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7 Tips for Running a Successful Webinar



In today’s accounting profession, it’s not enough to simply tell potential clients your firm is the best and your people have the expertise to solve their problems. Clients want to be convinced. One way to convince them is by sharing your expertise in webinars.


In the past few years, webinars have become a proven marketing tool for communicating with existing and prospective clients, whether in real-time or on-demand. They make it easy to build trust, position your services in clients’ minds, and drive leads into your sales pipeline.


Creating, running and hosting a webinar can be stressful, but there are several things you can do to set yourself up for success.


1. Find the right platform


There are several webinar software platforms out there, including GoToWebinar, Demio and WebEx. At Boomer Consulting, Inc., we prefer Zoom for its breadth of features, user-friendliness and customization options. Plus, since so many people have been forced to get used to Zoom meetings in the past year, there isn’t a steep learning curve for attendees.


Zoom also offers various reporting capabilities after each webinar, which allows us to track registration and attendance, poll results, overall performance and more. This gives us vital information we can use to continuously improve the experience for our attendees.

Whichever platform you use, look for one that:

  • Allows you to easily build a customized registration page

  • Provides good analytics

  • Allows you to record and store live webinars to make them available on-demand

  • Includes options for managing large audiences, such as muting attendees, requiring attendees to ask for permission if they want to ask a question, chat and comment during the event

2. Determine the right time


Who is your target audience? What time of year, day of the week and time of day works for them? If you’re located on the East Coast but want to attract attendees from across the country, hosting a webinar at 8 a.m. EST will naturally exclude most people on the West Coast. Likewise, a webinar held at 5 p.m. Pacific excludes people on the East Coast. We’ve found 2 to 3 p.m. EST to work well across the country.


Try to avoid holiday weeks and dates when people tend to be on vacation, such as the Friday before a three-day weekend or around Spring Break. Hosting a live webinar around these dates tends to result in lower turnout.


3. Choose your topic carefully


When selecting a topic, try to find one that attracts a wide audience, delivers value and drives action. If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, think about questions clients ask most often or things you find yourself explaining to clients over and over again. Look at your blog’s analytics or social media insights to see which posts received the most views, shares and comments and consider expanding on the topic for a more in-depth webinar.

Be sure to craft a title that grabs your audience’s attention and a short description that lets people know what they can expect to learn.


To make your presentation more engaging, try hosting a panel discussion or demonstration rather than simply having a single presenter talk for an hour straight. Including visuals and video can also help keep your audience alert and interested.


4. Find the right people


Hosting a webinar on your own is tough. That’s why we put together a team in addition to the speaker or speakers. The team should include:

  • A host to do introductions and conclusions

  • A moderator to run polling questions, watch the chat and assist with any technical issues that arise

Rehearse in advance so everyone is on the same page.


Having a conversation between the speaker(s) and host or a panel discussion is best. Listening to one person read from a script tends to result in a disengaged audience.


5. Use the right technology


The equipment you use makes or breaks your webinar. Instead of relying on the microphone built into your laptop or desktop computer, use a good-quality microphone to ensure the audience can clearly hear your presentation and it sounds professional.


Ensure everyone involved has a reliable and fast internet connection, and test all of your equipment well in advance of the webinar. This will boost the quality of your webinar and ensure your attendees have a great experience.


6. Market your webinar


Don’t just throw a registration page on your website and hope for the best – do what you can to drive those registration numbers up!


Share blog and social media posts related to the webinar topic and include a call to action to sign up for the webinar. Invite everyone on your email list. Share links and social media post ideas with your employees so they can help spread the word.


If you’re hosting the webinar with another organization, coordinate your cross-promotion efforts to reach a wide audience.


7. Follow up


After the webinar, follow up with participants to encourage them to take the next step with your firm. You might send an email thanking them for joining and sharing a recording of the presentation or other resources. Include a survey to collect feedback for continuous improvement. If you didn’t have time to answer all questions posed during the webinar, follow up after the fact.


If any of those follow-ups result in a qualified lead, you can hand them over to your sales team to get them into your funnel.


Hosting a webinar can be a lot of work, but with these tips, your webinar will stand out from the crowd and generate new business for your firm. If your first webinar doesn’t go as smoothly as you’d hoped, learn from the experience and try again. You’ll get better with each one going forward!


 

As a Project Manager for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Liesl Walser is putting her passion for planning and organizing to work by planning and overseeing events at the Accounting Innovation Center and supporting, planning and executing projects.

Before joining Boomer Consulting, Inc., Liesl worked in the accounting department of an insurance company and spent five years working across multiple roles at a country club. No matter the position, she enjoys being able to work with people and have a positive impact on their day.

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