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How to Host a Webinar 102

Duo on April 18, 2014

We're hosting our first webinar "Better Websites by Design" on April 30, 2014.
Why webinars? Why now? Over the past year we have spent a lot of time planning and hosting our @DUO events focused on digital marketing, development, and design in our Chicago office. Time and time again we get regretful emails from registrants the day of the event that look something like this: I'm so sorry I can't make the event tonight because of x,y,z...any chance you will share the event slides?" 
We're going a step further. We realize that people are busy. Your lives, or your geographic location, may prevent you from coming to an @DUO event. Although we believe that nothing can replace that face-to-face interaction, webinars come in at a close-second. 

If you’re just joining us, I recommend checking out our 101 course before moving forward to make the most of these tips.

It’s the day of your webinar and you’re ready to go: your slide deck is prepared, your presenters have practiced and your promotion has drawn in dozens of attendees. Now that you have everything set up and organized to the tee, it’s time to get the show on the road. In order to make the most out of your investment and host a successful webinar, there are a few suggestions and guidelines that you should consider when executing the final product. Take a look at these 8 essential tips to remember while hosting your webinar:

1)   Be engaging

Regardless of whether you’re hosting an audio or video webinar, it’s important that you hold your audience’s attention. Speak loudly and clearly, incorporating energy and enthusiasm into your presentation.

2)   Be flexible

Like any presentation, things can go awry despite your being as prepared and practiced as humanly possible. People will have questions or there may be an unforeseen technological glitch – the best thing you can do is to roll with the punches. Stay calm and collected and be open to script changes.

3)   Have your references ready

If you’re planning on delivering data or statistics of any kind, try to have your references on hand. Your audience members will likely ask for validation in what you’re saying, so having citations already prepared will maintain your credibility.

4)   Live tweet & post on social media

Create a hashtag to provide your audience with a means to engage in live discussion throughout the event. Inform them of it both at the beginning and throughout the presentation to facilitate the conversation. Utilize social platforms other than Twitter too, but limit yourself to only one or two posts. 

5)   Use polls

Polling your audience is a great way to facilitate engagement and maintain interest in what you have to say. But pay attention to the clock. Don't let the presentation go dead for a few minutes as you wait for attendees to respond. Present your poll with enthusiasm and some sense of urgency so you can keep the program moving.

6)   Leave plenty of time for Q&A

If you've gone over all of the content you've promised to your audience, they are bound to have questions. Make sure you have accounted for Q&A so registrants can provide their feedback. Not only is this a great benefit for them, but it’s a perfect way to assess whether your presentation was valuable and gain further insight into your buyer personas.

7)   Record it

Most webinar tools provide the option to record and save your event for future use. This will be helpful to have for your webinar follow up and serves as a great piece of content to provide to your audience.

8)   Actionable CTA & Follow-up

Perhaps the most important thing you can do to ensure success for your webinar is provide next steps for your audience. At the end of your presentation, inform them of the next webinar or event you are hosting, or of a new service that you are offering. Give your consumers the opportunity to continue their relationship with your company.

The bottom line is this: while having valuable content is key, without optimized delivery it won’t be heard. Stay tuned for the third and final installment of the “Hosting a Webinar 101” series, in which post-webinar follow-up and analysis is discussed.

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