By Heather M. Butts, Founder, L.E.A.R.N for Life Consulting, L.L.C
Many business people and entrepreneurs would love to do a webinar, but are stopped for various reasons: Will I have a horrible technical issue that will ruin my webinar? Can I come up with a compelling topic that will entice potential customers to attend? Will the individuals that register for my webinar actually show up? Individuals can turn to webinar facilitators – yes they do exist and I am one of them – to alleviate anxiety around webinars and online training, ensure a seamless, successfully programming and drive business leads and sales! Is a webinar facilitator for you? Here are 5 tips to help you decide?
1. Will the webinar facilitator assist you in the planning stages of your webinar?
So, one of the most critical services that I have provided as a webinar facilitator is around planning the webinar. What will be the length of your webinar? 1 hour? 2 hours? 30 minutes? What will the format look like? A presentation followed by a Q & A? A presentation only? An educational workshop? A 15 minute sales pitch at the end? What platform will you use and do you know the pros and cons of using that specific platform? Will you be the only presenter or will there be a panel of presenters, each of whom may have their own PowerPoint presentations that will need to be uploaded for the webinar? How far in advance should you market your webinar and how often should you send email reminders, tweets and facebook messages to potential registrants? Do you have a really great title for your webinar that will attract the audience that you want in attendance? A webinar facilitator can be very helpful in helping you think through these issues and can ease some of the anxieties that you may have as you’re getting ready for the webinar. Planning out a first-rate webinar will ensure that attendees who are there will be more interested in your product, services or tools and that will lead to attracting leads and ultimately customers.
2. Will the webinar facilitator work with you in the preparation and practice stages of your webinar?
Practice, practice practice! Any webinar facilitator will tell you that the way to ensure you have a phenomenal webinar is to practice a lot! The way to ensure you have a nerve-wracking experience with glitches and problems is to sign onto the webinar platform 3 minutes before show time and hit the start button. Will the webinar facilitator do run-throughs of the webinar with you and do an actual simulation of the webinar 1-3 days before your event? Will the webinar facilitator proof-read your slides for grammar and syntax mistakes? Will the webinar facilitator coach you on voice modulation and pacing as you speak? Will the webinar facilitator prepare questions for you if they are going to facilitate the Q & A section and do a run through of those questions with you, possibly multiple times? Will you and the webinar facilitator do recording checks to ensure that the webinar platform you’re using is recording you well? These are all questions to find out and again, you may not need all of this help but find out if these are services the webinar facilitator can provide.
3. Will the webinar facilitator assist you with marketing your webinar?
One of the biggest fears the individuals and businesses have regarding planning a webinar is that they will put a ton of work into the production, design, and content, and end up with 4 people in attendance! A webinar facilitator can be of assistance here 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. You’ll want to get very specific with the webinar facilitator to ascertain if she can and will be of assistance to you during the marketing and advertising process, if she has assisted others in promoting their webinars, what the results have been and what their previous registration-to-attendee rates have been. A webinar facilitator can be critical in not only thinking through where your leads can come from, but also in helping you target those leads, getting attendees to your webinar and, as we will talk about later, helping to turn those attendees into customers.
4. Will the webinar facilitator provide technical support, Q & A support, discussion support or all of the above during the webinar?
Webinar support can be everything from setting up your webinar for you from a technical standpoint – getting the platform ready 15 minutes before the webinar is to start, all the way to introducing you as the speaker, being a content facilitator during the webinar, helping you with the slide presentation (if applicable) during the webinar, and assisting with the question and answer period after the formal presentation has ended. Many webinar providers can also alert you to issues as the webinar is going on, such as distracting background noise, low voice volume, and other technical issues happening during the webinar that you either may be unaware of or unable to do anything about while the webinar is going on.
If you’re going to take questions during the webinar, the facilitator can also be of service in terms of vetting questions either via a chat feature, phone feature or computer microphones, thus freeing you up to answer the questions as opposed to concerning yourself with technical issues that may distract you from your focus – great content and information!
Decide where your strengths and weaknesses are and what would make you most comfortable during the webinar. Some people would feel very uncomfortable allowing someone else to be in control of the slide presentation during the webinar and would want to be in control of the slideshow. Others would be petrified to control the technical aspects of moving the slides forward, so be honest with yourself, decide what you’d like to be in control of and what you’d like assistance with during the webinar.
5. Will the webinar facilitator be of assistance to you in post-webinar production and wrap-up?
So life happens right. Recordings of webinars have glitches, don’t turn out exactly the way you’d like, or you want to follow-up with potential clients post-webinar, or maybe you want to target a specific group that really seemed to enjoy the webinar and do another webinar for them. If you hire a webinar facilitator, will they say goodbye as soon as you hit end on the record button, or can they be of assistance when you find out that the link to your webinar recording isn’t working and you need help to fix it? Does the webinar facilitator have the right equipment in place to edit the webinar in post-production and share that edited version with you either as a link or file? These issues can be critical. For many people, the most important part of the webinar is the post-webinar marketing and follow-up with prospective customers, so if you need assistance with follow-up make sure that this is a service your potential webinar facilitator has experience in and is willing to provide.
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. This can be instrumental in targeting individuals who are interested in what you have to say, but due to scheduling issues or other conflicts, could not make your webinar. Do you have a system for taking questions from individuals who watched the recorded version of the webinar? The webinar facilitator can assist you in creating such a system and managing queries that come through this system from prospective clients.
Following these 5 steps will ensure that you have a productive, wonderful webinar that will lead to increased registration and attendance, fantastic engagement of your audience and customer growth.