We all know this: Webinars are an excellent tool to communicate information and expertise, generate and nurture leads, and cross- or up-sell products and services. Many of us want our listener to move through a buying cycle or maybe your goal is to simply inform your peers of major trends and happenings in your industry. Either way, you – as the speaker or business development executive – want to excel, be professional, engage the attendees, reach new clients, and keep them coming back for more of your and your company’s expertise.
That sounds good, but who has the time? We do, and we’re here to help YOU deliver great webinars with minimal effort.
You see, we get the challenges! It takes bandwidth and effort to create a great webinar with impactful content. You want to maximize the ROI of your time and expertise, and you don’t want to be bogged down with all the details.
At HealthEconomics.Com, we deliver, moderate, and/or manage many webinars a year, either for ourselves or clients and we understand the process very, very well. So, here is a 2016 summary of webinar benchmarks and best practices to ensure maximum success. And, after the benchmarks, I provide a few ideas for how to communicate in a virtual setting to keep people interested and engaged. That is, I want to help you take the “yawn” out of your presentation, break down the 4th wall and make the webinar attendees feel like you are talking directly to them!
When to Hold and Promote Your Webinar
First, some benchmarks. Industry veteran On24’s Webinar “On24 Best Practices Benchmarks Report 2015” provides many useful metrics that speak to industry-wide norms. We’ll share some of these, combined with our own personal experience in the HEOR/Market Access arena, to help you plan your next webinar event.
It should be no surprise that driving registration is the #1 challenge webinar planners face. Here are some other interesting findings:
A big portion, 22% of all registrations, happen the day of the event and have a higher attendance conversion rate. The highest registration happens 1-7 days prior (29%), while 22% register 7-14 days out, and 14% are early-birds (21+ days before event).
What does this mean for you? Make sure you are sending email promotion on the day of or day before to potential registrants! However, it is important to send out multiple emails over several weeks. About 36% register for the webinar more than a week prior to the event.
At HealthEconomics.Com, our webinars tend to draw 200-250 registrants, and we see about 50-55% of these registrants actually attend live or on-demand. This far exceeds the industry average of 43%. Either our speakers are more fabulous, or our promotion is more effective, or both! (Kinda sorta kidding, not really!)
Ever wondered the best days to send out those promotional emails? The sweet spot is Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, which all seem to perform equally well in driving registrants.
What about the best day for hosting your event? Well, stay away from Monday and Fridays. On Monday, we are busy catching up and Fridays find us gearing up for the weekend. Try Wednesday or Thursday for optimal attendance.
Time of day for your event is also important. Make sure to miss the east coast lunch hour and watch out for rush hour on the west coast. The ideal time seems to be 2pm ET, but 1pm and 3pm ET are not far behind.
You’re Not Done Yet
After your webinar is over, you can breathe a sigh of relief. But, while the speaker’s work may be done, many in your potential audience are just getting geared up. So, marketers, listen up! Another interesting and VERY important statistic is that 42% of attendees view webinars on-demand! Specifically, while about 60% of attendees watch only the live webinar, 8% attend both the live and the on-demand event, and 33% watch only the on-demand version. On-demand meets the needs of many registrants who have busy schedules and are on the go.
What this means: Make sure to share a link to the on-demand event as soon as you can after the live event, because as many as 20% of registrations come from the post-live event. Do you have Webinars in Archives? Keep promoting them to continue giving value to your customer!
Here are 5 reasons to promote on-demand or archived webcasts:
- Garner additional brand impressions with NEW clients and REPEAT viewers
- Allows you to repurpose content already developed
- Increased content retention by webcast attendees
- Additional lead generation
- Brand consistency and continuity
At HealthEconomics.Com, we can help you continue to reach your target audience with these on-demand webinars, using our array of advertising options: eblasts, spotlight features on website and newsletter, banner ads, social media and more. Contact HealthEconomics.Com for advertising options.
Webinars That Don’t Suck
Keep your attendee engaged during the webinar; use Q&A both during and at end of webinar! The industry norm for viewing time of a 1-hour webinar is 57 minutes, and that’s what we see too. But, just because the attendee is still “online” doesn’t mean they are listening! Reach through that telephone line and computer screen and grab their attention!
How? Be like Francis in House of Cards and talk to the audience directly! Say something like, “I see from the attendee list that several of you are with large pharma and are working on an oncology product. Let me use an example that is meaningful to you!” There are other great ways. Another trick is to field a question or two in the middle of the webinar; it shows you’re listening to your audience, and keeps people engaged by breaking up the “droning content” (not that you personally would drone!). Also use Quick Polls (thumbs up/thumbs down), a technology offered with some webinar platforms, as well as in-webinar poll questions, group chat, and speaking directly to attendees by paying attention to who is online/live. Break down that 4th wall!
Audiences like free stuff and to interact: 20% download content (slides, ancillary documents), 7% submit a question, and 31% respond to polls. If you have content they can download, then provide it! Take a poll to help you gather intelligence (ask about current state of knowledge, their practice patterns, future webinar topics/needs, etc.).
Reincarnating Your Webinar Into Another Life Form
Giving life to your webinar after it’s over: We like to encourage our clients to give at least 5 lives to every product. If you have a webinar, turn it into some or all of the following:
- White Paper
- Checklist/BluePrint/Flowchart/Resource List
- Social media series of posts
- Blog posting (your company blog, our tHEORetically Speaking official blog of HealthEconomics.Com, or a LinkedIn blog)
- Submit it to a conference/workshop
- Add components to your website.
And, as we said above, keep promoting the webinar. You can run it more than once, if the topic is venerable and important, and then repurpose it into different types of content.
OK, now you know how to set up, promote, and give continued life to your webinar. But, how are you going to make it be exciting? Read on…..
No Matter the Subject, Tell a Good Story! Here’s How.
It’s a sign of the times, this movement to virtually-delivered summits, meeting, and events. For many of us, the translation to the virtual world is not a natural one. Even if you’ve presented in dozens of live presentations, speaking well in a Virtual Arena, like a webinar, is even more challenging, because there are so many more things competing for attention – web surfing, email, phone, in-office interuptions, and more. But, if you’re prepared, YOU will be the one they pay attention to! So, please review these tips and suggestions to help you to powerfully engage a virtual audience and deliver a clear, credible, and compelling message in a virtual venue.
- Tell a Story and be Audience-Centric! Help your audience see THEMSELVES in your story, address what they care about, and need. Don’t know how to tell a story? Use S-C-I-P-A-B, from Mandel. Set the Situation (their current state of business), Identify their Complication, show the Implication for failing to act, state your own Position (i.e., Opinion) about what to do, and lay out an Action for what listeners should do, then tell them the Benefit. Then repeat it at the end, to sum it all up.
- Relate to the overall theme of the industry. Don’t be an island unto yourself..help the audience know why you’re capturing 1 hour of their day, in terms of merging with the rest of the themes, events, and current happenings (career, social, political) going on in the world at large.
- Add Color Spots – planned interactions and engagements with your audience. Approximately every 10-15 minutes, include polls, questions asking for feedback, invite audience members to meet you on social media after the presentation to dialogue, including tweeting to you (provide your Twitter handle, and the hashtag for the event) or setting up a LinkedIn webinar engagement group.
- Use pictures. Use animation! (But not too much of either; this isn’t a Warner Brothers cartoon!)
- Use Sound-Bites to summarize key points on your slide: 3 is good; 6 is too many. Don’t write in complete sentences unless it’s a quote.
- Your slide title is your headline for the entire slide. Use it; it’s precious space!
- Create robust speaker notes (and stick to it! If you’re composed, it’s much easier to listen to you if we can’t see you.) Then, practice.
- Less is more. Provide additional slides or detail as back-up materials only.
- Reference the Speaker before and after you. Contact them and have a conversation prior to the meeting, if at all possible.
- Don’t sell from the stage, neither you, your company, your products, your children, or your used car! (You can, of course, mention your company/products/publications, but strike that perfect balance, ok?)
- Reminders about the virtual webinar environment: Include a slide (or tell the Attendees) to:
- Visit your website, LinkedIn Group, Twitter (provide handle/hashtag), or other social media platforms.
- Email you (give email address at beginning and end).
- Use the Q&A button to communicate with you and the other speakers.
- Be Animated. Speak with Conviction. Remember, we can’t see you…we just see the slides. So we need to be drawn to your voice!
- Laughter is wonderful and infectious. And it makes me stop and pay attention to you!
- Don’t race. Use a “pause”, rather than filling the space with “uhm”.
- Speak to me (the audience) like I’m in front of you! Some presenters like to have someone in the room listening to them, so they can “talk to them” as if they’re the audience.
- Sit up, breathe deep, smile, and gesture! Yes, smile and gesture! We hear this in your voice!
YOUR Q&A AND AUDIENCE INTERACTION:
- Prime the Pump. Have 4-5 questions ready to suggest and be ready to answer them.
- Answer the questions concisely and straight-forward. But, if you don’t know, ask audience to give feedback!
- Coordinate in advance with your Session Chair on the Q&A.
- Be culturally aware. The audience is international, will be from multiple environments/countries/settings, and they will be in different time zones. Consider this diversity in your slides, pictures, and comments.
- Limit the jargon, if the words you are using aren’t “global”.
YOUR ENVIRONMENT WHILE PRESENTING:
- Be someplace quiet when you deliver it (office, conference room).
- Be prepared: headset, high quality audio delivery, clean desktop, and things you need (water, tissues, phone).
- Manage distractions while presenting. Mute your phone, turn off “bells” on your computer, limit Instant Messaging notifications, or email notifications, etc.
- Plan for back-ups. Technology can go awry, so have a phone back-up, write down any dial-in numbers, email addresses, etc. But if something goes wrong, we’ll help on this end, and just be calm. The world won’t come to an end.
- Stick Within Your Allotted Time Frame. According to the Gospel of TED from TED Talks , “Thou Shalt Not Steal the Time of Them That Follow Thee”.
Want to conduct a Webinar? Let HealthEconomics.Com help you create content, drive attendance, train you as a speaker, and moderate the Webinar. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’re ready to work with you on creating a phenomenal, successful, content-driven webinar program.
Now, go out there and give a kick-butt first-rate virtual presentation.
Want special training or moderating? Reach out to me, Patti Peeples, 904-838-1782, email@example.com