Compared to other, other types of content, webinars empowers marketers with the power to connect with their audiences in a personal and more engaging way. A firm favorite amongst B2B marketers, webinars are often said to be a top source for leads and recommended for all aspects of the customer journey.
The big question is how to keep people engaged. According to studies in GoToWebinar’s 2017 Big Book of Webinar Stats, just about 40% of marketing webinars are making use of this features. Lots of opportunities exist for marketers to increase webinars beyond a few slides and a speaker in other to engage audiences on a much deeper level.
Preparation is paramount
As we all know, failing to prepare is preparing to fail – but planning is the primary key to a successful webinar! Make sure to get ahead of the technology and test run all the equipment before the presenter starts. Ensure that the webinar software, including all accessories such as headset/phone, internet connection and webcam, are all working.
Next, ensure that everyone attending has the correct dial-in details; it may seem simple step but is likely to cause a variety of issues.
To gain the audience’s trust and maintain interest, it’s of utmost importance that the presenter is comfortable with the presentation. Presenters should proofread the format before the start of the webinar and aim to shake off any last-minute nerves. On the other hand, if your webinar software has pre-recording capabilities, this can make it easier to prepare the bulk of the webinar. Once it’s been recorded, it’s easy to play back different sections to the audience and takes away the pressure and effort involved in live-hosting.
Interact with the audience
Webinars provide marketers with the power to engage in a real two-way conversation with their audiences. The best way to get the attention of an audience and get them seeking for new information is to encourage active participation. Before the webinar, design polls and surveys to engage your audience. You can also decide to bring in a more informal interaction method by asking impromptu questions and having your audience respond with a “hand raise” or a message.
It’s better you keep your webinars loose and a bit of fun, and we usually begin with an ice-breaker question, to get everyone’s attention and set the foundation for future interaction.
The opportunities for interaction makes attendees more interested in taking part in the webinar and do more than listening than just watching. This will not only keep the participation high but also provides marketers with quick feedback on how much the audience was engaged and their insight into the topics.
One of the creative ways to interact with audiences during webinars is to invite attendees to appear with the presenter side by side, perhaps to ask a question or to discuss topics in need of further discussion. This has proven to be a very visual way to gain the attention of those who have over time become disinterested and produce interactive content.
Work on your delivery skills
One way or the other, we’ve all listened back to voice recordings and questioned if indeed that is what we sound like. Everyone has a unique voice, so it’s not a case of trying to sound perfect; however, there are specific techniques which can improve public speaking. Keep in mind that it’s best to speak loudly and clearly, and also talk naturally. No one is going to pay attention if you’re talking in a flat, monotone voice or mumbling.
Knowing that your Tone is an important way to convey sentiment, make sure this is consistent throughout as it will help to engage the audience and gain their trust. Sometimes, Pausing can also be a handy way of emphasizing specific points, as the sudden silence can often surprise listeners and pull them back in.
Make it fun
Introducing Incentives can be a great way to encourage audience participation and thereby increase engagement during webinars. When you Offer a prize which matches the audience’s interests, you indirectly ensure attendees remain focused. This encourages active participation within your attendees and gives them a good reason to keep thinking about the webinar for weeks.
You can also introduce a lot of fun during your webinar with the visuals and formatting of your slides and presentation. Use videos, GIFs, and familiar images that elicit emotion. Relevant information should stand out with non-standard fonts. And if you’re really in the creative mood, you can add life to your presentation by designing some visual theme. Instead of bullet points of data, why not make it fun with a multiple choice or true or false question?
Judge your performance
This can be achieved by creating a simple exit survey to carefully analyse the performance of the presenters and assess what content and format work well. The questions can be simple such as: How would you rate this webinar?
Many webinar platforms already have inbuilt analytics which helps you to rate success and gauge audience interest. Tracking metrics such as the number of registrants is one of the best ways of estimating how successful a topic is in signing up new registrants.
Another good point to take note of is the number of participants instead of the number of registrants. Data gathered over the last year reveals that the average attendance rate for marketing webinars is 37%. In as much as this is relatively low, it still creates an excellent opportunity to continue the conversation with those who didn’t attend, by nurturing them to try out other webinars and additional content.
Don’t forget, Evaluation is necessary for improvement, so always compare previous webinars with the former, for you to gather insights and learn what captivates the audience and at the same time what causes them to stop paying attention.
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