How to Create a Webinar for Your Small Business
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Webinars Let You Show and Tell Your Target Audience Things They Want to Know
If you run a small business and you’ve never hosted a webinar before, now is a great time to start.
Well-executed webinars can help establish you as an industry thought leader, build brand awareness for your company and products, and forge trust with current and prospective clients.
They’re also an excellent way to build your company’s contact list – every signup is a new name for your list – and a fine tool for cross-platform content marketing, to boot.
You can even record webinars to build a knowledge base for both your employees and customers, and they can be a useful training and onboarding tool, as well.
In other words, webinars are hardworking, versatile and cost-effective tools for your business!
The good news is that webinar presentations have never been easier to create, host and promote.
What is a Webinar?
A webinar is a web seminar – a video lecture, workshop or online event hosted virtually by the presenter.
The best webinars are highly engaging and interactive, making full use of audio, video and audience participation to really bring the topic to life.
You can use webinars to teach your prospective customers and also to better understand them. They’re a terrific way to build trust, establish rapport and find those who may be interested in your company.
Webinar How-to Logistics and Tools
Social sites make it easy to live stream a virtual event with platforms like Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Instagram Live, Twitter Live, and – you guessed it – LinkedIn Live. You can deploy these to broadcast a perfectly respectable webinar live video for your business’ followers using just a laptop or even your phone.
If you want to take it a step up and make your virtual event a bit more polished, these are the basic tools you’ll need for a good webinar:
- Laptop with an internet connection
- Camera – most laptops have one, but a webcam may look even better
- Microphone – same as above; invest in one if you want an upgrade
- Good lighting
- Basic script to follow
- Visuals – you can use Powerpoint, Keynote, Google Slides or other programs to create slides, animations or videos, or use products and everyday objects for demonstrations
- Webinar hosting platform/software
What Webinar Platform and Software Should I Use?
There’s no shortage of webinar hosting platforms and software out there, and you can take your pick of features, scheduling and marketing tools, production assistance and more to make the process easier and the final product better.
Choose from free software/hosting platforms like Zoom or ezTalks (or take advantage of free trials while you’re getting started), or pay for one of the subscription services like GoToWebinar or Demios for an advanced suite of features like automation, event analytics, promotion, HD recording and more.
Most platforms will walk you through the steps for using their platform to webcast and offer tutorials on getting the most out of their webinar tools and software. You may need to practice a bit to get the hang of things like live chat, whiteboards, screen sharing and other features.
Tips for a Successful Webinar
- Pick a compelling topic. Narrow topics are usually better than broad ones, and you can do some research to pinpoint topics your ideal buyer may be interested in.
- Pick a good time. Experts recommend Tuesday-Thursday in late morning or after lunch.
- Organize your presentation. Start with this simple script and build: 1. Draw them in 2. Discuss and demonstrate 3. Q & A
- Make it look good. Nice visual aids, good lighting/audio/production quality and a personable host will set you up for success.
- Rehearse. Run through everything at least once so you can fine tune your presentation and troubleshoot problems.
- Promote the heck out of it. Invite your target audience to register – everywhere. Talk about it on social, in email newsletters, on your website and on your blog.
- Make it interactive, engaging and even fun. Keep them awake and listening with interactive discussion, questions, chat and polls. Most webinar software supports these features and makes them easy.
- Always record it. This especially good for evergreen content, and it can also be instructive for planning future webinars. Check that this is an option for whatever webinar platform you’re using.
- Follow up. Add attendees to your contact list so you can ask them for feedback, sign them up for your newsletter and promote future events. And keep using your webinar for content marketing wherever you can!
Get the Most Mileage Out of Your Webinars
Once you’ve put the time and effort into creating a webinar, you should make sure you use it to your maximum advantage.
Use recorded online events for content marketing on Facebook and other social sites, and be sure to make them available on your website, too. This is where recording really pays off, because you can always refer people back to relevant content whenever you need it.
Automatically send them to clients who may need the specific information contained in them.
- New user onboarding: How to Use Our Product/Service
- Knowledge topics: All About the Personal Bankruptcy Process
- How-to and step-by-step demonstrations: How to Use Google Analytics
Always remember – you don’t want to spam anyone. Just include the link to the right webinar in welcome or promotional emails and other topic-matched correspondence.
Use them for training your employees, too. There’s no better way to learn than by having someone experienced teach or show you, and pre-recorded webinars can do just that.
Well thought out webinars can not only inform and train new and existing members of your team, they can also provide important cues about your company’s culture, style and values that might otherwise not be obvious.
This is true for potential clients who watch them, as well, so remember to project a relatable brand personality in every webinar.
Ready to Start Using Webinars to Promote Your Business?
We’ve helped a lot of small businesses like yours, and we can help you, too. Talk to a marketing specialist about creating versatile webinar events and content you can use for your website, email newsletters and social media marketing, too. Fill out our contact form or call 800-692-4037 for a free consultation.
By Marc Apple
Marc Apple is recognized as a leader in the marketing industry and has 20+ years of experience helping businesses of all sizes improve their digital marketing. He specializes in website design, SEO, social media, and paid search programs. He is a frequent contributor to other marketing websites and speaks regularly about marketing to small business owners and startups. To learn about Marc and to contact him, visit his author bio page.
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