If you have never sponsored a webinar, you may wonder what to expect. You might be curious about the technology used, and how you can best use that technology to present your message. Let’s review some best practices for creating a webinar that best delivers your message, creates engagement and yields ROI.
We’ll review the steps involved with a live webinar, but there’s a lot of overlap between live and simu-live webinars. When sponsoring a webinar with WTWH Media, all webinars, whether live or simu-live, become available on demand after their live date.
Once the paperwork for sponsorship of the webinar has been signed, we will confirm the date of your webinar and advise you of all related deadlines. In general, our goal is to allow for five weeks for promotion to ensure a sizeable audience. Therefore, your first deliverable (the title, description, images and other promotional materials) would be due five weeks prior to the date you select for your event. These promotional materials can be submitted through an online form which we call the Webinar Content Plan.
The Webinar Content Plan form can be completed online, and you must complete all mandatory fields on each page before moving on to the next page. The form cannot be saved and revisited—it must be filled out and submitted in one sitting. For that reason, it makes sense to gather all your materials in advance of filling out the form.
The images you will need are: your company logo; a promotional image (something thematically relevant to the webinar); and your speaker headshots. We can generally work with whatever size images you provide, as we are scaling them down for presentation on the web. The title, the description, learning objectives, and presenter information are also required. You want a title that entices your audience, and a description that makes it clear why they should attend. There are instructions on the online form that guide you in writing the title, description and learning objectives. Once you submit the form, you’ll receive a confirmation and a PDF with details about your webinar, to download.
The PowerPoint presentation will then be due about a week before your webinar date. PowerPoint decks should be designed in 16×9 ratio in order to display optimally in our system (we use On24 for all of our webinars). Basic animations and builds work in the On24 platform, but if your PowerPoint deck is particularly animation-heavy, we ask that you send a draft of the deck as early as possible for us to test. Visually interesting PowerPoint desks are highly recommended.
Another frequently used feature of our webinars is pre-recorded video. This could be a video demonstration or an illustration of the topic. Although PowerPoint supports embedded videos, our webinar platform cannot display video in this way. Videos must stand alone as .mp4 files. All video should be submitted by the PowerPoint due date at the latest to give us time to upload and test it.
There are many other features, some new, some just less frequently used, that are possible to use in your webinar. It is important to think about these options early on and plan for them in the weeks leading up to your webinar. Live video is one possibility, and can mean a webcam or live screenshare for demonstrations. We have recently moved away from Flash video to a new format, which allows for a lot of interesting features. We also suggest you consider including polls, surveys, and the Resource List.
Once the Webinar Content Plan form has been returned and we have a plan for what features you would like to use for the webinar, the promotional period begins. This is a period of three to five weeks during which we sent out custom emails to our subscriber list, social media posts and other promotional items to engage an audience for the webinar. The number of registrants for the webinar will depend largely on the target designated in your sponsorship agreement. During this time, you are also welcome to promote the webinar to your customers via a special link we will provide. This link tracks your efforts back to a code so that you can see where registrants are coming from on the registration dashboard.
In the week leading up to your webinar, it is important that we do an overview of the platform to make sure your presenters are prepared. While you are welcome to practice your content during this overview, the main goal is to make sure your presenters are comfortable with presenting using the technology. We’ll go over the flow of the webinar, the order of speakers, and test everyone’s connection and equipment. It is important to use the same equipment set-up during the overview as you will during the live webinar.
On the day of the webinar, you should log in at least 15 minutes prior to live start time, to get settled and ask any last-minute questions. The interface will be the same as during your overview. Use the yellow arrows on the Live view in the center to move the slides, and remember to reach out to the producer in the Team Chat on the right if you have any issues. Your moderator will handle the introduction, the Q&A section, and the conclusion of the webinar. During the Q&A section, the moderator will read the questions from the audience to you, and you will answer them aloud as well. You’ll present for roughly 40 minutes, leaving 20 minutes for Q&A.
Shortly after the live webinar, you can expect to receive a link to your reporting dashboard. This is where you’ll find information on who registered, who attended, what questions they asked, how they responded to polls, etc. There is a wealth of information available on the dashboard, so please take a bit of time to review your dashboard and ask questions. The information on the dashboard can be greatly helpful in determining which registrants to follow up with and in what fashion. For example, if a registrant attends the webinar, stays on the entire duration, downloads all your resources, and asks a question, she is a much more qualified lead than someone who registers but never interacts with the webinar. You might want to send a mass email to all registrants, thanking them and including some sort of promotion. However, you might want to call and follow up with the engaged registrant, armed with the information in the registration dashboard. How you handle this information in the dashboard will greatly determine your ROI for the webinar.