You have likely attended countless virtual events since March 2020 thanks to the pandemic. Webinars have long been a common virtual tactic for pharma and med device companies to reach customers, and since COVID-19 there has been a significant shift in trends. Their importance has been elevated given the reduced ability to hold in-person activities. As you have participated in many webinars, you know some are a total bore and some, maybe surprisingly, captivate you. So what can you do to ensure the next webinar you facilitate or organize wows your viewers? Check out the key steps below. Let's start with the basics.
In short, webinars, or web-based seminars, serve as highly interactive video presentations, educational workshops, team meetings, or product demos hosted live online to an audience. A webinar is your opportunity to showcase your expertise and demonstrate thought leadership. So what’s the best format for your webinar? Webinars take shape in a variety of ways, but we recommend the following content formats:
- Live video: One of the most versatile and effective formats of webinars, live video will help build rapport with your audience. Live video best facilitates interview-style presentations and panelist discussions by providing a dynamic and interactive format.
- Slideshow: If your objective is to educate your audience, this webinar format should focus on valuable visuals on each slide.
- Pre-recorded webinar: In the case that you’ll need to produce the same webinar multiple times, a pre-recorded presentation will save you time and effort. Even better, pre-recorded webinars can be repurposed as a digital product offering for your customers.
How to Create a Captivating Webinar
To help you create a webinar your reps and customers will love, we’ve put together this five-step plan for you.
- Plan the webinar
First and foremost, focus on the primary objective you want to achieve. Keep the webinar aligned with your audience. What problem are they faced with that you can solve for them? What value are you providing? Make the webinar worth your audience’s time. Provide a call to action directing your audience to do what you want them to (i.e. download a free resource or subscribe to your mailing list) once the webinar is over.
- Produce the content
Create a script or storyboard and prepare the visuals for your webinar. Keep in mind that a webinar isn’t just a presentation; it’s a performance. Refrain from using text-based slides and convey the message visually. Develop captivating visuals that wow your audience—whether they’re images, videos, or infographics. Think through transitions with the other speakers, if any, and prepare to break up the monotony of the presentation with Q&A opportunities. According to an ON24 benchmark report, a Q&A tool is one of the most utilized tools for audience engagement among, “81% of all analyzed webinars”. Moreover, hook your audience from start to finish.
- Prep the environment
Now that you’ve established the foundation of your webinar—let’s get technical. Setting up a webinar consists of two primary components: visual and audio. Visually, the best-case scenario is to set up a full-screen presentation with a picture-in-picture layout showing the presenter(s) live on the screen. With this style of presentation, your surroundings should be professional, well-lit, and distraction-free.
Regarding audio, use a high-quality microphone since laptops generally don’t have the best built-in mics. Test your audio setup ahead of time and practice presenting. Bonus tip: Don’t go it alone. Find someone who can be a technical assistant should issues arise.
- Market it
Your webinar is nearly ready to present, but you need an audience! How can you create buzz around your webinar? Start promoting your webinar approximately four to six weeks ahead of time.
69% of marketers say they plan their webinars at least three months in advance.
Create a landing page to introduce the webinar topic and presenter(s), highlight the date and time—Wednesday and Thursday being the strongest days to hold your webinar and 11 AM PT being the best time to avoid scheduling conflicts—and provide a registration form.
Think through the following questions as you populate the registration form:
What fields will be required for signup?
Will you charge for registration? How proprietary is the webinar that someone would pay to attend?
Will you see a drop off in attendance if you charge for registration?
The big picture here is to aim to inform and remind your audience about the webinar. Email invitations, social media and blog posts, or ads are effective ways to reach your audience and drive them to the landing page on your website. You’re now ready to run your webinar.
- Follow up
Congrats, you’ve completed your webinar, but now what? Gather with your team to debrief and analyze the results. How many leads did you collect? Did attendees stick around for the entirety of the webinar? Keep a record of the successes and failures of your webinar from pre to post-production as this will inform your next webinar.
Follow up with attendees about 24-48 hours after the webinar. Send them a thank you email accompanied by a call to action. Request them to fill out an exit survey providing feedback and satisfaction ratings. Lastly, enroll registrants in a nurture stream by offering additional resources (e.g. a recording of the webinar or the slide deck) or encourage them to take the next step with your company.
Connection is key
With these tips in your toolbelt, we hope you will utilize them to create your next webinar. Remember that connection is key. Engage and entertain your audience as you would at an in-person event, but from the safety of your home and with a low overhead cost. Follow this five-step plan and you’ll be well on your way to creating a webinar that goes beyond the status quo.
Need Help With Your Next Webinar?
Grey Matter Marketing is a full-service, award-winning PR and marketing agency working exclusively with healthcare companies. With a knack for storytelling and content marketing that engages and drives action, we can help map out your next virtual presentation to increase market adoption and solidify your company as a thought-leader. Because what you do (or don’t do) matters. For more information, contact us.