My First Marketing Webinar

August 16th, 2009 by Allison Cates

Everyday we get emails about online, marketing webinars. “How to increase your ROI on the web”, “Why you need to supplement your campaign with PPC”, “Why do trains no longer have cabooses”.  It’s endless!

Fisheye Webcam - Don't try this at home

Fisheye Webcam - Don't try this at home

As a website promotion company we get requests for all manner of online marketing services and I was given a task of creating and broadcasting a marketing webinar for one of my clients.

My first thought was, “Oh cool- a webinar. This should be interesting.” My second thought was, “holy crap, I have never done this before.

Webinars are like – LIVE. Where do I start? I knew this gig would get me into trouble. My mind was racing in every direction and I was off to create my first webinar, with the help of my trusty team.

Here are a few items that I learned along the way (that I wish I had known before). They may be obvious to some, and even if that’s the case I encourage you to continue reading. Maybe there is a glimpse of something that may help you in the future.

    1. Create a Topic: Webinars are very “in the moment,” so make sure your topic is relevant to “now.” Make sure you can speak intelligently on the topic – your audience is expecting an expert in the broadcast.
    2. Develop a Webinar Wish list:
      Do you want to:

      • Show a PowerPoint
      • Have Live Video
      • Poll Participants
      • Have an Interactive Q & A
      • Stream existing video

The list could be endless, but remember this is a “WISH LIST” so list everything you want your webinar to do – EVERYTHING.

  1. Research Marketing Webinar Platforms: There are numerous webinar platforms. Price points vary from free (for up to so many users), to affordable, to very expensive. Some require a download onto the computer, while others are streamed through the web. Some provide live video, some don’t, etc., etc.How to decide? Go back to the wish list and get to testing. Which platform achieves all (or the majority) of the objectives on your wish list? If you find this platform and it’s in your budget – sign up and thank your lucky stars! If you are having trouble achieving your wish list, decide which areas you are willing to budge on and what is necessary?
    Does it pass the sniff test George?

    Does it pass the sniff test George?

    This step requires testing, testing and more testing. Eventually you will hash out the best program to achieve your main objectives and fit your budget.Also, don’t forget the awesome information resource of the web. Check out blogs and articles on webinars. They can provide useful, honest feedback about other peoples experiences with the different platforms.

  2. Create an Outline: Begin organizing the webinar. The process is completely relevant to your topic and your speaker.  Is your webinar interactive? If so, where do these portions go in the agenda? Will you have one Q&A or two? Where will the online polls be located and how many are needed? How and who is introducing the speaker?The outline should stay active as it can change throughout the entire process depending on testing outcomes, which platform you use, how many people sign up for your webinar, etc.
  3. PROMOTION: This is HUGE! A webinar is not really effective unless you have an audience – otherwise you would be talking to yourself (not cool). There are many ways to promote offline (fliers, radio, word of mouth), but being a huge proponent of the web, here are a few ways to promote online Remember that some of these (i.e. Twitter/Facebook) will need a previous following to be effective.
    • Press Release
    • Twitter
    • Facebook Fan Page
    • Personal Website
    • Personal Blog
  4. TEST: Test and test and test until you can’t test anymore. A live webinar is a one shot deal. You get one shot to make it or break it. You want to have everything down pat before the big moment where you are broadcasted across the World Wide Web. Think about it – you could have 3 viewers or 3,000, but the webinar reputation could go from 0 stars to 5 in an instant with just a little positive feedback online. You want to NAIL it.

Like I mentioned above, those are just some preliminary things that I learned while preparing for my first webinar. Oh, another piece of advice – watch as many other webinars as possible. This will give you ideas on how to make yours more successful. My parting words- Good Luck!


Web cam image courtesy of Flickr user: rafael_mizrahi
Bush experiment image courtesy of: Reprise Media blog