Posted to Volacci's blog on March 20th, 2012

7 Habits for Highly Effective Webinars


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This week’s guest post comes to us from Blakely Thomas-Aguilar, Content Strategist at PGi. The original text of this post can be found on their PGi Blog.

It’s just about impossible to stand out these days. In our globalized market with messages streaming in from all over the world, how do you grab the attention of prospects and customers without breaking the bank? 

Webinars are one of the most popular ways to get your message out to target audiences without travel costs, scheduling conflicts and the time drain — making it an incredibly powerful tool for businesses to expand their reach even with limited budgets and dispersed audiences.

Here are seven sure-fire tips for getting more out of your next webinar—more exposure, more leads, more engagement.

1. Research the best date and time. Depending on your audience, their internet usage times will vary. How do you figure out the best time to host your session? Start out with a survey of your user group asking when they are most likely to attend a webinar. Take to Twitter, Facebook and your social channels and ask around. Then do some testing. Try different times, figure out which time is most effective and run with that one.

2. Email invites are great, but... Why not try promoting it socially as well? With social media, your message can be posted, tweeted, liked and shared by your employees and target audience — reaching prospects you never thought to target. And don’t forget to encourage your own employees to maximize the message, especially if they have established trust with your target attendees. Create incentives that encourage your employees to pick up the phone and lock-in prospects the old-school way.

3. Choose your speakers wisely. Your target presenter may have all the credibility, knowledge and clout in world, but if they lack stage presence or personality, your audience will quickly and unceremoniously check out. Choose a speaker who can hold the room and help them write a gripping script with information from your company’s subject matter experts.

4. Keep the front door unlocked. That is, make it easy for people to register and attend the event. Keep the registration fields to a minimum— name, email and company — using a one-click “submit” button. For the actual webinar itself, choose a web conferencing tool doesn’t require guests to download software or dial-in with complicated numbers and long passcodes. The less barriers to entry, the more guests you’ll have.

5.  30 minutes or less. A simple 30-minutes-or-less rule will keep your audience engaged, and will up the chances they return for a future webinar. And if you’ve recorded your webinar, your guests will be more likely to share it. There’s a reason most TED talks last less than 20 minutes—and those folks are some of the most dynamic speakers in the world.

6. Multimedia not optional. This may seem pretty elementary, but the more senses you can engage during a webinar, the better. You can make your webinar up to six times more effective with audio and visual elements. Speakers should turn on their webcam to capture your guests’ attention and include multimedia elements in their presentations, such as polling, videos and chat.

7. Follow-up with the replay. With recording functionality built into many web meeting tools, you can maximize a single webinar over and over. When you follow-up with your attendees, send them the link to the replay file so they can share the information with their colleagues. Keep an easily accessible online library of past webinars for your prospects to view at any time. And with the power of social media, you can expand the impact of your webinar even more by socializing the replay to drive visibility — and hopefully more sales.

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