We’ve all heard the term, on social media, blogs, and everything in between. Webinars are everywhere.
Maybe you have some inspiration to share with others. Maybe you have a craft that you want to teach, or a business you’re trying to gain some traction with. Whatever the case:
But how do you start? Where do you begin? Luckily for us all, the good folks over at Startups for the Rest of Us have laid out some killer advice on the subject.
1) Know the Point of a Webinar
If you’re pushing a product or a service, the goal of your webinar is pretty clear: you want to sell something. That’s the point for you, but what’s in it for your audience?
Don’t just make them sit through a lecture. Nobody cares about your product: they care about what it can do for them. Sitting through a 45-minute webinar and getting nothing out of it is no one’s idea of a good time.
Demonstrate the “why.” Make it tangible for them. They’re more likely to come back if you do.
Your webinar should merely be sprinkled with bits and pieces of your company, just enough to give your participants a taste. Let the “why” dominate the time, and then let the product come in as the “how.”
2) Do the Work
A webinar sounds great. You don’t have to fly people anywhere, rent a space, or hire staff. Win-win-win, right?
Don’t get ahead of yourself. While a webinar is great for the startup, there are still some things to consider.
For one, you have to show up to make it happen. Unlike an email, which you can blast out and never think about again, you have to be present for a webinar.
You’re also asking people to block out their own schedule. If you want them to clear next Tuesday at 8, you have to put in enough work to make it worth their while.
A note on the time subject: remember that 8 a.m. Pacific Time is midnight the next day in Japan. If you have the resources, offer a few different time options.
3) Know Your Options
OK, so you’re (hopefully) convinced. Let’s do a webinar.
How? What sort of tools are available? Luckily for you, there are dozens of quality options that make hosting a webinar as easy as possible.
Here are two to get you started:
A Hangout on Air: This is pretty much just like a Google+ hangout, but it has no restrictions on the amount of participants, and it auto-records the whole thing.
GoToWebinar: This desktop software is a great option, but it is pricey (around $49/mo for 100 attendees; price goes up from there.) This is a much more robust option than Google+, but again, free is a nice price if you’re just starting.
4) Be Personal
They don’t want to feel like they’re chatting with a pre-recorded message. They want to talk to a real person.
You may not be able to personally talk to every single person who logs in and attends your webinar, but do all that you can.
Answer some questions. Host a trivia contest and give out a prize or two. Give away something. Make them feel like they’re not hanging out with a corporate representative, but with an actual person.
5) Follow Up
You can ignore everything else, but don’t miss this part: follow up. If you can, follow up individually with every person who attends.
Too many people attend seminars, webinars, and the like and are never contacted. Make it personal. Send an email survey with a chance to win a gift card or some other free gift from your company.
Do it Your Way
This is in no way an exhaustive resource. There are hundreds of different articles out there with awesome advice on how to host your webinar. There’s no right or wrong way.
You’ll have to determine what’s right for you and your company. Once you figure that out, you’ll have all the pieces for a webinar that can really launch your business to places you’ve only imagined.
For the full podcast, make sure to head over to Startups For the Rest of Us.
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Stephen Carter is a writer, husband, father, & friend. He lives in Portland with his wife Rachel, and 2 beautiful girls, Avery & Rylee. When he’s not reading or writing, he enjoys a local micro-brew, or a strong cup of coffee. He is passionate about literature, theology, justice, Daniel Day-Lewis movies, U2 records (but with strong reservations about No Line on the Horizon), and believes that the right words can change the world. He can be found on: Twitter: @stephenedwardc