The Ultimate Guide To Hosting A Webinar – Before, During & After
Webinars have quickly become one of the most popular methods of promoting your message, product or providing a platform for experts to speak. For organisers, shifting from traditional to online events can be challenging, as they each require different styles of engagement with audiences.
Not to fear, as a leading speakers bureau we at Champions are well-versed in the world of webinars, having booked speakers for online events across the globe. Take a look at what we recommend organisers do before, during and after their webinar, and learn how to host a webinar.
WHAT IS A WEBINAR AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Put simply, a webinar is an online event hosted through a virtual video platform, like Zoom. Otherwise known as a web conference or web seminar, hence the name, they solve the age-old limitation of traditional events; “I am sat at the back and can’t see!” and “I want to attend but I can’t afford to travel!”. When you organise a webinar, every member of your audience receives a front row seat without having to leave their house.
Webinars work thanks to the power of technology. Significantly more accessible than traditional events, all you need is an internet connection, a laptop and a message to tell the world – and you are already halfway there.
So, you have a core message to share with audiences, whether that be a new product or recent discovery, what’s next?
TICK OFF YOUR WEBINAR CHECKLIST
- Technology – Internet connection, laptop, headset, laptop charger
- Presentation – Visual slideshow, illustrated flipchart
- Pre-arranged Activities – Polls, team questionnaires, surveys, Q&A
- Webinar Platform – e.g Zoom, Google Hangout, Webinar Jam
- Script – Including an introduction and structure for your points
PREPARE FOR TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES
You can have the fastest, most powerful laptop available to buy, but you may still suffer from technical difficulties. Slow internet speeds, low battery and poor sound quality are all elements that could cause your audience to switch off, instead of tuning in.
Problem: Slow Internet Speeds
Answer: Ensure that you have enough bandwidth to host a webinar, and kindly ask those you live with to avoid excessive downloading or streaming during the webinar.
Problem: Battery Runs Out
Answer: Obviously enough, keep your laptop plugged in at all times during the event.
Problem: Poor sound, lighting or video quality.
Answer: Ask organisers and speakers to do a test run well before the event, to make sure that you can all see and hear each other clearly. If not, make adjustments where necessary and try again.
Problem: Human error while using the webinar platform.
Answer: Prior to the event, get to grips with whichever platform you are using. While doing a test run, learn how to use the control panel with someone else on the other end.
BOOK A WEBINAR SPEAKER
Arguably one of the most important features at any webinar, is the speaker. With 48% of audiences reporting “poor presenter” as the main reason that they leave a webinar prematurely, it is in your best interest to book an engaging, articulate webinar speaker.
But, how do you book the best from the rest? With an industry-leading speakers bureau. We at Champions have spent over a decade nurturing an eye for engaging speakers, meaning that no matter who we suggest for your event, you can book with confidence.
Take a look at our top pick of webinar speakers, then contact a member of our team to kickstart your booking process.
LAUNCH A PROMOTIONAL CAMPAIGN & SEND INVITES
A webinar, without a strong promotional campaign, will have no audience – you may as well talk to yourself in the mirror, it would be cheaper. However, if you are not from an advertorial background or have a team of marketers, venturing into the world of promotion can be daunting.
Firstly, start close to home. Your social media presence is the ideal platform for promoting your website, as you already have a circle of followers who know and support your journey as an events organiser. By booking a speaker, you are also benefiting from their reach of followers, who can become your webinar audience members.
One of the best ways to source viewers from further afield is to send an email invitation. Accessible, affordable and eye-catching, a strong email campaign has the power to traverse the globe, drawing audiences who would have otherwise been unaware of your webinar. Hundreds of invitations are sent a day, so it is important to make sure that yours stands out.
Did you know that the best time to promote your campaign is between 8am and 10am a week before your event? Read our statistical guide to planning the perfect webinar to find out more.
You have created your presentation, invited your audience and booked a webinar speaker. It is the day of the event, so what’s next? As the organiser, your work is not done.
If you haven’t booked a webinar event host, then it is down to you to structure your event. The first thing you must do is welcome your audience, introduce the message or topic and a short description about yourself, all within 30 seconds so as to not lose their attention.
During the event, it is imperative that one segment transitions smoothly to the next. To do so, keep your structured plan close by so that you can maintain a close eye on the proceedings. By closing one speech and introducing the other with a natural charm, your audience will continue to be engaged from start to finish.
ENGAGE WITH THE AUDIENCE
Audience engagement is the key to a successful webinar. Including Q&As, team activities and polls, getting your guests involved with the event will keep them hooked on your every word. Many webinar speakers can be booked equipped with activities tailored to their speaking topic, the mark of a talented presenter.
But, if you request questions for your Q&A and you are met with an awkward silence, don’t dwell on the interaction and instead move onto the next segment. It doesn’t mean that you are a bad webinar host, it simply means that your audience aren’t engaged with that specific method of interaction.
FILL THE SILENCE
Similarly to everyday conversations, silence is the enemy of engaged communication. By ensuring that your webinar is packed to the brim with content, you avoid the dreaded silence that can cause your audience to switch off. Vocally transitioning from one speaker to another, keeping the conversation flowing and preparing for moments of potential silence are all methods of maintaining your audience’s attention.
REACT TO TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES
There are some technical difficulties that we simply cannot prepare for. From power cuts to your internet disconnecting, technical tragedies of all kinds can strike during your webinar. Not to worry, it doesn’t mean the end of your important message.
If your webinar is cut off, try and immediately join the call again. If that doesn’t work, immediately send an apologetic yet hopeful message ensuring audiences that you will try again. Communication and honesty are key to a positive viewer relationship.
So, you have hosted a successful webinar, now is the time to analyse and learn from the event, to ensure that your next online event is even better.
SEND A SURVEY
Take advantage of the email contacts gained from the invitation sending stage, and send your viewers a survey through a platform like Survey Monkey. Ask them how they found the virtual conference, breaking the event down into subsections like presenter, activities and video stream quality. The audience is key with webinars, so their opinion is invaluable.
ANALYSE USER METRICS
When measuring the metrics of your event, commonly available through the streaming platform, consider the following areas:
- Leads & Conversions
- Viewer Retention
- Total Viewers
From there, you can decide whether your event was, truly, a success.
BOOK A WEBINAR SPEAKERS
To book one of our insightful webinar speakers, browse and select a desired topic and simply complete our online booking form or call us on 0207 1010 553. If you’re hosting a webinar, you can also take a look at our free top tips to make sure yours is a success.