12 expert tips to host your first webinar

Webinars are only growing in popularity.

About 60 percent of marketers use webinars as a content marketing tool. They help increase the understanding of your products and services by about 74 percent.

And as a form of premium content, webinars can help you generate and nurture leads for your business. By sharing your expertise in an engaging presentation format, you’re building stronger, more trusting relationships with your customers and potential customers.

The following are 12 tips to help you host a successful webinar.

Choose the right webinar platform

There are a number of webinar-hosting platforms available, so it’s important to review the features of any platform you’re considering so that you ultimately use the best platform for your needs.

Consider the fact that attendees might watch your webinar across devices, whether it’s a computer or a smartphone. And while some platforms might be free or low-cost, that advantage could result in limits on time length, a set maximum on the number of attendees or even the display of distracting ads for you and your attendees.

Ideally, you’ll want a platform that doesn’t just host a quality webinar but can help manage registration and send out reminders to attendees as well. A handful of webinar-hosting platforms you can look into include:

Select the right day and time

You’ll want to schedule your webinar at a time (and day) that allows for the most possible attendees to participate.

Of course, the ideal day and time can depend on your target audience. While an “after-dinner” time might seem odd, it could perform better than an afternoon time when your audience is in the middle of their work day.

You can review your website traffic to see what days and times are most popular for visitors to be on your site. Be sure to factor in relevant time zones into your scheduling.

In general, though, webinar scheduling is recommended in the middle of the week (Tuesday through Thursday) around 11 a.m. But don’t be afraid to experiment with different days and times to see what ultimately works best for your audience.

Use the right equipment

While relying on the built-in microphones and speakers on your computer can work in many instances, there is a risk of low-quality audio that can turn off your attendees.

Consider a headset (even if it’s plugged into your computer). You also should have a backup computer and any additional batteries as needed or spare additional equipment so that you can easily troubleshoot any technical difficulties. 

You’ll also want to print out a copy of your slides so that you can keep going if there is a glitch there as well.

Opt for the right topic

It’s important that you brainstorm a number of potential webinar topics before settling on one. And if you can brainstorm with a colleague (or several members of your team), all the better.

The perfect topic is where your expertise intersects with the interests and needs of your audience. As you’re narrowing down your ideas, keep asking yourself: “Will my target audience care?” 

If you choose a topic that doesn’t generate a lot of interest and excitement, you’re setting yourself up for an uphill battle with your webinar in general.

Also make sure that your topic is neither too broad. A broad topic gets about as far as broad audience targeting, which isn’t very far at all. Don’t be afraid to deep dive into the finer details of a particular topic. That’s where the value comes from, and it’s all about providing value.

Go as visual as possible

In addition, you’ll want to make your webinar as visual as possible. The more visual the topic you’ve chosen, the easier it will be to create a presentation that’s engaging for your attendees.

Of course, visuals can be more than just photos. You can use videos, infographics and/or GIFs as well.

Practice makes perfect

You should definitely practice your webinar in advance to ensure a smooth experience when you go live.

Not only will this help you work out any hiccups in your script and your over pace, but you’ll also likely identify any technical issues that you can fix well before the time of your webinar.

Practice truly makes perfect, so do so as many times as you like.

Promote your webinar across channels

This might sound obvious, but you must promote your webinar to boost attendance. Beyond the obvious, though, make sure your promotion spans across channels.

So, you’re posting across your social media accounts, encouraging colleagues and partners to do the same, including a pop-up ad on your website, publishing a blog about what attendees can learn and so on. We also suggest a “countdown” campaign that teases some tips or statistics to really generate anticipation for your webinar. You can even create and use a specific hashtag during your promotion that can then be used during your webinar as it’s happening, and include any speaker’s social media handles in your promotion as well.

The sky’s the limit. Just don’t assume that one post or blog will do the trick. Be consistent in frequency and quality.

See our seven tips to level up your content marketing.

Engage with your attendees

While we definitely recommend that you have a script planned for your webinar presentation, you don’t want to miss any opportunities to engage with your attendees.

A good rule of thumb is to build engagement opportunities (such as questions) into your presentation, roughly about every four to five slides. In addition, plan to leave time at the end of your webinar for questions from your attendees. 

Depending on the webinar-hosting platform you’re using, there can be engagement features (such as polls) available to use as well.

Invite guests to speak or host

If you’re concerned about being monotone in your presentation or are simply looking for ways to mix it up, consider inviting a guest host. This expert can present for part or all of your webinar.

The key is to project energy while presenting, but the simple tag team of two presenters can make your webinar more interesting by default.

Guests can be industry thought leaders, experts or influencers who have larger followings than your brand. Just make sure to coordinate your plan, slide deck and scripts. 

Assets can be created for attendees

You can provide additional assets to promote engagement and/or value. 

Whether it’s a link to an ebook that will offer even more information after the webinar or a downloadable worksheet for attendees to use during the presentation, anything you offer will help make your webinar both more memorable and more successful.

Of course, the assets you offer will naturally compliment your topic and the goals of your presentation (like even offering the slide deck to be available for download).

Follow up with attendees after your webinar

Don’t forget to send a follow-up email to your attendees within 24 hours (or less) of your webinar ending.

You’ll, of course, want to thank them for attending, but you also have an opportunity to request feedback so that you can continue to improve.

For anyone who was registered but didn’t attend your webinar, make sure to send a recording. (This can be done for those who attended as well.)

If you have freebies, webinar highlights or a future webinar to promote, include all these in your follow-up message as well.

Measure your success

Use all available in-platform metrics to analyze your webinar registration and performance. It’s important to understand any insights available to you.

Was there a drop-off in participation at a particular point during the webinar? Did everyone stay engaged all the way through to the end?

Take everything you learn and apply it to future webinars that can continue to improve and grow.

While you’re planning a successful webinar, consider leveling up your digital marketing process. DailyStory features automation, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Webinar: Using popups on your website

Using popups on your website to capture visitors as they enter or leave can be surprisingly effective.

The average conversion rate for all popups is 3.09 percent.

In this webinar, we’ll talk through strategies for how to use popups to collect information from visitors.

Check out these eight tips to get more leads through your website popups.