Are you new to hosting webinars?

If you’ve found yourself thrown into hosting webinars, I have some tips for you. I’ve been hosting a monthly webinar for almost three years and I’ve learnt quite a few things along the way.

Overview

Webinars have long been a valuable tool helping you reach a large audience with minimal effort when compared to 80 people at a breakfast event at the Hilton. The dynamics of “pressing the flesh” at a face-to-face event are hard to replicate in a webinar, but there are some things you can do to increase the impact of your content.

Right now, the need to deliver your content to audiences via webinar is probably motivated by two things:

  1. The need to maintain contact with your various audiences during the current COVID-19 pandemic
  2. To fill the gap of what were face-to-face events and moving those events online to further pipeline progression

One thing needs clarifying before we go into detail.

Meetings

ZOOM, Webex, LogMeIn etc offer a range of products. ZOOM has “ZOOM Meetings“. LogMeIn has “GoToMeeting” and Cisco has “Webex Meetings“. These “meetings” are for smaller groups.

Webinars

Most providers will have additional products like “ZOOM Webinar“, or “GoToWebinar“. It’s these “webinar” products that I’m largely talking about in this blog post.

Broadcasting

This type of online streaming is more like TV broadcasting than a “webinar”. On24 provides a very different range of functions e.g. a mix of live broadcasting & pre-recorded video content.

Creating your home-studio, some tips to get the physical workspace in place.

By having two monitors, you can see here that I have my controls on the right hand side. I can see which slides are up next with Keynote/PowerPoint. I can also see the webinar controls, in this case ZOOM. I can see the Chat and Q&A tools and I can see everyone that's online. You can see my external microphone between the two monitors. A glass of water is essential, I almost died hosting a webinar one day in a coughing fit and no water!!!
By having two monitors, you can see here that I have my controls on the right hand side. I can see which slides are up next with Keynote/PowerPoint. I can also see the webinar controls, in this case ZOOM. I can see the Chat and Q&A tools and I can see everyone that’s online. You can see my external microphone between the two monitors. A glass of water is essential, I almost died hosting a webinar one day in a coughing fit and no water!!!

If you’re lucky enough to have a home office, that makes things a little easier to setup and then leave it setup. However, if you don’t have a home office space, then you’re gong to want to look for hardware that is easy to move around or put away in a cupboard.

The key items I’ve found to make webinars easier are the following:

  1. Two monitors. Either your laptop and an external monitor or
  2. A desktop with an external monitor.
  3. A good quality USB external microphone
  4. You may find headphones a good addition, however I don’t like looking like a DJ or pilot when hosting my webinars.
A friend suggested the Samson Meteor USB Microphone when I started doing webinars. It has served me well. It produces great sound for a single person delivering a webinar. If you’re podcasting or even interviewing for your webinar, you will need to explore a different type of microphone, something that is multi-directional.

Gain a good understanding of your webinar platform e.g. ZOOM, WebEx, GoToWebinar etc.

This is an example from ZOOM and is the view that you would see as host. You can view Panelists, Attendees as well as Chat and Q&A functions.
This is an example from ZOOM and is the view that you would see as host. You can view Panelists, Attendees as well as Chat and Q&A functions.

Most of the platforms are pretty intuitive, however there are a few key things you want to ensure you understand before you start broadcasting. The key functions I use with ZOOM are:

  1. Sharing one of my two screens i.e. the Keynote/PowerPoint presentation.
  2. Chat and Q&A functions
  3. Mute all participant telephone/VOIP lines
  4. The ability to annotate the screen i.e. highlight certain sections of the screen
  5. Ability to record the webinar
  6. Invite guests to share their screen or comment.

As you would expect, the webinar providers have a good presence on YouTube. ZOOM has excellent resources on YouTube to help you get up to speed with their app and how to get the most out of your webinars.

Your webinar has to be more than just a slideshow with a voice-over.

There are essentially two presentation tools to choose from, PowerPoint from Microsoft and Keynote from Apple. I used PowerPoint 20 years, but when Apple launched Keynote I made the switch and haven’t looked back. At the end of the day you need to use a tool you’re comfortable with and helps you build engaging presentations.

When you deliver a slide presentation in a room, with people present, you are as much a part of that presentation as your slides. Your physicality, your tone of voice, your humour all play a part in getting your message across. 

One thing I’ve noticed over the past few weeks as I’ve been averaging 10-15 ZOOM meetings and webinars a week, is that more people are now turning their video on. This is a plus. People have a tendency to learn based on more than what they read or hear.

Mehrabian quantified this tendency: words, tone of voice, and body language respectively account for 7%, 38%, and 55% of personal communication. That’s 93% of communication comes from tone of voice and body language.

Your slides don’t even factor into the 93%. It’s all about you, your tone, the words you use and importantly, your body language. Don’t switch your video off, your webinar attendees need to see you, if if you a small window in the top left hand corner of their screen.

My experience is that you need more slides for a webinar than you would if you were in a face-to-face event. Animation is helpful to create emphasis combined with your explanation of the key points.

12 months ago, you probably had conversations about the need to create more content. Recording your webinars will provide a boost to your Content Strategy.

This replay library is built using the Eloqua Landing Page Design Editor, a HTML free experience. When a visitor clicks on ACCESS THE REPLAY they’re taken to a new page with a description of the webinar and are required to complete a form to access the replay.

Make it easy for people to access replays

You may choose to gate some content and not others. At work, we’ve amassed a collection of Eloqua User Group webinar replays.

While they’re all available from my blog posts at work, you have to navigate through the various posts – which is pretty easy using the blog filter.

However we thought consolidating a “Best of” or the more popular webinars to a “Library”.

To gate or not to gate

We view these hour long webinars as high value content, that’s why we require a person to provide their details in order to access the replay. 

You could mix things up a little by requiring a form submission to access selected content and then, once they reach the replay, you could consider listing two other related titles allowing them to click through to view the content without the need to complete another form.

A little like the Amazon’s of the world “People who bought this item also bought these items“. 

Oracle Eloqua Customers have an advantage

Eloqua tracks all Eloqua Landing Page visits as well as visits to your website/CMS for both “known” and “unknown” visitors.

That means you know which video content has been visited by your contacts, regardless of form submissions. This means you can engage your known contacts (contacts you have in Eloqua with an email address) and invite them to view similar content or include their behaviour in your Lead Scoring model.

I use ZOOM. I find it easy to use & flexible with good tools to help my webinars “pop”.

I have a number of clients using GoToWebinar, they speak well of the platform, they like it.

WebEx was the first webinar platform I ever used. It’s a robust platform with options to suit.

Why integrate your webinar platforms with your Marketing Automation platform i.e. Oracle Eloqua?

I use two Campaign Canvases to deliver the Eloqua user Group webinar. The first canvas issues invitations and drives people to an Eloqua Landing Page and Eloqua Form. There is a second round of invitations checks to see if people have registered via a Shared List on the canvas before issuing the second invitation. Registrants enter the second canvas via the Form submission, are registered with ZOOM via the ZOOM App element on the canvas and then sent the confirmation email and then fall into the reminder stage of the campaign.

You have greater control over the CX & your branding

Each month I access a range of branded templates to produce the monthly Eloqua User Group. I tell my clients the User Group Webinar is “templated to within an inch of it’s life”. It’s fast, consistent and helps me focus on the experience rather than building of the assets. Using your Eloqua templates for the Campaign Canvas, Emails, Landing Pages and Forms delivers an on-brand experience again and again.

Avoid data silos, store critical Digital Body Language™ in one place.

Setting aside security and knowing where your data resides, it’s a much better solution to hold your data in one place. It makes sense for Eloqua to hold this type of data especially if Eloqua is integrated with your CRM platform. You can then think about which aspects of the data would add value to the CRM user.

Smarter webinar registration

Eloqua Forms provide greater flexibility when compared to the webinar platforms. Eloqua’s Progressive Profiling is a great opportunity for extended profile data capture or you could even provide single-click registration and remove the form from the CX all together.

Hero Photo by Alesia Kaz on Unsplash