How to Produce and Host a Successful Webinar | Dave Clark | Skillshare

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How to Produce and Host a Successful Webinar

teacher avatar Dave Clark, Clark Webinar Consulting

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

12 Lessons (1h 8m)
    • 1. Trailer

    • 2. Scheduling

    • 3. Promotion

    • 4. Registration

    • 5. Preparation

    • 6. Execution

    • 7. Engagement

    • 8. Video

    • 9. Reporting

    • 10. Follow-Up

    • 11. Recordings

    • 12. Q&A

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About This Class

An effective and successful webinar requires much more than a great presentation. You also need to know how to organize and execute webinars through the entire webinar production timeline—from promotion and registration...right through execution and engagement...and ending up with reporting and follow-up.

Whether you're producing a webinar all by yourself, or it's a team effort, this course will provide you with the fundamentals you need to ensure your webinars are professional and primed for success.

By viewing this course, you'll learn how to:

--Schedule your webinar to maximize the attendance rate
--Promote your webinar to drive the right people to your registration page
--Design your registration page to encourage the highest possible registration rate
--Prepare your presenters for success before your webinar
--Set up your webinar to prevent audio issues and technical problems
--Interact and engage with your attendees to provide insight for you and value for them
--Use webinar video correctly and effectively
--Analyze your webinar data to evaluate success and identify leads
--Follow up with your audience effectively and meaningfully
--Repurpose your webinars so they continue working for you after they're over

Also included in this course is a comprehensive mock Q&A session that provides answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about webinar production. You’ll benefit from hearing the answers to these questions as if you were attending this course as part of a live audience!

Meet Your Teacher

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Dave Clark

Clark Webinar Consulting


Dave Clark is the founder of Clark Webinar Consulting, helping businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations conduct and deliver worry-free, professional webinars. With over ten years of hands-on webinar experience, CWC provides a wide range of webinar-related solutions including complete webinar production and support services.

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1. Trailer: And effective and successful webinar requires much more than a great presentation. You'll also need to know how to organize and execute webinars through the entire webinar production timeline, from promotion and registration, right through execution and engagement and ending up with reporting and follow up. My name is Dave Clark, founder of Clark webinar consulting. I've been conducting, producing, managing, and marketing webinars for myself and others for over 10 years. Whether you're producing a webinar all by yourself or it's a team effort. This course will provide you with the fundamentals you need to ensure your webinars are professional and primed for success. By viewing this course, you'll learn how to schedule your webinar to maximize the attendance rate. Promote your webinar in a way that drives the right people to your registration page and design your registration page to encourage the highest possible registration rate. You'll also learn how to prepare your presenters for success in the days leading up to your webinar. Set-up your webinar to prevent audio issues and technical problems. Interact and engage with your attendees in a way that provides insight for you and value for them, and use webinar video correctly and effectively. Finally, you'll learn how to analyze your webinar data to evaluate success and identify leads, follow up with your audience in an effective and meaningful way and repurpose your webinars so they continue working for you long after they're over. Apply these fundamentals to any type of webinar, from lead generation to education, to thought leadership, to avoid the problems and pitfalls of forgettable and yes, even regrettable webinars and transform them into truly rewarding experiences for both you and your attendees through this course now and learn how to produce and post and effective and successful webinar today. 2. Scheduling: Greetings and welcome to how to produce and host a Successful Webinar. My name is Dave Clark. I'm the founder of Clark webinar Consulting. Thanks so much for selecting this course on the fundamentals of organizing and executing effective and successful webinars. We're going to start right at the beginning of the webinar production timeline and talk first about scheduling your webinar. Questions about scheduling come up all the time. What are the best days to schedule a webinar? What are the best times to schedule a webinar? How long should a webinar be? Really, there's no one correct answer to any of these questions because it all depends on who your audiences. If your attendees are business people, the best time for a webinar is probably Monday through Friday during regular business hours. If your attendees are consumers, maybe a weekend webinar makes the most sense. Most webinars are B2B or business to business. So for this discussion, will focus on those types of webinars. Every bench marking study that's been done tells us that Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are the best days for a business webinar. Those days get the highest registration rates, the highest attendance rates. And this is logical. Mondays are not great because people are catching up after the weekend and Fridays are not great because people are getting ready for the weekend. It's also logical that you should schedule a webinar at a time when most of your attendees will be available to attend. For example, for a webinar targeting a US audience, it should be scheduled late enough that folks on the West Coast or in the office and early enough that focus on the East Coast haven't left for the day. And before or after people leave the office to go to lunch. The sweet spot seems to be about 02:00 PM Eastern, 11 AM Pacific. People on the West Coast or in but haven't gone to lunch yet. And people on the East Coast haven't gone home yet. But our back from lunch. What about people in fly over country where it's 12 PM or 01:00 PM and are still at lunch. Well, it's not a perfect system. It's impossible to accommodate everyone. You can certainly schedule multiple webinars at different times. And if you're targeting a global audience, you probably need to do this. Or you can just 0 in on those time zones that are most important to you. Now, these are just best practices. There are no rules. So you should incompletely right off Mondays and Fridays or times of the day that fall outside the usual webinar prime times. Because think about it. If everyone else is scheduling webinars on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at two PM Eastern, there's a lot of competition for that audience. Less competition on Mondays and Fridays are at earlier or later times in the day might actually cancel out any dip in attendance. How long should your webinar last? This is a question I get all the time. A typical webinars usually 60 minutes, but again, there's no correct answer. Your webinar should last for however long you need to cover your content and deliver the value that was promised to the audience. If you can get the job done in 30 minutes, great. Nobody will complain about a 30-minute webinar. If you need 90 minutes, That's fine too, as long as the audience get something out of the full 90 minutes. Now of course, use common sense and all day webinars probably not going to attract many attendees. On the other hand, people may be willing to stick around a little bit longer for a fee-based webinar or a webinar for which they had to pay to attend. Again, you know who your audience is. Take that into account when scheduling your webinar. 3. Promotion: Now that you've scheduled your webinar, let's talk about Webinar promotion. You won't have a very successful webinar if people don't know about it. So you need to get the word out and drive people to your registration page. And there are various things you can do to ensure that you'd not only have an audience for your webinar, but that you have the right audience for your webinar. Now, email has always been and still is the most common way to promote a webinar. Hopefully you've built a solid opted in email list for your business or organization. Some organizers like to supplement email by promoting on social media or with paid online advertising. But email is still the most popular method. So for the purpose of this discussion, let's focus on email promotion. The first few things to keep in mind should be fairly obvious. First, you need to give your potential audience plenty of advanced notice. This, of course, will increase the likelihood that they'll be available to attend your webinar in the first place. So your first invite should go out no later than about two weeks before your webinar. Some webinar organizers like to start earlier, even up to four weeks out. You know your target audience best, you know their behaviors and habits. Just make sure that based on who they are, You give them enough advanced notice. Also, when you start early, you'll have time to reach out to them several times. This will increase the chances that you reach someone on a good day and there'll be receptive to registering for your webinar. So a typical e-mail schedule might be two weeks before your webinar for the first send, one week before you are a webinar for the second sand, and one day before your webinar for the third and final send. In fact, you'll probably see the registration rate increase the closer you get to the day of your webinar. Just make sure that you're tracking those registrations and that you can suppress delivery for those people who have already registered. You don't want to risk annoying someone with an invitation to register for a webinar that they've already registered for. Here's an example of an e-mail I've used for one of my own webinars. And of course, there are all kinds of slick designs and layouts you can use for an e-mail. But for webinar invites, I've found that simpler is better. Give people only the information they need to understand why they should care, why they should register for and attend your webinar. Remember, you only have a few seconds to grab someone's attention. So try to limit the text to no more than one or two short paragraphs. State that goal or the problem that will be solved as concisely as possible. In fact, if you can boil this abstract down to just one paragraph, that's even better, then extract the key benefits or takeaways at the audience will gain by attending the webinar and list those out as three or four bullet points. These should reflect the most compelling reasons to attend your webinar. Think about the value and benefit that will be gained by attending. This is the place to sell your webinar and short punchy bullet points are a very effective way to do this. It makes it very easy to understand why to attend in a single quick glance. And by the way, make sure your presenters are aware of these selling points. Presentation content needs to be consistent with what was promised to the audience in the invitation. You don't want to promise something to the audience and then not deliver it during the webinar. So make sure the presenters are onboard with the promises of value. You might also want to do something like this. What, when, who, and how to provide the salient details and to make it very clear who the target audience is. And it's a good idea to include multiple links to your registration page. If the goal of the email is to get people to your registration page. And it is you want to give people plenty of places to click that link. So this e-mail has three links. There's a text link at the top. There's a button link at the bottom. And the banner itself is a link. And speaking of the content of your email, I mentioned earlier that you should be sending your emails on a schedule maybe two weeks before your webinar for the first send, one week before your webinar for the second sand, and one day before your webinar for the third and final sand, you can certainly vary the format, content, and subject lines of those emails. So the first email might be somewhat formal. The second email might be more informal, may be written as a personal invitation from one of the presenters. The third e-mail could even be a video invite or maybe just a plain text email. The idea is to mix things up, try to get people's attention. Finally, it's worth noting that the title of your webinar has a big effect on whether people register for your webinar or not. Many people might only read the subject line of your e-mail, which is probably where you would include the title of your webinar. The best webinar titles explicitly convey the value in attending. People should immediately understand why they should care, why they should register for and attend your webinar. Look at the title for this webinar, 25 best practices of webinar presenting. Your left with no doubt whatsoever regarding what you'll get by attending this webinar, right? You'll get 25 best practices of webinar presenting. It couldn't be more clear, there's an explicit value proposition. In fact, it's been shown that titles that include phrases like best practices or secrets of or how to actually increase registration rates. Also, make sure your titles are specific. This webinar specifically states that webinar presenting is the topic. So this allows people to easily self-select. They'll know if they should register for the webinar based on whether webinar presenting is a topic that's interesting and relevant to them. Obviously. Now some people purposely make their webinar titles as vague as possible. What they're trying to do is they're trying to maximize the number of registrants they get by casting a really, really wide net. Marketers sometimes do this when their goal is to generate as many new leads as possible. But what happens is when you take this approach, you end up with a lot of people who really aren't interested in what you have to say. Remember, a small audience of targeted individuals is much, much better than a large, broad audience with lots of people who really aren't interested in your message. So make sure your webinar titles are specific and tell people exactly what they'll get by registering for and attending your webinar. 4. Registration: Okay, So now that people know about your webinar and want to attend, you need to collect their registration information so you know who they are. Of course, this is super-important for a marketing webinar because these people are now your new leads and prospects. But this step is important for any type of webinar because you need to know how many people to expect on the day of your webinar. And you need to send those people the information they need to attend and to remind them about the webinar as the date draws near. Generally, you have three choices for your registration page. You can use the built-in registration system that most webinar platforms offer. You can use a third party event registration platform like Eventbrite. Or you can set up your own custom branded standalone registration page. Each of these options have their own advantages and disadvantages. But I prefer the third option, that custom branded standalone registration page so that I can have complete control over how it looks and works. But regardless of how you set up your registration page, there are certain best practices that you should try to follow to ensure that someone who winds up at your registration page actually registers for your webinar. Many of these tips are the same as for the invitation email. Keep it simple, convey value, and make it as easy as possible for people to register. So as we did with the email invitation, let's dissect a registration page. Here's the top half of the page. Ideally, the messaging should be consistent from invitation to registration. So ensure that you're identifying the same pain points and conveying the same value. As for the registration form itself, it's important that it appears above the fold of the webpage. Don't give any excuse for not starting to fill out the form immediately. Of course, this only applies to the desktop version of your page. On mobile devices, assuming you're using a mobile responsive page, you only have room for a one-column layout. So the form has to appear at the bottom. As we scroll down the page. It's okay to provide a little bit more information than what was in the invitation. Once you've driven someone here, they might want to know a little bit more about the webinar. Summer registration pages, for example, feature some background information on the presenters. Another tip regarding the form itself, keep it short. Limit the form fields to just the essential information you need from registrants, Name, email, and maybe job title, company, city, state, country. Again, don't give people an excuse not to register for your webinar. People don't want to have to work for a registration. I've seen registration forms with dozens of fields asking for all kinds of things. So keep it short and also don't ask for very personal information either. Again, you don't want to give anyone in excuse not to register. Also, make sure to provide a way for people to contact you with questions. The number one question is usually, will this webinar be recorded, but regardless, allow people to get in touch with you. In fact, if it's a lead generation webinar, you want people to contact you. Ideally, immediately after registering, the registering should see a registration confirmation page and receive a registration confirmation e-mail. Both the page and the e-mail should contain all of the information they need to attend, including of course, their login link and including calendar reminder links that include all of that information is a good idea to. Finally, as you get close to the day of the webinar, make sure to send out a couple of reminder e-mails to registrants. Remember if someone registered weeks ago, they might have forgotten that they even registered for the webinar in the first place, or they may have lost their confirmation email. So this is an important step in the webinar registration process. I like to schedule reminders to go out 24 hours before a webinar. And then again two hours before a webinar. The reminder email should contain all of the information they need to attend. Essentially, it's the same email they received immediately after they registered. So you can just repurpose that same email. And they should also remind registrants what value will be gained by attending. Again, they may have forgotten why they even registered in the first place. So remind them why they registered and why they should attend. 5. Preparation: All right, We've covered webinar scheduling, promotion, and registration. At this point in the webinar production timeline, there should still be a few weeks before your webinar. So let's talk about what happens during this pre Webinar prep time. The most important thing the presenters can do is practice and rehearse. And this should ideally occur in two stages. First, presenter should rehearse their presentation solo. Many presenters overlook this step. They think it's too time-consuming in too hard. And you know what? It is time-consuming and it is hard. But many presenters skip it. You know why? Because they have a script. The only problem is that using the script is one of the least engaging ways to give a presentation. And you've probably attended webinars like this with a presenter drones on and on in the exact same monotone as they read their entire presentation word for word from a piece of paper they hold in their hands. The best presentations have an improvised sounding, conversational tone. They aren't word for word recitals. In audience doesn't need to be read to. If you're going to do that, you might as well just send them your script in advance and saved them the time and trouble of attending a webinar. So if you are a presenter, think of your presentation as a conversation with your audience. Instead of using a script, develop an outline of topics and sub-topics. With an outline, you'll still be able to stay on track and remember your key points, but it will allow you to engage your audience with a conversational tone. This, however, take some work you need to work on developing a nice, smooth delivery of the content in your outline. Even with an outline, you still don't want to just wing it. So a solo practice session or sessions is a good time to work on this. Rehearsing your presentation is also important so that you can time it right. You'll want to make sure that it fits within the time that you've been allotted for your presentation. And then based on your practice sessions, you can make modifications if necessary. So presenters should rehearse by themselves until they feel as comfortable as possible with what they'll say and how they'll say it. And don't underestimate this. The more presenters practice, the more confident they'll feel on the day of the webinar. So ideally, that's the first stage. The second stage is for all of the presenters to rehearse together. And this should include everyone involved, including a webinar host or a webinar moderator. Even if this isn't meant to be a full dress rehearsal of content, it is critical that everyone attend to session using the webinar platform that will be used during the webinar. This ensures that everyone becomes comfortable with the webinar platform functionality. And it also provides an opportunity to review the run of show so that everyone clearly understands how the webinar will flow on the day of the webinar and what everyone's respective role will be. You can think of this session as the official dry run for the webinar. And it's one of the most important steps in the webinar production timeline. So don't skip it. And ideally, there should be a Webinar Producer involved, someone who understands the webinar technology and process and can provide instruction and direction to the presenters and other speakers. Let's also discuss an important best practice to keep in mind when planning and preparing for a webinar. If you're a webinar, will be a presentation style webinar, then, depending on how many presenters there are, it will include at least one set of presentation slides. Even if the webinar is more of a panel, discussion or conversation based webinar. You'll still need at least a few slides to set the stage like a title slide and a few others. In any case, almost all webinars include slides. But slides need to be designed correctly. They need to be concise. When it comes to slides, less text is always better than more. Believe it or not, slides are not the most important part of your webinar. The most important part of your webinar is what is actually being said. And your audience can't pay attention to what is actually being said. If they constantly feel obligated to read long blocks of text on their screens. For example, take this slide. It's very concise. You're not overwhelmed. As a result, you're able to very easily absorb the information I'm showing you on this slide without distracting yourself from what I'm actually telling you. Remember, webinar slides should visually support what you're saying. They shouldn't mimic everything that comes out of your mouth. I love this road sign because in a way it represents the perfect webinar slide. It concisely tells you what you need to know, and it even uses an image. It makes its point without providing more information than what a driver can safely absorb without running their car off the road. In the same way, don't force your audience to divide their attention between what they're seeing and what they're hearing. Use a minimum amount of text and use images to support your points. In fact, some of your slides might not need any text at all. If you can make a point with just an image that's almost the perfect webinar slide. People can very easily absorb information through images. And images create an emotional connection for the audience. Now, I do know that this is a very hard habit for many people to break on almost every webinar I managed for my clients that presenters load up their slides with huge paragraphs of text. Try to use less text and more images on your slides. I guarantee your content will be much more easily absorbed and you'll be a much more effective webinar presenter. Also keep these important tips in mind too. Don't use your slides as a script. We already talked about how disengaging a script is. But you know what's even worse than reading your entire presentation word for word from a piece of paper. Reading your entire presentation word for word from your slides. It's duplicative and you're adding absolutely nothing of value to your webinar. Again, your slide should visually support what you're saying. Also, your slides shouldn't double as audience handouts. If your slides are doubling as handouts, they probably contain way too much text. If you do want to provide handouts after your webinar, that's fine. Just create another document that provides detailed information and send that to your audience after your webinar. Or even easier, just add speaker notes to your slides and then export your slides as a PDF and send that to your audience after your webinar. By the way, as you know, the focus of this course is on the fundamentals of organizing and executing effective and successful webinars throughout the entire webinar production timeline. So I'm not going into any great detail on any one topic or area. But if you'd like additional advice specifically on webinar presenting and on how to become a more effective and successful webinar presenter. I have another course called 25 best practices of webinar presenting. So just a heads up on that if you're interested. 6. Execution: Okay, webinar day has finally arrived. Now it's time to host your webinar. It's taken a lot of hard work to get here, but now it's time for the big day. Let's talk about your technical setup, how you set up your technology can have as big an impact on the quality of your webinar as the content itself. Not using the right audio equipment or internet connection can result in a low quality, unprofessional webinar or even worse, you know, webinar's are supposed to enhance your image and reputation, not tarnish them. Let's talk first about Webinar audio, and this applies to everyone speaking during the webinar. Almost every webinar platform now offers the ability for presenters to use a computer microphone. So let's review some important do's and don'ts to follow. For computer audio. You've probably heard presenters who sound like they're underwater or in a tunnel. What those presenters are probably using, the built-in microphones at their laptops were manufactured with those internal microphones pick up a lot of noise from the environment and even from the computer itself. Rather than using a built-in laptop microphone, always use a USB microphone that you plug into your computer. With a USB headset mike, you'll sound grade. Your voice will have that high fidelity radio station quality to it. And really, there's no excuse not to use a USB headset microphone. You can get a USB headset mic on Amazon for as low as around $20. A USB desktop microphone is also acceptable. Although unlike a USB headset mic, it may pick up some noise from the environment. Also, desktop microphones are a lot more expensive than headset microphones. So for your best bet, I would recommend that all speakers use a USB headset microphone. In fact, I want you to hear the difference between a USB headset mic and a built-in laptop Mike. Right now, I'm speaking using a USB headset microphone. But when I switch to my built-in laptop microphone, you can hear how the audio quality decreases significantly. This, by the way, is the connection that your microphone should have, USB. Also, after you plug in your microphone, check the audio settings in your webinar software to make sure that the software is actually recognizing your microphone. Otherwise, you might end up using your built-in microphone without even realizing it. And finally, make sure you use a wired microphone. There should be a USB cord running from your microphone to your computer. Don't use a wireless microphone. Wireless technology is not always reliable enough for a webinar. I'll also mention that some webinar platforms offer the ability for presenters to use a telephone. But today, telephone audio is primarily used as an emergency backup. For instance, if your Internet connection is unstable or it goes down completely, you could switch to telephone audio. Let's also discuss your internet connection. And this applies to the entire webinar team. Presenters, hosts, moderators, everyone on the opposite side of the audience. Anytime you're broadcasting over the internet, or liability is vital, which means you'll want to avoid a wireless Internet connection. In other words, instead of Wi-Fi, use a wired Internet connection. Everything is dependent on the strength of your Internet connection. So make sure there's one of these coming out of your computer in Ethernet cable. If you don't see an ethernet cable and you're in an office, see if there's one you can tap into somewhere. If you're at home, all you need to do is run the Ethernet cable from your computer to your modem or router. Now if your computer is in a different room from your modem or router, of course, you can buy a really long ethernet cable or just a bunch of short cables with couplers. But all of this equipment is very easy to get and it's very inexpensive. So there's really no excuse not to get set up correctly. Now, once you've got your computer hard wired, keep in mind that the default setting on many computers is for a wireless connection. Even if there's an Ethernet cable coming out of your computer, you might still need to manually disable the wireless setting and switch to a wired setting. So don't be the webinar with audio that fades in and out on week wireless signals or worse, goes completely off the air. Always use a wired USB microphone and a wired Internet connection for your webinars. 7. Engagement: You know, one of the reasons that Webinars are so effective for marketing and education and thought leadership is that no other form of online communication is as interactive and engaging than a webinar. There are all kinds of ways you can engage with a webinar audience. This of course, keeps them interested in your content, but it also allows you to gauge their level of interest and what they're interested in. Which of course is super important for lead generation webinars. A few years ago, a study showed that the average viewing time for a webinar is 57 minutes. Think about that with what other type of digital marketing do you have a captive audience for almost an hour? And it's the level of interactivity and engagement and even entertainment that makes this possible. Usually the first thing that comes to mind when you think of audience engagement during a webinar is Q and a. Q and a is an important engagement feature of almost every webinar. I like to think of webinars as being similar to radio call-in shows. During a radio show, they don't let just anyone ask a question, right? They screen the caller's first. In the same way, a webinar should be a controlled event. And the most practical way to do this is to have attendees type their questions. Usually a webinar moderator vets those questions as they come in and then verbally relays them to the presenters or speakers during a Q and a session. This is also another good reason to use a webinar producer. The producer can manage the whole queue and a process. They can filter out questions or comments that aren't germane to the discussion and funnel the relevant topical questions to the moderator. This makes it very easy for the moderator to focus on their job of moderating. Anyway, it's good to start thinking about these types of roles. Producer, moderator, presenter, early on in the webinar planning process. Because a well-executed Q and a session is dependent on how well all of this as planned out. To help you start thinking about this. Here's a chart that shows how a typical linear webinar might flow. Of course, there are no rules to how this should be structured. This is just an example that outlines the flow of a typical webinar. Usually the moderator is the first to speak. They welcome the audience. They introduced the presenters. Some moderators like to come back on the air in between presenters to thank the last presenter and introduce the next presenter. And of course, the moderator facilitates Q and a encloses everything out at the end of the webinar. If a webinar features a panel discussion rather than individual presentations, then the moderators role is to keep the conversation focused and on time. Some webinars will include both a host and a moderator. Sometimes the producer of the webinar also serves as the on-air host. The host will open and close the webinar in an official capacity. But the moderator is really still the voice of the webinar that holds it all together, and the moderator still facilitates Q and a. Here's a question. What happens if the audience has no questions? You certainly don't want 15 minutes of dead air at the end of your webinar. Again, we can think of webinars as radio shows. Radio people try to avoid dead air as much as possible. So the moderator should plan four or five seed questions to use if this occurs. These should be the ideal questions that you hope will be asked during the webinar. Four or five questions should get you through a 15 minute Q and a session. And the audience won't even know that the questions weren't actually asked. Even if the audience does have questions, they might not be ideal or irrelevant or even appropriate. So you can still slipping a couple of your plan seed questions if necessary. If you're the moderator, you can come up with the questions yourself or you can ask the presenters in advance for their most hoped for questions. But either way, just let the presenters know what questions you might be using, just in case. Here's another effective way to engage your audience during your webinar. Most webinar platforms offer polling functionality. So you can use polls to allow attendees to interact with you in real time. This is another great way to gauge interest and score leads, which we'll talk more about in just a little while. However, if you're using polls for this reason, for lead scoring or to learn more about your attendees. Don't make this obvious to your audience. Your attendees are taking time out of their day to attend your webinar. Don't make them feel like they showed up just so that you could collect data on them. Instead, frame polling questions so that they add value. Webinar, and attendees gain something by answering the questions. For instance, you could use a poll to guide your presentation. Which point should I cover next? Or a pole can let attendees see how they compare with their peers on an important issue. In both cases, you can find out a lot about your audience, but you're also adding value to your webinar. Then once you've collected the poll responses, make sure to share the poll results. If you don't share the results, then the audience gets nothing out of it and they'll feel like you wasted their time for your benefit only. 8. Video: Let's spend a little bit of time talking about Webinar video. Usually when people think of webinar video, they think of webinars that stream live webcam video of the presenters. There was a time when it was rare for a webinar to feature live video of the presenters. Today, it's become commonplace. But there's no rule that says you have to use video during a webinar. Using live video is very much a risk reward type of scenario. On the reward side, live video might make your webinar more engaging. Sure. On the risk side, you might end up actually degrading the quality of your webinar. First of all, live video uses up a lot of internet bandwidth. Unless all presenters have a high-speed wired Internet connection, you risk a webinar that features low quality video with unsynchronized audio. The other challenge is that it's much more difficult for presenters to present on camera rather than focusing 100% on your content and on the delivery of that content, you'll also have to focus on your camera lens with a minimum amount of looking away. It takes a very practice presenter to convincingly pull off a webcam presentation. So you need to balance the potential reward of increased engagement with the very real possible risk of a clumsy, awkward looking, low-quality webinar. Of course, there are times when using live video is an acceptable risk and even a good idea. For example, a webinar featuring a panel discussion rather than slide presentations is a good use case for live webcam video. Without needing to navigate through slide presentations, the panelists can focus on their cameras as they engage in conversation. And since there's no slide presentation, the audience attention isn't divided between video and slides. But for a traditional slide presentation webinar ask yourself if there's a compelling reason the audience needs to see the presenters. For most webinars, the answer is probably no. So for these reasons, I don't consider a live video to be a fundamental component of webinars. Your webinar doesn't have to stream live video. But if you do decide to use live video of yourself or your presenters, there are some fundamental things to keep in mind. First of all, don't neglect your background. The background who frame yourself in can impact how you're perceived by your audience. You probably want people to think of us professional and competent. So make sure your background reflects the image you want people to have a view. I've seen people broadcasting from messy offices, bedrooms, kitchens. Those backgrounds tend to promote a negative or unprofessional image. But also all of the stuff in those backgrounds is distracting. Instead of focusing on you, the audience is looking behind you. Take this background image of an office, for example, let's assume that the presenter is in a quiet place, maybe inside one of those glass walled offices. And the webcam is pointing out, well, it's certainly a professional, even sanitized looking setting. In fact, it's hard to believe this is a real office. But what's happening in the background during the webinar, people walking back and forth, people working in their offices, a lot of movement and activity to distract the audience. Try to find a neutral backdrop for your background. You could pull a photography screen up behind you or just find a plane wall or an uncluttered space with no movement? Yes, you can use a virtual background if the webinar platform you're using has that capability. How many times have we seen presenters giving their presentations on a bluff above the Golden Gate Bridge, right? But I don't really recommend using a virtual background regardless of the image. You need a very high performing computer and almost perfect lighting for a virtual background to look natural. Otherwise, you end up with a halo around your body, or worse, parts of your body will disappear into the background. Perhaps you've seen that yourself. In any case, your audience will certainly know you're using a virtual background. It's probably best to present yourself in a more genuine light and not give your audience the impression that you might be hiding something. But whatever you do, try not to sit in front of a brightly lit window. Here's what can happen if you sit in front of a bright light source, you become a silhouette. So good lighting is another factor to keep in mind. Of course, you won't have the luxury of professional studio lights and professional lighting engineers. So you'll have to experiment and try out different setups and light angles. Again, having a Webinar Producer available to provide feedback on how you appear on camera can be very helpful. I mentioned before how it takes a very practiced webinar presenter to convincingly pull off a webcam presentation. In a lot of ways. It's much more difficult to give a presentation online than it is to give a presentation in person. During an in-person event, the presenter can look around the room, look down at their notes, maybe even walk around a little. And it all seems perfectly natural to the audience. But during a webinar, your faces right there in front of each and every attendee. From their perspective, it feels like you're talking directly to them. For it to work well, you really have to maintain steady eye contact with your camera at all times. Even looking down at your notes will seem awkward to the audience. So for a webcam presentation to be effective, practice is essential. Practicing and rehearsing is always important, but even more so for a video presentation. And again, a producer who can observe sessions and provide feedback is a good idea. It's also essential to have a producer running things behind the scenes and someone like a moderator to vet questions and verbally relay them to the presenters. Again, the focus of the presenter needs to be 100% on their camera, not on their screen or their keyboard, or on all of the other things going on behind the scenes during a webinar. 9. Reporting: Webinar reporting refers to the analysis you do at the end of a webinar to evaluate whether your webinar achieved any key performance indicators you set for it, and which attendees you might want to follow up with and why. Once your webinar is over, you'll have lots of data to help you answer these questions. Depending on the webinar platform you use, that data might not be available for a few hours. So plan ahead and while waiting, take care of any other post webinar tasks that might need your attention. Also, again, depending on the webinar platform you use, prepared to spend some time cleaning and organizing the data that's generated. Each platform handles data differently, but you might need to clean it up a bit to make it useful for your analysis. Generally speaking, you'll want to take a look at the data on registration, attendance, AND Q and a polling in any other interactions that took place during the webinar, you should be able to quickly determine basic metrics like attendance rate, average attendance duration, level of interactivity, et cetera. And when you take a close look at any engagement data like Q and a, you'll see what people were interested in and who might need follow-up. Now if it's a marketing webinar and it appears you generated any hot leads, you might need a way to prioritize which ones to follow up with first. So some webinar organizers like to score their leads. The idea is to assign a point value to different qualifying events. For instance, 1 if the event occurred and 0 if it didn't. The event can be anything that's significant to you for qualifying lead. For example, the way a particular registration question was answered, whether the attendee asked a question during the webinar, how they voted in a poll, or how long they attended the webinar for. You can also wait each item and assign higher point values for events or interactions that you consider higher qualifying than others. Maybe asking a question is more significant than anything else. Two points for that. 1 where everything else, there's no right way to do this. Try to come up with a system that makes sense for your particular situation. But in the end, you'll have total point values for everybody and you'll know who the hottest leads are. 10. Follow-Up: From Webinar reporting, we move logically to the next item on the timeline. Prompt follow up is critical after your webinar is over. This is especially true for all marketing or lead generation webinar. Because any interest shown by attendees, say during Q and a, will drop off very rapidly after your webinar ends. Wait too long. They might even forget that they attended a webinar in the first place. So if you generated any hot leads from your webinar, maybe based on any lead scoring you did, or if anyone qualified themselves as a lead in some other way, make sure to reach out to those people individually as soon as possible. If you have a sales team give them a heads up that a webinar has been scheduled and that you'll be providing them with leads right after the webinar. In addition to any one-on-one follow-up that you do with qualifying leads, you should also send a brief follow-up e-mail within 24 hours to everyone who registered for the webinar regardless of attendance. This email serves several purposes. First, it thanks them for registering. It also answers what is usually the number 1 question pertaining to any webinar? Will the webinar be recorded? Yes, it will. And yes, it was. And here's the link to the recording. This is very important because it's not uncommon for up to 50% of registrants not to attend a webinar. I do this all the time. You've probably done this yourself. You're interested in a webinar topic, but the day or time doesn't work for you, but you sign up anyway because you assume it will be recorded. Always record your webinars and always send out the link within 24 hours. Even if nobody who registered for your webinar actually attends, that doesn't mean they aren't interested and they're probably expecting to receive a link to the recording. This is also the place to provide a link to a post webinar feedback survey? Yes, some webinar platforms have built-in surveys that you can enable to pop up at the end of a webinar. But I like to use a third party survey platform and include the survey link in this e-mail. That way people can give it their full attention when they have the time, rather than being forced to provide feedback right at the end of a webinar, you can ask generic satisfaction questions or questions more specific to that particular webinar. And including a few free form text fields is a good idea to, especially if you want people to give you ideas for future webinars. Your follow-up email is also a good place to put a call to action. But at the very least make sure there's a way for people to contact you. By the way, you can create two different versions of this e-mail. One for people who registered but didn't attend, and one for people who registered and did attend. But you can also just use generic wording that applies to all like this one does. 11. Recordings: By definition, a webinar is a live event, but that doesn't mean that it can't continue working for you long after the live event is over. As I mentioned, it's not uncommon for up to half of webinar registrants not to attend a webinar, they registered for your webinar date or time might not be convenient for everyone, but those people are still interested in your message and the value you've promised, and they still sign up expecting to get access to an on-demand recording. So realistically, an on-demand version of your webinar is as important as the live event itself. If you're a webinar platform, offers it and you can record right to their servers or you can produce an MP4 file and host the recording yourself. Some companies have portal pages for all of their recorded webinars. Or you can upload the MP4 file to a video hosting site like YouTube or Vimeo. But wherever it lives, make sure to send out a link to the recording, to everyone who registered for your webinar as soon as possible. What we're talking about here is a playable video file. The user clicks a link to access the recording and pushes a Play button to view it. There's no mistaking this as a recorded event. There's no interactivity and the user can pause playback at any time. So there's still a huge value in a live webinar. People ask me why a presentation shouldn't just be perfected and then recorded in lieu of a live webinar and all the work and uncertainty involved. But with live webinars, attendees can ask questions and interact and there's a sense of community. All of that is missing with the recording. So a recording is best used in support of a live webinar, not as a replacement. After a few weeks on-demand viewing, we'll certainly decline. But you're a webinar can still live on in perpetuity. As long as your webinar content remains relevant, it can continue working for you. And here's another way to extract ongoing value from your webinars. You can cut up one webinar recording into multiple short video clips and offer these as bite-size nuggets of information or education. There's also another way to repurpose your live webinars. It's a concept called simulated live. It's a relatively new idea and some webinar platforms are now offering the functionality for this. I mentioned before that one of the downsides of on-demand recordings is that everyone knows it's a recording and there's none of the interactivity of a live webinar. With a simulated live webinar, the audience isn't supposed to know it's a recording. The webinar platforms that offer this enable you to embed a recording within the webinar user interface itself. And then you can schedule the recording to playback on a certain date. The audience registers for a webinar like they normally would. And then they view the recording as if it's a live webinar with all of the usual interactive webinar features and functionality. Now there may be some subtle hints that what they're viewing isn't a live event. But it's certainly not as obvious as clicking the play button in a video player. Of course, you still need to produce at least one live event. But after that, in some ways, it's like putting your webinar on autopilot. Although you probably will still need someone to monitor each replay to make sure everything runs smoothly and to provide technical support to attendees if necessary. So that's what a simulated live webinar is. Is it disingenuous? What if your audience finds out, well, they feel duped? You'll need to evaluate whether it's a good idea for your particular business. But it's another way you can repurpose your live webinars. 12. Q&A: Okay. Now, it's Q and a time. Of course, you're not viewing a live presentation right now. This is a recording, but audience Q and a can be a very valuable part of any presentation. So what I've done here is I've compiled a bunch of really great questions that I've received over the years while giving this presentation live. And I'll provide answers for them now so that you'll be able to benefit from them as if you were attending a live webinar right now, and we're part of a live audience. So here's our first question. Are there any days of the week or times of the day that you would avoid for a webinar? As I mentioned, there are really no correct answers when it comes to scheduling or webinar. It all depends on who your audiences. Obviously, you should schedule your webinar on a day and at a time that makes the most sense for your particular audience. At the same time, there are probably days and times that you'll want to avoid depending on who your audiences, you know your audience best. So you should be able to come up with a good answer. However, it's probably logical that you'll want to avoid non-business hours and weekends for business webinars. And maybe it's a good idea to avoid business hours and maybe weekdays for a webinar targeting consumers. Again, you know best who your target audience is and when they're likely or not likely to be available for a webinar. Keep that in mind when scheduling that day in time. You mentioned a few different ways of promoting a webinar, like e-mail, social media, and paid online advertising. Are there any others you would recommend? Email is definitely the number one way to promote a webinar. Almost everyone who wants to conduct a webinar starts with their in-house e-mail list. But there are no limitations on how you can promote a webinar. If something has worked well for you in the past with other types of promotions, you can adopt that for your webinars. One of my favorite ways to promote a webinar and increase registration and attendance. The partner with another organization. For example, perhaps there's an industry or trade group that works in your business area that wants to provide content to their members. You can co-sponsor the webinar with that organization. You get access to their e-mail list and they get content for their members. It's a win-win. Or maybe you are a company that could cope, present a webinar with another company that operates in the same industry or business area that you do, but that you don't compete with. You could promote the webinar together, doubling the size of the audience. You outlined three options for a webinar registration pages and said there are advantages and disadvantages to each. What are the advantages and disadvantages? The three options are one, using the built-in registration system that your webinar platform offers to using a third party event registration platform like Eventbrite and three, using a custom branded standalone registration page that you build yourself. Let's start with the first option, the built-in registration system. Most webinar platforms offer an integrated registration system that you can enable when you're scheduling the webinar in the platform. One advantage is that it's relatively quick and easy. You don't have to know how to code and it takes a lot less time than doing it on your own. The other advantage is that you can schedule the confirmation and reminder emails to be sent automatically from the webinar platform and not have to send them yourself. The disadvantage is that you lose almost all control over how your registration page looks and behaves. You'll probably be able to include some simple branding. But for the most part, the webinar platform decides how it will look and work. The webinar platform will also decide what messaging is included in the confirmation and reminder emails. You might be able to edit some of it, but many webinar platforms don't offer a lot of flexibility. The advantages and disadvantages of the second option, the third party event registration platform are similar to those of the first option. It's relatively quick and easy and you can schedule the emails to be sent automatically. But again, you lose control. And in additional disadvantage is that to me anyway, it looks a little unprofessional. If it was my webinar, I wouldn't want to send my registrants to a third party registration platform. In fact, that's another disadvantage of the first option too. I think sending registrants to a generic built-in webinar platform registration page makes it look like he didn't put much effort into your webinar or your webinar program. The third option, the custom branded standalone registration page, is the one I'm most prefer because you have complete control over everything. You can host it right on your own website, which is ideal and you can make sure it reflects your branding. The disadvantage, of course, is that you or someone on your team has to know how to set it all up and it obviously takes longer to do. I'm a webinar organizer. How can I convince my presenters to practice their presentations? Well, you might never be able to convince a presenter that they need to practice. However, you can mandate that they attend a dry run a couple of days before the webinar. I mentioned how important it is to make sure that everyone on the presentation side of the webinar has a chance to get together for a technical and logistical session using the webinar platform that will be used for the webinar. This ensures that everyone has a chance to get familiar and comfortable with the webinar technology. And that everyone gets on the same page with how the webinar will flow and that everyone understands what their respective role will be. And again, it's a really good idea to use a Webinar Producer so that there's one single person who understands the webinar technology and process and can provide instruction in direction to the presenters during this session. Even if this session isn't intended to be used as a full-on dress rehearsal of content. It's still needs to take place and the webinar organizer should make it mandatory. And maybe since they are required to make time for the dry run anyway, they'll also be willing to rehearse their presentations during that same session with everyone present to provide feedback. So even though you might not be able to force presenters to practice on their own, there's still the possibility that you can get them to rehearse together as a group, along with the webinar host or moderator, and with the organizer or producer providing guidance. By the way, since we're on the subject of practicing and rehearsing, there's no rule that says a webinar has to use a presentation style format. With the presentation style format, practicing and rehearsing is important because the presenters need to develop a nice, smooth delivery of the content in their outlines and convey that information in a conversational tone. But some webinar organizers make their webinars conversational by simply asking their presenters to have a conversation. Get a bunch of chatty subject matter experts together. And you have the makings for a very engaging webinar. Instead of using presentation slides, you create title slides for each topic of conversation. With a conversation based or panel oriented format. Practicing and rehearsing is less important because the webinar is all about the discussion itself. Although you'll definitely want to have an outline of topics to discuss and use a moderator to keep the conversation focused and on time. Practicing and rehearsing might not even be necessary, especially if you want to preserve the spontaneity of the conversation. Can you repeat your tips for providing handouts after a webinar? So the issue I covered was using your presentation slides as an audience handout. If you follow my best practice of designing your slides to visually support, not mimic what you're saying. Your slides can't really be used as a handout. They won't be detailed enough. On the other hand, if you design your presentation slides that double as an audience handout, then they'll contain way too much text for a webinar presentation. So one solution is to create slides for your webinar and then create another detailed document that can be used as a handout. Or the solution I liked best, just add speaker notes to your slides. During the webinar, the audience won't see the notes. But after the webinar, you can simply export the slides as a PDF file that includes the notes. This way the handout will include your original slides along with whatever detailed information you gave the audience during the webinar. And finally, probably the easiest solution is to record the webinar and use the recording as a handout, so to speak. The recording, of course, will include your audio and all of your slides. Can you review your webinar audio best practices again, if you want the best possible audio quality, get yourself a wired USB headset microphone that you plug into your computer. Then after plugging it in, before every webinar, check the audio settings in your webinar software to make sure that it's being recognized and you're actually using it. In addition, it's very important that you use a high-speed wired Internet connection, not Wi-Fi, because the quality of your audio depends on the quality of your Internet connection. I would highly recommend that you spend the time and make the relatively small investment in getting the right equipment and setting up the right way. I guarantee you and your audience will notice a huge, huge difference in the quality of your audio. Do you ever recommend allowing attendees to verbally ask questions rather than typing them? Not for a webinar, assuming you're defining a webinar has a formal external event. First of all, some webinar platforms won't let you do this. And those platforms that do have this capability don't offer it in the webinar versions of their software. But in any case, for a webinar, you're really asking for trouble if you let attendees on mute their microphones. As I mentioned in some ways, webinars are like radio call-in shows. During a radio show, they don't let just anyone come on the air and say whatever they want. They screen the questions first. It should be the same way for a webinar. Remember, this is supposed to be a formal controlled event. You don't know who your attendees are. They could be anyone. You wouldn't want to be embarrassed by an attendee asking an inappropriate question or just behaving inappropriately. There have been cases of attendees behaving quite badly when allowed to come on the air during a webinar. And if you're a company, you also don't want your competition badmouthing you. So it's important to be able to screen the questions first. The other issue is that you can't rely on your audience to have decent sounding audio. You might end up spoiling the quality of your audio. And finally, it's just a lot more practical to use typed Q and a during a webinar. You don't have to worry about trying to figure out who has a question in the first place on muting people, people speaking over each other, people asking redundant questions, or any of the other challenges that go along with allowing attendees to interact verbally. Can you explain the difference between a webinar host and a webinar moderator. Again. Of course, these terms may be used in different ways by different people and there are sometimes used interchangeably. But when I talk about a webinar host, I'm talking about someone who opens and closes a webinar. They welcome the audience, they introduce the speakers, they provide instructions concerning how to submit questions. And at the end of the webinar, they provide closing remarks. Sometimes the host is also the moderator and sometimes the host and moderator or two different people. The moderator is the person that drives a panel discussion forward with questions and keep it focused and also facilitates audience Q&A by verbally relaying questions to the speakers are presenters. There are also other roles like producer or organizer. This is the person that essentially directs the entire production and execution of the webinar and ensures that everything runs as smoothly as possible. Usually the producer is a behind the scenes person, but sometimes the producer also acts as the host or moderator. For example, when I produce webinars from my own clients, they sometimes asked me to serve as their on-air host and moderator as well. What's a good way to use a poll to collect additional data from my attendees while making them think the poll is for their benefit. I mentioned earlier that a webinar, Paul needs to add value to the webinar. And if you use polls that are obviously self-serving, then you're insulting the audience by asking them to participate in the poll. So a webinar Paul must offer value to attendees. But that doesn't mean that you can't use a poll to learn something about your audience. When coming up with poll questions, try to make it a win-win scenario for both you and them. For example, you could ask the audience about their opinion on something which might help you qualify them for future follow up by your sales team. But you could frame the poll question in a way that shows them that answering the question will help them understand how they compare with their peers on an important issue. Do you have any recommendations to improve how we look and sound when using live video during a webinar. The risk of not looking and sounding good on camera is one of the reasons why you really have to think long and hard about whether the risk outweighs the reward. If a webinar can be just as effective without video, why risk looking bad if you don't have to? But if you think your audience has a compelling need to see you, or if you're conducting a panel style webinar where there's really nothing else for the audience to look at anyway. There are ways you can improve the quality. First of all, make sure you have a high-speed wired Internet connection. If you think that's important for just audio alone, it is critical for video. I would also recommend investing in a good quality external webcam. Rather than using your built-in laptop camera. Not only will the video quality be better, but you can adjust the position of the lens for the best angle. I already talked about making sure that your background is professional and uncluttered. If you don't have any control over this, you can always put up a photography screen behind you, although that's a relatively costly item and a big piece of equipment to set up and store. Also, as I mentioned, a few webinar platforms have implemented virtual background technology into their software. So you can appear to be sitting in front of whatever background you like. But be careful with that. Virtual backgrounds rarely look natural and they have a tendency to do unflattering things with your body. If you're a location doesn't have good lighting, you could buy an LED light designed for live streaming and put that in front of you. Of course, you'll also want to make sure that your audio quality is as good as possible. But the problem is that most people don't want to wear a USB headset microphone on camera. And they end up just speaking into their low budget, noisy built-in laptop microphone. Instead. If that's the case, I would recommend buying the USB lapel microphone or a USB desktop microphone, although those can be expensive. As you can see, if you want good audio and video, there's a lot to consider and a lot of equipment to buy if you wanted to do it, right? And if you combine that with the difficulty of presenting on camera in the first place, sometimes it just makes a lot more sense to leave the cameras off. Regarding webinar follow-up. Do you recommend following up with attendees who didn't get their questions answered during a Q and a session. I mentioned several different types of follow-up. For example, for a marketing webinar, you'll want to follow up with attendees who qualified themselves in some way as new leads or prospects. And of course, for any webinar, you'll want to send a follow-up e-mail to everyone who registered for the webinar to give them a link to the webinar recording in case they weren't able to attend live. But following up with attendees who had questions that didn't get answered is certainly another important type of follow-up. If someone had the interest and took the time to ask a question during our webinar. You don't want to leave them hanging. The analytics provided by your webinar platform should include a Q and a log showing all of the questions that were asked in who asked them. So review this after the webinar and for any questions that weren't answered live, maybe because there were too many to answer in the time allotted for the webinar, you can follow up via e-mail. Of course, if you're a webinar featured various speakers, you might need to figure out which questions pertain to which speaker and then forward them on to the speakers and have them follow up via e-mail. Let's do one more question. Do you have any recommendations on where a webinar recording should be hosted? When it comes to hosting your webinar recordings, you have three main options. Leave it on the webinar platform servers hosted on your own website, or upload it to a video sharing sites like YouTube or Vimeo. I don't really recommend leaving it on the webinar platform servers because then you won't have full control over editing it. There are always little edits that can be made to improve a webinar recording. And sometimes there are major edits that need to be made. Many webinar platforms don't have editing functionality, and even if they do, it won't be as good as using standalone video editing software. As for whether you should host the recording on your own website or upload it to a third party site. That will probably depend on your particular situation. It might be better to keep content on your own website rather than making people go elsewhere. But on the other hand, if you have a large following on a third-party site, maybe the best option is to put it where the most people will find it. Or you could do both posted on your own websites, webinar portal page, and also upload it to a video sharing site. Thank you so much for viewing this course. You now know the fundamentals of organizing and executing effective and successful webinars through the entire webinar production timeline, from promotion and registration, right, through execution and engagement and ending up with reporting and follow up. And you even gain some valuable insight by hearing the answers to some frequently asked questions. Be sure to keep all of these fundamentals in mind for your next webinar. And you'll be a much more effective and successful webinar producer and host.