Having worked for a professional hospital CIO association for over six years, I’ve moderated and attended my fair share of health IT vendor webinars. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. Webinars should not be taken lightly, and should ultimately provide educational insight to attendees and your business. Webinars can help establish you as an industry expert, attract new customers, and add value to your brand.
Here are seven tips to help boost your next webinar and key mistakes to avoid.
- Don’t be a Car Salesman
Nothing will kill a presentation faster than an overly aggressive, unsolicited sales pitch. Leave that to your sales team. If you want to be truly compelling and solidify your company as a problem solver, focus on the key issues that impact your audience and share best practices for overcoming them. Rather than sell every bell and whistle of your product, draw upon examples of how your business is allowing existing clients to reach their goals. Focus on lessons learned.
- Don’t Pull a Bait and Switch
Your webinar title and abstract say you are going to discuss how to build and maintain an effective population health strategy, yet you spend 60 minutes doing a product demo.
- Be Polished and Prepared.
The best presenters are experts in their field, have a strong voice, and are experienced. It’s always good to have a presentation outline in hand with concise bullet points for each slide. Don’t write a script out word for word. Not only will you sound like you’re reading it, you’ll end up relying on it – and if you lose your place, you’ll become flustered. Plus, it’s a distraction from the computer screen should any technical issues arise (i.e. you are on the wrong slide, a question is asked).
- Don’t Save Questions for the End
Don’t save the Q&A until the end of your presentation. Strike while the iron is hot and take periodic breaks throughout the webcast for questions. This makes the presentation more interactive and gives you a breather from being just a talking head. Also, not every attendee can stay the full duration and will appreciate the opportunity. Additionally, it helps if you have a team member dedicated to monitoring questions or comments that come in from the audience. This is an effective tactic to ensure questions are addressed – or even skipped over. Nothing worse than reading a question a loud and it’s one you can’t answer or completely irrelevant/inappropriate.
- Survey Your Audience
Nearly ever webinar platform has a poll feature. Take advantage of your audience as your own personal focus group. They have already proven interest by registering and showing up, so leverage their time and insight to help your business. Plus it makes the webinar that much more engaging if the audience feels involved, and they will be interested in the feedback of their peers. Just be sure to give attendees sufficient time to weigh-in. Strong questions ought to lead into the next presentation topic and help dictate the amount of time you should spend on that issue.
- Don’t Bedazzle Your Slide Deck
Slides should be visually appealing but keep the animations at bay. They rarely ever work on cue, and slow your presentation way down. Also, don’t use hyperlinks in your slide deck. Any sites you’d like the audience to visit should be posted in the chat window. Keep your slide deck font simple. Avoid elaborate fonts that almost never translate to webinar platforms. Arial is an easy to read, universal font. Try to stick with one color palette and select data and images that reflect your key points.
- You Nailed It, Now Continue the Engagement
When the webinar has ended, continue the engagement by sending attendees a pdf of the slide deck and an archive link to the recording. Be sure to include the speakers’ contact information and request attendee feedback via a brief survey. Entice your participants with a special offer or prize drawing.
With the above in mind, here are a few other tips to ensure your next webinar is a winner:
- Be cognizant of time zones and holidays when selecting a date and time for your webinar.
- Send an attendee reminder the day of and the day before.
- Log in early. Show up at least 15-20 minutes to ensure the audio and technology is working, Test advancing your slides as well.
- Begin on time. If your registration number is high but the attendee number is low, allow one minute after the hour to begin. It’s unfair to hold up the rest of your attendees.
- Include photos of any and all speakers. It makes the presentation more personalized and allows participants to put a face with the voice coming over their speakers.
- Turn off all devices (and dogs).