinar to their schedules if it’s too far out in the future.

Aside from spreading the word on social media, you should be leveraging the traffic on your website. Every single person who comes to your site should immediately know that you have a webinar coming up.

If you don’t have a lot of traffic, try guest posting on popular industry blogs. This can help bring traffic to your site. Just make sure you’re talking about a topic that’s relevant to your presentation.

You may be able to buy ad space on these sites, as well. Don’t just tell people you’ll be webinar hosting in the near future, though. Make sure your ad brings them to a landing page where they can sign up.

Obviously, these types of approaches will take a bit more time, but if you’re starting with nothing, they’ll be worth it for the sake of your hosting efforts.

Not Reminding People About Your Webinar

Everyone’s busy these days, so you shouldn’t take it personally when you start hosting webinars and find that a lot of people who signed up for it aren’t present. Many people will simply forget because they have so many things going on.

Also, keep in mind that, for free webinars, the majority probably won’t turn up. Statistics vary, but conventional wisdom seems to be that if 30% of the people who signed up for your webinar hosting program actually show up, that’s acceptable.

Nonetheless, make sure you’re sending out reminders anyway. When people sign up, you should get their emails so put them to good use.

Make sure you remind people a week before, a day before, the morning of and an hour before your webinar.

On the day of, your emails should include a link they can click to be taken directly to your webinar’s page. You want to make it as easy as humanly possible to get people to your event.

Forgetting to Follow Up

What?

More emails?

Yes!

If you want your webinar hosting efforts to be worth it, then yes, more emails.

You should be sending one out to everyone to thank them for their attendance. If you did a Q&A session (more on that in a minute) after the formal presentation, then thank those who asked questions and add anything you didn’t think of on the fly.

This is also a good email to get more people to watch the replay of your webinar if you recorded it.

People should read the thank you message and think, “Wow. That sounds like it was really informative. I guess I’ll go ahead and watch it.”

A follow up email is a great way to get your webinar in front of even more people.

If you’re hosting webinars to sell a product, this is a no-brainer. You have an objective ROI tied to your presentation, so one or two more emails are definitely worth it if they increase your purchases.

This is why one final email a week or two after the follow up is okay. Again, give some more information to your readers or offer an insight from the webinar and then link to it again.

hosting webinars with interactive features

 

Ending Without a Q&A

No matter how much you prepare for your webinar– including a practice run – you’ll never cover every single piece of information possible. There’s just no way there won’t be people in the audience who want more or need clarification about a certain topic.

Now, think about one of these people on the other side of your webinar. They’ve enjoyed themselves and they like a lot of what you’ve said, but they just can’t seem to make sense of one of your points.

Unfortunately, if you get to the end of your webinar and simply thank everyone and sign off, they’re sitting there with no resolution. Maybe they’ll be able to find their answer online, but that certainly won’t help you.

This is why you should leave time for a Q&A at the end. If your webinar is supposed to be an hour, make it 50 minutes and then ask for questions. Tell your audience you’ll stick around for as long as questions keep coming in, too. If this means 15 minutes, fine. If it means an hour, so be it.

Q&As are such important forms of engagement that you should never host a webinar without them. Again, if you’re doing one to sell a product, you could potentially miss out on a customer because they had question and you weren’t around to give an answer.

Never Hosting Live Webinars

There’s no doubt about it: webinar hosting can do a serious number on your nerves. Most people don’t like to do public speaking to begin with, much less the kind that can be seen all over the world by a group of faceless thousands.

If you want to record your first one or two, do it. However, as soon as you’re even remotely comfortable, start hosting your webinars live.

We already covered the main reason for this: it allows you to do the all-important Q&A sessions.

Live webinars simply flow better, too. There’s a different energy when you know you only have one take and can’t always word everything perfectly. People who are watching will feel a stronger sense of connection to you, too.

You can always record them live and put them online for people to watch, as well. As we mentioned earlier, you should be encouraging people to come back and watch again and again.

Forgetting to Have Fun

We’re dead serious about this.

If you hate hosting webinars and view them as a chore, that will come across to your audience. No matter how much you smile or how much awesome information you cover, it will be clear that you’d rather be somewhere else.

Don’t be hard on yourself for having nerves about doing a webinar. It’s natural. Practice will help a lot, but you’ll still probably feel some butterflies the first time you see the light on your camera and know you’re live.

The trick is to have fun with it, though. Not only will your audience appreciate it (they know they’d be nervous too, by the way), but it will make things that much easier when it’s time to do it again.

Conclusion

Webinars are an art form and, like any form of art, they take practice to get good at. Fortunately, you don’t have to be perfect to put on an effective webinar. Just remember to avoid the above mistakes and you’ll be well on your way to success.

If you want help with this, BigMarker is here. Check out our blog for more free advice or leave a question in the comments below.

Sources:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesinsights/2015/02/19/6-common-webinar-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them/#712666f14229

http://communications.on24.com/10-common-webinar-mistakes

http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/education/white-paper-library/10-common-webinar-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them-white-paper/

http://www.smartsimplemarketing.com/7-common-webinar-mistakes-avoid/

5 Rookie Webinar Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them)