10 Webinar Best Practices

The are many reasons that a business will want to have a Webinar. Whether the Webinar is being done for sales leads or just great information to help your customers there is one key thing that must be done. Webinar management must be done correctly so that it provides the best experience for those attending.

Webinars are by far a very effective and inexpensive method for imparting information. It does not matter whether the goal is to market to prospective customers, review products, or to train employees. There are a variety of relatively simple industry Webinar best practices that a business should strongly consider as they implement a Webinar web conference. By using these practices a business can dramatically improve the effectiveness of their Webinars and provide much greater return for very little extra effort.

Below you will find some various very helpful industry best practice that will help you conduct your Webinar strategy.

1) Use Guest Speakers

Probably considered to be the top best practice for the Webinars you hold is that of having a guest speakers. The reason for this is that a Webinar guest speaker is clearly the top way to improving attendance rates. Some surveys have shown that about three out five Webinar sponsors find that having guest speakers improves attendance rates, while only about one-fifth as many find that guest speakers do not improve Webinar attendance. Common practice, though, is that most Webinars do not have more than one featured speaker. Even though an additional Webinar speaking might seem to be even more effective, in most situations one is enough to generate interest and attendance at Webinar events.

2) Plan a Rehearsal of the Webinar

Speaking to any live audience can become a nerve racking situation for anyone. When you are trying to sell a product or get interest in your business you must do it in a confident manner. So make sure to use rehearsals in advance of a live Webinar session because truly practice makes perfect. A majority of business Webinar hosts hold rehearsals at least occasionally, although most do them more regular for most of the Webinars they conduct.

3) Promote the Webinar in advance

Probably one of the hardest challenges for even the experienced Webinar guru is that of getting people to show to your Webinar. Of course this is definitely one of the important aspects of conducting a Webinar. You must do everything possible to get the vast majority of those that registered for your Webinar to actually attend the event itself. Definitely the most effective method for generating interest and user signups in a Webinar is to send email to your current customers requesting their attendance. Much less effective, but still worthwhile, methods include search engine inquiries initiated by prospective Webinar attendees, direct mail, and press releases, advertisements in newsletters, and banner ads.

4) Obtain Registrants’ Profile Information

In today's world, customer privacy is a critical requirement to doing business. You need to do everything you can to ensure that the personal information of those that attend your Webinar is kept safe. But, the vast majority of Webinar sponsors do find it very helpful to have some specific information on registrants’ profiles prior to the event in order to customize the content of the Webinar. This definitely is an important best practice since it allows the Webinar content to be more closely match the specific needs of the audience. This will ensure that the Webinar is as relevant as possible for attendees.

5) Send Invitations At Least One to Two Weeks in Advance

Now that you have people registered for your Webinar, you need to make sure that you remind them it is happening. The vast majority of Webinar attendees prefer to receive invitations a week or two prior to the event itself. For about one in five attendees prefer a bit longer notice. Either way you need to make sure you continue to generate interest in your Webinar without over doing it or spamming your attendees.

6) Limit Most Webinars to One Hour

Most research in the area of Webinar presentation length has found that the median length is 60 minutes. Now it is somewhat common that certain types of Webinars, such as those conducted for in-house training, last longer. However, it is very typically considered to be a best practice to limit the length of a marketing or similar Webinar to 60 minutes in order to allow a minimum of disruption for attendees. You should also make sure that you at least provide access to the Webinar about 15 minutes prior to the event so that attendees can join. This will allow them time to test the audio connection and Webinar interface, to download any software they might need for the Webinar interface, or to flush out any technical difficulties that might arise. As the person running the Webinar you should not handle technical support, but it is important that there is someone available to field questions and to resolve technical difficulties or at least a support site.

7) Provide Time for Question and Answer (Q&A)

Many Webinar software services provide the ability for visitors to use a question-and-answer functionality. This Webinar feature is used frequently by about one-half of Webinar attendees and occasionally by most of the rest of attendees. The good news is that only one in 10 attendees rarely or never uses the question-and-answer function. It is another very important best practice to allow this functionality to be used and encourage it. You want your prospects to feel that they can come to you. So make a call to action that they ask you questions and you should monitor it closely during a Webinar.

Most Webinar attendees have asked a question of presenters using the Web interface’s chat function. This is an important tool for attendees, since many Webinars do not permit voice communications between presenters and attendees.

8) Conduct Polls During the Webinar

Using the poll feature in Webinar software is a key best practice because it is the easiest way for understand more about your prospects and customers. Most Webinar sponsors conduct at least one poll during their events, although nearly one-half do not do so. That is a failure on their part because polls are an important mechanism for soliciting feedback from attendees, to keep attendees engaged in the Webinar, and to tailor content to the specific needs of the audience ‘on the fly’. Do not over do the poll part of a Webinar but two or three should be acceptable. Make sure they are relevant to your discussion or that you use them to gain knowledge for a future Webinar that your attendees would want to have.

9) Conduct Product Demonstrations

Most Webinar sponsors conduct product demonstrations during their events at least occasionally, although about one in four rarely or never do so. Webinars can definitely be used to recommend products or show attendees possible things they would like to purchase. It is important though to engage those in your Webinar and show them solutions that will help them to become more productive.

10) Conduct Post-Event Surveys

Here is the final best practice that is very important. Most Webinar sponsors conduct post-event surveys of the individuals who attend their events, although more than one-third of sponsors rarely, if ever, conduct these types of surveys. It is critical in any marketing business that you survey your Webinar attendees. These Webinar surveys are a useful to gain feedback on the event itself, as well as to provide additional information for use in sales calls, future Webinars, etc.