A webinar is simply a web-based seminar. In other words, it’s an online showcase that can be used to demonstrate products or services, or even deliver educational value to an interested audience. Typically webinars are real-time, peer-level meetings that are made possible by the Internet. In fact, they’re very similar to a virtual streaming event, where attendees can attend remotely to informative sessions, presentations, and more.
Many companies use webinars for external and internal purposes. Whether an educational session, a reschedule of an in-person event, or a strategic engagement opportunity that helps connect remote audiences, webinars are best when they are delivered through intuitive software to educate and instruct.
Webinars are a powerful tool for both associations and chambers and can be an important part of an organization’s growth and development strategy. In addition to being a smart marketing device, webinars are also great for building organizational awareness and loyalty, boosting your prospect pool, and more. Here’s why webinars are so beneficial:
Create lasting business relationships by speaking to prospective members. The time you spend in the live event is similar to time spent at a networking event; you share your expertise, and let your audience get to know you.
Understand your audience better. Webinars aren’t just ideal for your audience to learn more about you; it’s also an excellent opportunity for you to learn more about your audience. By including their feedback — in a Q&A section, for instance — you get insight into the challenges they face and their needs.
Raise brand awareness. Webinars are an easy promotional tool for your organization to build trust and authority with your audience. Because a webinar is more than just a sales pitch — it’s an opportunity to educate — you can get more exposure for your organization in a cost-effective way.
Webinars are collaborative spaces. Therefore it’s essential to consider whether your information is a good fit for a webinar format. Whether you’re a professional association with individual members or a chamber of commerce, here is a list of tips that help you create (or repurpose) content for webinar success.
One of the best things to remember before scheduling your webinar is the attention span of your audience; the engagement rate of your audience will be shorter than in face-to-face interaction. That being said, it’s important to not talk about generic topics, and instead stay focused on a small vertical where you can provide the most value.
For example, if you’re interested in doing a webinar to help members with managing social media, narrow down the topic to “Designing for Social Media” or “Creating a Social Media Content Strategy.”
There are different kinds of webinars. Here are a few that you should consider:
Presentation webinars: A presentation webinar is one of the most popular types of webinars. This style primarily relies on a Powerpoint presentation accompanied by a script, and it does require some expertise in the format, as the most engaging content is typically delivered by a presenter who is experienced with this style.
Interview webinars: A webinar doesn’t have to be a Powerpoint; you could also interview an influencer or expert in real time. Provide questions to your guest beforehand, and conduct a live interview for your captive audience. This format does leave room for ad-lib, as your guest may go off-script.
Panel webinars: Instead of interviewing just one expert, what if you interviewed multiple? A panel webinar brings together multiple experts to discuss a topic. You can have all of the panelists remote stream in, or you can host them in a single space. Either way, be sure to include a moderator to keep your event on track.
Q&A webinars: Much like interviews and panels, a Q&A format has a high engagement rate because of its interactive nature. We recommend sourcing questions from the audience beforehand to give your webinar structure and then allow for live Q&A time toward the end.
Great webinars are planned — even the interview, panel, and Q&A formats. To get started on the right foot, set your goals first. What are you trying to accomplish with this live event? Here are a few to consider:
Introduction: How are you going to engage the interest of your audience?
Body: What main points are you trying to get across?
Recap: What are the most important parts of your central topic that you want people to remember after the webinar?
Close: How can you send your audience off with a great call to action?
Questions/Live Interaction: If time allows, how can you get your audience involved?
When it comes to the mechanics of getting a webinar off the ground, there are a few key things to consider.
First, it’s important to ensure that your viewers will have a consistent, predictable experience — otherwise, you won’t get meaningful returns on your webinar.
Second, you’ve got to secure the tools that help you deliver that perfect experience. To do that, it’s important to work with a platform that can help you manage your content, track your performance, and streamline your delivery.
With a tool like MC | LMS, you can do all of that and more from an approachable, easy-to-use solution. Here’s how to host a webinar with MemberClicks:
To get you started with MC | LMS, we start by talking about the features and benefits that will best suit your needs. With a one week lead time, we can have your LMS site matched to your brand and get you equipped to start setting up the structure of your site based on your delivery goals.
Whether you’re planning on starting from scratch with your webinars and/or adding in content that you’ve already completed, our extensive online Knowledge Base documentation will help you self-onboard with your learning management system. We have support staff that’s available to help answer questions, too.
MC | LMS is a wonderful tool in which to deliver a consistent, organized experience for your audiences, with the added administrative benefit of tracking participation and managing certificates and continuing education units. For the live webinar piece, we partner with TelSpan to provide integrated technology and a unified setup and billing process. Together, our platform is designed to help you deliver a one-of-a-kind webinar experience, exceed the expectations of your audience, and grow your bottom line. Note: if you already have a live webinar provider you love (any Zoom fans out there?), no worries! We are happy to work with you to see how it’s compatible with MC | LMS.
Beyond arranging your webinar, it’s important to know the best practices for making the event successful and repeatable. Here are our best recommendations for planning your webinar and your content, starting with Day 1.