Ten tips for better webinars

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// Not surprisingly, there’s been a dramatic increase in webinars recently. Not all are great. Here’s some advice on holding better ones …

Data from Redback‘s annual State of Webinar Marketing 2020 study shows that there was a 21 percent increase in webinar usage in 2020 compared to 2019. Spending on webinars has climbed 70%.

Google Trends data shows that although the number of searches for “webinar” has historically remained steady over the past five years in Australia, in the past two months the number of searches has quadrupled.

Google Trends data for “webinar” in Australia, as of 27/5/20

As previously suggested on Startup News webinars are one such way to differentiate your business by showcasing your product or service to a relevant audience.  

In fact, the primary reason why more webinar programs are being held is for lead generation. 80 percent of organisations surveyed found that hosting a webinar lowered the cost per lead compared to other methods.  

Webinars – like seminars themselves – are designed to be highly engaging and built with interactivity in mind; this includes opening up virtual break out rooms, having breaks, running polls, interactive Q&As and live chat boxes. Even the shyest attendee can join in.

“When managed effectively, webinars provide the interactive and personable content needed to fulfill these purposes. Webinars remove geographical boundaries and are a cost-effective way to engage large, dispersed audiences over time.

With social distancing the ‘new normal’ at least until the end of the year, we expect webinars to make up a large proportion of communication between organisations and their stakeholders throughout the 2021 financial year.”

Jeff Downs, CEO and Founder at Redback Connect

However, as we all know not everyone adapts to technology quickly.

The sudden explosion of video calling platforms such as Zoom and Google Hangouts has lead to various issues such as distracted attendees, dog barks, forgetting to mute (or unmute) the microphone, unflattering camera angles, time delays … amongst many other technicalities.

In light of this, Redback has provided the following tips on how a business can effectively host webinars:

Ten Tips for Successful Webinars 

1.       Choose your event format, structure and speakers wisely. If you are replacing a physical event with a virtual one, perhaps even a conference, don’t make every session live: nobody wants to sit in front of a computer for long periods. However, you may wish to broadcast some sessions live – such as keynotes and panel discussions – and pre-record others, so you can access international speakers in different time zones and make them available on-demand.

2.       Build in interactivity. Once you have your event structure, format, and speakers sorted, build in your interactive elements. Take full advantage of all the benefits of webinars to include polls, Q&As, competitions, and more. 

3.       Sort your pricing and sponsorship packages. You can still charge for an online event – but you may wish to lower the price to reflect reduced travel, venue, and catering costs. It is also a good idea to consider offsetting the cost of your event with sponsorship. Utilising your on-screen real estate or even offering online giveaways, are two such ways to build sponsors into your virtual events.

4.       Set up your spaces. If speakers are presenting from home, talk them through the physical set-up required. They will need to consider lighting, background, and the quality of their camera, microphone, and internet connection. If they will be using their laptop camera, ensure they elevate it to eye level to avoid awkward facial angles. Practice, practice, practice.

5.       Consider a studio broadcast. Some studio providers are operating throughout the COVID-19 lockdown, and can provide you with the professional look your webinar needs. However, make sure you ask your provider how they’re observing COVID-19 social distancing and hygiene guidelines in the building and on set.  

6.       Invest in the right equipment. If you are going to be presenting from home regularly, you may wish to invest in a microphone and webcam to ensure the quality of your video and audio – or use headphones and your laptop camera. 

7.       Properly train your presenters. If your speakers are presenting remotely, either from home or from their own office, they will need to know their way around the webinar platform you’re using so they can move their own slides and, if your webinar is being broadcast live, respond to questions from your audience.

8.       Rehearse your transitions. It is vital to rehearse the content and structure of your digital event as you would for a regular webinar. Practice any transitions, so you can switch between presenters seamlessly, or use a facilitator, to keep your remote event flowing smoothly. It is also a good idea to include breaks between sessions to give you time to test the tech for your next presenter. Use music. Let people have breaks.

9.       Conduct a technical run-through. Always run a technical test just prior to the event to ensure your presenters’ internet connection is up to the job, and their webcams and audio/mikes are all working sufficiently. You might suggest they lock the door if they’re presenting from their office or socially isolating with children and other family members, and pets!

10.   Have a back-up plan if the internet drops out. Ensure your presenters have a phone nearby so your webinar provider can call them during the event if their internet connection or video drops out. Audio and slides are an excellent back-up.

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Featured Image by Chris Montgomery