You have dotted the i's and crossed the t's so that your audience can hear your presentation, now it is time to implement strategies to encourage them to LISTEN to your presentation!
Today's post is about engaging your audience to ensure that your presentation makes an impact — whether the webinar is for sales lead-generation, marketing, training, updating or entertaining. What follows is an overview of features of the ReadyTalk platform that you can use to engage your audience and realize the ROI you deserve:
Content Is King: You've got the most interesting and/or mandatory webinar on the block, so make sure that your audience knows that! Does your title grab their attention? Does your description entice? Think of this as your billboard — your audience is driving through their inbox — you have 3 seconds to convince them to pull over and click through.
Early And Often: You're ahead of the curve and you've scheduled your Operator-Assisted Event with ReadyTalk with time to spare to build your slides and read this blog about engagement — great job! But don't delay! Send invitations through the ReadyTalk Conference Center as early as possible — your webinar is a big deal and it's important that your participants have it on their calendar.
Send reminders through your Conference Center, too — we suggest a 2 week reminder of the invitation (upload your invitee list and resend the invitation), a 1 week reminder to your confirmed registrants (use the "Schedule Reminder" feature in your Conference Center) as well as a 1-hour reminder through the same feature.
Teach Them To Fish: Give your audience the tools to make the most of your webinar. You can "Send Updates" to your registrants with attachments — take advantage of that feature (and send more than just a reminder) by sending white papers, part or all of your slide deck, links to videos or websites, updated speaker info, product or service free-trial offers or anything else that your creative team can come up with!
Create a Custom Introduction: Your participants go to webinars all the time (maybe even YOUR webinars!) — grab their attention right off the bat with a custom-written introduction delivered by a ReadyTalk Operator! Reach out to your Account Manager or the Events Team and we can help you craft an introduction that will set the tone for your webinar.
Interaction: Polls, Hand-Raising and the Chat Feature
- Live Polling — Use the ReadyTalk polling feature to engage your audience throughout your webinar. Use a poll as your "splash slide" to collect some demographic information and allow you to customize your presentation. While your participants wait for the event to start (while they are hearing hold music) they can already interact with you through a creative poll question. Check for understanding, opinion or relevance with polls during the presentation (ie – "Have you experienced this phenomenon?" or "Which feature of our product helps you the most?" or "How well does your company use polling in webinars?").
- Hand-Raising — We rarely see this feature used at all, let alone effectively, by presenters but we see participants "trying it out" constantly! This tells us that this is an untapped resource for interactivity! Use it for quick, informal polls, to check for attendance or understanding or for voting.
The Chat Feature — Be prepared for the chat feature! One of the most common questions is "Can I get a copy of the slides or recording?" — answer this pre-emptively via the chat feature and invite questions throughout. It is a best practice to have someone logged in as a presenter who can focus exclusively on the chat feature — either to answer participants directly or to tee up questions to the presenters. Capture questions/comments/stories for future reference of follow-up or simply say "hello" to a participant you recognize. Solicit ideas without cluttering the audio lines and provide web-links or discount codes in real-time to accompany a presentation.
The Post-Meeting Survey: ReadyTalk has a very generic survey question asking for "comments" that defaults for every web conference. Your participants are pushed to it automatically when you (as the Chairperson) hits the "Stop Meeting" button. Take advantage of that post-event buzz and get some really good feedback from your participants!
Build the survey in your Conference Center (second page of Edit Meeting Details) and ask about your presenters, the content, the company/product/service, the needs/interests of the audience or capture demographic information, referral information or just their favorite color!
- The Post-Meeting Follow-Up Email: ReadyTalk provides the ability to email registrants that attended and those that didn't show — follow-up with them! Tell them you appreciated their attendance and participation (or that you missed it) and send them a thank you gift (discount code, white paper, access to the recording) or an invitation to continue the conversation of Facebook, Twitter or your own website. You can also send attachments to these emails — include the slide deck, or a beautifully branded image for their desktop wallpaper!
So are they listening? Take some time to invest in your presentation and participants will take the time to engage it — show them you care about your content and about their participation and you will see stronger ROI from your audience.
You don't have to invest in branded pens or stress balls in the webinar world — just creatively and consistently provide value to your participants. Fortunately for you, ReadyTalk provides the tools 24/7 in your Conference Center. Have you found something else that helps to engage the audience? I love to hear about it.