How to organize a successful webinar from scratch

25 May 2021Reading time: 6 min.

Undoubtedly, 2020 marked the shift from offline to online for the worlds of shopping, work, training, and, even more, events. Conventions, seminars, and conferences have adapted to the restrictions, irreversibly legitimizing the webinar as a new way of communicating with the public.

During the COVID-19 health emergency, we’ve been forced to rethink the ways in which we interface with customers, transforming physical events into virtual conferences. 

In this scenario, webinars have came to our rescue. In fact, such a tool had never revealed its full engagement and lead generation potential as it did in 2020. These virtual meetings allowed companies to constantly dialogue with the public and not give up their events’ agenda. It’s no coincidence that the data from MailUp’s 2021 Observatory reveal how “webinar” was the most used keyword in last year’s email campaigns. 

In 2020, many companies found themselves having to move their events from offline to online for the first time, organizing their first webinars without much preparation. In this blog post, let’s see how 8 simple steps can create a virtual event from scratch.

Let’s start with the basics: what’s a webinar

“A webinar is an online, generally free event that can be followed live comfortably from any device connected to the Internet.”

The word “webinar” stems from joining two English terms: “web” and “seminar”. In fact, it’s an online seminar. Its etymology implies a concept of training. We could define a webinar as an educational or info session, which can be accessed from any device connected to the internet.

Webinar: all the benefits

Before understanding how a webinar is organized and the fundamental steps in creating a successful event, let’s check out its strengths and why this type of platform can be a useful integration tool for your marketing strategies:

  • Immersive Content Marketing: As one of the few Content Marketing tools that can grasp the user’s attention over a long period of time, the webinar stands out from other types and formats (think, for example, of a video posted on social media networks).
  • Data driven experience: The webinar experience starts and ends with data. It guarantees in-depth and reliable information on participant sentiment and engagement based on concrete numbers.
  • Effective, low-cost solution: Whether free or paid, the webinar is certainly less expensive than a physical event. 

Simple, 8-step mini guide for creating a webinar

If you’re new to organizing webinars and this activity was very unfamiliar to you before 2020, then here are some simple steps for creating a successful event. 

From our own experience, we’ve collected what we believe is the most effective and simple launch strategy for beginners. 

1. Choose the goal and target

Why do you want to organize this online event?

This is the first thing to ask yourself. This will shed a light on how to set up your entire webinar and how to succeed in promoting it.

In fact, the first step in creating a webinar requires defining its main objective. It’ll be difficult to understand how to set up any strategy without a clear and precise idea on the purpose. 

Once you’ve got the main goal, ask yourself this to deepen your ideas: is the event aimed at your customers, or are you looking to take on new customers and promote your offer?

Defining the target audience is the second fundamental step in setting up your entire strategy. If your answer was “yes” to both, then go for the priority target between the two.

2. Define the success metric

Establish your success metric after outlining the event’s objective and the target. This deals with the KPI to monitor if the event was successful or not. Defining the benchmark may take awhile and seem difficult the first few times. However, it’s the only way to determine if your efforts are paying off, understand if you need to improve something, or even go for a totally different strategy.

Here are some success metrics that might be right for you:

  • number of new contacts generated
  • number of existing contacts involved
  • number of activation requests for a new feature or product
  • number of new opportunities (prospects)
  • creation of new opportunities (deals) for sellers

3. Find the right webinar platform

Most likely, you’ll want to select the platform that’s going to host your first webinar.

From what’s out there, we recommend the following:

A further, more immediate and simple chance would also allow you to leverage your audience: exploit your social media profiles by starting a live broadcast on channels such as LinkedIn, YouTube, or Facebook.

The plus side of this solution is that all your followers have the opportunity to connect, follow live, ask questions, and interact. Additionally, the live stream would be promoted directly to your audience via in-app notifications.

4. Create the event: choose the speakers and the lineup

You’ve chosen the tool: now it’s time to create the event. Obviously, this step must adapt to the tool you’ve chosen. However, be sure to choose a captivating title, give an accurate description, and make sure that the webinar’s duration is clear. This is key.

Now, if you haven’t already done so, it’s important to establish the speakers so that you can enter their names and job titles in the event description.

Then decide on the topic lineup and schedule. Often, webinars are too long or too short: creating a detailed lineup will help you respect the established time slot.

5. Promote the event

Now’s the time to promote your first webinar!

Build a promotional strategy based on your set target from the first phase:

  • If you’re targeting previous customers or contacts, then create a series of automatic emails. The first one will have an invitation. Another one will follow up a few days before the webinar for those who haven’t registered. 

Find out how to set up an automatic workflow with MailUp: discover more about Marketing Automation!

  • If, on the other hand, your target is external, then harness the full potential of social media networks. Create targeted advertising campaigns by targeting your potential customers.

6. Prepare well and test it out

Start preparing for the webinar while collecting subscribers.

Set up your presentation and define a supporting speech for the material you’ll show during the event. Thoroughly review the content for any errors or inaccuracies. Say your speech several times out loud to avoid looking unprepared.

A little tip: do a short test with other speakers the day before going live.

Get familiar with the tool to learn how to start the live broadcast, how to pass the presentation from one speaker to another, and how to manage the chat and the many questions you’ll receive during the webinar!

7. The big day: arrive early to avoid any last-minute surprises

The day of the live broadcast is very important. Show up a little early for essential preliminary checks:

  • ensure you’re in a quiet place 
  • check that the connection is stable 
  • check that the PC is connected to the power supply
  • do a final check on your presentation to make sure everything is correct and working

This advice may seem obvious and trivial. However, the stir of the live stream can easily lead to underestimating them, compromising the success of your webinar.

8. After the event, remember the follow-up

Afterwards, remember to start the follow-up activities of recontacting the participants: send webinar materials, get event feedback for future improvement, or simply thank your audience for their participation and being in touch.

Extra Step: Record your webinars and create an archive for use on demand

If you want to go further and be even more professional, thus offering a complete service to your audience, then register your live shows and create a repository of all your virtual events.

This additional step can be of great help for those unable to attend your live webinars. 

For anyone who’s interested, it’ll let them access your events on demand and promote the content of your virtual meetings, even after the camera is turned off. 

Measure your webinar performance and identify room for improvement

Once the event is over, a fundamental activity is to measure the set goal from the initial organizing phase. Analyze the metrics that you’ve selected as indicators for the success of your webinar. This is a key step. Skipping it would hinder future improvement. 

Beware of overload

We’ve seen all the advantages and the basic steps of an effective event. Now, let’s give you one last piece of advice: use the webinar when your goal really fits this communication method. Don’t overuse it. 

The health emergency and the cancellation of physical events have led to an explosion of webinars. Invitations to virtual meetings are constantly bombarding users. Don’t fall into the overload trap. Use this resource with moderation and intelligence so as not to be repetitive and annoying in customer relationships. 

Now it’s up to you!

In our experience, these steps can’t be missed when organizing and creating an effective and successful webinar. 

Now it’s up to you to start putting them into practice and give your live shows a personal touch! 

This article was written by

Alessandra Sessa

Alessandra Sessa

Milan-born from a Seychellois mother and a Sicilian father. I hate the sea. A linguist by education, I work as a Product Marketing Specialist at MailUp. Just like Socrates, I know that I know nothing.

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