Webinars that Wow Part 2: 8 Tactics to Engage Your Audience
In my last post, I covered the strategy for planning your webinar content and logistics. The five strategies include:
- Plan relevant content
- Shorter is better
- Bring in the Pros
- Leverage multi-channel promotion
- Have a back-up plan
Now it’s time to get to work and develop your tactics to deliver your content and engage your audience throughout your event.
1. Deploy Your Communications Plan
With your planned email invites and social media posts, test all your communications and proof your copy so it is clear and concise.
Never underestimate the power of a personal invite for your event. If there are select people you want to attend, call them, and let them know why the webinar is going to be relevant for them. We are all experiencing information, and email overload. Personal invitations drive attendance. And your personal invite will make your customer feel special.
2. Practice Makes Perfect
Yes, it’s still true. Great events don’t just happen. The speakers practice. They test the technology, audio, lighting, and screen sharing. They know the content. Schedule and plan a dry run using all the tools for the live event. If there are three or more speakers, consider dry-run rehearsals to button up the transitions between speakers.
3. Your Voice is Your Tool
Even great content is unappealing if delivered in a monotone, boring way. Practice your delivery to vary your pitch, volume, and tone. Practice modulating your voice. Variety in delivery keeps the audience tuned in. Two voices are better than one. Whether you use a facilitator or co-presenter. Having two speakers makes a more lively and engaging presentation. Be your authentic self. Don’t try to imitate how someone else speaks or presents. If you use humor, you as the speaker need to be the butt of the joke.
4. Smile for the Camera
Many of us have adjusted to being more comfortable in video meetings. In the last year I have coached many presenters for their first webinars. Smile and learn to love your webcam. Look at your camera, not the video feed. Place a small, printed picture of the face of someone you love next to your camera to remind yourself to look at the camera. If you use multiple monitors, position your camera so you can focus on it and not the other monitors while presenting. Use a light that shines on your face.
5. Can You Hear Me Now?
Sound is the most important element to engaging the audience. If the sound is not crisp and clear you’ll lose the audience, quickly. If your built-in microphone does not sound great invest in a wired microphone.
6. Pictures Say More than Words
Great slides support your message providing visual reference and memory hooks for the audience. Good design practices use more images, less text. Have only one or two ideas on any slide. Readable fonts on small screens are 20-point size or larger. Great design effectively uses color and graphics to engage.
7. Engage Your Audience
How to deliver the Wow? Start on time. Not two or three minutes late. Be punctual and respect your audience with a prompt start.
Engage the audience with polls, chat, and questions at the start and throughout.
Having a facilitator to support technology and audience participation makes audience engagement much easier for the presenter.
For the question-and-answer segment, prepare three questions to ask in case the audience is initially quiet. Without questions, it seems like your content was not of interest or informative. The facilitator or a colleague can ask the questions. As the presenter jump in and pose a question from the ones you have prepared. Typically, the audience will engage after the first question is asked.
8. Follow-Up with Relevant Information
After the event, send one message to those that attended including the recording replay link and additional links to relevant content. Use the registration data to send a slightly different message to those who registered but were unable to attend. And consider sending the recording link and other relevant content to some contacts who did not register for your webinar but fit your profile for highly desirable contacts. Those who could benefit from the content. Send them a personalized email with the link and additional resources.
Great online events take thoughtful planning to execute and deliver. Great webinars inform, persuade and educate participants. Wow your audience to take action. Consider how you can host impactful webinars to support your sales, marketing and customer communications. Would you like further ideas to run a successful webinar or online event? Please email me to arrange a phone call.
Input for this piece was provided by Mark M. Fallon, president and CEO, The Berkshire Company:
Mark M. Fallon is president and CEO of The Berkshire Company, a consulting firm specializing in mail and document processing strategies. The company develops customized solutions integrating proven management concepts with emerging technologies to achieve total process management. He offers a vision of the document that integrates technology, data quality, process integrity, and electronic delivery. His successes are based upon using leadership to implement innovative solutions in the document process. You can contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lois Ritarossi, CMC®, is the President of High Rock Strategies, a consulting firm focused on sales and marketing strategies, and business growth for firms in the print, mail and communication sectors. Lois brings her clients a cross functional skill set and strategic thinking with disciplines in business strategy, sales process, sales training, marketing, software implementation, inkjet transformation and workflow optimization. Lois has enabled clients to successfully launch new products and services with integrated sales and marketing strategies, and enabled sales teams to effectively win new business. You can reach Lois at highrockstrategies.com.