As you’re thinking about your game plan for the coming months, it’s time to seriously consider webinars. First of all, they’re remote, so that’s a plus. Second, they’re a great way to showcase your depth of knowledge to clients, prospects and centers-of-influence.
Personally, you’ve likely been part of more webinar training lately. We all have. Good or bad, these are learning experiences. If you noticed poor audio or video, take note of what bothered you. If you liked someone’s background, try and emulate it. Being part of webinars is essential in learning the do’s and don’ts of conducting them.
This article is the first in a three-part series on how to do “next level” webinars. By “next level,” we mean those markedly better than your competitors. Webinars where the substance and execution are enough to elicit a “wow” response from those who attend.
First, we’ll cover “Build It,” before we move on to “Promote It” and “Execute It.” Our guidance will apply whether you’re hosting a live session or creating a recording to use as part of a funnel (more on that later).
Today, we’ll cover some building blocks for great webinar content. We’ll tackle creating the right title, the right promotional overview, the right target market and the right slide deck. This type of preparation sets the stage for success.
Topic and Title
As you think about the topic you’ll cover, let your client conversations guide the way. Are you talking about opportunities in the markets? Have you become a de facto counselor of government loans? Pick a topic that interests you and your clients, and you’ll naturally attract an audience.
Your topic matters, but so does your title. Your working title shouldn’t end up as your final title. You might plan on doing a webinar focused on finding opportunities during periods of volatility, but if you title it that way, your attendance will suffer. Think of titles that are more specific and catchier, for example:
- 3 Volatility Moves You Probably Haven’t Made
- The PPP Roundtable
- The Homeschooler’s Guide to Managing Life and Money
People typically want more than just a title if they’re going to sign up for a webinar. We’d recommend preparing a short promo video and a text explanation of what you’ll cover. It should include an opener that explains who this topic is for and what they’ll learn if they attend.
If you’re a business owner and looking to make the right decisions with the Paycheck Protection Program, join us for this interactive webinar. Right now many business owners are in situations they have never experienced and facing choices they’ve never faced. The decisions we make now have long-lasting consequences. In this session, we’ll cover:
- How to communicate with your lender about your PPP loan
- How to manage your staffing for maximum benefit
- How to create the right strategy for the post-PPP era
We’d recommend doing most of your webinars for a really specific target audience. For starters, it’s more impactful for the participants if their specific needs are addressed. You’ll also have more traction in promoting a highly-targeted message to a highly-targeted audience than a general promotion to a general audience. This could include any combination of business owners, companies, geographies, occupations, or life stages.
Even if your webinar is some ways out, take some time to build your PowerPoint deck. The longer you have to marinate on it the better, as you’ll naturally source anecdotes and examples for the slides you’ve created. For a 30-45 minute presentation, you could need anywhere from 15 to 30 slides, depending on your style as a presenter. If you’re a natural storyteller or have a tendency to get into the details, you won’t need as many.
For advice on building out a great slide deck, leverage GotoMeeting’s 10 Elements You Need for a Kick-Ass Webinar Slide Template.
Most of you already have a teleconference provider. Whether it’s GoToMeeting, WebEx, Zoom or something else, it will work for hosting a great webinar. In most cases, the user dictates the success of the webinar, not the technology itself. One glitch won’t break your presentation, but every little snag, from the echo sounds to the problematic dial-in, takes away from your professionalism.
If you’re newer to the webinar game, plan a practice session or two to refine your skills. Think in advance about the features you’ll need and how they’ll work. For instance, if you’re doing Q&A at the end, make sure you know how people will raise hands, be called on, and be unmuted. If you’re intending to send out a recording afterward, make certain you know how it functions.
We’re just getting started. In the next editions, we get to handle the “fun” aspects of webinar production. You can have the best setup and no participants. Or you can have lots of participants and not follow-up properly. Our next two editions will help avoid these predictable mistakes. Stay tuned!
Stephen Boswell and Kevin Nichols are partners with The Oechsli Institute, a firm that specializes in research and training for the financial services industry. @StephenBoswell @KevinANichols www.oechsli.com