Five Tips Friday: Webinar DevelopmentRecently, we talked about how daunting the development of a white paper can be. Undoubtedly, the prospect of developing a webinar can seem even more intimidating. A white paper can make its case without interruption, does not depend on live streaming, and questions can be pondered without the pressure of needing to reply on the fly. With a webinar, there is not just a need for content. One needs to coordinate the technology, choose a moderator who can intelligently handle questions and/or criticism, and, finally, develop a follow-up plan to make sure that you can capture any qualified leads the webinar yields.
All of that being said, a webinar can be an excellent way to establish your company as a thought leader. Registrants for the webinar can become highly qualified leads for your company, and of course a webinar can create keyword rich content that can help boost your website’s SEO. It’s clearly a tactic that is worth the investment of time and effort. Given that, today we’ll offer five tips on how to begin to wrap your arms around the immense project of creating a webinar. It’s just the tip of the iceberg, but it should be enough to get you started.
1. Plan the entire process, from promoting the event to follow-up
If you are hosting a webinar yourself, you need to consider not just the live event but also how you will promote the event and how you will effectively follow up on the information you have presented. When planning the event, you will need to decide what methodologies you will use to promote the event. E-blasts can be effective, but timing can be tricky. If a person receives an e-blast too far in advance, they may forget about your event even if they register. On the other hand, if a person receives an e-blast the day of the event, they may not have the ability to alter their schedule to be able to attend. Webinar follow-up can similarly be tricky. For example, thanking attendees is important, but following up with a sales pitch too quickly can be a turn-off. If you want to promote the event via print or online advertisements, you will need to begin the planning process 2-3 months in advance of your live event to meet media deadlines.
2. Pick your moderator carefully
One of the main goals of a webinar is to keep your viewers tuned in for the duration of your event. While good information is obviously a key facet of a webinar, the presenter’s style also plays a large role. The presenter should be knowledgable but engaging enough to seem personable and accessible. As was mentioned previously, the presenter and/or moderator also needs to have enough poise and information to be able to handle questions from the viewers on the fly.
3. Determine whether the webinar will be paid or complimentary
This is a key decision when hosting a webinar. If your goal is to bring new qualified leads into your sales funnel, you could argue that people who are paying to attend are more qualified than those who would attend for free. On the other hand, the argument could also be made that offering content at no charge could bring in more qualified leads so long as registration is required. There are many arguments in the online world regarding pricing tactics for content. If you do decide to charge for your webinar, the next question, of course, is what a fair price would be. These are difficult questions, and your entire company should be on board with the final decision that is made.
4. What will differentiate your webinar from other available content?
Asking people to attend your live event is asking for their valuable time, whether or not you will be charging for attendance. In order to attract registrants to your event, and in order to keep your audience interested, you need to make sure that your content is unique. One of the best ways to ensure interest in your topic is to offer actionable tips that your audience can take back to their own workplaces and try. Case studies to prove that certain tips work are also highly effective.
5. As always, know your objective before you start
Before embarking on a large project like a webinar, make sure everyone in your company is agreed on what your objective is for the project. A webinar can be a branding effort, it can be a lead generation tool, it can create a revenue stream, and it can be used to build a company’s credibility within an industry. These goals can of course overlap, but prioritizing your objectives is essential before you even begin to ponder what your content will be. That is the only way you will be able to comment on the success of the project when it is done.
Again, these tips are of course just the beginning, but we hope this gives you some ideas on how to approach a webinar event. Let us know what questions you have.
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/15140142@N03/5039858762/ via Creative Commons
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