So, you’ve decided that a webinar can really help you to promote a product or service you are excited about sharing with everyone! Do you have questions about where to start and how it all works? Well, fret no more, and get your calendar out to schedule your first webinar because here are the steps to take to get you to showtime:
- Choose your platform. There are dozens of webinar platforms out there to pick from so think about what your needs are for your presentation and audience. How many people do you project will attend? Will you be doing a presentation where screensharing is necessary? Is the platform Mac compatible? (I learned to ask this question the hard way.) I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that if you are thinking of or planning your first webinar, then any number of free options will serve you just fine. I have had experience with FreeConferenceCall.com which worked okay for meetings until I realized they couldn’t support screensharing on a Mac. (This may have changed by now.) Since then I have gone with AnyMeeting.com and have been pleased with my experience. You can have up to 200 attendees for free, it is extremely easy to use, it has screensharing capabilities, allows you to record, and the quality of the audio and video is more than acceptable. My only qualm with the software is the slight audio delay when using the video and the screensharing, but if you just turn off your video, it runs expeditiously. A few other reputed webinar service providers to check out would be: GoToMeeting, MeetingBurner, and WebEx.
- Design your script or presentation. First and foremost, the goal of your webinar should be to provide enough value to make it well-worth attending while at the same time leaving the audience’s mouths watering for the benefits of the service or product you are promoting. Your product or service should be quenching some burning desire of your market or else, well, it probably just won’t sell. So keeping in mind what benefits you are providing, always start your webinar out with the solution to their struggles. Surely, that’s what draws them to the webinar in the first place; they identify with the problem that you are presenting a solution to. Naturally, it’s important to focus on how you can help solve those problems. Then carefully design a dazzling and valuable tasting of your solution walking the line between making people understand just enough about the process to understand it and want to do it, while not “giving away the farm.”
- You need an opt-in procedure. You need to have a process to promote the webinar that will be promoting your product or service. The best way to do this is to have an opt-in page designed- the simpler, the better. The main elements of an effective opt-in page are a video explaining what people will be getting out of your “free” webinar, the registration form to capture their name and email address, the details of the webinar, and social sharing capabilities. Here is a reference to a guy selling opt-in templates that I found with a quick Google search. I’m sure that you could find free options out there too with a little digging. I host the opt-in pages on our website and upload them through my FTP client, but if you purchase a template, it should come with basic installation instructions. I know the link I mentioned above has said instructions.
- Plan your email marketing. Make sure to have autoresponders set-up so that once you are open for sign-up, your registrants will receive a confirmation email with details about the webinar and social sharing capabilities so people can help you promote. You should also set-up a reminder to go out the morning of the event and one the day after to thank everyone for attending, possibly to include a recording if necessary, and a call-to-action to purchase the product or service. It’s a good idea to create a sense of urgency with the enticement of early bird pricing or a bonus to the first so many people who purchase. Word to the wise: when you are designing your form for your opt-in within your email marketing program, be sure to create a new list for the webinar so people that are already in your database can still sign-up for the event. Many email marketing providers will ping a pop-up stating that the email address provided is already a subscriber preventing them from signing up….not good.
- Promote the event. Now you’re ready to receive registrants so start promoting! It’s a good idea to give yourself at least two weeks leading up to the webinar to promote across your channels. Schedule your social media posts, frequently reminding your audience of the impending event. Write a blog post about it, include it in your newsletters or a solo mailing, mention it at the next networking meeting, plug it in your LinkedIn groups, tell your friends, sing it from the hilltops…just get people excited!
- Get your sales page ready. Here’s what it all comes down to…the sales page. Create a page presenting the product or service with corresponding graphics and even another video would be effective. Give people your spiel, give them the option to buy with the spotlight on the deal or special, and as always, give people the ability of social sharing. As with the opt-in page, there are many templates out there to make this step a breeze.
- Practice, practice, practice. Make sure to have at least one (if possible more) dry run of the presentation just as it will happen on game day. You want to be full sure that the webinar platform is running smoothly on your machine and that you feel comfortable using it. I highly recommend recording your practice sessions to critically assess the areas needed to improve upon. Make sure to invite a couple of friends or family members who you know will provide you with valuable feedback.
- You’re on! You made it this far, there’s no turning back. Start the meeting at least 30 minutes ahead of time to account for any unforeseen last minute snafus with compatibility or computer issues. Ideally, you have a laptop as backup to your desktop or vice versa. Make sure to keep bullet points written down to guide you effortlessly through your presentation, smile (even if they can’t see you), and enjoy yourself. Your attitude is contagious and what sells. Have fun..what your doing is awesome!