If you’ve ever attended a webinar or hosted one of your own, then you know hosting a webinar is no easy feat. It's not just simply hosting a webinar. It's all those extra components that come together to make that hour-or-so really great and deliver most value. From choosing the right platform, the best speakers and the right technical kit to creating an overall strong marketing strategy, webinars are hard work for newbies and veteran hosts alike.
To guarantee a successful webinar you have to start early. That's because webinars take a fair bit of planning, communication and marketing to really maximise their potential.
But fear not! To help get started on your webinar journey we’ve created a webinar planning checklist to get you going.
But one last thing you have to do before we get started …
Define your goals
Before we get into full swing of our planning webinar checklist, you have to begin by brainstorming and defining your webinar goals. You want to know the purpose of your webinar, who your target audience is and the types of action you want to encourage.
For example, is this webinar for lead capturing purposes? Or is it an educational webinar? Will this be an evergreen webinar or an on-demand webinar? When asking yourself these questions, you may see that while all webinars may capture potential leads, a lead generating webinar may be more customised to a specific target audience. Or it may be that while an evergreen or educational webinar is one that is broadly relevant and timeless in nature. The same goes for B2C webinars or B2B webinars, where studies have shown that 73% of total attendees turn into lead generation.
Outlining clear goals for your webinar helps you stay focused and on track through the webinar planning stages and execution. It gives you a rubric in which to measure your webinars success and optimise future webinars.
Now that you know what you want from your webinar, let’s begin planning your webinar launch checklist.
6 Weeks Before Your Webinar
Pick Your Webinar Topic
This one’s pretty simple: give your attendees a reason to log in and show up. Now that you know what your goals are for your webinar, narrow down your topic to one that's highly relevant for your business and potential attendees.
Here’s a few questions to consider:
- Is your topic relevant for your target audience?
- Has your webinar topic been shared before?
- If so, what can you add to the conversation?
- And lastly, can this topic be delivered on a virtual stage?
It's important you ask yourself these questions before proceeding with the rest of your webinar planning because without a good topic you may fail to garner the attention of potential attendees. You want something that will excite your target audience, draw them in.
Pick a date
We’ve written a lot about when the best times to throw webinars are - and why. It’s pretty simple though, choose a time that makes sense for everyone's schedule. Research has shown that the best time to host a webinar is midday, around 11 am. And the best days to host a webinar? Industry studies have shown that mid-week is perfect, with Wednesdays and Thursdays having the highest attendance rates.
These times tend to work best for webinars because they work with attendees' work schedules and availability, while also taking into account the possibility of attendees in different time zones. Put yourself in their shoes: when would you like to attend a webinar?
Pick a presenter
This is perhaps one of the most important steps. You need to choose the right presenter for your webinar. When deciding who to have as your presenter, look for someone who has topic or industry knowledge and experience, is well versed in presenting (bonus points for virtual presentation experience) and enjoys engaging with participants.
Your host will be one of the biggest hooks to your webinar for attendees. A good host will draw attendees' interest before the event, keep the audience engaged during the event and be passionate about their subject.
If you happen to be the host or co host, don’t worry, we’ve got a bunch of great tips for you too in our article ‘Top tips for webinar speakers | How to host engaging webinars’.
4 Weeks Before
Choose your webinar platform
Now it’s time to start organising everything practical, and this means choosing the right platform to host your webinar. When choosing a webinar platform it's important to take into account your goals. You want your webinar platform to create engagement opportunities between attendees and speakers, so tools like chat boxes, Q&A, good quality live streaming, recording capability, onward journey and content pushing are really important.
Other key features to look out for include the ability to brand and customise your webinar - after all, consistent branding has been shown to increase revenue by up to 23%. Strong platform brandability also enhances your brand's experiences as a whole for attendees and grows your brand's value. Other details like the ability to see attendee insights and webinar analytics can help you grow your webinar success long term.
Last thing to note when choosing your platform, it's also important to choose how your sign up will work. Will attendees access the webinar via a direct link? Or with an email sign up? It’s important to get all those logistics sorted out before you continue.
Create registration landing page
With all that done it's time to create your registration landing page. This is where future attendees will be able to find out more about your webinar and sign up .
A good landing page should be well branded and include:
- The title of webinar
- A description of the webinar and the topics being covered.
- The benefits of attending your webinar
- The date, with a time with timezone converter
- Sign-in information, including contact information
- Host and speaker bios with headshots and descriptions of their topic
- Social media links, everything from instagram, to facebook and LinkedIn
3 weeks before
Start scheduling your webinar and working with your speakers to outline the flow of the webinar. This is especially important if your webinar has multiple speakers, as switching between speakers can cause delays and can distract from the topic at hand. Make sure everyone’s had the chance to practise and run their technical checks!
Just as important? Making your hosts and speakers comfortable with the webinar platform. You want them to know everything about how the platform works throughout their entire experience, from the format of the Q&A and especially how the mute button works (2020 flashbacks anyone…). Try and prevent the dreaded mute talking as much as possible. These types of delays or fumbling feel a bit awkward and, well, unprofessional so try to make everyone as familiar as possible with your platform so it can be smooth sailing.
And of course, include and work with the first draft of the webinar slide deck. You want to make sure all the visuals match what the speakers are saying, this includes any CTAs or downloadable materials - everything must be in-sync to feel as professional and seamless as possible.
Now it's time to promote your webinar. You can do this via:
- Social media
- Blog posts
- Email and newsletters
- CTAs on your website
- Online advertising
We have a whole article dedicated to the details, ‘How to promote your webinar | Top tips to market webinars’ if you’re ready to learn more.
Now it's time to take everything you’ve practised before and integrate into your webinar platform. This means uploading your slide deck into the webinar platform, doing a dry run of the webinar with your speakers and hosts.
Of course, one of the most important things to (triple) check is your tech setup. This means testing your audio equipment, your visuals, videos and slides. For more info on what to choose for the tech side of things, check out our best practices article.
Any type of technical disruptions can cause attendees to lose focus and tune out. But let’s be honest - we’ve all had a technical malfunction at one point or another, so that just means you should do everything you can to prevent and prepare for any possible technical issues. Things happen, but just prepare as much as you can.
Once you've looked over everything and applied all necessary changes it's time to send one last promotional push. This time include snippets and slides for your upcoming webinar.
It's almost time for your webinar! Share your excitement build up hype by sending out a reminder email to your attendees. Make sure you include the important information like how to sign-in information or the link to the webinar and the date and time (with time zone converter). You should also include the benefits of attending, the webinar social media content and any hype you’ve created around it already.
For hosts, make sure everyone decides where their physical location will be so that they can ensure that it's quiet, has flawless internet connection, and has good lighting with a simple background. Your speakers should also ensure they won't be disturbed during the event.
2 hours before: Promote, promote, promote.
The day of your event you should be promoting your webinar across all your social media channels and sending out reminder emails with all necessary information.
Did you know that most people register the day of a webinar? One industry study found that 69% of webinar registrations happened the week of the webinar, with 33%of those registrations happening the day of the webinar!
30 minutes before:
Everyone involved in the webinar should be called in. This includes speakers and anyone on the tech team.
Well there you go, this your webinar setup checklist. With so many steps and details involved with hosting a webinar we recommend you check out our other articles that go more into depth for each step of the way.
If you need more personalised help or are interested in hosting your webinar we’d love to chat to you! Here at Tame, we offer free demos tailored to your webinar needs and personalised support so you won’t have to dive into this alone. Reach out to us and we’ll help you every step of the way.
- Webinar Care: “39 Webinar Statistics 2022 – Effectiveness, Attendance and All”
- Tame: “Webinar best practices | When, Where and Who”
- ON24: “ON24 Webinar Benchmarks Report 2020”
- Tame: “Top tips for webinar speakers | How to host engaging webinars”
- Forbes: “10 Marketing, Web Design & Branding Statistics To Help You Prioritize Business Growth Initiatives”
- Tame: “The importance of webinars in your brand awareness toolkit”
- Tame: “How to promote your webinar | Top tips to market webinars”
- GoTo: “12 Secrets of Successful Webinar Promotion - GoToWebinar”