How to Run The Perfect Webinar
Great webinars are not created in a day. Follow these 10 tips to achieve a perfect, glitch-free webinar:
- Give yourself enough time to prepare.
- Choose the right platform.
- Create an obsessively detailed brief.
- Plan the content in advance.
- Limit self-promotion.
- Schedule dry runs.
- Send last-minute reminders.
- Reward the attendees.
- Follow up with the webinar recording.
- Measure your ROI.
As marketers, we know that to get through the noise and reach our target audience, we need to create high-quality content. And with the recent shift towards video over written content, the Outbrain team has started placing a strong emphasis on webinars.
Larry Kim, Outbrain Webinars 2018
Along the way, we’ve discovered a few things about how to set up, run and evaluate successful webinars. Some lessons we learned are more important than others, but all are valuable in helping to reach our registration, attendance, and conversion KPIs. We’d like to share some of the key points that can also help you create the perfect webinar.
Give yourself enough time to prepare
Webinars are not born in a day, a week or even a month. Creating a webinar is a time- and labor-intensive undertaking. Make sure to give yourself leeway to properly prepare every aspect of the webinar, delegate the various tasks among your team, and of course, leave enough time for the promotional campaign and registration period.
Choose the right platform
Make sure you have the right online tools to create, promote and deliver your webinar. You’ll need to take into consideration a range of factors, such as the number of registrations/attendees, tracking tools, email campaigns, landing page, and integration with other tools, such as CRM software, support and pricing. There are loads of great tools on the market. Make sure to choose the ones that best fit your needs.
Create an obsessively detailed brief
When you’re running a live webinar, the production team must work in sync to make sure everything runs smoothly, and unexpected glitches are handled properly. The best way to manage a live webinar is to plan every detail in advance and to ensure that your team members know exactly what their role is.
Write a separate, detailed brief for every webinar you produce. Make sure you define all aspects of the webinar, from target audience investment to a detailed overview of the webinar topic, which tools you are using and for what purpose, timeline, ownership of each task, and more.
Here is an example of a webinar brief template we created. Feel free to use it as a starting point for your webinar.
Plan the content in advance
Make sure your webinar content materials are ready well in advance. The host needs to have enough time to practice in order to become as familiar as possible with the script and timing of accompanying visuals. At Outbrain, we like to have the content ready 10 days before, so our presenters can get comfortable with the webinar – without feeling the pressure of last minute deadlines.
People who attend webinars want to receive content that gives them value. They’re not signing up to hear how wonderful your product or brand is. We recommend that you avoid self-promotion in your webinars, and focus on developing a topic that informs, teaches or instructs the viewers – and if you can incorporate your product as part of the broader theme, then all the better.
Schedule dry runs before the date
Test, test and test! We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have a few dry runs before the big day. Dry runs are an opportunity to make sure that the host has a good handle on the webinar platform, the script, and how to manage the Q&A session, if you are having one. Also, get a few members of your team to watch the dry run, and ask them for feedback so you can fix any issues before the live presentation. Another thing we like to do is to record the dry run and show it to the webinar host so they can fine-tune their presentation.
Send last-minute reminders
So you’ve had loads of registrations. Now you want to make sure that as many as possible attend. The average attendance rate for marketing webinars is 37%, so you’re going to have to work at it.
An effective tactic is sending email reminders. Email marketing is the top promotion method for webinars, used by 45% of marketers. Create a schedule for your promotional emails – one week, one day, one hour, or even ten minutes before the webinar – and make sure the email describes how the webinar will be of value to those who sign up. And of course, don’t forget to include all the details about how and when to attend – and make it easier for your audience to remember to tune in by adding a calendar link.
Reward the attendees
You can help make your attendees feel great about showing up to your webinar by rewarding them with promotional goodies. Follow up with a coupon, ebook or some other reward that can help convert registrations into leads. If you’re co-hosting the webinar with another company, encourage them to reward the participants. It will help increase the webinar ROI for you too. And there’s another advantage – follow-up promotions are a good way to track your attendees’ online actions after the webinar is over.
Follow up with the webinar recording
The recording is a great asset to increase ROI of your webinars after they are over. You can email the recording to the list of people who registered but didn’t attend, with a fun “You were missed” message. You can also send it to those who attended to reinforce the customer relationship. But be sure to send the recording within 24 hours after the live webinar, when it is still fresh in everyone’s minds.
Measure your ROI
For performance marketers, demonstrating ROI of each marketing activity is a challenge, and webinars are no different.
Make sure you prepare your tracking strategy in advance. Tag the registered users and the webinar attendees in your CRM database. Make sure your sales team is aligned with the webinar goals, so they can follow up with webinar attendees as SQLs. Also, it’s really important to double check that you’ve tagged everything correctly, from the links to the emails, and everything in between.
Use these tips and you’ll be well on your way to creating a winning webinar. Remember the 4Ps of webinar success – Plan, Promote, Present and Post-Analyze – and you’ll be taking your webinars to the next level in no time.