At first glance, creating, promoting and launching a webinar may seem like a lot of work. From identifying and bringing in the ideal presenter, to gathering valuable information for prospects and customers, to technically executing the live event, there's a lot that can go wrong. However, pulling off a solid webinar can be surprisingly simple and straightforward when you plan ahead accordingly and/or work with a knowledgeable partner to cover all the right bases.
What is becoming increasingly challenging, however, is creating relevant webinar content that cuts through the noise and resonates with viewers to the point where they take action. In our busy digital world, we are continually bombarded by 3,000+ marketing messages on a daily basis. That's A LOT of content! And consequently, we are all a bit desensitized to the presence of ads, and it takes a message that's particularly compelling to really grab our attention—and hold it.
In light of this situation so many marketers, content creators and educators are facing, below we have 5 simple tips you can use to ensure you're producing successful, appetizing webinar content in 2020 that caters to the needs of your audience and motivates them to learn more about what your business or organization has to offer. Read on to get the scoop!
1. Home in on your target audience.
You know what they say about a brand's value proposition... "if you try to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one." The same holds true for webinar content. Who is your target market or ideal buyer persona for your webinar? And perhaps more importantly, who doesn't fit in with your audience? Talk to your customers, association members or eLearners and get to the bottom of what matters to them with respect to the material you are delivering. If you can truly understand what they're looking for and why they are attending your presentation in the first place, you'll have a better grasp on what messaging will appeal not only to them but to others like them. Plus, you'll get insights into how you should name and advertise your webinar and its accompanying registration page.
2. Make use of interactive features and visuals.
Research has found that visual stimulation helps us recall information much faster than auditory or text-based information. Keeping this in mind, you can increase the chances of your audience retaining takeaways from your webinar content by incorporating interesting images, charts, and infographics into the presentation. Consider visuals that elicit an emotional response, as opposed to stock photos and other images they've probably seen before. You can also cut back on the amount of text that you're including on each slide. After all, 65% of the population identifies as visual learners (Source: Shift eLearning), so why not use this fact to your advantage?
Moreover, it's important to use interactive features that engage your audience throughout the live virtual event. In the year 2020 and beyond, it's critical that you are leveraging technology that enables you to connect with your audience during your webinar. Polls, chat, Q&A, and hand-raising tools are just a few ways you can get audience members involved, and once they're involved, they're much more likely to be invested in what you have to say. To begin cultivating a highly engaged group, try kicking off your event by asking, "By a show of hands, how many of you have been in your current role for less than a year?" or any other question that sheds light on why they might be in attendance. You could also ask about their challenges or pain points to demonstrate that you "get" what they're going through. By posing questions to the audience right off the bat, your organization is much more likely to relate to viewers early on in the presentation and achieve the overall objective of the webinar.
3. Ensure your presentation is mobile-friendly.
These days, every webinar presenter should be prepared for approximately one third of the audience to be watching from a mobile device. That goes for eLearning webinars, too! Attendees who can't access your webinar presentation from their smart phones and tablets will give up on you in 5 seconds or less after the presentation has started. Therefore, optimizing your webinar platform for mobile viewing is an absolute MUST.
4. Focus on one high-value call-to-action.
Too many cooks spoil the broth. Similarly, too many calls-to-action create confusion and ultimately lead to no action. The best way to keep your webinar on track is to continually refer back to a singular learning objective (or a set of related learning objectives) and to clearly dictate how the action you'd like audience members to take can help them meet this objective. In essence, you are facilitating a clear path for the learner or buyer to take—and your content should help usher them down this path.
Along similar lines, inertia is the enemy when it comes to presentations, so become the outside force by creating a call-to-action that is benefit oriented. Don't simply tell them what to do. Use language that highlights what they will be receiving, as opposed to what they have to give up (information) or what is required of them (time).
5. Create a sense of urgency.
In order for you to compel webinar attendees to commit to whatever action you'd like them to take (download an eBook, sign up for a free trial, complete a certification, attend a follow-up webinar, etc.), you need to establish why doing so matters to them in the immediate future. Your webinar content should highlight the reason(s) why your customers and members should act or renew NOW; why your eLearners need to learn about this lesson NOW; why your prospects should contact you NOW for a free demo or consultation. What is it about their current situation that requires a change? What is it that requires fixing? Use messaging that reshapes their goals in this situation from aspirational into mission critical.
What's more, have you ever heard of the acronym "FOMO"? It stands for Fear of Missing Out, and albeit social slang, it's a very real phenomenon. If you can show your audience positive results that others (with similar needs) have experienced after taking your course, joining your organization, buying your product, or investing in your service, people are going to respond and want to see these results for themselves as soon as possible. Testimonials and other forms of social proof certainly can't hurt either, so feel free to flaunt them if you've got them!
A few extra tips...
While the aforementioned tips are all essential to creating relevant webinar content in the digital age, there's more where that came from!
- Practice A LOT before delivering the real deal. Knowing what the presentation will sound like on the other end will give you a better idea of what could be missing or what needs improvement. Have someone else listen in and help you figure out what holes need to be filled.
- Ask yourself "so what?" before going live. After every major point you call out, try to answer the silent question of "so what" to yourself. This is what your audience members will be doing, so don't leave these points up to interpretation if they aren't meant to be. If you can't provide a relevant context or indicate a clear consequence of not taking action, your audience may fail to see the relevance to their own personal or professional lives.
- Don't be afraid to use the word "expert". Sometimes, tooting your own horn (in moderation, of course) can change the way your webinar is perceived. Using terms like "expertise" or "specialty" can call attention to the fact that your presenter is qualified to help your attendees. That said, bragging is obviously unattractive, so have your moderator and your landing page do the talking, rather than having the speaker relaying their own introduction.
- Disqualify the wrong people. Defining your audience is important for your content creation process, but being up front about who doesn't need to know this content can be a useful filter for good-fit vs. bad-fit leads. Ensure your webinar's description is straightforward by avoiding flowery language. While it's a good idea to have a catchy headline, too much exaggeration is going to backfire.
- Have a backup plan. Although we highly recommend having your event planned out down to the last second, we always suggest being prepared for the unpredictable. Prior to the event, discuss all of these details with your event producer, and come up with a plan case your call drops or your internet connection fails! Your webinar content will only be relevant to them if it's actually delivered, right? Having a plan in place can show your participants that its worth their time waiting a few minutes for you to come back if something goes awry.
Creating relevant webinar content is all about sending the right message to the right people at the right time. If you incorporate all of these best practices into your next presentation, you'll be well on your way to achieving your goals!
For more information on this topic, feel free to download our complimentary white paper: 4 Strategies for Creating Memorable Webinars. Enjoy!