If you’re an expert in your organization who has been tasked to deliver educational or informational webinars for client outreach this year, this post is for you!
There is a ton of information online about marketing and sales webinars but the truth is, you’re a professional looking to connect with your clients and prospects and showcase your expertise. So for you, this requires a unique approach to webinar content and delivery.
Below are eight of my best practices to help you deliver world-class webinars in 2019 and beyond.
Webinars Are an Opportunity to Teach
Teaching is incredibly powerful in gaining customer loyalty and interest from new clients. It’s one of the best ways to get people to know, like, and trust you. As you put together your content, consider approaching the structure like a mini course. This means you want your participants to experience some kind of “win” or success and be able to implement one or two new skills after the webinar. This makes you look good!
Define Your Ideal Audience
It’s important to take some time to describe your ideal audience. And the more specific you can get the better. Think about who you are looking to work with. Some questions you can ask yourself:
- Who are you hoping to attract? Clients? Colleagues in the same industry?
- What industries are they in?
- What is their role? Who are you hoping to speak to in a follow-up call?
- What is their experience level with the subject matter?
- What challenges do you think they face related to your topic?
- Where are they located? Are there any cultural differences you need to be aware of?
Once you know who these people are your content will be more on target and you’ll be able to create a better connection. Be sure to describe your ideal audience in your webinar promotion, this way you’ll attract the best people who align with your topic and services.
Share Client Success Stories
Everyone loves a good Before and After story. Client success stories are relatable and help your audience envision positive outcomes. To keep it interesting, show the story: use images, graphic stats and client quotes. Bonus if you can get one of your success stories to do a live interview with you (even for 10 minutes) in the webinar.
Create a Vibrant Slide Deck
This will be direct, but I mean this with total respect and friendly support: Most presenters still need to improve their slide decks. I get that this can be a daunting task, but it actually doesn’t require a fancy graphic designer (although that’s a nice-to-have!). You most likely have a branded template created by your organization’s marketing team. Here are some tips to developing more vibrant slide decks:
- Limit bullet points or even challenge yourself to nix bullet points altogether (I did and I love how my decks turn out!).
- When using graphics (like icons), keep them all in the same style so it looks polished and professional. And hopefully, no one is still using clip art!
- Where possible use images that fill the screen and evoke thoughts and ideas. Turn data into graphs and other visuals. With PowerPoint’s SmartArt function it’s really easy to transform one-dimensional information into something visually-pleasing and easier on the eyes to digest.
- Limit the amount of content on each slide. Too much information on a slide creates overwhelm and people tend to tune out.
- For inspiration, head on over to Slideshare and see if you can find one or two new ideas to implement in how you style your presentations.
Keep Your Slide Deck Moving
When you deliver a presentation in person, it’s very dynamic. Everyone is looking at you; your slides are the back-up dancers. This changes drastically in a webinar. As mentioned above, looking at one slide for too long is one reason people check out or multitask. So keep your slides moving. You’ll most likely spread out your information over more slides and your deck will be much bigger. This is totally fine. What matters is holding your audience’s interest so that they get the most out of your presentation.
You MUST Have Regular Interaction
Add engagement every 15-20 minutes. Studies have shown that the hippocampus part of the brain can only hold so much information before it must be processed and pushed into short-term memory. Studies show this to be a maximum of about 20 minutes of information. This means the hippocampus requires a few minutes of processing time otherwise that data can be lost to the participant (and you will have wasted your time). Consider blocking your content into 15 minutes of information and then pause to allow for some type of interaction with your audience. I give several ideas on audience engagement in another post here. This is where you can really connect with your audience and create value.
Engage in Verbal Q&A
It’s always helpful to have some seed questions ready to get the Q&A going. However, one of the skills I recommend practicing is opening up the Q&A to allow for verbal questions. This means you would unmute any attendee wanting to ask their question over audio instead of through texted Q&A. Is this unexpected? Yes. Is it worth it? Oh yes.
I get that many presenters feel uncomfortable about this…
- What if the question is irrelevent? That’s okay. Answer as best you can and quickly move on.
- What if the audio doesn’t work and I can’t hear the participant? Say, “We can’t hear you so we’re going to move on to the next question.”
Webinar Surveys Are Valuable
I’m not sure what happened, but somewhere along the way surveys seem to have slowly disappeared. They are an important part of gathering valuable information on who attended your event. Will everyone respond? Nope. But I feel it’s respectful to give your participants the option to voice their feedback. I usually give everyone the heads up before we end that the survey is fast with only a few questions, and I’d love to hear any comments.
Two or three specific open-ended questions can give you valuable information to use in a warmer follow-up call. So what are good questions to ask? Decide what information will be helpful to you in a conversation later on.
- What has changed for you after hearing this information?
- What is your timeframe for ________________?
- What, if anything, limits you from next steps?
- Did the level of information match your level of expertise?
- Is there anything we missed?
And there you have it. Eight best practices to deliver exceptional webinars in 2019! If you’re just getting started with webinars, take it one step at a time and build your skillset with each event. Experiment and see what works and what needs adjustment.
Here’s to your success!
Corena Bahr is a Consultant & Trainer helping experts at corporations and global firms deliver world-class webinars for client outreach and customer onboarding. She teaches experts how to create a human connection with a virtual audience, structure content for engagement, and how to use the “bells & whistles” of webinar platforms to drive business goals. Corena is also a LinkedIn Learning course author and public speaker.