Webinars are a way of life for my high-tech clients and they generate a steady flow of high quality leads. They’re also a way of life for me – I probably manage 100 a year! Here are my steps for success:
At the Beginning:
- Plan ahead of time – I recommend 6 weeks. At the start, set objectives, define the target audience and choose your topic and speakers. The best topics aren’t demos or sales pitches – pick something educational that presents a problem and solution. “Top 10 Hints”, “Trends In…” and customer case studies work particularly well.
- Schedule your event – I like Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursdays at 11:00 PST for US audiences. Block the event out on your speaker’s calendar and while you’re at it, schedule an hour long rehearsal a week or so before. (I’ll explain below, but do it now. You’ll thank me!)
- Write your email invites and other communications. Add the event to the website and plan email blasts, social media and banners starting four weeks out. And now is the time to set up registration pages, registration confirmation emails, reminders, “thank you for attending” and “sorry we missed you” emails.
- Start promoting. One hint – while it’s frustrating, it’s rare for anyone to register for a webinar early. But promoting early does raise awareness and acts as kind of a “save the date”.
Closer to the Webinar:
- Three weeks before the event, create the presentation deck. You’ll want a 30-40 minute presentation with time for questions afterwards. Be sure and run through your presentation a few times to confirm your timing. Trick to get you started – it’s about 2 minutes a slide in my experience.
- About a week before, get your post event emails queued up and ready to go in your marketing automation. Plan a “thank you” with a follow up offer and a “sorry we missed you” with a link to an archived recording of your webcast.
- Prep your moderator with a script that includes speaker introductions and any instructions to participants (Are they muted? How do they ask questions?). Also provide your moderator with some “seed” questions for Q&A that you can use if no one asks live questions during the event.
- Hold your rehearsal. This is absolutely critical. Get your speakers and moderator on the webinar platform to practice and run through the deck. And have them log in from the exact phone and computer they’ll use the day of the event – hopefully a land line and a wired internet connection. This is when you’ll find if the deck is too long or too short. Or if your speaker’s phone line has an echo. Or if someone’s laptop isn’t compatible with the webinar platform. Finding this out a week ahead of time is much better than trying to fix it on the fly.
- The day before, send your first reminder email to registrants. This should have a clickable link that takes them right to the log in.
The Day of Event:
- Send your second reminder email an hour before the event starts.
- Also an hour before, have the speakers log in to the webcast. Fix any technical glitches, answer questions, make sure everyone is ready to go and then mute the speakers and send them off to take a quick break and get a glass of water.
- One note about attendance – despite your best efforts, it’s normal that half of your registrants won’t show. And it’s not unusual for webinar programs to take a while to ramp up. My rule of thumb is since registrants can’t see how many are attending, no matter what, hold the event anyway since you can record it to post later. And don’t give up – I consistently see programs where the first events are very small and a year later, registration is topping 100.
- Hold your webinar( and don’t forget to record it).
- Right after the event, keep your moderator and speakers on the line until the attendees leave and do a quick post-mortem. What worked? What did you learn for next time? Did the event go well enough to archive for your website?
After the Event:
- As soon as possible after your event, post the archived webcast on your website and load the leads for follow up. Ideally, these communications go within 24 hours of the live event.
- Last, as always, run reporting to determine the ROI of the event Run reporting the day after, a month after to see how leads are moving through the pipe and again at 6 months to see how your archived webcast is performing.
So that’s it – lots of steps, but a good way to bring qualified, interested leads into your pipeline. If you need more help with your webinar program, I’m here!