create webinar

Create and conduct a webinar: 7 steps to a successful webinar

Webinars are a good way to publicize your company, attract new customers and learn more about your target group. Perhaps you've had the "create a webinar" project on your to-do list for a long time, but also have a few questions about it? Then you've come to the right place. In this article, I'll explain why webinars are important, how to create them, market them and follow them up in the best possible way.

What exactly is a webinar and how does it work?

The term "webinar" is a combination of the words "web" and "seminar": it is a seminar that is broadcast live on the web at a specific time. For this reason, the webinar is ideal for people or companies who want to reach a large audience but do not want to organize an event at a physical location.

In terms of content, the focus is usually on marketing content or knowledge transfer in the form of training courses or workshops. As a rule, there is a lecture part by the provider as well as an interactive part with the opportunity to ask questions or hold discussions.

You may still be wondering: How much does a webinar cost? When companies offer webinars, they are often free of charge - but exceptions prove the rule.

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Why are webinars important?

Why do companies need webinars? Webinars are an exciting tool for marketing, sales & co. for several reasons:

  • Reach a relevant target group: You reach people who are interested in the exact issues you are discussing. This means you have gathered an audience that fits you and your offers very precisely.
  • Position yourself as an expert: You position yourself or your employees as competent contact persons. You build trust through this personal relationship.
  • Conduct market research: Last but not least, you can use the webinar for market research purposes. For example, you can see from the interest whether the topic is relevant as presented by you. A Q & A session can also give you insights into the needs, wishes, problems and level of knowledge of your target group.
  • Interact with participants: In contrast to other marketing measures, which tend to be unidirectional, webinars are a wonderful opportunity for interaction. For example, in a breakout or Q & A session. You can also ask for feedback directly.
  • Inexpensive measure: Compared to other advertising and marketing measures, webinars are also inexpensive: you primarily invest time and effort in preparing and implementing them. At the same time, the initial outlay in particular should not be underestimated. This will pay off over time.
  • Achieve visibility: Well-designed, free webinars can increase your visibility among important target groups. After all, participants do not have to be present at a physical location.
  • Generate leads: Sales webinars can be an ideal opportunity to generate high-quality leads thanks to the aforementioned advantages. You regularly access the most important data as soon as you register.
  • Maintain the community: Webinars are also a good way to stay on the radar of your target group and remain in their minds as a solution provider.
  • Further use of the content: If you record your webinar, you can use it afterwards as a high-quality content piece.

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Create a webinar with step-by-step instructions

What do you need to think about when holding a webinar and how do you create a webinar? I'll explain it to you in 7 steps:

Step 1: Find a webinar topic

What do you want to achieve?

If you want to create a webinar, the first question you need to ask yourself is who exactly you want to reach and with what topic. Perhaps you offer a service that is already well received, but you want to make it better known. Or you have a completely new offer in your portfolio. Or you want to make your agency better known in general.

A webinar can be a good choice here, especially in combination with other activities. These include social media marketing, email marketing and content marketing.

What interests the target group?

When planning the topic, one point is generally important: think from the perspective of your target group. A purely promotional webinar will have little appeal. Instead, you need to find out what questions your potential customers have in mind that are related to your services.

You can use tools that you might also use for researching topics and finding ideas. For example, site such as Answer The Public specializes in what questions users are looking for. Google Trends gives you an insight into how a topic is developing and what related topics there are. Relevant groups in social networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn can provide interesting suggestions.

Added value vs. advertising

Ultimately, your goal should be to make the webinar so interesting and useful that you could even offer it for free. Companies usually only offer it for free because they hope it will attract new customers.

As mentioned, your own products and offers tend to be in the background. But that doesn't mean that you have to completely conceal them - on the contrary. So that we don't misunderstand each other: Of course you can talk about yourself and your offers in the right place. But that should take a back seat. The focus should be on presenting yourself as a competent, trustworthy and likeable provider. However, instead of inserting an "advertising block", sprinkle the information here and there in the webinar. As you approach the end of the main part, you can go into more detail. For example, it's a good idea to have a voucher ready that rewards your participants with a discount.

Example

You have a web agency that offers WordPress maintenance contracts. Up to now, you have mainly sold these as an additional service to existing customers for whom you have created a website. You have now identified small businesses and solopreneurs as a new target group: they may not use your agency to set up their site , but the stress and responsibility of running it is too much for them.  

If you now want to create a webinar, it could be about how these people keep their WordPress website up to date efficiently, what they should and shouldn't do, what typical problems can occur during updates and what solutions there are for them.

Step 2: Determine and develop format

How long should a webinar last? When companies offer a webinar, it usually lasts between 30 and 60 minutes. There are numerous ways to structure it:

  • Presentation (classic): You prepare presentation slides. One challenge in digital is the sparse feedback from your audience: when you're on a real stage, you can gauge whether the audience is still following you or not by looking at them. That's not possible here. Make sure your presentation is interesting and varied. Plan small breaks for questions and other feedback.
  • Interview: Interview a specialist live on the topic. On the one hand, it is more time-consuming to have two people as hosts, but on the other hand it is often easier: the responsibility is then not just on your shoulders. A tip to make it more lively: Go through the questions in advance. This allows your counterpart to develop ideas in advance. The answers will then come faster and more fluently.
  • Panel discussion: Several people discuss a topic and you take over the moderation. This is an interesting option, especially for complex and controversial issues, because it allows you to hear different perspectives. However, moderating such an interesting panel is not for beginners. The technical effort is also correspondingly greater.
  • Workshop: Instead of treating your audience as passive participants, they become active themselves. You may have an initial introductory part that explains a topic or conveys best practices. Then you set one or more tasks. At the end, you discuss with the participants what questions and problems have arisen.
  • Ask Me Anything: Here you just set the date and make yourself (or another person) available for any questions from the audience. This can be exciting and useful, but is inevitably unpredictable. A good idea is to prepare generally interesting questions in case nothing or not enough comes from the audience.
  • Lab: Here you discuss a topic using a specific example that you have either chosen yourself or that comes from your audience. For example, you can use a website to show what is successful about its design and what is not.
  • Over the shoulder: Here you demonstrate something, for example by sharing your screen. Tip: Play through what you want to show before the webinar. Limit yourself to the points that are essential to your topic. In the excitement of a live situation, it is easy to digress from the content.

Which format is best depends on numerous factors. One of them is how experienced you are with webinars. As a beginner, it's better to plan ahead. That's why we see presentations so often. Other factors include the topic itself and your audience. 

At the same time, the formats are not mutually exclusive. For example, you can combine a presentation as an introduction to the topic with a workshop component.

Step 3: Plan the structure and content of the webinar

With your webinar, you need to grab the audience's attention immediately and then hold it for the 30 to 60 minutes. This is especially true for a free offer, as your audience will feel less obliged to stick with it.

In fact, you should assume that your webinar participants are always on the go. After all, distractions are omnipresent: the to-do list calls and the window with your webinar is quickly closed.

Define a clear structure 

Therefore, make sure you have a clear structure. Introduce this agenda briefly at the beginning and make it clear throughout the webinar where you are in the plan. Ideally, you should work with one or two suspense points here: for example, present a point that you think will interest many people.

Direct access to the topic

Get into the topic as quickly as possible, as your participants will decide in the first few minutes whether their time investment is worthwhile or not. For example, explain the specific problem that your webinar is about and offer the prospect of how you will address and solve it. Possibly have a reward ready at the end of the webinar, such as a free download, and point this out at the beginning.

Best practices for content

Other tips to make a webinar more interesting and lively:

  • Interactive elements break your audience out of their passive attitude, which can lead to boredom and distraction. These can be surveys, for example.
  • Storytelling has proven itself many times over. Explain your topic using a realistic, interesting story. It can run like a common thread through the entire webinar. Ideally, it should be a real-life example from your own experience. But you can also invent one.
  • Don't get stuck on theory, but always show practical examples or explain the impact of what you are saying on your audience's everyday life.
  • Show yourself from your human site. You don't have to mutate into an entertainer or comedian. But it's good if your personality shines through a little. This makes your webinar more approachable and friendly.
  • Keep in mind that you appear less lively on the screen than in direct contact. That's why professionals sometimes have a rule of thumb: add 20% energy and enthusiasm on top. What feels a little exaggerated to you will come across just right to the audience.

These points are suggestions. You do not have to fulfill all of them. But try to improve your planned webinar based on these ideas.

Once the content has been finalized, it's time for the creative implementation.

Step 4: Select webinar tool

To be able to hold a webinar, you need access to a webinar tool, i.e. an online room in which you meet the participants and convey your content.

Which webinar software is the best and where should you host a webinar? You are spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing a provider. It's best to use a reliable webinar platform. Due to the pandemic, we are now familiar with many tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet. There are also specialized providers such as LiveWebinar. The lower the hurdle for you and your audience, the better.

Step 5: Set up appointment

As soon as the date is set, create the event in the calendar. At this point, it is also advisable to set up automatic reminders for your prospects so that they don't get lost in the general hustle and bustle. For example, 24 hours before and half an hour before are useful for sending reminders. You can also use these emails to collect questions about the topic. In general, they should also make you want to participate.

Step 6: Set up landing page or registration page

Then set up a landing page that makes people want to watch your webinar and that interested participants can use to register. The site should contain the following aspects:

  • Presentation of the provider
  • Presentation of the speakers including the reason for selection
  • Overview of the contents 
  • Registration form

10 tips for creating a landing page

In this article, we give you 10 ultimate tips for creating landing pages: from mobile first to a clear message and targeted user flows to clear CTAs.

Step 7: Detailed planning of the broadcast and dress rehearsal

Define responsibilities

It may be useful to define different responsibilities (e.g. starting and ending the recording, sharing slides, presenting, collecting questions from the chat).

Organize technology

What do you need for a webinar? You will need a laptop/computer with a camera and a microphone or speakers. You may also want to use professional lighting.

Plan physical location

To minimize the possibility of disruption, think about where you will stream the webinar on the day of broadcast.

Familiarize yourself with the webinar software

Technical problems are a major challenge with live formats such as webinars. We've all experienced them and they can significantly disrupt the flow of your event. Also, familiarize yourself with the platform and test all the steps and processes. Nobody wants to watch you searching for a function or option.

Also specify what rights the participants should have and what kind of participation you want/allow. Should the cameras be on? Do you allow controlled access to the microphone?

Rehearsing the content according to the schedule

Last but not least, it is important that you stick to your own schedule. To do this, you need to plan it realistically from the outset. If you have a presentation, go through it in advance and see how you can manage your time. If you're using a different format, set times for certain milestones. If you are planning a workshop, for example, you should determine in advance how long the introduction will be, how much time there is for working on the tasks and how much for the evaluation.

Over time, you will learn to assess this schedule better.

Ensure a stable Internet connection

Make sure you have a stable internet connection. It can be a good idea to restart the router directly before the event and make sure that the computer for the presentation is not downloading a major update while you are holding your webinar. It is also a good idea to switch off notifications for programs that you do not need.

Develop a backup plan

Also have a backup plan ready. For example, you could record a test run of your webinar and make it available as a replacement if the worst comes to the worst.

Now nothing can go wrong during the webinar.

How can I successfully market the webinar?

How do you promote webinars? Now that everything is planned and the date and registration page have been set up, it's time to make your potential audience aware of your upcoming webinar. Ideally, you should advertise your offer before you start the lengthy preparations. This way, you can see how much interest there is at an early stage.

I have the following marketing tips:

  • Landing pages
  • Pop-up elements on the website, blog or store
  • Emails to existing customers
  • Newsletter 
  • Organic social media (postings and event pages)
  • Social Meida Paid Ads
  • Google Ads
  • Press
  • Cooperations
  • Partnerships

How do I best prepare for the webinar?

Remarketing via follow-up emails & co.

Don't forget to send a final email to all interested parties and participants afterwards. This could, for example, contain links to a recording and additional materials such as checklists, graphics, etc. and possibly the voucher code for your offer. Ask for feedback too! You won't get a response here very often, but it's still worth trying.

Further use of the contents

At the same time, consider whether you would like to further develop the webinar and its content in some way and reuse it. For example, a successful session could result in a post for the website or for social media. 

New webinar ideas

Perhaps there were interesting questions that you would like to answer immediately in the next version. Or you've got an idea for another webinar.

Check webinar analytics

Also take a look at the statistics and other evaluations, if the platform of your choice provides this. For example, you can see where participants dropped out and draw conclusions if you want to offer another webinar soon.

Conclusion

As described above: Priority #1 when creating a webinar is that your audience learns exactly what they're looking for. It may feel strange to give away your expertise and experience "just like that". However, you have to keep in mind that a certain percentage of your audience isn't willing to spend money on your offer either way - or not yet. And that's okay. The important thing is that your webinar at least appeals to people who end up realizing: I could do this myself, but I'd rather pay a professional to do it. 

Those who don't become customers may change their minds later. Or they will remember you when someone asks for such services. 

Both are potentially very valuable. So here we go - have fun creating your webinar!

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