As we are navigating a new events landscape where social distancing and safety measures became an integral part of any in-person event, many companies in Vienna (and in the world) are introducing the online event format.
Webinars have become one of the most popular modes of interactive events. However, hosting a webinar using your laptop webcam is not the most efficient way of building your brand when the sound quality is bad, the computer image keeps freezing and the internet connection keeps failing. A poorly prepared or reviewed event will mean that in the future your audience may not choose you again or worse – go to your competitor! How can you host a professional webinar and attract your target audience?
In this must-read article you will find 12 expert tips from Matthias Gritsch, CEO of Austrian Webinars, on how to prepare and host a successful online webinar that benefits your brand. Dig in!
1. Keep your webinar title short and snappy
People move through the digital universe with a short attention span. So the most important thing is to create a short and snappy title for your webinar. Put yourself in the position of your target group and try to choose the title that sounds most promising. The title does not have to explain everything about the event, but should encourage further reading of the description of the webinar. Do not use abbreviations or terms that your target audience may not understand. Depending on the content and target group, you can also choose a provocative title.
2. Choose the right time and duration of your webinar
Your webinar target audience may have certain habits. You shouldn’t schedule a webinar for teachers at 10:00 a.m., as they will most likely teach. Avoid lunchtime. However, when you are looking to engage businesspeople, try to schedule your webinars in the morning. Startups or young companies regularly open for business between 9:00 and 10:00. If you want to target customers, you should aim to host your webinar to fit into their free time – between 17:00 and 20:00. Topics that require the full attention of your target group should be addressed early so that their mind is still fresh and ready to concentrate on more complex ideas. Think about a reasonable length for the topic. Sometimes it’s better to have shorter webinars but run them as a series of events.
3. Marketing your webinar is key
As with any digital content, you should start promoting your webinar very early. Write an expert blog entry and share it on social media – make sure to include a link to your webinar! If possible, make a video teaser that creates excitement and captures people’s attention. Create an opportunity for your target group to share the video, the blog entry or the registration link in easy to take steps. Make sure you do some active outreach too, for example, post an announcement about your webinar to relevant groups in your community. Comment on articles or create an event page on Facebook. Don’t forget that e-mail is still the most effective way to get in touch with your target audience to make use of your mailing list or plug your event into newsletters that amplify your reach.
4. Set clear goals, measure your success, and collect feedback
Before you put a lot of time, effort, and money into a webinar, you should set goals and be clear about what you want to achieve with the webinar. It doesn’t matter whether you want to win new customers, train employees or sell products. After the webinar, it must be clear whether you have achieved your goal, what you can do better and whether you have met the expectations of your audience.
5. Always invest in good technology
The quality of your video and audio stream are crucial to capture and hold the attention of your webinar’s participants. Poor sound quality is an absolute no-go. Do not use the integrated laptop microphone, but invest into a professional table microphone. Get recommendations from professionals as to which hardware is currently recommended or borrow a mobile webinar studio with a camera, table microphone and light.
6.Take care of the camera position and pick a neutral background
The webcam should be positioned at your eye level. If necessary, place your laptop on a box or put a few books underneath it. The background should be simple and clutter-free. Avoid sitting with your back to windows or other sources of light – they will render your video too dark and negatively impact the quality of the image on screen. Don’t use roll-ups with a lot of writing or distracting elements in the back.
7. Use interactive options
One of the reasons why webinars are better than live streams is that the audience can get in touch with you and interact with you in a structured way. Make sure that your webinar structure is clear to all participants and tell them at the very beginning about the possibility of interacting with you, for example, via a chat. Allow enough time for a Q&A session at the end of the webinar or answer the questions immediately as they come up. When you do answer, keep your responses to the point and brief. Sometimes, there might be no questions at the end of the webinar. Always prepare the most common questions yourself to go through them in such cases. This often brings up further questions from the audience.
8. Record your webinar
Record your webinar and send it to all attendees, including those who have registered but have not attended. Make sure you edit the video to include a branded intro and outro!
9. Test internet connection and speed beforehand
Make sure to check your internet connection before the webinar to prevent any technical difficulties. Make sure to be plugged into Ethernet instead of using a WiFi connection – the latter is often unstable. Only a sufficient upload speed guarantees the trouble-free and high-quality transmission of image and sound.
10. Keep your presentation simple
Don’t shower your audience with too much text or elaborate animations in your presentation. A common question from your audience will be whether they can get the slides after the webinar. You can anticipate this question right at the beginning by telling the participants that they will receive the presentation as a PDF via email after the webinar airs.
11. The best comes at the end
The content of your webinar should be absolutely relevant to your audience. Start by telling your audience what to expect. A good tip is to announce something relevant or interesting at the beginning of the event telling the audience that you will be presenting this exciting part in the middle or at the end of the webinar. This will increase their interest and the participants will be most likely to stay until the end. At the end of the webinar, make a call to action / offer for your products, services or advertise your next webinar.
12. Hire a webinar professional
If you want to hold a professional webinar, it is worth hiring a webinar professional who will advise, coach and accompany you step by step through the technology and software.
Are you ready to host a professional webinar?
Austrian Webinars provides professional online event support and to date have successfully helped out hundreds of clients in over 50 countries to go online. They combine IT and film industry knowledge, creating a wholesome webinar support offer for those, who want to plug into the global trend of online events.
They are also our partners in the newest online event add-ons offer, rolled out this month!
About the Author
Matthias Gritsch, is the CEO and owner of zimtfilm and Austrian Webinars. He brings his vast industry knowledge, creativity and innovation-loving attitude into every project. In 2011 he founded zimtfilm, a film production company focused on effective and innovative corporate communication. Austrian Webinars is a branch of zimtfilm, focused exclusively on providing professional webinar services to clients all over the world. He has been part of Impact Hub Vienna community since 2011.
This article originally appeared in German on the 3rd of March 20202 Austrian Webinars’ website. Link to the original article.
Photos used in the article – unless otherwise stated – are by Lea Fabienne Photography.