What happens when we combine the concepts of 'the web' and 'a seminar'? We get a 'webinar'; an online event, meeting, workshop, or conference, which can be attended by anyone, regardless of geographical location or work schedule.
This is a rather simplified definition, but the webinar itself represents something of a revolution in communication and in the proliferation of great ideas. Easy to set up, even easier to attend and participate in, and highly cost-effective, the webinar is the future when it comes to business meetings and events.
But how exactly do you go about setting up your webinar? And how do you optimise your event to make it the best it can possibly be? Our guide provides the answer. Read on to find out more.
Choosing the right type of webinar
Making sure that your webinar provides the very best experience for your attendees starts with choosing the right format. While webinars are often discussed as a homogeneous entity, there are, in fact, a number of different formats available to hosts.
E-Learning, education, or training
This style of webinar works in the same way as a university seminar might. A topic is explained and demonstrated, and attendees have the chance to interact with and learn more about the subject.
Question and answer sessions
A Q and A session is a more interactive version of the education webinar discussed above. Attendees come to the discussion with questions already in mind and learn from the answers they receive.
Collaborating with leading figures in your field and then bringing them together for a panel discussion makes for a momentous online event. This format is best if you are aiming to get fresh perspectives on a hot topic in the industry.
The most interactive of all the formats, workshops provide hands-on advice and development to attendees. Workshops can take many different forms, but the most effective are conducted on a smaller scale so that individual participants can get the most benefit.
Not all webinars are suited to mass broadcast. A smaller scale session can facilitate a successful webinar meeting between remote parties, without the disruption of moving them from one area to another.
At the opposite end of the spectrum from meetings is corporate communication. If you have an announcement to make, or a piece of news that you feel needs to be shared with the world, a large scale, well publicised corporate communication webinar meeting is the right medium.
Telling people about your products and services is useful, but not as useful as actively showing and demonstrating the advantages they provide. Use a product demo to achieve this and record the demo to be released as content later.
How to set up your webinar
With the right kind of webinar now defined, you need to set about creating and hosting your digital meeting online. This means considering the following elements: development, marketing, and execution.
Follow these tips and begin building a webinar which not only achieves your aims, but actively enriches the experience of your audience. By supporting the needs of your audience in this way, you will raise your profile and achieve ever greater things with your hosted webinars.
Get the right tools
To offer the best webinar services to your audience, you need the best tools. This, of course, means the best hardware - such as webcams and computing devices capable of taking the strain of a live broadcast - but also the best webinar software.
There are numerous webinar software providers on the market which support super-fast digital connections with the high level of functionality required to get the very best out of your meeting. Express Virtual Meetings are in the process of developing our own webinar tool, to meet the needs of our users as best we can.
Set your time
Just because your webinar is online and your attendees are not bound by geographic restrictions, that does not mean you can simply forget about their convenience. Consider the time zones attendees will be tuning in from and select the perfect time based on this.
Publicise your topic
Your topic needs to be motivating and energising. Select this very carefully so as to maximise interest.
Then, create a winning landing page, hashtags, and social media campaigns to get the word out there. Make sure that your branding and messaging accurately reflects the content of what you will be discussing and prepares your audience for this.
Confirm your audience
Use digital information capture forms to confirm your attendees, giving you a good idea of the sorts of numbers you can expect, and be sure to reach out directly with invitations. Next, make sure that everyone who is signed up has the necessary material to participate. This can usually be delivered by email.
The content you include in your webinar needs to be tip-top. Draft, redraft, go over, and go over again until it is polished and perfect. Make sure all the media you need is optimised for maximum effect, and - of course - backed up just in case of disaster.
A webinar can be the beginning of a great relationship. Don't let your audience disappear after the event. Instead, follow up the session you hosted with questions and requests for feedback. If you are planning to host another event, make sure your audience is aware of the details.
Do you want to learn more about the best webinar services and about how to succeed when hosting webinars online? Do you want to stay updated about the webinar tool currently in the pipeline from Express Virtual Meetings? Get in touch with our team today.