Online webinars have been steadily gaining popularity over the years. Why? Well for one, they are a quick, inexpensive way to promote your business and services. They’re also easier to plan than live events and they can reach a broader audience.

There are some common pitfalls to hosting a webinar, as we in the Isos marketing department have learned (somewhat painfully…) over the years. When our company first started hosting webinars, we felt lucky if 5 to 10 people would show up for the actual event. Now–through a steady process of learning, experimentation, and trial and error—we’re happy to report that we’ve hosted some of our most successful webinars ever in 2019, with attendees numbering in the hundreds. I’d like to share with you what we’ve learned along the way. Here are five quick tips for ensuring a successful and well-attended webinar:

1. Start promotion well in advance.

People are busy. That’s just a fact of life. To think that you can start your webinar promotional efforts a week or two in advance might not be the best tactic. At Isos, we try to let our customers know about our webinar six weeks before the event. Even if it’s just a quick announcement on social media or a “save the date” email, people will appreciate the advanced notice and are morelikely to get it on their calendars.

2. Host your webinar mid-week.

Another fact of life…people have a life outside of work, and they do take vacation days. Your customers are far more likely to take Mondays and Fridays off, as well as the days surrounding national holidays. For this reason, we’ve discovered that we get the best attendance at our webinars on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. We also try to avoid weeks with major holidays. Sounds like a no-brainer, but when you’re juggling multiple events and complex employee schedules, it can be harder than you think to find that sweet-spot day!

3. Give them a reason to attend.

When you’re promoting your webinar, you’ll want to make it clear what attendees will gain from listening in. Outline exactly what you’ll be talking about, and how your information will benefit them. It also doesn’t hurt to throw in a gift card as an incentive for the first 20 people who sign up! Other ideas to motivate people to attend…offer a giveaway for the first person who joins the call. Or you can host a raffle for a cool prize and pick a winner at the end of the webinar.

4. Practice…and then practice again.

Did your mom always tell you, “Practice makes perfect?” Because mine did. And guess, what…she was right! Your team will want to rehearse multiple times before the final event. You’ll sound more polished and prepared, and you’ll also gain some insight into sections of the presentation that might need to be condensed, expanded upon, or just eliminated altogether.
Also, make sure you’re familiar with the technology you’re using. We’ve had events where we’re sorting out technical difficulties with the hosting platform literally minutes before going live! Definitely run through some worst-case scenarios, because you can bet your money that one of them will arise while the clock is ticking down to the last few seconds before your webinar. It’s just Murphy’s Law!

5. Follow up!

Be sure to follow up with folks who registered and attended. They took the time out of their busy day to listen to your presentation, and you’ll want to express your gratitude. Send them a thank-you email, and make sure you’re available for any additional questions they might have on the webinar topic. You’ll also want to make a recording of your webinar available on your website, YouTube channel, and via social media. You never know…one of those channels might just be the gateway to an amazing sales opportunity!

And there you have it…my five tips for hosting a successful webinar. I hope you gained some helpful information. Best of luck with your upcoming webinars!