Organizations of all sizes host webinar events for customers, prospects, and stakeholders. Webinars
can focus on a wide range of topics for these audiences — from product launches, to brand advocacy, to thought leadership and education. Regardless of the subject matter and content, all aim to accomplish the same objective — generating leads and market awareness.
But if you’re going to commit energy and resources to a webinar
series it’s important to make sure your time is well spent. Follow these 5 tips to host effective webinars and make stronger connections with your target audience.
Before you start sending invitations, make sure you have a smart strategy for the day and time of your event. At BlueJeans, we’ve found that the most effective webinars are hosted in the middle of the week. For webinars
in North America, schedule your event on Wednesday or Thursday at 10 AM PST (1PM EST) to accommodate all coastal and interior time zones.
But don’t stop there — you’ve got a global audience to invite, right? Admittedly, there will be some inconvenient (NAM) work hours spent hosting and moderating webinars for your international audience. But trust us — it’s worth it. Apply the same scheduling strategy to EMEA and APAC — shoot for mid-week and late-morning/middle of the workday to make your webinar
easy to join for your overseas attendees.
As a general rule, start promoting your webinar
at least two weeks before the live event. Send email invitations once per week — mid-morning and early afternoon are effective times — with a final email invitation the day before your event.
Some webinar platforms (like BlueJeans!) also include reminder emails for registered attendees that automatically send join information the day before and 30 minutes before the live webinar.
To maximize your audience size, integrate your webinar promotion with marketing automation CRM systems. This allows you to reach specific members of your lead database while creating streamlined follow-up once your event ends (more on this in tip #5).
3. Moderate and Manage Your Webinar
Rehearse. Do a dry run. Practice. Whatever you want to call it, always remember to prep with presenters and iron out your show flow before the live broadcast. This means putting together a storyboard that explains all webinar
segments: Introductions, agenda, speaking sections, and audience Q&A. Be redundant, it’s OK. You’ll find a lot of value in taking the time to get all on-camera participants aligned so your webinar runs smoothly. And a pro tip on presenters: Find people that look and sound good! Subject matter experts with a charismatic delivery always establish a better rapport with the crowd.
While the live event is taking place your job as the event manager is to facilitate audience questions, comments, and logistical inquiries. Production-grade moderator controls are found with the best webinar
solutions and give event managers a birds-eye view of all participant communications. This pays dividends during your live event — let your speakers focus on their talk track, it’s the event manager’s job to keep the train on the tracks.
4. Engage Your Webinar Audience
As mentioned above, the event manager is responsible for fielding attendee (and presenter) questions as the webinar
is taking place. However, it’s important to go to greater lengths to keep your audience focused and captivated by your content. Throughout your event make sure to use all interactivity tools at your disposal to pull them into the conversation.
Send occasional text announcements to your attendees either through the public chat feature or as a message that appears on the ribbon at the top of the screen. These announcements can remind attendees to answer the live poll question (another great feature for collecting feedback) or to use the Q&A dialogue box. Additionally, leading webinar
platforms feature a ‘raise hand’ button for attendees to appear on camera — encourage this during your Q&A discussion for a fully immersive, engaging audience experience.
5. Follow Up with Your Audience
Since the goal of external-facing webinars
is to capture and nurture leads for your sales team, following up immediately after your event is critical. Once the event ends, all attendee data is compiled in a spreadsheet that includes their responses to poll questions, Q&A, chat log, etc. Rather than treating all participants equally, take a few moments to extract the most active audience members from the list. Then send their information to your sales team separately from the larger group — these qualify as the warmest prospects and are worth reaching out to first.
Also, the benefit of integrating with marketing automation and CRM systems is that it removes the manual process of sending summary emails. These emails include a bulleted breakdown and link to the webinar
recording. By integrating with Marketo, Salesforce, and other lead management tools the event organizers can leverage automated follow-up with dashboard reports that show attendees vs. no-shows, email open rates, and click-though-rates to re-target, nurture, and optimize the entire webinar lifecycle in the future. These also send all attendees directly into a sales reps’ lead queue to open more opportunities, faster.
Hey, now that you’ve read these 5 Tips to Host Effective Webinars, try BlueJeans for your next event! Click here to try free for 14 days.