How to run, host and market a webinar
5th January 2012
What is a webinar?
Webinar is short for “web seminar”, and refers to a form of web conferencing in which a presentation, demonstration or seminar conducted in one location appears simultaneously on computer screens in a potentially infinite number of other locations. They can be scheduled and scripted in advance, improvised, or both, and can be one-way or collaborative. They allow a presentation or conference to be conveyed remotely to a large audience without the need for any participants to be in the same place, and can be anything from 15 minutes to 2 hours long.
Why should they be part of your marketing strategy?
Webinars can be used for a variety of purposes including lectures, seminars and customer support as well as conventional presentations.However they’re particularly effective for demonstrating your company’s expertise and thought leadership, as well as the value of your products and services in an interactive way. Participants can ask questions in real-time either through web channels or voice conferencing facilities without them having to be in the same place, thus eliminating travel costs and minimising productivity losses for both the presenter and the audience.
Who are they suitable for?
Within the sphere of marketing a webinar is immensely versatile. A presenter can talk through the benefits that their business can offer to existing and prospective clients, as well as demonstrate practical applications of their products and services. They can be used for sales pitches, lectures, workshops or support, with the interactive element encouraging positive engagement from the audience.
How do you conduct a webinar?
Software like GoToWebinar, WebEx and TeamViewer makes putting a webinar together easier than you might think. Once you’ve scheduled your webinar you can invite attendees, who can choose to participate by clicking a special link sent to them. What you talk about and show your attendees on their screens is entirely up to you.
What to talk about
A webinar can be about nearly anything, but they’re particularly useful in the fields of sales and marketing. If for instance your product or service receives a lot of requests for demos and your sales team don’t have the time to be everywhere at once, a webinar can be an efficient and cost-effective way of demonstrating your products to many people simultaneously. A good angle for a webinar is to adopt a thought leadership position, conveying new ideas and solutions whilst the visual aspect demonstrates their effectiveness. The fact that your audience doesn’t necessarily need to download any software or be familiar with webinars in general makes them a great way of impressing potential and existing clients with your knowledge and expertise.
How to market a webinar
Webinars are a relatively new method of communication, and to that end plenty of people haven’t yet heard of them, let alone participated in one. In marketing one to your audience it’s helpful to explain what they are, what you intend to talk about and demonstrate, what they’ll get out of it and affirm how easy it is for them to participate. This can be done through a range of communication channels including your website, word of mouth, email and social media. A monthly workshop or trouble-shooting session for your products, presenting a new service or upgrade to existing customers, or simply sharing your knowledge are just some of the examples of how webinars can be effective when used as part of a wider marketing strategy.
Once it’s over is that it?
No, webinars can be recorded and posted onto your website and video sharing sites such as YouTube allowing participants and people that weren’t on the webinar to go back and remind themselves of points raised by you or others during the webinar.