Webinars - the essentials

Posted on 16 Feb 2017
Reader Question:

Dear Doctor, I’m a consultant and I want to grow my business by doing webinars. Can you help?

Doctor Digital Says:

If your business sells services, or knowledge, if you are an educator, trainer, coach, mentor or have specialist skills, or if you have a product that has some complexity that presents a barrier to instant access by your target market, using webinars to connect with your customers and clients may give your business a significant advantage.

Webinars offer a host of benefits for you and your business, especially if you are looking to grow your customer base outside your immediate geographical location. You can think of a webinar as basically an online seminar, hosted on the web. It involves video, audio and usually overlaid visuals through slides and screen shots to communicate information, all able to be experienced from anywhere your participants have internet access and a suitable device.

Webinars are used frequently by thought leaders and service providers as a way to value add their offering, or to introduce people to them and their services or products. They are relatively inexpensive to produce, can be done from your home or office, and when done in a way that captivates your market, can exponentially build your customer data base and revenue. To deliver a webinar you will need the following things:

  • A reliable microphone: this doesn’t have to be an expensive model, but the better quality your mic, the better experience your audience will have. As voice is your key tool here, it pays to make it clear.
  • High speed internet connection: Slow internet is going to impact on your presentation and is a real barrier to audience enjoyment and participation. Strive for the fastest broadband Internet connection because network speed affects audio quality.
  • Free or paid Webinar hosting: There are three main providers of Webinar hosting: GoToWebinar, WebEx, and AdobeConnect and while there are hundreds that offer it, these three are used by the majority of businesses. All have free trials and you will need to work out what is best for your business and your target audience. You need to experiment by using the platforms and seeing which one is easiest for you to use – as if you are comfortable using it, its likely that your customers will be too.
  • A good lighting source: If you are appearing in your webinar on video, as opposed to using just live voice and slides, you will need to make sure that you have lighting that suits your camera.
  • Helping hands: not exactly a tech tool, but try and have some assistance for your webinars. Someone to work the twitter feed, get answers to questions, help with the set up and even be a second voice in the webinar is all going to result in a better end product for participants, and make it a less stressful endeavor for the presenter.

Webinars take time to perfect, so keep going and try and front load your first one with friends and supporters. Here are some top tips to get you going:

Ten Tips for Webinar Success

1.    Get your tech right – don’t give people the option to tune out because they can’t tune in.

2.    Perfect your craft – watch your presentations, learn and strategise how to make the next better. Watch your competitors and success stories and do what they do as you invent your own style.

3.    Capture your data – don’t let those leads get away, make sure every person makes it onto a well organised database for your next mail out.

4.    Play the long game – it will take time for you to find your voice, your audience, what works and what converts, keep trying and learning.

5.    Show me the money – the effort of doing a webinar is all about converting prospects to sales or upselling paid customers out of the webinar. Find ways to give value to your customers while showing them a pathway to increased revenue through your service or product.

6.    Look for your market – keep building the channels you can use to market your webinars, try everything and keep records on where the sign-ups came from. Most importantly look for collaborators and partners to help spread the word.

7.    Make compelling content – your participants have lots of options for distractions and other things to fill 30 or 60 minutes. Spend time crafting your content and your presentation so it is memorable, interesting and most of all valuable to them.

8.    Choose topics that resonate – not only with the market, but with you. You need to bring the passion to the presentation, if the topic doesn’t light you up, then reconsider its value.

9.    Hit record – use whatever method it takes to remind yourself to capture the magic.

10. Make it fun – even through a screen, bring the authenticity and make it relaxed. A few mistakes here and there are par for the course and can humanise and connect you with your audience - and give you a few laughs and a blooper reel for good measure.

Webinars are a big topic and take more than a blog for a decent diagnosis – to get in depth with webinars head over to the Digital Ready Fact Sheet and click here.