40 Tips for Webinar Success


Small businesses and non-profits are looking to grow their customer/constituent base, deepen their relationships with supporters and prospects, and influence people to take action.

Online events such as webinars present an ideal opportunity because they allow you to share your presentation, video, and screen and provide audio commentary. You can interact with your audience and enable attendees to connect and at-tend your event from anywhere in the world. With this in mind, we have compiled 40 tips that address each stage of the webinar process and help ensure success.

You can review and download the Free eBook here.

Or review them all below:

Planning and Preparing

  1. Determine what they want: Poll your audience and find out what they’d like to hear about. Discovering where your clientele already understands your expertise to lie will help you to craft a webinar that plays to their perceptions of existing strengths. Especially if you work in a team environment, don’t plan your webinar topics without the input of the sales and marketing staff. “How To Plan Webinars That Work,” James O’Brien.
  2. Consider working with a partner: Sometimes the process of getting sufficient numbers of people to your broadcast can be a daunting one. Whatever your situation may be, the easiest way to get the viewers you need is by partnering with an individual or organization that already has a relationship with your target audience. “A Little Known Secret to Webinar Success,” Eric Brown.
  3. Decide who will present: From the start of your webinar planning, you need to think about what format your online experience might take. Will it be just you, as the expert, explaining a principle, or are you thinking that it would be best to bring in additional presenters — people who can broaden the field of knowledge? Note that you’ll need to administrate a group if it’s the latter. So, plan and build all the slides and audio material from every presenter into a complete package, early on. “How to Plan Webinars that Work,” James O’Brien.
  4. Pick an interesting topic: Create a solid theme and topic that will be interesting to attendees, and drive the message home. “First Time Producing a Webinar?” Lauren Tuculescu.
  5. Put together a solid slide presentation: In addition to creating a wonderful talk, spend as much as 20 hours building a simple and interesting slide deck to accompany it. Make sure they work well together. “10 Tips for Effective and Engaging Webinars,” Mark Di Vincenzo.
  6. Your slides should be visually appealing: While it is important that you provide engaging and relevant content through your narrative during the presentation in addition to the slides, be sure to have an interesting and visually appealing slide presentation. “Creating a Professional Webinar,” Jennifer Gregory.
  7. Identify a problem and a solution: Throughout your presentation, you should be hitting on hot buttons that identify common problems or frustrations. Grab their attention by making them feel like you’re talking directly to them, describing what they thought were unique challenges. Once they’re on the hook, offer up a solution: your products or services! “How To Sell With Webinars,” Angela Stringfellow.
  8. Give yourself enough promotional lead time: You’ll need some time to attract an audience to your webinar. The industry-recommended standard is about two to three weeks. Any longer than that and you’ll run the risk of having participants forget about the event. Any shorter and you may not be able to attract a large enough audience. “6 Tips for Hosting Your First Webinar,” Kate McFarlin.
  9. Don’t forget to send out reminders: Two days before the webinar, email a reminder with the specifics: date, time, URL, pass code and audio dial-in number. Note if the participants must download specific software or use a certain browser. Include a contact phone number in case of technical difficulties. Prevent last-minute chaos by familiariz- ing yourself with the webinar system well before the event. Plan to log on early the day of the webinar to make sure everything is working well. “9 Tips for Better Webinars,” Julie Bawden-Davis.
  10. Make sure everyone has what they need: When working with a large online group, providing the attendees with necessary documents prior to the meeting is essential, unless breaking or bad news — like corporate down- sizing or mergers — is being shared. If it’s simply a sales plan or projections, send the slide presentation or accompanying files ahead of time. This will help attendees come prepared, with questions already formulated, which will help with interaction. “Five Ways to Prevent Boring Webinars,” Angela Stringfellow.

Marketing and Promoting

  1. Remember what you want: Before you start marketing your online presentation, make sure you know why you’re doing it, what you’re trying to accomplish, and what you hope attendees will get out of it. “10 Tips for Effective and Engaging Webinars,” Mark Di Vincenzo.
  2. Choose your audience wisely: Invite the right people. If 100 people attend your webinar, but very few of them are the target audience, then your webinar will not achieve the goal you set. “How to Use Webinars for Lead Generation,” Jennifer Gregory.
  3. Decide how your landing page will look: Start by considering what is important to your audience. What are they looking to learn? What secrets might they miss if they don’t attend your event? The landing page is where people are sent when they want to find out more. That page has to do a lot of work for you. It has to have the basic details of what the webinar is, and when it is going to take place. A picture of somebody is a very good way to gain interest. Have a very clear set of bullet points on the value and/or benefit to the attendees. “How to Put On a Killer Webinar,” Ken Molay
  4. Find those with a common interest: Think about the individuals or groups that already have relationships with the people you want to reach and come up with ways to partner where everyone can walk away a winner. “A Little Known Secret to Webinar Success,” Eric Brown.
  5. Flap your wings and Tweet: Although Twitter restricts posts to just 140 characters at a time, it can still be effective for tweeting links to your seminar’s Web page. To take full advantage of Twitter, learn to exploit the power of hashtags. Twitter hashtags are code words (preceded by the “#” symbol) that designate your posts for keyword searches. For instance, if you include the hashtag “#webinar,” in your tweet, anyone searching for that hashtag will see search results that include your tweet. “Using Social Media to Promote Your Webinar,” Robert Hadley.
  6. You’ve got mail: Email is still effective, as long as it does not appear annoying or “spammy.” Having a special guest speaker for your upcoming webinar is a great way to encourage registrations. An influen- tial speaker will generate buzz, enticing and exciting potential attendees. If chosen appropriately, this guest speaker aspect is a promotion in itself. “Using Webinars to Promote Your Business on a Tight Budget,” Lauren Tuculescu.
  7. Decide who will facilitate your event: A webinar facilitator can be of assistance in terms of advising you on ways that you can have a high marketing reach by reaching out to groups, organizations and other contacts to draw individuals into the webinar, “5 Tips for Using a Webinar Facilitator to Generate Leads and Customers,” Heather Butts.
  8. Enlist the help of your colleagues: If you have brand ambassadors — key employees who can spread your message — make sure they post the webinar link in their status updates and share it in any relevant groups they belong to. Different groups have different rules about promotions, so it’s a good idea to either consult the rules or email the moderator for guidance. “Using Social Media to Promote Your Webinar,” Robert Hadley.
  9. Select the right ticket price for your audience: Before deciding on the price for your webinar, spend some time researching what other people are charging for similar webinars in your industry. “Tips to Monetize your Webinar,” Jennifer Gregory.
  10. Use registration as a marketing tool: As part of the registration process, have one required registration question for future marketing purposes (example: How did you find out about this webinar?). “7 Tips for a Successful, Pitfall-Free, Lead Generating Webinar,” Heather Butts.

Presenting and Engaging

  1. Testing, Testing, 1,2,3: Before starting any online event, it is always a good idea to test out your equipment and make sure it runs properly a day or two before you go live. “Everything is Working Correctly Right? Are you Sure?” Bob Menzies.
  2. Three words – practice, practice, practice: One of the secrets to keeping the audience’s attention is to appear confident, knowledgeable and professional. You should also make a conscious effort to eliminate annoying speech habits, such as the dreaded “um” and “eh” disease. “The Secrets of Engaging Webinars,” Jennifer Gregory.
  3. Eliminate distractions: Before the webinar begins make sure that you eliminate all distractions that will be audible or visible to your audience, such as unnecessary computer programs running on the screen and personal items in the background. Make sure that you keep kids, dogs and co-workers out of the room where you are hosting the presentation. “Common Webinar Mistakes and How to Avoid Them,” Jennifer Gregory.
  4. Look like you know what you’re doing: If you are using video, be sure to dress professionally, just as you would if you were in the front of a conference room. Check that everything visible on the webinar presents the image that you are aiming for. “Creating a Professional Webinar,” Jennifer Gregory.
  5. Don’t forget to hit record: Be sure to record the webinar and edit the recording after the presentation. “How to Use Webinars to Generate More Sales,” Tom Treanor.
  6. Make sure everything is set: At the start of the meeting, make sure that all participants can see the screen or slide and that the audio is working properly. Quickly review how to use features such as chat. Lay the ground rules for asking questions and completing any polls. “9 Tips for Better Webinars,” Julie Bawden-Davis.
  7. There’s a poll for that: Starting at the beginning and throughout the online presentation, encourage interaction with attendees through on-line polls, quizzes and by opening up the floor for questions. Offer incentives for participation, such as raffle prizes. “8 More Tips for Effective and Engaging Webinars,” Julie Bawden-Davis.
  8. Your body language says it all: Make sure your body language is good – posture, smile, and use of your hands while speaking. Don’t pace or have other distracting movements. Also, make sure your tone is the right volume and pace. You want your audience to hear you and be able to understand what you are saying, especially when dealing with video conferencing technology. “Tips and Guidelines for an Effective Video Presentation,” Anna Brown.
  9. The results are in: Conduct polls and share the results as soon as they’re in. Polls are a great way to involve everyone in the online meeting, and they can be used to transition into or out of a topic. “10 Tips for Effective and Engaging Webinars,” Mark Di Vincenzo.
  10. Failure is not an option, but it happens: If audio fails for more than 30 seconds, have a slide available to alert the audience as to what is going on – but don’t apologize excessively – technical issues can happen. “7 Tips for a Successful, Pitfall-Free, Lead Generating Webinar,” Heather Butts.

Following up and Converting

  1. Share the recording: After the webinar, post the recorded version on your website for people who were unable to attend and for attendees to re-watch. You can also send links to the webinar to potential new customers to share the information presented and build interest in future webinars. Be sure to encourage attendees to share the link with co-workers and other professional contacts. “My Webinar is Over, Now What?” Jennifer Gregory.
  2. Remember to thank your attendees: Webinar attendees want something in return for their attention and participation. So after the webinar ends, email a thank-you note to attendees, and include some tips related to the topic. “10 Tips for Effective and Engaging Webinars,” Mark Di Vincenzo.
  3. More follow up may be necessary: You’ll want to set up a series, maybe 2-3 emails, that include not only the recording but also any other content that would help your attendees better understand the material that was presented and make that decision to buy your product or sign up to your service. “Post-Webinar Email Funnel,” Jay Moore.
  4. Follow up and/or respond quickly: If somebody has questions or says “I would like more information,” during the webinar and you get back to them that same afternoon, that is very powerful. “How To Put On A Killer Webinar,” Ken Molay.
  5. Decide who will handle answers to questions:   Assign someone to coordinate the questions and answers that are raised during the meeting and to get them to the participants as soon as possible. There is nothing more frustrating than being told that the answers to the questions presented will be emailed shortly, then nothing comes. Following through with requests and sometimes demands, will build trust among the participants and they will be more willing to participate again. “5 Ways to Prevent Boring Webinars,” Angela Stringfellow.
  6. Post webinar presents marketing opportunities: Always follow up after the webinar. Decide how you are going to use your webinar recording for marketing purposes. “7 More Tips for a Successful, Pitfall-Free, Lead Generating Webinar,” Heather Butts.
  7. Find out who attended your presentation: Once the webinar is over, you’ll want to go over the registration/ attendee rates. How many people registered and how many people actually attended? From there it is imperative that you follow up with the individuals that registered but did not attend, ideally with a recording of the webinar very soon after the live event. “5 Tips for Using a Webinar Facilitator to Generate Leads and Customers,” Heather Butts.
  8. Reach out to your prospects: Your post-webinar emails should encourage prospects to start a trial of your product or service. These emails and calls to action can consistently generate new orders that likely would have slipped through the cracks without proper follow up. “Post-Webinar Email Funnel,” Jay Moore.
  9. Survey says: An important step of following up is to send a survey to all attendees with specific questions about your webinar. “My Webinar is Over, Now What?” Jennifer Gregory.
  10. Take time to reflect on your performance: After the webinar is over, take some time to recap what worked and what didn’t work to help improve for next time. “Tips to Monetize Your Webinars,” Jennifer Gregory.

Implement these 40 tips to help get more out of your online events and webinars, andbe sure to use a reliable webinar service that is built for small business, like AnyMeeting. To learn more about AnyMeeting and select a plan that’s right for you, visit http://www.anymeeting.com.

Winning Webinar Strategies for Small Business

If you’re looking to grow your small business with digital marketing – this webinar is for you!

Watch this webinar featuring John Jantsch, Founder of Duct Tape Marketing, who discusses the many ways you can use webinars to help grow your business. John is followed by Nicole Kroese, VP of Marketing at Likeable Local, who shares tips on how to use social media to build your webinar audiences and expand your relationship with registrants afterward.

You’ll get insight into:

  • Best practices in using webinars to grow your small business
  • How to use social media to increase awareness—and market your webinars
  • How to build an audience for your webinars
  • Driving value and results after your webinar

Watch the entire webinar now!

You can also get the full presentation – available on SlideShare:

To check out additional webinars and sign up for our next session – check the schedule here.

Five Easy Content Marketing Wins for Small Business

photo_614_20051201Producing great content that appeals to people beyond your established audience is an increasingly vital part of the marketing mix. But contrary to what some might have you think, doing it successfully doesn’t have to be big budget and it doesn’t have to be massively time consuming.

Here are five ways small businesses can produce and promote great content.

1) Make the most of your meetings

Meetings of all kinds produce a wealth of interesting content which is often cast aside after it has been used for its original purpose. However, with just a little bit of re-purposing it can be given a new lease of life.

If someone makes a presentation on how they managed to generate a 30 per cent increase in organic traffic, why not take their slides, tweak them if need be, and then upload them to a service like Slideshare so other people can learn from your expertise?

Success stories of any kind always attract views and shares. You just have to decide how much you want to tell people.

2) Promote content via your existing network

A large part of a successful content marketing campaign is finding people who are willing to share what you have to offer. But most small businesses already have a network of contacts who only need a little encouragement to pass on your wisdom. It’s just a case of making it worth their while.

The best way to do this is flattery. To go back to our first example, if your SEO success was achieved with the help of a particular tool, let the company in question know about the slideshow you’ve created and that it mentions just how great their product is.

This means they’ll be more likely to share it with their audience, exponentially increasing the reach of your presentation.

If you can create valuable content that is relevant to your all your business partners, then you should make some big gains that are hard to beat.

3) Share your internal stories

Want international media coverage and thousands of websites linking to you? All you have to do is fall down a sinkhole and then have your wife write about it like the crew at Golf Manna.

Admittedly, that’s a little bit drastic but it goes to show you never know how interesting what happens in your company will be to other people.

Don’t expect everything you do to go viral, but what might seem like an insignificant event in your company’s day-to-day life can often be turned into something more interesting.

If you’re running a charity event, make sure you tell the local press about it. You might end up with some coverage (be sure to ask for a link back to your website if they run the story online) but you’ll also gain a valuable contact in the form of a local journalist who can promote your future successes.

You can also contact the charity you’re raising money for and offer to provide them with photos of the event so they can feature them on their site.

None of this may feel like marketing in the traditional sense, but it is a valuable way to increase awareness about your company.

4) Learn to love free tools

If you don’t have the budget to invest in monthly subscriptions for the leading content marketing tools, track down the free alternatives and make the most of them.

Buzzstream, a package which allows you to identify people who might be interested in publishing contact you’ve created and track your relationship with them, offers a wide selection of free tools which can be used to start a basic content marketing outreach programme.

The SEOMoz toolbar, which is also free, can be used to evaluate whether it is worth your time trying to get a site to link back to you. A guide on how to use the metrics you’ll see can be found on the SEOMoz site, as can a huge archive of valuable tips and how-tos.

These free tools can be used in a very basic way – to help you track down people who might be interested in promoting your content and to see how powerful their site is, both vital parts of content marketing.

5) Avoid shortcuts

Content marketing can be made easier, but it can never be made simple. There are a huge number of pitfalls awaiting the unwary small business taking its first steps into the world of content marketing.

Stay away from lost cost packages that promise cheap articles or a huge number of links – they’ll do you more harm than good. You should be proud of the content you create and promote and if you’re not then you shouldn’t expect other people to be interested in it.

Companies that have met with success on any scale have a lot of useful information to share and it’s this, rather than articles that cost a penny a word, that will help extend your reach as a business.

Guest post written by Will Stevens of 123-reg a provider of domain names and cloud hosting services.

New Easy Reference Guide for Presenters

New to AnyMeeting web conferencing for small business and need to launch a meeting fast? Check out our new Easy Reference Guide for Presenters. Download it and keep it handy for when you need to launch a meeting fast.


Key steps include:

  • Choose the mode for attendees, either “Discussion Mode” (everyone can talk and be heard) or “Listen-Only Mode” (only presenters can be heard).
  • Allow your mic and cam to broadcast
  • Record your meeting by clicking the “Record” button.
  • Share your screen, a YouTube video, or a presentation by clicking on one of the share options.

Download the Easy Reference Guide for Presenters: Starting a Quick Meeting Now.

8 More Tips for Effective and Engaging Webinars


By Julie Bawden-Davis

It’s no easy feat to hold an effective webinar that keeps participants engaged and not distracted by what’s on their desks or watching the clock to see how long until it’s over. The key to a must-see and stay event is adapting your presentation to the webinar environment. These 8 tips will help you hook and keep an audience.

1. Introduce Yourself

Depending on how you set up the webinar, attendees may not see you right away or at all during the presentation. Start with a welcome slide that includes your head-shot and that of anyone assisting you. Label the photos with names and titles. Those listening will be more engaged if they can put a face to the voice.

2. Choose a Narrow Topic

It’s hard for webinar participants to get excited with an unfocused, broad topic, no matter how thoroughly you cover the subject. Attendees are much more likely to be pulled into your webinar and stay with you when the topic pinpoints a particular concern or walks them through how to accomplish a certain task.

3. Deliver Exceptional Content

Webinar organizers sometimes get so caught up in the logistics and mechanics of the webinar that they forget the importance of content. Superior graphics alone won’t keep participants engaged. Craft a presentation that persuades, inspires, educates or informs your attendees. The best way to do this is to consider that each of your viewers will ask himself or herself—what’s in it for me if I stick with this webinar? You want your attendees to obtain useful takeaways and feel satisfied that they stayed until the end.

4. Use Memorable Visuals

To keep participants engaged, introduce visually appealing graphics and photos that get your message across, including short videos. Use text-based,
bulleted materials sparingly. A static list on the page while you drone on will cause participants to lose interest.

5. Pay Attention to Pacing

Many online meetings make the mistake of either screeching through information so quickly that attendees have difficulty comprehending, or they repeat the same information so many times at tortoise speed that everyone but the speaker is asleep or gone by the end. Strike a balance and keep things exciting by providing just enough time in between points for attendees to take notes.

6. Involve Participants

Asking participants for their involvement during the webinar keeps their interest piqued. Starting at the beginning and throughout the online presentation, encourage interaction with attendees through on-line polls, quizzes and by opening up the floor for questions. Offer incentives for participation, such as raffle prizes.

7. Stand Up and Walk Around

If the audience sees you presenting during the webinar, rather than giving a static impression by staying seated, introduce a dynamic element by getting up and walking around like you would in a face-to-face presentation.

8. Rehearse

Practice might not make your webinar perfect, but it will make it engaging.

How do you keep your audiences interested and engaged throughout your webinars? Let us know in the comments.

What My First Social Media Webinar Taught Me

Computer Girl
Your first webinar can be scary, but you'll get the hang of it

By Anita Hovey, Twirp Communications


My first webinar on anymeeting.com was interesting for so many reasons, not the least of which was the fact that I was having a conversation with people I had known in cyber space for years. I offered a free webinar about Facebook features and tactics to my e-friends from the papercrafting community as a means for me to test out the anymeeting.com platform. I was scared to schedule a “real” webinar until I had done a test run and the papercrafting community has given me so much, this seemed like perfect way for me to give back a little something. Here are some observations from my first webinar.

Talking to Yourself
It’s really hard to concentrate on what you’re saying when you’re staring yourself in the face…and that face is time-lapsed just a tiny bit. Once you get moving and get on to the slidehow or screen-sharing portion of the webinar it’s much easier. At first I put the screen share up, but I quickly realized that sometimes the screen share just isn’t that interesting. You have to remember to come back to your face when there’s really nothing happening on the screen. I tried to switch back to my “talking head” during long explanations so at least the audience would have something dynamic to look at. After a little while the switching back and forth became intuitive and I learned to look at other parts of the screen when my face was on-screen.

Talking to an Invisible Audience
It’s really hard to talk to yourself for two whole hours when there are no faces looking back at you. Because this was a free webinar I opted for chat only and I didn’t enable any voice inputs. I missed the instant interaction I was used to with in-person workshops because:

  1. You can’t tell if they’re awake.
  2. You can’t tell if they’re listening.
  3. You can’t even tell if they’re still in the room!

To overcome this, when I asked a question I would simply wait for the answers to pop up in chat–it didn’t take very long–and then I would continue. At this point I would always make sure the screen was showing me reading or waiting, so the audience knew I was still there and not “timed out” or something like that.

Ummm, Errr, Ahhhh
I still say “um” a LOT. I don’t know if the participants noticed it, but I sure did. Years ago when I was on the public speaking team in high school my English teacher worked really hard to get me to the point where I didn’t do that. Now it’s back and I’m disgusted by it. I always notice it in other people, so it really bugs me when I catch myself doing it. Better preparation will prevent that next time.

Doing the Necessary
Sometimes you just have to do something…it can’t wait! I was scared to death to touch my nose when it got itchy because I didn’t want anyone thinking I was doing anything gross. You can always pull up a screen shot at that point, I guess, but I didn’t think of that in time.

Overall, my first webinar went very well. The participants learned a lot and so did I. Another win-win.

Have you given a webinar? What was your experience like? Share your thoughts in the comments.

5 Ways to Prevent Boring Webinars

Follow these tips to make sure your webinar is not a snoozer

By Angela Stringfellow

Few words in a busy professional’s world can cause such deep sighs and rolled eyes as “webinar”. The virtual meeting held via the Internet is often perceived as a schedule buster, a mundane exercise in futility, a manager’s way of keeping tabs, a corporate executive’s way of hearing his or her own voice.  It’s only mildly comforting that 200 of the company’s best are feeling the same way; each receiving the same mandatory “join” invite.

In that moment when you realize you’re not alone, you also quickly realize that a webinar of such magnitude is going to lead to either a very boring, moderator-driven call or complete chaos with participants speaking over one another, asking the same questions over and over, or providing too much information and extending the length of the call indefinitely.  Is it really necessary, and more important, is it really effective to have this kind of meeting?

Webinars are a crucial tool in the business world. They provide mass audiences with crucial and timely information in situations where emails cannot convey the importance, the urgency or sometimes even the emotion that is needed.

For many, putting together a successful, interactive online meeting is a daunting task. Here are five tips to help make your next online collaboration a success.

1. Moderator Interaction: Nothing is worse than listening to a moderator speak for two hours straight.  It is essential for a successful remote meeting to have some sort of interaction among the participants. Whether it be through instant message or verbally, ask participants questions. With larger groups it’s often difficult to see if everyone has interacted, so it’s up to the moderator to call on participants to answer questions. By keeping the participants on their toes, they’re more likely to retain the information being presented.

2. Best Practices/Questions: Allow the group to share best practices or ask questions of other group members. Often, the moderator has the expertise on the topic, but the participants are in the trenches.  For example, in a sales environment, management may know the figures, the analytics and strategies, but the sales professionals know the market and the ins and out of the field.  They are able to share best practices with one another or ask questions of their colleagues.

3. Preparation: When working with a large online group, providing the attendees with necessary documents prior to the meeting is essential, unless breaking or bad news — like corporate down-sizing or mergers — is being shared.  If it’s simply a sales plan or projections, send the slide presentation or accompanying files ahead of time.  This will help attendees come prepared, with questions already formulated, which will help with interaction.

4. Keep an Open Mind: People are going to be multitasking as the meeting is taking place.  There will be moments when information is missed.  If the moderator calls on someone who missed the question because he was attending to another matter, give that person a do-over, a mulligan.  Allow for one mulligan, one trip to Bermuda or one siesta with no questions asked.  Then, perhaps, pose the next question to that same person.

5. Follow Up: Assign someone to coordinate the questions and answers that are raised during the meeting and to get them to the participants as soon as possible.  There is nothing more frustrating that being told that the answers to the questions presented will be emailed shortly, then nothing comes.  Following through with requests and sometimes demands, will build trust among the participants and they will be more willing to participate again.

In addition, provide opportunity for feedback. Let the team members have the opportunity to share their thoughts and views on the meeting.

With the advances in today’s technologies and more and more opportunities available for remote meetings, the days of traveling to meeting centers is quickly coming to an end.  Creating a forum for meetings is essential. Creating one that fosters teamwork and interaction is paramount.

What do you do to keep your audience engaged during webinars? Let us know in the comments.

9 Tips for Better Webinars

Want this guy to cheer? Follow these tips for your next webinar.

By Julie Bawden-Davis

While webinars allow for some leeway in terms of formality, they’re not an invitation to ignore pleasantries. Holding a successful webinar that participants take seriously requires employing standard etiquette. For an event that leaves a positive impression, follow this step-by-step guide to good webinar practices.

1. Plan Ahead
Reserve the webinar time and date and send out invitations at least two weeks in advance. Two days before the webinar, email a reminder with the specifics: date, time, URL, pass code and audio dial-in number. Note if the participants must download specific software or use a certain browser. Include a contact phone number in case of technical difficulties.

Prevent last-minute chaos by familiarizing yourself with the webinar system well before the event. Plan to log on early the day of the webinar to make sure everything is working well.

2. Polish, Polish, Polish
In this media age, most people expect to be entertained. While it’s not necessary to have an acting background to hold a webinar, it is important to practice your presentation until it’s near perfect. Hold a mini-webinar with friends and family, and ask for feedback.

3. Start and End on Time
Even if some people are late, start on time as a courtesy to those who arrived on time. In the same respect, if your webinar is scheduled to end at 10, don’t finish at 10:15. If there is a valid reason to go slightly overtime, apologize and excuse those who need to leave before you finish.

4. Clear Up Confusion
At the start of the meeting, make sure that all participants can see the screen or slide and that the audio is working properly. Quickly review how to use features such as chat. Lay the ground rules for asking questions and completing any polls.

5. Provide a Detailed Agenda
Few have the time or patience to board a ship aimlessly headed into uncharted territory. At the beginning of the webinar, display the agenda clearly outlining the topics to be covered. Also share when you’ll hold Q&A sessions and if a recorded edition of the webinar will be available at a later date. Introduce any incentives or value-adds at this time, like raffle prizes and supporting documents.

6. Determine Who’s on First
Having multiple presenters on a webinar is fine, often preferable, but make it clear to the audience from the outset who the moderator is. Introductions should include each presenter’s name, company, affiliations and relevant background. Also display each person’s photo and bio.

7. Use Common Courtesy
The age-old rule of “do unto others … ” applies. Avoid wasting everyone’s time and making yourself look incompetent by not drawing excessive attention to technical issues that arise or commenting on personal, irrelevant topics. Make sure all background noise is muted and avoid making unnecessary noises yourself. Never eat during a webinar. If you will share your desktop, clear it of personal data prior to the event.

8. Provide Added Value Rather than Overselling
If you’re selling something during the webinar, while it’s important to share how to buy the product, it’s equally vital to focus on content so the participants find the webinar worthwhile. Announcing your availability after the webinar to answer any questions can go a long way toward reaching your sales goals.

9. Follow Up
Send an email thanking participants for attending the webinar. Attach any promised information and ask for feedback. Short surveys work well for this purpose.

How To Put On A Killer Webinar Featuring Ken Molay (Sign Ups)

Ken Molay
Webinar Guru Ken Molay will lead the way

10/20/2011 Update: How to Put on a Killer Webinar is now available on-demand

Have you ever wished there was a “how to” guide for hosting a perfect webinar?

If you’ve ever hosted a webinar, or even participated in one, you probably (rather quickly) got the sense that creating a successful and engaging webinar is an art of its own.  We know that at least some of you got this feeling, because we here at AnyMeeting have been overwhelmed with questions on how to host a successful webinar.

In response to your concerns, we’re coming to your rescue!  Naturally, we’ve gone out and recruited one of the best webinar experts around, Ken Molay, who will present “How To Put On A Killer Webinar” on Tuesday October 18th at 10am PDT.  Ken Molay is a business webinar veteran, having been producing and delivering business webinars since 1999.  His background in public speaking, stage acting and corporate training has helped him gain insights into how to deliver compelling presentations. He  offers consulting services through his company Webinar Success where you can also find a vast amount of web conferencing tips.

Who should sign up and why?

This will be a valuable webinar for anyone that is involved in the planning, managing or presenting of web seminars. It will be very helpful for current webinar users and those that are on the fence and curious about webinars for future use. Ken Molay will help you gain a better understanding, or enlighten you, on how webinars can benefit your organization and why they should be a part of your communication tool box.

You’ll leave the webinar with a step by step instruction guide on how to host a fail proof webinar. The best part about all this is that it’s free. Sound too good to be true?  Well, there is a little catch…we only have a limited number of “seats” available, so sign up now!

How To: Write a Killer Blog Post

Robot Blogger

Guest post By Susan Johnston

Susan Johnston has written for AOL Jobs, The Boston Globe, Mediabistro.com, Parade Magazine, and SELF, among other places. 

Blogs are a powerful way to engage customers and attract new ones. But with so many businesses turning out blog content, it’s not enough to throw up a few quick posts and hope for the best. Here’s how to ensure that your blog posts stand out.

  1. Craft an Enticing Headline
    Without an eye-catching headline, it’s unlikely that people will even read your blog post. That’s why it’s worth spending the time to brainstorm a headline that will pique curiosity and encourage clicks. Blog headlines should be short, specific (don’t make readers guess), and make the reader want to know more. For instance, “How I Doubled My Twitter Following in Two Months” is better than “How to Build Your Brand and Attract New Customers With a Strong Twitter Presence.” But remember that your post should deliver on the headline’s promise, so don’t go overboard with the hyperbole.
  2. Incorporate Relevant Keywords 
    The goal with SEO is to mention your target keywords while still sounding like a real human being instead of a spambot who spews out keywords by the minute. Try to include your most important keyword or phrase in your headline and a secondary one in the first paragraph of your post but keep it natural and conversational. This may mean trying a few different combinations before you find the right balance, but the pay-off is that readers will understand immediately what your post is about and search engines will correctly index your content so future readers can find it.
  3. Turn Your Topic on its Head
    One way to create irresistible blog posts that attract comments and links is by taking the opposite point of view from the crowd. If everyone is blogging about how to grow your circles on Google+, you might blog about why having smaller, but more engaged circles is actually more valuable. Or you could draw surprising comparisons between your topic and some aspect of pop culture. Is there some parallel between SEO and your favorite TV program? Does Lady Gaga teach us something about building a brand? Get creative to find ideas that go beyond the obvious.
  4. Use Blog-Friendly Formatting 
    Blog readers expect posts to be formatted differently than a book or newspaper article. Keep paragraphs short and use sub-headlines, numbered lists, or bullet points to add white space between each point and make posts more skimmable. Also include a call to action and encourage readers to leave comments or ask questions.
  5. Add a Related Image
    They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, so it’s always a good idea to include images to accompany your posts. Photos offer visual keys that reinforce the topic of your post and also break up the text (see number 4). Be sure to include alt text and title your images descriptively (“Maui Wedding” instead of “PGH12458.jpg”) so that they’ll show up in image searches. Also keep in mind that your image doesn’t have to be a literal depiction of your topic. For instance, if your post is about celebrating milestones in your small business, you might choose a photo of a birthday cake or a glass of champagne. Search for images that are royalty-free or buy stock images to avoid copyright issues.

In keeping with tip number 4, what do you think of these? Is there anything you would add? Do tell!