Simple Tricks to get your Webinar Audience hanging on to your every Word

Written by , 02 January 2013  |  Tagged under Webinar Content Marketing Content Development Webcast

I can tell. Every time you host a webinar there’s this nagging feeling of doubt.

Your mind probes after the echo of each fading word, into the menacing silence of the muted audience.

You can’t help but wonder: Is this going well? Do they like the content?

Or have they already switched off? Drifted over to checking emails, news headlines, the weather?

Get a grip! Take control of attendee engagement!

Engaging Webinars

Don’t wallow in self-pity just yet.

Yes, webinars are scary and you’ll never know for sure how well one is going down. But: You have plenty of tools and tricks available to garner a great reception.

Here’s what I learned from over 200 webinars my team hosted over the past three years.

Prepare your webinars and your speaker

Be prepared like a boy scout!

An endless number of things can go wrong. If they do, your hard-earned audience will instantly evaporate. Being prepared is how you prevent that from happening:

  • Check your equipment. Make sure the webinar software works on the speaker’s computer. The same goes for his headset/phone, webcam and Internet connection.
  • Verify that your speaker, moderator and any other staff attending have the join and dial-in details handy.
  • Do a dry run of the complete webinar (including slides) a week before the webinar.
  • Have a co-moderator on the webinar who can man the chat, bridge interruptions and help out folks with technical difficulties.

Plan for interaction with the audience

The #1 way to get your audience to engage is to ask them something.

  • Check your presentation for opportunities to include polls.
  • Ask open questions and let listeners respond via chat.
  • ALWAYS include a Q&A at the end. The Q&A is often the most interesting part of the webinar.

Questions further immerse active listeners and pull those back that have disengaged.

More webinar engagement tricks

Many tricks that work in live speeches achieve the same in a webinar:

  • Pause for effect. The sudden silence startles your listeners and pulls them back in.
  • Say a particular sentence louder for emphasis or whisper.
  • If on video, do something unexpected, like putting your face directly in front of the camera.

Put a carrot at the end

Incentivize your webinar audience to stay on until the end.

Have a prize ready and draw a winner.

This works especially well when your speaker is a published author. Simply hand out a free copy of his latest book.

Measure, analyze, improve

Create a simple standardized exit survey that you run for every webinar you host. It can be as simple as asking one question:

"How would you rate this webinar? (Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor)"

Comparing different webinars you’ll quickly learn which speakers captivate the audience. Replace poor speakers or, if internal, schedule trainings for them.

Two other important metrics to monitor:

  1. # of registrants
    Helps you gauge how successful a topic is in bringing in new names.
  2. # of attendees / % of attendees compared to registrants
    Serves as an indicator for list fatigue.

A regular report on these metrics will promptly tell you how well your content and speakers are received.

You’re all set

Good. You’re all set. Time to get these changes implemented so you can stop worrying.

Implement the exit survey and the reporting first. They are your starting point.

Next put more time into prepping for each webinar and scrutinize each one for opportunities to interact with your audience.

Do this and your next webinar will see a far more engaged audience. Continue to improve and you’ll soon have your attendees hooked to your webinar program.

About the Author

I’m a B2B marketer with a bit of a crush on digital marketing and an intense interest in content creation. I own and run this blog and the whitepaper download portal attached to it.

If you like this post I'd be happy if you'd share it on your favorite social network. Also come seek me out on Google+, LinkedIn or Twitter (@WhitepaperDepot) if you like.

PS: I also head up the Demand Generation team of Citrix’ Online Services Division in Europe, but this blog is based on my own personal experience and doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of the company.

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Welcome. Glad you're here!

I'm a B2B marketer with a bit of a crush on digital channels.

On this blog I talk about how Marketers can use actionable B2B content to drive more leads and revenue.

I hope you'll enjoy reading. If you do, please get in touch. I'd be happy to hear from you.


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