THE BLOG
06/19/2014 06:04 pm ET | Updated Aug 19, 2014

13 Tips for Running Powerful Webinars

This post originally appeared on the Shareaholic content marketing blog and is republished with permission.

Speaking in front of a crowd makes even the best of us shake at the knees.

For many businesses though, webinars consistently prove to be an effective marketing and customer relationship tool.

But how can firms make the most of their live performances before, during and after their audience checks in?

In order to get a diverse range of ideas here, we turned to members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) for counsel and asked them:

Q. What is one important tip you would give an entrepreneur who wants to regularly hold webinars?

Webinar presentations

1. Reuse, Recycle and Repurpose Webinar Content

Developing webinars is hard work.

Sean Kelly, CEO of HUMAN, advises you to "[reuse] that content elsewhere -- on your website, in your newsletters, via social media, etc. You can get creative, too: turn it into a video, add it to an email drip sequence, and combine the content with your previous webinars as part of an e-book."

Those, of course, are just a few ways to maximize the utility of webinars you create.

2. Consider the Return on Time

A bit of strategic planning and metrics analysis goes a long way.

"Make sure you have some established goals for the webinars such as conversion to paying customers or customer retention. Use these goals to determine if the time you invest is getting positive results," says Justin Spring of BringShare, a marketing reporting platform.

Webinar Recordings

3. Don't Forget to Offer Recordings Too

"There's no way you can plan live webinars that will work for everyone's schedule," notes John Rood, President of Next Step Test Preparation.

"If there's no time that works for your customer, he or she likely won't sign up. If you prominently show that you'll make a recording available to those that sign up, your participation rate will increase significantly."

As long as your content is available whenever your audience needs it, you'll be sure to capture their attention and hopefully convert sales.

4. Use Social Proof

Before new viewers would be willing to carve out time from their busy days, they will need to make sure your webinar will be worth watching. Offer them that confidence with social validation.

Vanessa Van Edwards, published author and behavioral investigator, shares, "The best way to sell a webinar is by showing social proof. We always get testimonials from previous students or readers to post on our sales pages. Before we launch a webinar we even do a preview call with select readers to get video testimonials to post on our sales page. We have found that this social proof is essential to differentiate our product and justify the price."

To learn more from her, visit her website, ScienceofPeople.com.

Email marketing

5. Be Strategic With Follow-Up

Leading up to, and after, a webinar, you'll want to keep communication with your audience frequent to remain top-of-mind.

"Consider leveraging a tool like Infusionsoft for identifying who has attended [your webinars in the past], who signed up and did not attend, and who didn't sign up in order to structure the proper follow-up message. The more you segment your audience, the better your conversion," recommends Charles Gaudet, CEO of Predictable Profits.

Don't let you leads go cold because you failed at follow-ups.

6. Reach Out to Influencers

"Whenever we run a webinar we reach out to other players within that topic's space," tells Nicolas Gremion, owner of Free-eBooks.net. "By getting others involved, not only do we offer more to our viewers, but we expand our audience. It's a great way to cross-promote your brand and make mutually beneficial partnerships."

7. Only Hold Webinars With a Purpose

But thou shall never host a webinar for the sake of hosting a webinar.

"Sure, you've told your team that you're going to have a monthly webinar for customers and prospects. This is all well and good if you have fresh, engaging content each time. But don't fall in to the trap of just hosting regular webinars for the sake of it, or just to get a few more leads each time. It'd be better to hold 3 webinars on fresh topics than to have 9 out of 12 in a year be stale," warns Grant Gordon of Solomon Consulting Group.

Be Kind and Generous

8. Give, Give, Give

"A lot of webinars are just lengthy sales pitches," Alexis Wolfer of TheBeautyBean.com says, "To really garner fans and loyalty, add value and give much more than you ask."

Eventually, you'll see your customers begin paying it all back.

9. Share on SlideShare

For further distribution, SlideShare has your back.

David Ehrenberg publishes slides from any webinar his team hosts onto SlideShare. There, Ehrenberg and his firm Early Growth Financial Services take full advantage of a platform that helps you reach an even greater audience.

The fact is, your customers "may not have 40+ minutes to listen to the whole recording." This allows viewers "to at least skim on their own time (and decide if it's relevant enough for them to commit more time to it)."

10. Make Sure Your Audience Comes First

A selfless approach will always provides long-term ROI.

Marjorie Adams, CEO of financial services firm AQB, reminds us to "know your audience first, then decide the topics. If you are trying to get new clients, you can train on what sets you apart from the competition or train about your products. If you are trying to get more out of your customer base, then pick topics that will allow you to expand business with the general customer."

Using Professional Equipment for Webinars

11. Go Pro Before You Start

An amateur set-up and presentation will only deliver laughs, not customers.

Clevertech's Kuty Shalev encourages you to "have the right tools, whether it is a top-of-the-line platform or a top-of-the-line microphone; you want to be prepared before you start so you establish yourself from the get-go as a PRO."

12. Send Last-Minute Reminders

A gentle nudge always helps. "Send reminders for all registrants on the same day and 30 minutes before the webinar is about to begin. Do this and you'll double your attendance rate," asserts Miro Kazakoff of education firm Testive.

13. Plan the Content in Advance

Lastly, an audience can tell when a presenter is overwhelmed and underprepared. Therefore, "Before you embark on creating a webinar series, be sure to plan the content for each episode far in advance," suggests Doreen Bloch of Poshly, Inc.

"Similar to how a teacher would prepare a curriculum for the school year, it will be less overwhelming to execute a webinar series when you have an overarching guide to how the content will progress. Also, planning your webinar flow will enable you to promote early and budget resources."

Are you ready to launch your next webinar series?

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