Author: Create Webinar Team 2018-09-13
Regardless you are conducting a seminar in front of a large audience, or sitting behind a laptop hosting a web conference, those that voluntarily or involuntarily signed up for listening to you need to be engaged. Seeing the number of webinar attendees descending or the live chat comments disappearing are things no webinar host wants to experience.
Think - which professors you considered the most engaging at the university, or which advertisements were the most appealing to you, or which meetings were the most productive ones. Webinars work the same way, since you are either sharing knowledge, selling a product or deciding the future of your company. Whatever the purpose of your webinar is, you must make it impressive.
But! Before understanding how you can have an actively engaged audience, let’s see what features make webinars boring.
Now, as we know what to avoid for conducting exciting webinars, let’s discuss how to plan and create entertaining sessions that would bring about lasting positive impressions.
Enhance your speaking skills and practice your speech before starting the webinar, especially when you are new to this. Bad speaking skills immediately drive the audience out making them disconnected for the rest of the session. Even if you are an unbeatable expert in the topic to be presented, think of ways to make the audience as enthusiastic as you are. Plan your speech from the intro to conclusion, think of unexpected questions, leave time for answering the participant’s questions, aaaand…. add some humor.
Content is the most important thing as attendees join your webinar based on what you promised to present them. High quality, relevant content will certainly appeal to the audience and make them stay until the very end of the session. Your content should sound personalized and be relevant to every single individual that has joined you. Make sure to present updated information that will be useful even for those who will watch the webinar’s recording.
One trend among webinar hosts is sending topic-related materials before the webinar starts. This is a great way to give the audience an idea of what is going to be presented as well as evoke interest in the topic. Therefore, do not forget to make it intriguing.
Don’t you think it would be boring if the webinar participants stare at your face or shared screen throughout the whole duration? Monotonous webinar settings are the key to dull sessions that you undoubtedly want to avoid in every possible way. This is the reason you MUST plan your visuals beforehand. For instance, Createwebinar.com, an innovative platform for conducting webinars, allows hosts to customize the webinar room, add a logo, choose a color scheme, etc.
• Sharing presentation
In case you are sharing a presentation, try to make it as much eye-popping as possible. Remember that the longer the texts are on a slide, the more boring it looks for the audience. To visualize data, add some GIFs, creative images, graphs; make your slides stimulating to look at. Visuals should replace the words and help share stories in a way that words cannot.
• Webcam view
If you plan to appear on the webinar instead of sharing a desktop or presentation, then make sure you follow the number 1 rule – eye contact. Even if you are conducting a webinar in front of 100s of “invisible” people, eye contact helps to establish and maintain a unique connection throughout the whole duration of the webinar. Also, pay attention to the settings – you do not want your attendees to be distracted by a messy background or, even worse, stare at a dull and monotonous view. Try to make it professional and compelling.
Another effective way to make your audience connected throughout the whole session is to encourage them to participate somehow. Spice up your webinar with online polls, surveys, live chats and continuously stimulate the audience to interact with you. Final Q&A is essential for you since the questions posed there will hint you how successful the presentation was. Moreover, Q&A improves the engagement and stimulates the audience to stay connected until the end of the session to get clarifications for any vague points.
Besides the questions addressed by the audience, raise your own thought-provoking questions that would stimulate the audience to think and wait for a concluding explanation.
Another way to keep the audience is rewarding them for staying, or, in other words, the giveaway of freebies. Especially if the purpose of the webinar is sharing knowledge about a product, that would be extremely exciting for the audience to receive something free of charge. You may offer gifts to the first attendees who registered or choose one or a few random participants during the webinar and surprise them with gifts.
Another critical consideration is indeed the selection of the right webinar platform. While diving into the vital process of picking a software, remember that it should be convenient not only for you but most importantly for the audience too. How many features does it have, how easy it is for the attendees to connect, does it provide analytics, does it allow to save the webinar recording: these all are just a small part of the important aspects to consider. However, we have identified 6 features to look at:
- Ability to customize the webinar room,
- Ease of use for you and the audience,
- Supporting various devices (laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.),
- Inviting and then reminding the audience to join,
- Recording and playback,
- Desktop sharing/whiteboard.
For instance, CreateWebinar.com is a webinar platform that is extremely easy to use. It stands out among other software for the number of unique features it offers. Besides, the platform is based on BigBlueButton, so if you already have your own BBB server, CreateWebinar.com is a free control panel for you to use. The website also offers friendly and fast support for those who cannot figure out how to use any of the features. Convenience is the best word for describing the platform since its every part is made to ease the life of both webinar hosts and attendees. CreateWebinar.com enables to easily invite attendees by email, send them reminders, record the webinar and post them on video streaming sites and, most importantly, personalize and customize the webinar room.
For a webinar to last longer in the minds of attendees, you definitely need to design a follow-up email. To track the success of your webinar, you need to know if it was helpful for the participants who joined you. Your email should be personalized, brief and on-point. You can attach the presentation or share the link for a replay. Coming back to the giveaways, the follow-ups of marketing webinars can include calls-to-action offering discounts, free trials or demo versions of the product.
If your webinar was extremely successful, had a highly enthusiastic audience and you would like to see them joining again next time, then think of the following actions. Leave a link encouraging them to subscribe to you, or a link leading to your website for learning more about your company. You can also ask the participants to share their contacts so that you can invite them to your next awesome session.
If attendees left you webinar with no excitement and did not even stay until the very end, which we do hope never happens, you definitely need to figure out what went wrong. Think of asking for feedback. There are plenty of platforms for making and sharing online surveys. This small yet important step will not only help to identify weaknesses and come up with strategies for improving your online sessions but also will help to see which the positive aspects of your webinar were.
To sum up the presented tips, webinars MUST be planned. They must be planned in terms of the timing, content, visuals, engagement, platform, follow-up actions, etc. Everyone consider their time precious, therefore do not make them waste it on a boring session but instead turn the time spent with you into an invaluable experience of acquiring useful knowledge and insights.