Whether you're planning on making a full-time job of creating webinars or you want to do the occasional training seminar for your small, distributed team, planning a successful webinar takes quite a bit of organization. If you're new to the world of webinars, never fear. We're here to give you the scoop on everything you need to know about webinars.
Did you know that 27% of companies average at least one webinar each week? Whether you're planning on making a full-time job of creating webinars or you want to do the occasional training seminar for your small, distributed team, planning a successful webinar takes quite a bit of organization.
If you're new to the world of webinars, never fear. We're here to give you the scoop on everything you need to know about webinars. We won't just let you know about the different types of webinars and the best timeline to follow for a stress-free online event experience, but we'll also clue you in on the best type of food to order for your team and attendees on the webinar date. (Hint: it's pizza.)
So without further ado, let's jump in.
Webinars, also referred to as web seminars, online events, or webcasts, are digital events held for a specific group of individuals by a company or organization. If you are interested in making a multimedia presentation to your distributed team, a webinar is likely your best bet.
If you think that webinars are exclusively used for marketing purposes, think again. While they are incredibly effective tools to promote your business, they can also be an excellent way to offer interactive and engaging information to your distributed team.
Before we jump into the ins and outs of webinar planning, let's take a look at the variety of purposes webinars can serve.
One of the most popular ways that brands use webinars is for marketing purposes, but they are also increasingly used as a part of employee training. Webinars can totally revolutionize your training process when you have a distributed team, as they are a compelling way to share information while also being interactive and engaging.
If one of your brand goals is to establish yourself as an authority in your niche, a webinar can be a powerful tool. This is an opportunity to market the abilities and skills of your brand specifically to your target demographic. When done right, this can help you generate high-quality leads, build new connections, and establish yourself as a leader in your industry.
Webinars can also be created with the specific purpose of engaging your leads. In this type of webinar, you'll want to present educational content about your service or product to help display your brand's expertise.
It's important to understand that this webinar isn't a sales pitch. Rather than trying to sell your product or service, you are working to build trust among your target audience. Some great ways to do this include case studies, research summaries, and live workshops.
When someone has decided to make their first purchase from you, you will want to ensure that the first impression they have of your brand is the right one. You can use this opportunity to help your new customer understand your product, service, or brand through the power of both video and audio. They will also have the opportunity to ask any questions they might have so their problems can be solved in real-time.
There are few things as exciting in business as launching a new product or service. While many companies might choose to offer demonstration videos, you can take things to the next level with product demonstration webinars. This will allow your new customers to ask any questions they might have to help them make the most out of the product or service they have purchased.
Another type of webinar that might be useful for your brand is on-demand webinars. One of the downfalls of webinars is that it requires that your audience all be able to sign on at the same time to participate in the interactive parts of the event. However, when you create on-demand webinars, you can simulate the live webinar experience at any time convenient for your audience.
Let's say, for example, that you run a distributed team with employees all over the world. You might find it difficult to find a chunk of time when everyone can realistically sign on to their computer, considering the time difference and the reality of people's personal lives. For such instances, you might choose to create an on-demand webinar so that your entire team can participate in the webinar at a time that is convenient for them.
Some companies also choose to create webinars to build brand awareness. The content you include will be information that helps you position your brand as an industry leader. At the same time, you will include your brand's logos and personality within the webinar visuals, helping to improve both awareness and recall of your brand.
Regardless of which type of webinar you choose to host, you will want to make sure that you start the planning process at least two months ahead of time. This way, you will have all of the details worked out by the day of the event, ensuring that everything runs as smoothly as possible.
So, you're going to host a webinar in two months. The first steps will be the big picture planning, including choosing your topic, selecting your presenter, identifying your goals, and determining your target audience.
At this time, you'll also need to select a vendor that you will use to deliver your webinar. Getting your overarching system set up early on will help ensure that you can deal with any obstacles or technical challenges well in advance of going live.
Now that you have the basics down, it's time to pin down the day and time you will be hosting your webinar. Depending on the purpose and goal of your webinar, there might be some logic in which day of the week to hold your event.
You'll also want to start handing out responsibilities at this time to your different team members. For example, you might consider starting a shared document that includes a checklist with due dates. This way, everyone will know what they are responsible for, when to get it done, and what still needs to be done.
You can also decide how attendees will register for the event, how long the webinar will be, and whether or not you'll record it so that others can view it later on.
Lastly, it's time to consider the tone of your event. Is it going to be all-business, or will it be playful? Is it casual or formal? Again, deciding this far in advance will help you make decisions along the way that create a cohesive theme for your webinar.
You are now six weeks out from your webinar, and things are really starting to come together. It's time to start putting the word out there about your event to ensure everyone in your target audience can put it on their calendar.
First of all, you'll want to create a list of potential attendees. For an employee training webinar, this list would obviously include any employees you want to receive the training and their direct higher-ups. For marketing webinars, a good place to start is your email marketing list.
If you are creating a webinar for your employees or for your company, getting the word out is a fairly simple process. However, for marketing webinars, you'll want to create a promotional plan and a marketing promo kit that you can send to hosts, presenters, and sponsors.
Wow, time really flew by! Just two weeks away from your webinar, you're feeling really confident about how well planned out your online event is.
If you're running a marketing webinar, you'll want to check in to ensure that your marketing strategies are working as planned and that the right audience is attracted to your event. You can analyze the registration list to determine how people find your webinar and whether or not they fit within your target demographic.
When you do this two weeks ahead of time, you still have ample time to switch tactics and get the word out to the right people.
For in-company webinars, it's time to send out reminder notifications and emails about the upcoming webinar. Depending on how large or small your company is and how formal or informal the webinar will be, this can be as simple as a quick reminder email or entail full-scale high-class marketing material.
Now that you're in the home stretch, it's time to deal with the last-minute details.
Are all of your presenters familiar with the webinar platform you've chosen? If not, it's a good idea to plan a dry run to make sure that your event's tech aspects will run smoothly. You can also upload all of the visuals you will be using to double-check that there are no problems there and test out your audio.
It's also time to write your presenter's introduction script. Consider having the presenter rehearse their intro during the dry run to see if you should make any last-minute tweaks. You can also use this opportunity to create your follow-up communications, which will be an email that you can send out to summarize all of the information in the webinar. If you choose to record your event, you can also include a link so attendees can review the material or people who missed it can watch it for the first time.
The day of your online event is here! What a long and crazy trip it's been. Now it's time to send out those final email invitations a few hours before the event begins to help remind everyone of the tornado of valuable info that's about to come their way.
You'll want to make sure you and the presenters sign on to the web room at least 15 minutes (but why not say 30 to be safe?) before the time it's scheduled to begin. This way, you can do the last check of all the webcams and audio equipment and quickly review your presentation. If you will have several presenters speaking, this is a great time to make sure all of the necessary materials are organized and the speaking order is understood by everyone involved.
If you're recording your event, make sure that the event moderator is ready to start the recording at the proper time. If you are using a DIY webinar platform to put on your event, you'll want to task an additional team member with monitoring any requests from the audience. If you go with a full-service webinar provider, they will take care of that type of issue for you.
Now that the event is behind you, it's time to follow up with the participants and analyze how the whole shebang went over.
You'll want to send out an email to all of the people who attended and those who had registered but weren't able to attend. Luckily, you already drafted this email one week before the event because you followed our timeline so closely. If you recorded the event, you could include a link at this time, or you might choose to share the visuals or PowerPoint you used as a part of the event.
If you put on an employee training webinar, you'll want to step back and look at how successful the event was. You might send surveys to your employees or ask them to send feedback about the course. You might consider making this your go-to employee training webinar if it all went swimmingly. If it seems some wrinkles need to be smoothed out, you'll have all the information you need for a more effective webinar the next time around.
If you're putting on a webinar for your employees, you want to make sure they are engaged and motivated to get the most out of the top-notch multimedia presentation you've put together for them. Unfortunately, regardless of how awesome you are and how organized you've been in the process, the reality is that employees tend to roll their eyes when the words "training webinar" show up in an email.
So how can you remedy that situation?
You guessed it: pizza.
Do you want to make sure your employees are well-fed and happy on the day of your training seminar? If so, Pizza Time makes it simple and easy to send pizza to all of your employees, no matter where they are.