Webinars are an excellent way of reaching across the globe and connecting with business opportunities using video, audio, and chat. Having said that, learning a new way to do business can be a daunting task, even if the benefits are obvious.
The following are six easy tips that will help you run a compelling web seminar and keep your audience coming back for more. No matter your skill level, these tips are sure to contribute to a successful online presentation.
1. “Hook” attendees
Start your webinar with a compelling point, a fascinating revelation, or a powerful demonstration of your product or ability. This “hook” will draw your audience in, so when you introduce yourself they’re sure to listen.
Although it may seem logical to begin with an exchange of names, consider that a webinar shares more in common with a presentation than a traditional conversation. They need to have a reason to listen to you before they’ll be interested in your name or position.
A hard-hitting fact or question that begs to be answered will command attention and pave the way for an effective presentation.
2. Plan for the “Human” element
Although we’d like to think that an audience has the ability and respect to be on time and prepared, the truth is that it is relatively rare. In a world governed by the speed of the Internet, people can still fall prey to overbooked schedules and a lack of technical knowledge.
A knowledgeable presenter should take this into account when booking a web seminar. Booking your meeting for fifteen or so minutes before the actual start of your presentation will allow time for inevitable latecomers.
In the initial webinar invitation, invite attendees to “preload” the conference application. A carefully designed webinar means every moment is important, and missing the first few minutes can mean the difference between a receptive audience and a resistant one.
3. Remember your network
Smaller companies usually have less network resources at their disposal, and it can require some advance notice to insure a successful webinar. Plan ahead by informing coworkers of your meeting and asking them to refrain from high bandwidth Internet use until your presentation is finished.
If you’re in a home office, you may want to schedule your presentation when no family members are online. This simple trick can mean the difference between a smooth presentation, and one that runs a bit uneven as a result of an overloaded connection.
Your upload speed to the web is what counts here, and for some offices that’s a smaller number.
4. Capture their attention
Frequently attendees arrive to a webinar before it begins, if only for a few minutes. A savvy presenter can use this to their advantage by preempting the meeting with important links, slides, or a short product demonstration, which demand attention and provide valuable information for attendees.
In addition, a number of advanced web conferencing applications can allow attendees to fill out surveys or respond to questions that can turn into valuable leads or feedback.
5. Do a dry run
This is especially important if you’re new to webinars, but even experts benefit from this tip. A few days before your presentation, confirm that all of your technology is working properly and you know the particulars of your topic.
This trial session helps you catch any errors in your delivery, regulate your pacing as it relates to available time, determine ideal moments to invite questions, and generally shake down your entire presentation. It can also prevent the pre-show jitters that many people experience when presenting to a group.
It’s better to work the kinks out on your own than in front of an audience.
6. Leave your audience with a Call-To-Action
The end of a successful presentation is your chance to stir people into action. At this point they’ll be more likely to act on the knowledge you provided than at any other moment. Use this to your advantage by offering a simple way your audience can follow up on what you’ve said.
In sales demonstrations this is fairly straightforward; provide them with the ability to purchase your product outright or to reach a sales consultant directly. Secondary options include an opportunity to learn more about your product or to see further demonstrations.
The call-to-action is important because it’s your chance to give the audience a positive lasting impression. If you’re doing a sales demonstration, consider showing them footage of the product in action. If the product is relatively inexpensive and is usually bought in bulk, consider providing the attendees the product as a gift.
If it’s a service, offer a free trial period or a generous discount. If your webinar is about a topic and not a product, consider offering a favorable fact or example that demonstrates how this knowledge will benefit them.
Simply be sure to make the benefit immediate and without any significant effort on their part.
There are many other strategies and practices to improve your webinar, but starting with these tips is certain to improve your delivery. Don't forget to promote your webinar, well in advance, with a free email marketing service, so that your time and message will be delivered to a large audience.