Don’t skimp on planning for your web event – treat it with the same level of care as you would an in-person event. A well-attended, seamless, and high-quality web event requires advance preparation that begins at least 6 to 8 weeks before the live event. Items to address during planning include target audience, topic and content, date and time, event format, speakers, promotional activities, and follow-up strategy.
Define the audience and deliver value, not a sales pitch
Clearly articulate the target audience for the webinar and don’t try to reach too broad of an audience with a single event.
- What is their job function?
- What is their geographic location?
- What are their key pain points and business problems?
Then, design the event from the ground up to meet the needs of this target audience.
- Select a topic that will catch the target audience’s attention and entice them to register for and attend the event.
- Position yourself as an industry thought-leader and deliver highly relevant content of value to the audience.
The event should be more than a thinly-veiled sales pitch or product demonstration–events of this nature will be perceived as such and greatly decrease audience attendance and engagement.
Sample Webinar Timeline
|Develop event plan||6 to 8 weeks prior|
|Finalize title, abstract and speakers||6 weeks prior|
|Setup registration and begin promotion||4 to 6 weeks prior|
|Send email invite||2 weeks prior|
|Draft of slide presentation||2 weeks prior|
|Full rehearsal and event dry-run||1 week prior|
|Final version of slide presentation||2 to 3 days prior|
|Send reminder email #1||24 hours prior|
|Send reminder email #2||2 to 3 hours prior|
|Pre-conference with moderator and speakers||30 minutes prior|
|Edit recording (if needed)||Within 24 hours after|
|Send follow-up emails and begin sales outreach||Within 24 hours after|
|Promote on-demand recording||Ongoing|
Effective promotion can make or break a webinar. A good place to start is by sending an email invitation to your in-house database of customers and prospects. For best results, send the invite approximately two weeks prior to the live event. Another good place to promote the event is on your website. Post high-level event details and a link to the registration page on your home page and other relevant sections of your site.
- Additional ways to promote your web event include:
- Social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and niche sites)
- Put out a press release announcing your event
- Submit the event to blogs and post to your blog
- Use the reach of your speakers’ networks to extend invitations
- Set up a search engine advertising campaign
- Post events on EventSpan and other calendars
- Include an “Invite a Friend” feature in the email invites
Looking for more webinar best practices for planning and strategy? Check out:
- American Marketing Association and ReadyTalk Present: Best Practices for Webinar Planning and Execution
This step-by-step guide ensures your webinar will help you strengthen your brand awareness, increase exposure in the market, and generate qualified sales leads.
- Best Practices for Making Your Webinar a Success: Plan, Plan, Plan
In this guide, Frost & Sullivan, a leading growth consulting firm, offers key best practices for planning a successful webinar.
- Hosting a Successful Webinar
They might be conducted online, but webinars can be as successful as in-person events. With careful thought, planning and teamwork, your webinar will be a huge success. Learn more in this webinar best practices guide.
For more effective and engaging webinars, be sure to check out Best Practices During Your Webinar.