7 Tips for a Successful Webinar

By Bill McGuire, Principal, W.M.McGuire, LLC on Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Nothing replaces a face-to-face meeting, however, a webinar can be an excellent (and very cost-effective) alternative to stay connected with current clients and build new relationships. One of the trickiest parts of the webinar process is to ensure a good turnout. So that you’re not sitting alone on your next webinar, here are a few things to consider when planning your promotional efforts:

Check the Calendar --Make sure that your webinar doesn't fall on any holidays or conflict with any competitor or industry events. Also, consider the day of the week and time of day. Know your audience and make sure it's convenient for them.

Get the Word Out Early and Often --Let everyone know with all the different ways that are available to you. Since it's an online event, email and your website will draw the best response. But also include the URL address in your direct mail, print advertisements, and postcards at trade show or how ever else you communicate with potential customers. You may even want to consider creating a press release and sending through targeted newswire distribution.

Give All the Details But Not Too Much  -- Besides the obvious who, what, where and when info, your invitation should include lively and effective graphic elements. If you have a notable speaker or panel discussion, make sure to include photos and brief bios of participating speakers. This will attract more attention and increase your registration rate.

Send Out Reminders  -- Everyone has busy calendars these days. Send out a reminder the day before AND morning of the webinar. Some of the webinar software providers have a feature that does this automatically. Most also synch up with Outlook and other email calendar software so that as soon as someone registers it sets a meeting planner appointment directly on their calendar.

Timing is Everything --Keep the webinar to a reasonable timeframe, most are an hour in length and some are even moving towards 45 minutes. Start promptly and make sure you leave 10-15 minutes for Q&A (questions and answers). The best webinars are interactive; some even allow attendees to submit questions online that can be answered in real-time. You want to make sure that your audience is engaged and stays on the webinar until the end.

How We Doing?  -- When the webinar has concluded, send an email survey to all attendees, ask them what they liked, what they didn't like, if they have any specific question and what they'd like to see if future webinars. Send a similar survey to those who "registered but didn't attend" and ask them why couldn’t make it. The survey should be sent immediately after the webinar. You want it to be still fresh in their minds. Bonus: You may even want to turn the transcript into a 1-2 page mini-white paper that you can distribute to those who couldn’t make it.

Follow-up, Follow-up, Follow-up -- Do not leave anything to chance here! These folks took an hour of their time to learn about your company. Make sure you have a thought-out plan to follow-up with them effectively. You might even create a follow-up script that your sales team can use as a guide. This will also help maintain a consistent follow-up process.

And remember, it's all about learning and making improvements for the next one.

Bill McGuire is principal of W.M.McGuire,LLC, an integrated marketing firm serving the independent advisor community. W.M.McGuire’s mission is to help businesses grow by applying common-sense marketing with a keen eye towards your budgets, deadlines and results. Connect with Bill on Twitter at @billmcguire5 or email bill@wmmcguire.com

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