A couple of months ago, I began holding webinars – both open and closed webinars, to which I invite a particular audience. I think I have committed all of the classic mistakes one possibly can! In the following, I will share my experience and what I have learned from others, so you can avoid wasting a lot of time.
I have divided it up into eight tips, so you can pick and choose what you use the next time you hold a webinar.
1. Choose the right software
One of the most important things when holding a webinar is to have software that works with both video, audio and chat. I have tried a number of the different webinar solutions available, and there are several good solutions out there, depending on what you like. Many use GoToWebinar, and it works fine, but after trying 10-12 different webinar programs, I have fallen for a solution called Zoom. It is easy to use, offers high quality audio and video and comes at a reasonable price.
Most solutions offer a free trial period, so I would advise you to try everything you come across. Hold a webinar for a closed network, see how it works, and choose the software that is best for you.
2. Use quality audio and video
If you already have a microphone and webcam, you are off to a good start. I chose to use my built-in webcam, as it offers good video quality. I place some books under my computer, so the camera is at the right height. Many prefer an external webcam, and of those, many specifically prefer the Logitech c920 HD Pro Webcam.
As for a microphone, I spent a lot of time finding the right one. There are a lot of good microphones out there – and I ended up choosing between: Blue Yeti, Audio-Technica AT2020, RØDE Podcaster and RØDE NT-USB. I used YouTube to find people who had tested the different microphones and, based on a good number of video reviews, I decided to invest in RØDE’s Podcaster on a swing-arm. The swing-arm means that, when I use the keyboard or put down a coffee cup, the noise will not be in the audio recording.
On that note, remember to buy a POP filter for your microphone if it is not already included. The POP filter removes unwanted effects that the voice generates, especially sounds made by the letter p.
Tip! It is worthwhile googling the products mentioned here in the blog, to find the lowest prices.
3. Draft a manuscript for your webinar
When I prepare a webinar, I always write down key words relating to what I want to say during the webinar. I do this in a Word file with two columns. In the left column, I have a slide I want to talk about, and in the right column, I have my key words relating to the slide in question.
That way, navigating through the webinar is easy, and I always have a main thread I can rely on. Before holding the webinar, I practice 5-10 times, so the text is well-known to me. Occasionally – if it is a new webinar, for instance – I record the audio while speaking out loud. This makes it easier to get a sense of where to pause, to identify unclear passages or where I am saying ‘uh’ and so on.
4. Use images in your presentation
To the extent I can, I try to use images in my webinar presentations. Images create a mood for the participants that they do not get from text alone.
Make sure to use images that the participants have never seen before. I always try to take my own photos, because it makes the experience more authentic than using photos I purchased and which the participants have seen a dozen times before.
Combine an image with a word or two. When talking, for example, about how to overcome the fear of writing, I often show a picture of a pencil erasing the word “fear”.
5. Hold a rehearsal
If it is an entirely new webinar, where the aim is to share your knowledge in a certain field and ultimately sell something, I recommend that you hold a rehearsal as if it were the real webinar. In other words, go through the entire process, send all the emails that need to be sent, hold the webinar, and remember to record it so you can watch it again and again.
You should have 5-10 people from your target audience attend the rehearsal – and it should not be anyone you know well. When holding a webinar rehearsal, I find 5-10 people from my network who want to help. After the webinar, I talk to all the participants one by one and gather plenty of feedback that I can use to make the webinar better.
The advantage of holding a rehearsal is that you gain experience by simulating the live webinar. At the same time, thanks to the rehearsal, you probably will not be as nervous when you hold the real webinar for an audience of, say, 200 participants – because you have tried it before.
6. Send out invitations early
I send invitations to open webinars about 14 days in advance. That way the webinar is not too far off for the early birds, and there is still time to attract plenty of participants.
I use my newsletter to send an invitation and, at the same time, I create an event on Facebook and send invitations to individuals who I think the webinar may be relevant for, as well as share an invitation on other social media. If necessary, I buy advertisements via Google Ads, Facebook and LinkedIn.
I typically set the minimum number of participants to 150, and usually about 100 will show up to the webinar.
7. Include your newsletter
Make sure to clearly indicate that when people register for the webinar they are also registering for your newsletter. I can highly recommend having your email system send an email to those who register asking them to click on a link in order to confirm their registration. Write in the confirmation email that by clicking on the link they will also be registered for your newsletter and that they will receive news and offers from you.
One of the major advantages of holding webinars is namely that you increase the number of relevant recipients of your newsletter.
8. Say thank you
In many of the webinars I have participated in myself, the people holding the webinars forget to send an email afterwards to thank people for participating – but I highly recommend it!
After the webinar, you have a unique opportunity to, e.g. send a recording of the webinar – if you are giving it away, and in that connection, summarise the offer you likely gave them during the webinar. Remember to include a link to where the participants can buy your product. And use the scarcity principle, where you offer your product at a special rate for a limited time.
I hope you can use my experience the next time you hold a webinar. I still find it to be one of the funniest things I have tried, and I hope it will be for you, too.
Good luck on your webinars!