Looking for how to run a successful business online?
At some stage in your business you have probably attended an online webinar by your favourite business coach or a mentor. In fact – you probably attended one of our weekly Women in Business Masterclasses or how to run a successful business online webinars too!
Using webinars to grow your business is really a secret recipe for reaching a much wider audience as well as positioning yourself as the expert in your field.
To tell you the truth, I used to find Webinars super scary! Imagine having to talk for an hour into a camera live without losing track of what to say. I wanted to learn how to run a successful business online but I wasn’t sure how to do webinars. However, I also knew it would be the fast track to success for our business, but the fear was holding me back hugely!
At first, I used various tricks to help me overcome my fear, until one day it was no longer scary and I am now able to team others how to run a successful business online!
So how do you go about hosting your very first webinar? This is literally the step-by-step on how to run a successful business online.
1. Decide on the topic you want to talk about
The topic of your webinar will be the main driver of your potential audience to your webinar, so choose your subject carefully. Also, don’t forget to give it a fun name that tells the audience what it is about and why they should join it. If you give your audience a compelling reason to join, you will drive people to it.
2. Decide the format of your webinar
There are many ways to host a webinar and I am sure you will find a style that best suits you over time but here are some examples of the webinar types.
- Single Speaker: As the name suggests, this involves a single speaker communicating with the attendees. Where you demonstrate the contents of the webinar and answer all queries raised by the attendees. This may be scary option at the start but you will eventually love it.
- Interview Format: This involves a speaker acting as an interviewer and asking a set of predetermined questions to the Expert(s). This type of webinar can be very engaging, with the attendees watching the Expert answering questions. It also encourages them to ask questions, making it interesting. This may be a great option if you are just starting out and feeling nervous to do it alone
- Moderated Panel Discussion: Like a panel discussion, a panel webinar has several speakers who talk over a predetermined topic. A moderator will need to facilitate this type of webinar.
- Q&A: Similar to the interview format, this type of webinar also allows the speaker to answer questions, but this time, the questions directly come from the audience. I recommend that you collect the questions beforehand. This will ensure that you stay on schedule and vet the questions coming from the audience. Q&A segments are usually added at the end of all webinar formats.
3. Plan Visuals for Your Webinar
Being a web-based seminar, you need to know why and how to run a successful business online using webinars. Webinars largely rely on audio and visual materials to demonstrate their content. Slides filled with great visuals and a little bit of text will not do the trick. I suggest you consider the following points when preparing visuals for your next webinar:
- Have an introductory slide with information like the time of commencement and points to be discussed in the webinar.
- This should be followed up with additional slides that will introduce the presenter and the expert(s) along with their designation, affiliation, and photograph.
- After this, have a slide showcasing a synopsis of the topics that will be covered in the webinar.
- Include a slide of tools and websites that will be used in the process. I recommend that you use the tools and websites in real-time during the webinar so that you can have a better impact on the audience
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4. Select a Webinar Tool
There are many webinar services that exist in the market, including popular platforms like Zoom, CrowdCast, ClickMeeting, GoToWebinar or Webinar Jam.
By far, our favorite is CrowdCast as it is easy to implement, works automatically and sends out reminder emails to your attendees. It records your sessions and without any extra work makes your webinars available for replay.
You can also make use of other smart features such as charging a single fee for your webinars, making multiple sessions available, hosting guests, adding links, offering your attendees interactive tools such as chatbox, Questions features, and links.
You can also email attendees from within the app, pre or post your webinar, download the list of attendees and download your video for later use. Having tried many various Webinar solutions, we found CrowdCast comes as a top winner.
5. Decide on the objectives of your webinar
Before selecting a webinar service, you should think about the objectives of the webinar. If it’s a product launch or promotion of your business, chances are that you are targeting a larger audience. In this case, you need a webinar service that will help you interact with a large number of attendees. You will also need to consider promotion and how you are going to attract enough audience to your webinar.
6. Set Up the Right Equipment and Space
You’ll need a quiet place to hold your webinar in with least amount of echo. Consider a quiet room at home or a conference room or any other place which will be free from background noise and interruptions.
Selecting the right equipment is also crucial for your webinar. Consider headset microphones or plug-in microphones to make sure you have a great sound. Also, don’t forget to do a soundcheck before going live to make sure all is working.
I always try to keep a backup laptop that’s fully charged, with all data copied and stored in it. This helps ensure that everything goes smoothly even if you experience any technical difficulties with your primary computer system.
Choosing the right equipment and space will not only improve the webinar quality but also ensure a great experience for your audience.
7. Publicize and Promote Your Webinar
In order to make sure your webinar gets the most exposure it’s crucial that you promote it as much as possible beforehand. Here’s how I suggest you promote it:
- Start by creating a landing page that introduces the webinar topic, the speaker(s), features the date and time, and a call-to-action for people to sign up to attend the event.
- Create a banner or display an advertisement on your website’s homepage to make visitors aware of the upcoming event.
- Use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to spread the word. Create a dedicated and original hashtag to publicise the event. This hashtag will benefit you at the time of the event, as you will be using it to interact with the attendees.
- Send multiple reminders emails showcasing the countdown to your event. 45% of marketers say that emails are the most effective at driving registrations.
- On the day of the event, make sure to send emails with the direct link to your webinar.
- Tuesdays are generally the best days for promoting your webinar, as revealed in a GoToWebinar report.
8. Pick the Right Date and Time
You should keep in mind that not all your audience members will be from the same location. The webinar should be hosted on a specific date and time that will allow the maximum number of attendees to be present. If your target audience is in Los Angeles, and you are located in London, starting a webinar at 11:00 a.m. may not be a good choice, as it will be too early for the attendees living in L.A.
It is important that you select the right date and time for your webinar event that suits your audience, so think about their daily routine and at what time they are most likely to be able to sit down and spend an hour uninterrupted?
9. Keep Practicing
I always make sure to practice for a webinar several days before I go live to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Start doing dry runs which will help everyone involved with the webinar get a picture of its entirety. Check all equipment to ensure they are working properly. A final dry run two to three days before the live webinar will ensure the following:
- Confirm if everyone is well-versed with the webinar software technology and the contents of the webinar.
- Finalise presentation slides to prevent last-minute changes.
- Choose the communication methods that suit the best with the team.
- Assign individuals activities that need to be monitored during the webinar such as polls, Q&As, group chats, etc.
- Reviewing the final registration based on details such as names of attendees, their respective industries, etc. The host should be fully aware of such information.
10. Follow Up with the Attendees
I’ve noticed that some marketers fail to follow up with attendees at their webinar. This can be a grave mistake, as you’re missing out on an opportunity to continue engaging your audience.
Send them an email thanking them along with a survey asking them to share their feedback and rate their experience, plus a call to action for future webinars. Make sure to send a follow-up email along with a recording of the webinar to the people who signed up for the webinar but were unable to attend it. Following up will go a long way in encouraging the audience to attend future webinar events and even be involved with your company.
Once you have successfully hosted your webinar, start evaluating your efforts. Use the feedback provided by your attendees in the follow-up emails. Consider these and make adjustments to ensure that your future webinars are even more successful.
Great webinars are well planned, organised and executed by a closely-knit team. You should spend sufficient time to plan and test the program to remove any flaws.
What did you think of the steps I’ve provided here? Do you have any suggestions or ideas you’d like to add? Let me know in the comments.
Women In Business Founder