Webinars are a great way to deliver content (such as an online course), that is either live or recorded for an evergreen program. But, webinars are also used to deliver content for a “freebie”, or lead generation piece.
I’m a HUGE fan of them! They are relatively in-expensive to produce, can be highly interactive, are recordable, and can be repurposed time and time again. The catch is that many business owners go into webinar creation seeing the cost effectiveness of the platform, and forget that the client (or prospect) still wants a “polished” product – and I get it, whenever you’re live, that’s when the unexpected happens (cue dog barking, doorbell ringing, it’s happened to all of us!). So, while your clients or prospects get that not everything can go as planned, and will laugh with you, there are a few tips that can help keep a mess from turning into a disaster.
And just to set the stage, I personally have hosted close to 200 webinars with various presenters over the past few years and I’ve only had to “almost” cancel one (seriously lost my voice, has NEVER happened!). I’ve learned a lot along the way!
Here are our top 5 tips for creating your next webinar:
- Practice your content – I almost wanted to put this down for all 5 points actually… Here’s why, bear with me while I share two stories with you. First, I had this wonderful presenter, he was super excited to bring his content to the group in attendance – I loved his energy! I knew him well, and we had planned (and advertised) an hour session. We discussed his content should sit at about 45 minutes, leaving a little time for an intro, closing and of course Q&A. As always, I asked the presenter to log into the webinar a few minutes early, we did a sound check, and then we were off to the races! He covered all his content in 15 minutes. That was it. He never practiced his content, and the result seemed awkward as all the listeners had planned for an hour worth of content. Second example, same scenario, different presenter. He spent so much time on each agenda item that we ran out of time. So instead of covering his top 5, we got through 3 and had to wrap up. His prospects didn’t feel that they heard enough to convince them to reach out.
- Practice your content- I wasn’t kidding when I said I thought this should be all 5 points! But I mean this with a different twist. If you are using your webinar as a complimentary offering for lead generation – please be sure to practice your content. Your webinar should strike a fine balance between content that your prospects can use right now, with a need to know more, otherwise, what will prompt your prospect to need your help? But even if you’re doing a webinar as a part of an online course, you’ll want an agenda to stick to, so the webinar stays on track. It’s OK to veer off for a bit and share some stories, but your stream of content should be clear and make sense, progressing as intended.
- Don’t go it alone – ever… have a moderator or host on the call with you to provide technical support but also to moderate questions, or be there just in-case the unexpected happens. I moderated a webinar just last week where as I was doing the introduction of the presenter, and when I started the recording, the audio quality dropped. I was able to troubleshoot so the webinar could (eventually) be recorded, but the presenter didn’t need to know what was going on, or become flustered with it. A good moderator also monitors the chat and emails for attendees that are having connection problems – letting the presenter focus on presenting. A moderator can also help with the unexpected by popping you on mute (cue the doorbell or dog barking), with “filler content”, such as upcoming events, or where on the website to sign up for more information that they can present while you re-group.
- If you have a live Q&A – definitely don’t go it alone! For almost all the webinars I’ve hosted, we’ve reserved time for Q&A, and we’ve always done it the exact same way. We ask that questions are entered in the chat during the presentation, just so we can tell if any of the content has gone off the mark, or confused our guests, but also so we know if we need extra time for Q&A. Your moderator should be watching the questions as they come in, and then asking them during your reserved time. If your moderator is sensing that a significant number of guests are struggling with the content, they can feed this back to you. Also, having a moderator creates a different feeling of dialogue between two people, versus just you. A moderator can also screen questions, so only appropriate ones are asked.
- So, what if no one comes? You practiced and practiced, you’ve got this great moderator, and no one signed up? Or they did, but didn’t come. It’s tough, I know. There could be a few factors that come into play here, maybe the time of day wasn’t right, and your target market was unable to free up the time. It’s OK. Still go forward with the session. Why? No one knows that there wasn’t anyone there, and you can still record it and make the recording available for others, or to send out to those who registered but couldn’t attend. There are so many ways to repurpose a webinar -you’ve got nothing to lose. But… if no one is there, what happens to your Q&A? I recommend with all webinars that you prepare a list of FAQ’s, simply some “canned” questions that your moderator can ask. There’s two reasons, the first of course is if no one comes… no one needs to know that there wasn’t anyone there, and your moderator can read out the questions “sent in, in advance”. The second trick with the FAQ list, is even with a full room of attendees, you may not have any questions, or people don’t know what to ask. The FAQ’s create that guidance, and breaks the ice