How To Run The Perfect Webinar
21 Point Guide
To ensuring your next webinar gets you leads and sales
Never settle for average when it comes to running a webinar.
I’m sure you’ve been there. You’ve signed up to a webinar on the strength of a person you trust or a topic that promises to solve a pressing challenge or issue you have. You join, and awkwardly wait while the host sorts out some ‘last-minute’ technical issues. The webinar starts, but turns out to be a sales pitch more than a genuine exchange of value.
Bottom line, what did you learn that you couldn’t have found in five minutes searching online? You wouldn’t have had to wait two weeks and waste an hour of your precious time. You feel frustrated and a little duped.
It’s certainly not a feeling you’d ever want your webinar attendees to have. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be like this.
By downloading this eBook, you have in your hands a recipe book for running perfect webinars. You will not only be able to provide tons of value to your attendees, you will also be able to provide just as much value to your business in terms of generating real-world outcomes.
A well run and an effectively promoted webinar is an excellent source of new contacts for your database, for new leads to your sales team and ultimately for new revenue for your business.
We’ve found being involved in webinars an incredibly effective form of marketing for Rocket, and I sincerely hope you do too. If, on your webinar journey, you have challenges and you’d like to speak to an expert, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.
As a marketing agency we can also help you or provide direction on most of your other marketing challenges. You can reach us at 1300 059 620 or send us a message.
All the best,
What you do before your webinar is in many ways the most important part of the process. Failure is all but guaranteed if you execute poorly at this stage.
1 - Define your outcome
This seems obvious, and it is, but the first thing you need to do is agree on what success looks like from your webinar. Everyone on your team needs to be on the same page. The many decisions you need to make along the way should be made with this outcome in mind.
Common outcomes are:
- Educating existing customers
- Nurturing your database to take some
- Defined and future action
- Growing your database
- Generating sales
- Brand/reputation building
- Strengthening your relationship with a partner
2 - Define the Persona(s) you are targeting
Most businesses have more than one perfect persona they target in their marketing. Like with all your marketing, your webinar should be constructed to deliver value to a specific persona. It can be OK to target more than one persona provided this does not dilute the effectiveness for any one group. Being clear on the persona upfront will help you assess the content you are considering delivering and how you go about promoting the webinar.
3 - Select your Webinar Software
In planning your webinar, be clear about the software you intend to use. Important considerations include:
- Your budget
- Platform quality
- Personal preference
- Integrations with your CRM / marketing automation platform
- The expected size of your audience
4 - Agree on how the database will be used
If your webinar is being done in conjunction with another company make sure you agree upfront how the contact details of people who sign up will be shared. Will both companies have access to the details of everyone who signed up? Or just those who attended? Or will this information be kept by one company?
5 - Prepare your ‘Offer’
You should never present at a webinar (or any event) without a clear offer you intend to make to your audience. An offer might be a free product or service, an offer to download a guide, receive a book, get a discount or anything else you can give interested parties to encourage them to go one step further in their relationship with you after the webinar.
This is extremely important. Once the webinar ends, attendees' memories of you can diminish very quickly without a reason to get in touch.
6 - Analyse your database
Webinars can be a great way to re-engage with your existing database. Can you invite your existing database to the webinar to deliver them value? The answer is almost always yes.
7 - Prepare great content
As already mentioned, if you don’t intend to deliver great content, my advice would be to not bother with a webinar. Your content should help solve a pressing problem for the specific persona(s) you have decided to target.
Do you intend to present using a slide deck? Make sure it’s effective at supporting the transfer of value that is your webinar. Sometimes a talking head or a conversation between multiple people can be more effective.
Don’t be afraid of using content you are already bored with. The only thing that matters is whether it is valuable to your audience. However you approach your content, make sure you deliver real value, and the promise of more value, within the first few minutes of the webinar. Don’t give people a reason to leave early.
8 - Get serious about promotion
You have a relatively short window to promote your webinar before the big day. We recommend you start promoting your webinar no more than three weeks prior. In some cases, a two-week promotion window might even be justified depending on how time sensitive the content is.
The time and money you spend on promoting your webinar should exceed the time and money spent on preparing the content. Promotion is essential to getting a return on investment for any content piece.
There are a large number of ways to effectively promote your webinar. Here are some we have found effective:
- Promote it on your company social media pages.
- Have people within your business promote it on their personal social media pages.
- Send emails to your database.
- Reach out to influencers, partners, your network and anyone else you can think of who has your perfect personas in their audience and have them promote the webinar for you.
- Consider paying publishers to send an email to their database to promote the webinar.
- Use the webinar as a prospecting tool using paid ads on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or wherever your target personas spend their time.
- Create a remarketing and prospecting campaign using display ads
- Write about it and promote it on your own website
- Use PR to get airtime on third-party media platforms.
9 - Build great landing, registration and thank you pages
Regardless of how you intend to promote your webinar, you will rely heavily on your landing page for registrations. This is the page you will send people to if they are interested in signing up or learning more about your webinar. We’ve written an extensive free guide on building highly effective landing pages which will help you get this right.
10 - Make sure your tracking is perfect
You’ll want to know your webinars return on investment now and in the future. Which channels drove the most attendees? Which attendees ended up becoming customers? How effective was your landing page? The only way to do this is to ensure you’ve set up tracking and reporting effectively.
11 - Do a “dress rehearsal”
Your webinar is a performance. And just like any performance, you want to do a full dress rehearsal beforehand to make sure:
- The technology works.
- The lighting and audio is perfect.
- The backgrounds of speakers are appropriate to the image you want to create of your business.
- Everyone is playing their part.
- The content starts and ends on time.
- That you're going to do a great job.
It’s essential that you ask someone you trust to attend the rehearsal and give you honest feedback and steps for improvement.
12 - Ask for questions at registration
Your webinar will be more successful if you solve your audience's real-world problems. Question and answer opportunities during a webinar are often very effective for creating engagement and relevance. On your landing page ask each attendee if they have a question they would like answered during the webinar.
13 - Send reminder emails
Working to ensure your attendance rate is as high as possible is critical to a successful webinar. As soon as someone registers, send an email that contains a link to add the webinar to their calendar. You should also send a reminder email closer to the day. The emails and calendar invites should contain everything an attendee needs to join the webinar on the day.
14 - Start and end on time
Open the webinar on time and have a slide up so people know they are in the right place at the right time. Start the actual session two to three minutes (to allow enough people to arrive) after the start time and if possible make it clear that the webinar will start in X minutes.
15 - Have someone managing the webinar
Presenters should be able to focus on presenting. Have a trusted person managing the technology, managing questions, fixing issues and giving feedback to the presenters as needed.
16 - Be yourself (but also be prepared)
Your audience will connect better with you if you are playing the role of yourself! Be genuine and enjoy the experience. That said, there are some basic presentation skills which will help keep distractions to a minimum for the audience:
- Don’t fidget (or keep your fidgeting hands off-screen).
- Minimise umms and ahhs.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Keep some water near you in case your throat gets dry.
- Put your phone on silent.
- Be punchy, use pauses and voice modulation and portray excitement and enthusiasm throughout.
- Make sure all non-essential program and notifications are turned off on your computer.
- Make sure your computer is connected to power so a flat battery doesn’t ruin your day.
17 - Have fun!
Running an effective webinar is a great achievement. Make sure to have fun. You’ll enjoy it more and so will your audience.
18 - Execute your follow-up strategy
This is a must. Effective follow-up strategies include:
- Connecting with every attendee via LinkedIn (particularly for B2B businesses).
- Agreeing on a follow-up email immediately after the webinar including a link to the recording and the PDF of the presentation.
- Consider a nurture series of emails that can be started a certain number of days after the webinar to help your webinar achieve its stated outcome.
- Specific remarketing creative for people who signed up for the webinar
19 - Ask for the next opportunity
Momentum is a valuable thing. If the event goes well, and if you’ve worked with another company, arrange a follow-up webinar or event. Are there opportunities from some of the attendees? If so, reach out to them. Use your imagination and walk away with another win.
20 - Edit, distribute and re-use the recording
Webinars are powerful pieces of content. Treating them as single-use is a massive waste of your resources. You should:
- Edit the recording of the webinar to make it as effective as possible.
- Convert the presentation deck to PDF.
- Add the webinar recording to your website
- as gated content (i.e. people need to provide their email address to view the content). Your webinar is now on-demand content.
- Use short clips from the webinar and promote them via your blog and in social media to drive people to the on-demand landing page.
- Partner with other companies whose audience would gain value from the recorded webinar
21 - Repeat!
It takes a lot of work to execute the perfect webinar. The good news is that the next one will be much easier and much less work. Much of what you have done the first time around will be repeated. Before you create a webinar on a brand new topic, work out how many new audiences you can take the same webinar to. A quality webinar should be used multiple times with very few alterations.
Next step, lock in a date for your webinar!
The #1 reason you won’t run a perfect webinar is that you simply won’t get started. My challenge to you today is to open your diary and pick a date in the next 6-12 weeks and lock in your upcoming webinar. This will give you plenty of time to follow the steps we’ve outlined and deliver value to your audience.
Here at Rocket we’re huge fans of webinars both as organisers, guests and attendees. There is no doubt they can take time to get right, but in our experience, and the experience of our clients it’s time well spent.
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