Webinars are an effective way for businesses to connect and engage with users all over the world. This powerful marketing tool offers the ability to generate leads, position your company as industry experts, and even reach other influencers that will share your content. Read on to discover why webinars can be so effective and how to go about hosting one yourself!
1. Become an industry expert
Sure, your social media, blog, and website sets you up as an industry expert, but producing a webinar puts you in the perfect position to show potential customers or clients just what you do and that you do it well. When viewers see that you are knowledgeable and aren’t trying to sell them something but rather increase their knowledge, your platform to talk to them about your products and services becomes stronger and stronger.
2. Lead generation
Include some lead generation questions in the webinar sign-up form, while being sure not to make the sign-up form too long. This way, it’s easier to stay in contact with new prospects. Ask for name, email address, phone number, and employer. If you dig much deeper than that, you risk losing your audience.
3. Announce new events, products, etc.
There are many marketing tools that a business can use to push out a new product or a big event. Webinars are one of the most effective of those tools. Introducing a product or upcoming event can reach thousands of people at once and isn’t as costly as many traditional marketing routes.
How do I host a webinar?
The key to hosting a successful webinar is to be knowledgeable and, most importantly, passionate about what you’re talking about. If you offer great content and information that is usable and interesting, you will create value for your webinar and also your company in the eyes of attendees.
The first thing to do when getting ready to host a webinar is to create an audience. Hopefully you’re already effectively using social media, e-newsletters, a blog, and more—use these digital platforms to market your webinar. Focus on what participants will get out of the experience and why they should sign up.
The webinar itself can take a lot of planning. Be sure that you have a system in place—give yourself time to create the slides and practice the webinar out loud several times. Use more images than text, and remember to keep your audience entertained and engaged during the hour.
As the webinar organizer, you should be on the call 30 minutes early. When others begin to join the call early, remind them that you will be starting soon and to get ready to take notes and ask questions. It’s good practice to have an initial slide of the title of the webinar as well as your twitter handle (great for recognition and connecting with your audience after the webinar!).
Another best practice is to tell your audience that at the end of the webinar, there will be a special giveaway, discount or download. This will help keep them there until the very end, though you should be aiming to keep them as entertained as possible the entire time. No matter how awesome your giveaway is, if you’re boring your audience to tears it may not be worth it for them to stick around.
MeetingBurner has a nice, clean interface. It’s very simple to use and to set up meetings. You can use PayPal to collect payments, and you can record and upload your webinars to share on YouTube and social media. Here’s a review and a video walk-through of how to use MeetingBurner.
A great free conferencing platform, AnyMeeting is easy to set up. It lets you include a survey in your sign-up form. The downside comes from it being free—your registration form has some advertising for AnyMeeting in it.
Webinars are a great marketing tool that most businesses don’t take advantage of, with lots of great benefits and proven ROI. Have you hosted a webinar before? Do you regularly attend them?
Vanessa Levin-Pompetzki—Digital Media Coordinator