Organizing a webinar: the complete guide

Photo Written by Sanne Jorna

Many entrepreneurs swear by the webinar. If you want to learn more about this powerful marketing tool, then this article is for you. Specifically, we're going to talk about the webinar as a lead magnet. You'll find a practical roadmap for your own webinar in this blog post. We'll also pass along the webinar do's and don'ts.

What is a webinar anyway?

At its simplest, a webinar is an online lecture/training that a large number of participants can attend virtually. With this, you go into more depth on a particular topic, allowing some degree of interaction, such as by having a Q&A session via chat afterwards.

A webinar gives you the opportunity to present yourself to your target audience, to transfer your knowledge supported by PowerPoint slides, or to share your screen to show how you work with a particular program.

Which webinar software is best?

There is no one-size-fits-all webinar software. Each package has different features and depending on your needs and requirements, one program may be more interesting than another. In general, webinar packages are so-called SaaS solutions (online software that does not require a software download).

To find out which webinar software is best for you, you can try out several. One of the best-known packages is GoToWebinar, which has a 7-day free trial. Zoom is a webinar provider with inexpensive subscription plans, including a free version where webinars can last no longer than 40 minutes.

Tip: in addition to the functionalities, test the connection speed of the servers. In other words, does your webinar run smoothly for you and the participants?

The benefits of a webinar

Thanks to faster Internet connections, video calling has become very common. And that has also paved the way for webinars. In a short time, webinars have won a firm place in the marketing landscape. For companies and institutions that got over their fear of planks, the webinar has become a regular feature. This makes sense when you look at the many benefits of webinars.

  • Budget-friendly
    Where a traditional meeting will cost you money in venue rental and catering, a webinar eliminates these and other costs. Many webinar programs allow you, as a trial and/or up to a certain number of participants, to host a webinar completely free of charge.
  • Time-saving
    Not having to organize a physical event also saves you a lot of time. In addition, this fits perfectly within the COVID measures. You can just hold the webinar from home.
  • Comfortable for participants
    Comfortable with the laptop on the couch; that's one of the many ways viewers can tune in to your webinar. It is also nice that webinar software offers the possibility of making a recording and sending it to the participants. Ideal for someone who was unable to attend or wants to watch the webinar again.
    Tip: upload your webinars on YouTube and in this way work on your online findability in the second largest search engine in the world (YouTube).
  • Better insight into your target group
    With a webinar you reach and involve your target group. You notice which questions they have and which doubts they have. For many, the threshold to get in touch with you is lower during a webinar than during a live presentation, where there are many passive listeners.
  • You create a personal connection with your target audience
    The viewers hear your voice and see your face (if you choose to). They see how you respond to certain questions and to what extent you are an expert on the topic. This means that some will like you more, but there may also be people who drop out.
  • High conversion rate
    Although in this article we are mainly talking about a webinar as a lead generation tool, such an online presentation can also boost sales. Where an email offer can count on a 1-5% conversion rate, it is not unusual for a webinar to turn 10-15% of viewers into customers or ambassadors.

Step 1: determine the topic of your webinar

It starts, like everything else, with an idea. And if all goes well, that idea consists of a problem your target audience knows and the solution you can provide. If you are enamored with the unique benefits of a webinar but don't yet know exactly what your webinar should be about, it may help to ask your target audience what their biggest challenge is.

A survey always works well for this; you could send it to the people on your email list. Another idea is to put a pop-up on your website asking for comments on a certain topic or to start a poll on social media.

Step 2: come up with a catchy title

Just as a book cover is largely responsible for sales and a good YouTube thumbnail positively influences clicks, the title can make or break the success of your webinar. Therefore, think carefully about this.

A proven method is to think about what promise you want to make to your participants. What do they know or can do after watching your webinar that they didn't know or couldn't do before? Using a word like "how" or "what" or "which" in the title will pique their curiosity. Examples:

  • How to stay fit and limber in 7 minutes a day
  • What millionaires do every morning to increase their wealth
  • What 5 secrets I learned in 20 years as an internet marketer

Step 3: structure your webinar

Now that you know what the learning objective of the webinar is, you can start structuring this presentation. To do this, feel free to create a paper cheat sheet to have with your computer during the webinar. Typically, presenters structure their webinars as follows. Remember that each step below is supported by visual material, for example, slides with lots of images and bullet points.

  1. Catchy intro with promise
    Ask if everyone can hear you clearly. If it is manageable in terms of numbers, call your participants by their first names and welcome them. Feel free to press the pain points that your target audience often has and then repeat the promise of your webinar. Point out that your viewers should especially stay engaged. Optionally, you can create some intrigue by saying that there will be a surprise at the end of the webinar. (What that surprise will be, we'll leave up to you).
  2. Who is the webinar for?
    A good trick to make sure people stick around is to confirm that they are in the right place. Tell who the webinar is for and who it is definitely not for.
  3. Agenda Discussion
    Tell participants exactly what to expect and how long you will spend with each section, approximately. Tell them they will have an opportunity to ask questions after your presentation.
  4. Introducing Yourself
    Tell us briefly about yourself: who are you, how old are you, how did you get into this field of work, and what do you like to do in your spare time? That last part may seem a bit strange in a work-related presentation, but it's not. By telling something about your private person, you can create a click with people who so far have had a wait-and-see attitude.
  5. Presentation
    Give people exactly the content you promised them. Tell what problems they may encounter and what solutions you offer for them. To prevent people from dropping out, the presentation portion of a webinar should not last longer than half an hour.
  6. Question Round
    One of the benefits of a webinar is that it is interactive. Make sure to use this opportunity by having people ask questions and answer them as fully as possible. During the question round you can emphasize your expertise and thus make an indelible impression.

Step 4: send the recording to your viewers

Did someone sign up who couldn't attend the webinar live after all? Nice that you now have his or her email address, but just fulfill your promise by giving those signed up access to the recording. Use your newsletter software to put these people on a list and email them the link to the replay in one motion. As a result of their subsequent actions (clicks on certain links), you can choose to put them on a list of qualified leads.

Also, people who did come to watch will appreciate it if you send them this link. Not everyone takes notes or has an iron memory. So don't let this opportunity for an extra contact moment slip away.

Using a webinar to sell

A webinar that serves as a lead magnet is meant for people who are not yet in the buying phase. No matter how good that webinar is and how interested your target audience seems to be, it is not the place to make a commercial offer. That will happen at a later stage, possibly in another webinar or in another form.

If you indeed choose to convert qualified leads to customers through a webinar, you can keep the structure above with two additional steps before the Q&A session: your offer and case studies or success stories of customers who preceded your viewers.

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Webinar do's and don'ts

  • Pick the Right Day
    Whether you give your webinar during working hours or not, the weekend is a bad time because of the plans your viewers make. Monday is often a catch-up day and many people are already halfway into weekend mode on Friday. That leaves the best days for hosting a webinar: Tuesday through Thursday.
  • Make many slides
    People often make the mistake of sticking to one slide for too long. That bores and invites viewers to click away. Rather, create many slides that you fly through, so to speak.
  • Do not read your slides aloud
    You should not read your slides word for word. Rather, put keywords on them that make the participants curious. Then you clarify the text on the slides verbally.
  • Be on time
    The time of your (potential) customers is precious. Show that you respect that time by being present a few minutes before the start. Start the webinar at the exact minute it was scheduled.
  • Maximum length: one hour
    There is some debate about the ideal length of a webinar, but a good guideline is one hour. With that, you can spend 30-40 minutes on the actual presentation and the rest of the time on the Q&A session.

Also test other lead magnets

We all want to generate leads, but what is the best way in your niche and for your specific target audience? Many entrepreneurs report good results from their webinars, but who knows, maybe another type of lead magnet will work better for you.

As specialists in converting websites, we believe in customization. Which lead magnet works best in your situation, you may discover in our blog post with 5 different types of lead magnets. Ideally, you should test different methods to maximize the flow of new leads. Of course, we can help you with that.

Sanne Jorna Content marketer
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