Blogging, social media, forums, these are just some of the many ways to promote your brand or sell your product online. If you want to extend further and want to share your ideas upfront with your audience, you can set up and host a webinar. A webinar or a web-based seminar is a great way to build a brand and/or promote a product you want to sell online. Webinars usually include over 30 participants and are used to conduct presentations, workshops, lectures and large-scale meetings. Since webinars are held online, they allow companies to save money on travel, catering, and venues, all of which are costs commonly associated with face-to-face seminars.
However, due to their large attendance, webinars need careful planning in order to be successful. This is why planning and preparation on hosting a webinar need some time. This aims to ensure that the webinar can properly go through all the necessary steps in order to be smooth and success. To help organize webinar, the most important steps are as follows.
- Choose a date far in advance
Keep in mind that people need to plan in advance especially if you know that people you are inviting are normally had busy schedules. It is advisable to give them enough notice to make time for your webinar. By carefully considering your chosen dates, you can ensure maximum attendance.
- Make sure get the time right
This is applicable especially if you invited participants worldwide, it is advisable that you consider time zone differences. It is recommended that you examine time that can generally work for all participants (which is rare). If this is still not possible, plan on holding webinar several times to account for different time zones.
- Choose Webinar Tool
This is the technical side of the process. Most online meeting tools have webinar options, you just have to choose the plan that corresponds to the number of participants you’re expecting to invite. It is recommended to research and to test the various tools available, and to choose the one with the features and functionality that suits you best and choose the one that is suitable with the webinar that you intended to host.
In general, webinar software is quite expensive with a steep learning curve to get through. Popular software like GoToWebinar, AnyMeeting, and ClickWebinar charge $30-$99/month based on the number of attendees and features like recordings, ads-free experience, and live support.
If you’re on a tight budget, Google+ Hangouts on Air is a great free alternative. It is tied in with Google+ and its suite of features, you can start a hangout and not have to worry about limits on your attendees, ads annoying the heck out of your audience, or paying a premium fee if you only host webinars occasionally.
- Practice running a webinar
It is advisable that you as host to test the tools several times after training with the provider, and you can ask your friends or colleagues to do this. In addition to that, if you incorporate more than one speaker, make sure that all of your presenters are familiar with the webinar tool.
- Develop an agenda and invitation
Plan and set up the webinar carefully before inviting your audience, set up your webinar carefully. Consider how long the webinar will be last, and the main items that you want to discuss, and also plan for a Q&A session whenever necessary.
Next thing to do is outline the agenda in the invitation for participants. The invitation should also include information such as a link that allows participants to connect to the webinar, as well as a call-in number, in case they’d prefer to listen in by phone.
- Invite your audience
It is recommended that you choose your audience accordingly based on the theme or topic that you want to discuss. In addition to that, keep track of invitation responses, so you know who will attend your webinar.
- Plan your presentation
As we already know, the best online meeting presentations are usually highly visual and engaging. Include pictures that are relevant to what you are presenting is always good ideas and plan to expand more with further explanation. In addition to that, you can also use different supporting materials such as video and even online games, if appropriate, to bring your presentation to life. In fact, some webinar planners even send materials to the participants’ offices ahead of the meeting. Thus, it is highly recommended that to think creatively to make your webinar will come to life.
- Record your webinar
It is always a good idea making a recording of your webinar available for those who would like to revisit some of the discussion or those who could not make it. It can also be useful for the evaluation for the next webinar for you as the host. Furthermore, if you’re linking your webinar to an online marketing campaign, you can use the recording in any e-mails that you send out, reinforcing your message.
Following-up on a webinar is extremely important, especially in regards to online meetings by reminding the participants of what was discussed and conduct a survey to gather their thoughts on how the webinar went. If you are planning another webinar that could be of interest to your audience, make sure to let them know when they can expect an invitation.
- Review your feedback
It is highly recommended to make sure to review any feedback that you have received on your webinars. This is a useful material for improving your next webinar.