How to host an online webinar
The word webinar is a combination of “web” and “seminar,” which is exactly what a webinar is. Instead of renting an event space, gathering hundreds of folding chairs, and giving an in-person presentation, a webinar is when you share ideas, knowledge, tips, and updates using a software-based platform through the internet.
It’s a great and inexpensive way to share information about your business or industry with your ideal audience. Many businesses use webinars as a marketing tool to promote their products and services. In fact, 85% of marketing professionals who use webinars say they’re an integral part of their marketing efforts.
Are you interested in throwing your own virtual event? Here’s a step-by-step guide to throwing your own online webinar.
Choose a platform
The first step to hosting your own webinar is to choose which platform to use. Picking a webinar platform is like choosing your event venue for an in-person seminar. Each “venue” has different capabilities, and you need to select the one that matches your needs.
Here are some of the most popular webinar platforms in 2022:
There are dozens of platforms available, so make sure you do your research to determine which one is right for your needs. Keep these considerations in mind when choosing a platform:
- How many attendees will you have?
- What’s your budget?
- What features do you need? (Chat, recording capabilities, screen sharing, transcriptions, etc.)
- How long will the presentation last?
There are free options available, but they’ll typically have fewer features than the paid options. You might also be able to find a free trial to get a feel for whether a specific platform will work for you.
Once you find a platform that best fits your webinar, just create an account, and you’re ready to move to step two!
Think of a topic
When choosing a topic for your webinar, think about your end goal. What do you want attendees to do after the presenter has said their final words? If you want to host a webinar to sell more products, for example, you’ll need a topic that leads people toward that goal. A webinar about how to perfect your hairstyle would be great for a company that wants to promote their new hair straighteners.
One easy way to come up with a great topic is to think about the questions your customers frequently ask. You know your ideal customers are curious about the topic, so why not answer it and gently nudge them toward your products and services?
Find a presenter
Finding the right presenter is just as important as the topic. During a webinar, attendees are just staring at their computer screen, sometimes for hours at a time. You need a presenter who can keep attendees engaged and entertained.
Not only do they have to be interesting, but your presenter also needs to be an expert in their field. A presenter’s credibility adds authority to your webinar. Nobody wants to listen to an accountant talk about marketing tips.
Schedule the date and time
Now that the details are ironed out, it’s time to schedule your webinar. Scheduling might sound like just pointing to a random date on the calendar, but there’s more to it than that.
Depending on the scope of your webinar, you might get attendees from other time zones. You’ll have to think about finding that perfect time of day when everyone can attend. Just because it’s still a reasonable time for you doesn’t mean it is for everyone!
You might have found an awesome presenter, but you can’t just hand off the entire presentation. It’s important to create the content and a basic outline of the presentation to keep everything on task and on time.
Here are some of the main content pieces to think about:
- Compelling introduction
- Main points to address
- Conclusion and call to action
- Slideshow (optional)
- Registration page for email and contact information collection
Once you have your presentation figured out, it’s a good idea to run through it a few times with the presenter to make sure you don’t miss anything or fumble over details. Be sure to time your presentation, too! You don’t want to bore attendees with a webinar that never ends.
Promote, promote, promote
If you want people to attend your webinar, they need to know about it first. Promote your webinar on all the channels you have available. That means your website, social media feeds, email marketing sends, PPC campaigns, and any other marketing campaigns you have going on.
The best way to catch peoples’ eyes is with a stunning invitation graphic. If you’re not a designer, that’s okay. There are plenty of professional online meeting invitation templates available on the internet. Just select the template that fits your style, fill in your webinar’s information, and you’re ready to send it to potential attendees!
Host a webinar to remember
Hosting a webinar is a great way to disseminate information, ideas, and tips about your industry. You can use them to grow your email registration list, sell products or services, or even just inform people about your business.
No matter the purpose, be sure to follow these tips to make the most of your webinar. Choose a platform, pick a topic, find a qualified presenter, select a date, and promote your event. Do all that, all you can throw a webinar your attendees won’t likely forget!