The nerves are building up. It is time for your first webinar.
You’ve built an audience and registered enough people that you are not just talking to an empty room (as long as it’s not empty, you’ve got enough people for the first one!). They are highly targeted for your niche.
Your presentation is ready. A killer Power Point that emphasizes the key points, not a novel.
Your product is sweet. It solves a problem, fills a need, for your target audience. You know they are going to want it!
All that’s left to do is log in, turn on the mic, and let it fly.
Here are 10 tips on preparing for your first webinar to make sure this event is truly spectacular!
1. Prepare your audience.
How long will the presentation be? What topics are you covering? Be specific. Will you be doing Q&A at the end? Many people are coming for one specific piece of information. They need to feel confident they’ll hear it from you if they’re going to stay til the end. Attendees need to know exactly what to expect from you!
GoToWebinar.com has a practice option, or you can just host a separate webinar (I found this to be easier). Call up a friend and ask them to log in for 5 minutes so that you can test your mic, webcam, presentation, and any other tools you will be using. Technical difficulties come with the territory, but you can minimize them by testing.
If you can get someone to test on an iPad too, you’ll know what works there as well. More and more people are viewing webinars with iPad apps.
3. Plan to open the webinar 15 minutes early.
Guests will be arriving and if the webinar has not been opened yet, they get nervous that they had the date or time wrong. Or that you’re a sketchy individual.
4. Have everything you need before you start.
It may seem perfectly polite to take a little intermission – but don’t! That’s when people will see the chance to jump off. Have water nearby (and coffee if you are like me). Go to the bathroom right before you start. If you have kids or animals, make sure they have something to keep them occupied for the duration. I keep a few pig’s ears around for my dog, just for webinars.
5. Separate Presentation and Pitch to provide value.
Everyone knows you’re not just giving away free information. That’s no way to make a living! But there needs to be a suspension of disbelief. That means for the bulk of your presentation, potential customers need to not feel like potential customers. They need to feel like they are sitting in front of a wise mentor, giving away his or her cornucopia of knowledge out of the kindness of your heart.
I like to make brief allusions to the product or products I have available, but never pitch them until the time is right. Your mindset, at least for the early part of your presentation, needs to be on providing value. Do that first, and the sale will be much easier.
You don’t want to be switching back and forth, tweeting out about open spaces or sending out your last-ditch email. Have those things ready to go.
I have used both Aweber and Mailchimp for emails. Send out an email to your list with a link to join. Schedule this about 10 minutes prior to the start of the webinar. It will have a big impact on your attendance! (this is in addition to the email to registered attendees that GoToWebinar will send out 1 hour prior)
For Twitter, I use Hootsuite to schedule tweets. I’ll schedule one for 15 minutes prior (when I plan on logging on), one for 5-10 minutes prior and one at the very start of the webinar. Include a link to log in to the presentation.
7. Relax. Have fun!
I love doing webinars. If you only present on topics that you are passionate about, you’ll have a great time too.
If you are not passionate on the topic, look for a guest to come on and present. Then you can twiddle your thumbs until it’s time to pitch.
Even though you are behind a microphone and no one can see your face, they can feel your confidence. They can also feel your enthusiasm. Those won’t come through if you’re worried about making money or losing potential customers.
Suspend your own disbelief. Relax, tell your friends about your passion. They will appreciate it, and the sell will be a breeze!