There are many moving parts in a webinar and although it is an event for your attendees, for you, it will be a process. A webinar is also part of a technology ecosystem, which is a topic we’ll save for another article. Right now I would like to help you get focused on what will ultimately make you successful. Like most things in life, you will take this info and make it better in a way that reflects your passions, skills & experiences.
1) Know your audience – why are you telling them this!
At the intersection of people and content, something must happen. Your hope, at the very minimum, is you gain mind share as a trusted resource or possibly get your attendees switched on to take action right now around something you presented. In order to get that conversion, you must answer the question, “why are you telling me this?”, as if the person was sitting right in front of you asking you that question. Answering this question will help you be more precise in your delivery and influence how you sculpt your presentation based on generational makeup and the devices your attendees may use to consume your content. Secondly, this information will be super handy to anyone downstream in your organization that may receive outreach based on webinar attendance, such as customer service, sales people, project managers, and more.
2) Introduce Disruptive/Relevant Topics – your’e fighting for time
Webinars are the 3rd most potent method of content marketing and the good news for you is that most are not really as impactful as they could be. As a result, the opportunity for blowing your attendees minds with awesome content and delivery is there for the taking. If you want to make your moment matter, then get disruptive with your message, find a way to be topically relevant/timely, and respect your audiences busy day. Most people slot in the 60 minute webinar. Jump out of that box and do a 20 minute – 40 minute webinar with some punch. People will be less tempted to multi-task if your event is not a little time stealer.
3) Engage speakers with organization, passion, and believability
Nobody has ever said, “wow, will you look at that PowerPoint design, it completely won me over!!” A good webinar must have a speaker to whom people relate, deliver concise content, and share a message that is usable. As a result, have slides that move with your speaker’s comments and keep it lively. Have you attended a webinar where a speaker talks over a slide that doesn’t change for 5 minutes? Not good. The experience should move like a story book with relevant graphics, pictures, and text effects that support the message. Stopping periodically to gather the facts, make a point, and move on. We live in a great world where substance is actually getting equal billing with form. Thanks Internet, YouTube, and everyone else who is contributing to this trend. Like no time ever before, people’s BS meters are finely tuned. As a result, when it comes to delivering your webcast, engage the right people who will stay on point and deliver a believable message.
4) Socialize/Publicize – events need a pulse
If you build it, they may not come, unless you drive some buzz! Ask yourself why somebody would want to attend your live webcast vs. visit your rebroadcast. Make sure that is messaged. One thing is for sure, email alone is not enough to get out the word. Even if you have an awesome subject line, use a list serve, and are a trusted resource to the recipient. You may get spammed, sit undetected in the queue, and ultimately get pushed down and out of view. As a result, it helps to tweet, post to Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and more. If your speaker is a 3rd party, let them socialize the event and if you have a sponsoring partner, have them jump in the fray with their own media blasts. When part of a large organization, have your colleagues included a tag line and link in their email signatures for your event. Also, don’t forget points 1-3 above. Get your message right, be disruptive, and amp up the cool factor with buzz about participating during this important moment.
5) The right venue – you can’t overcome a bad one
You know the commercial…Q: what type of Tequila do you want…A: it doesn’t matter! Hilarity ensues when you see the litany of bad experiences that follow when you think that something is a commodity. The famous business man Armand Hammer made the no.2 pencil special. That should inspire anyone! Following this thinking, it does matter what webinar platform you select. Choosing the wrong platform can undermine all your good works with instability, poor engagement, and no flair. The right venue should be viewable on any device, highly brandable, video friendly, track engagement and perform rock solid. Each webcasting provider will say they deliver on this promise, but in reality there are only a few that hit this mark.
6) Drive immersion – hey look over here
We all know about multi-tasking and how we use technology to maximize our day. At this very moment I have 3 screens in front of me and one is blinking. The unfortunately thing is that there is no such thing as multi-tasking, just doing things simultaneously with diminished capacity. So, how do you keep your message top of screen during delivery? Well, I think items 1-5 above will contribute to ramping engagement. However, you can do even more to help fight distractions. First, it is a good idea to have some call to action scattered throughout your delivery with the possibility of future benefit, such as prizes for best idea, taking all surveys, etc. Another technique is to drive people to consuming the experience on a tablet, which is by far more of an immersive device than a laptop or desktop with multiple monitors. A good webcasting solution will show you who is attending via what device and whether or not your delivery is top of screen.
7) Resist overload – don’t boil the ocean
Remember that you will live to evangelize another day and that any subject can be a rabbit hole if one isn’t careful. You don’t want people more confused than before they walked into your presentation. Go back to point #1 and visualize that perplexed face of your webcast attendee saying, “why are you telling me this!”. If your webcast is a broad focus, such as “intro to X”, then stay in that pocket. If your webcast, is “how to remove a Y”, then stay in that pocket and reference your “webinar series on Z”. Keep our takeaways firmly in that pocket and if that means that your webinar trims down to 20 minutes, like in step 2 above, then you are getting this picture clearly.
8) Re-enforce “Echo, Echo”
And then, it was all over, just like that. That intersection of people and content happened, but sadly the impression lasts only so long. If the ultimate conversion you expected didn’t happen right away, it has probably been substituted with new distractions fighting for your audience’s time. You need to follow-up with thank you’s, links to a recording, and possibly an invite to download or partake in another event, maybe even the series. If possible, work to convert your attendee into some marketing automation system so that you can monitor site returns and nurture follow-up invitations to content and events on similar subjects. Find ways to chunkatize your content and offer it on your website, post in blogs, and offer through immersive mobile applications that deliver free content and give you further insight into the echo that is still ringing in your prospect’s ears.
Frank Rogers is a Senior Strategist and Consultant with InteSolv
Adventurer – Change Agent – Conversionologist – Know-er of cool things