Webinars, or online seminars, are live interactive events anyone can attend regardless of geographical location. They are some of the best marketing tools for businesses looking to provide value for their audiences and establish themselves as industry leaders.
Today, anyone can host a webinar, but that doesn’t mean this endeavor doesn’t require thorough preparation to succeed. If you’re thinking about organizing an online webinar, here’s a detailed outline of the process.
How to Host an Online Webinar
Before you begin inviting attendees and organizing your materials, the most critical question to address is the platform you will use. With the right software, you’ll be able to streamline the process and make a professional impression on all your attendees.
Thanks to the rise of online events, there are many excellent webinar solutions to choose from today. Zoho Meeting is one of the leading options with outstanding security and numerous features to engage your audience, so we’ll use it as an example in this guide.
Zoho Meeting offers free webinar solutions for events lasting up to 60 minutes with a maximum of 100 attendees. The paid version allows for more viewers and includes valuable perks like cloud recording storage, too. With Zoho Meeting, you can customize your registration forms to maintain your branding, share screen or application to communicate your message effectively, interact with your audience through polls, Q&As, allow attendees to talk, raise hand and more.
Here’s what to expect when you host a webinar using Zoho Meeting.
Choose an Engaging Topic
A successful webinar starts with the right topic. Your choice should not be a stab in the dark. It would help if you backed up your decision with research to ensure your subject is relevant to your audience and your efforts will pay off.
Find out what industry-relevant problems your target audience is struggling with and offer a solution. The attendance will be high.
Select the Right Presenter
Unless you’re planning to host the event yourself, you’ll need to find the right person to do the talking. This person will represent your entire business at the event, so careful selection is paramount. The person should be well-versed in the field your webinar is to cover. At the same time, they must be a great public speaker who knows how to engage an audience and interact with them. You can invite webinar co-organizers either from your own organization or any external speakers (who doesn’t have a Zoho Meeting account).
In addition, inviting a guest speaker can add more interest to the event. It’s also a great way to boost attendance, as a well-known person will draw their own audience to your webinar. Co-organizers who manage the attendee engagement can also join the webinar from their mobile devices.
Sign Up for Zoho Meeting
When you’ve got some idea about what your event will cover, it’s time to set it up. Start by signing up for a Zoho Meeting account. You’ll get a 14-day free trial if this is your first time using their solution.
Schedule Your Webinar
Once you’re logged into your Zoho Meeting account, you can create your first event. Click “Schedule” to input the details of your webinar.
First, you’ll need to come up with an enticing title and description. These factors can make or break people’s interest in your event, so make it engaging. If you’ve invited a guest speaker, be sure to include their name in the title.
Next, you’ll have to pick a time and date for your event and determine its duration. This can be tricky, especially if your target audience comes from various time zones. Determine the best date and time to suit your potential attendees. Though your audience come from different time zones, they can view the webinar date & time in their local timezone while registering for the webinar.
Make sure your webinar doesn’t clash with other important events. At the same time, don’t rush the event. Leave yourself ample time to prepare.
Create Your Registration Form
Attendees can sign up for your webinar through a registration form. The next step is customizing this form to gather the information you need about participants. Some fields, like name and email address, will be included on Zoho Meeting by default, but you can easily edit and add more. Here’s how it works:
- Click “Manage Fields” to remove or edit fields.
- Make any field mandatory by pressing the “*” option next to it.
- Add predefined fields with the “+” button next to your desired field.
- Create custom fields by clicking “Add Custom Fields.”
You can also moderate registration. Zoho Meeting offers two approval modes:
- The automatic approval mode lets anyone join by filling out the registration form.
- Manual approval lets you decide whether each person can join or not.
Advanced settings also let you customize your preferences in detail. Some options include:
- Limiting the number of attendees
- Restricting signup by region
- Requiring registration to attend
Finally, add your branding to the registration form to keep your image consistent. Your logo will appear not only on the registration form but also in confirmation, reminder, and thank you emails.
Spread the Word
After setting up your event, it’s time to promote it. Post the event on different channels like your website or blog, email campaign social media, and more to start collecting attendees. You also have the option to embed the registration widget anywhere on the web. You can also track the registrations from different channels by using the Source tracking feature. Don’t forget to email reminders when the event approaches to boost attendance. You can set multiple automated email reminders.
Practice Your Presentation
Although Zoho Meeting’s interface is user-friendly, it’s a good idea to test its features in advance to ensure no technical obstacle will ruin your webinar. Practicing will also make you feel more confident using the platform. You can do a practice run and adjust the details of your presentation accordingly. Zoho Meeting also offers an option to have a practice session before the webinar without broadcasting it live to all the attendees. The presenter and the co-organizers can run a test before going live.
The Final Steps
When you want to reach wider audiences for your event without them attending the webinar, you can just live stream your event on YouTube. The Best part of engaging the audience once your event ends, is taking them to your website or custom page. You can do this by setting up the post attendee url before the webinar. Your work does not end when your webinar does. A few final steps will help you get the most out of your event.
Make sure you follow up with the attendees to gather valuable feedback that will allow you to host an even better event in the future. You should also thank them for their contribution and ask them whether they have further questions about the topic. You can set up automated followup emails which can be customized with advanced configurations like setting up duration to trigger email, rich html custom email, including the recording link and more.
You should also analyze the data using webinar analytics to determine what areas you need to improve on. Finally, review the recorded footage of your webinar and make it available for those who missed the live stream.
Host Your Webinar Confidently
Webinars are an incredibly effective way to establish yourself as a reliable professional to your audience. Whether you want to create new business relations or widen your brand’s reach, a live event where you can directly communicate with interested parties gives you the power to do so. Fortunately, state-of-the-art webinar solutions like Zoho Meeting make the process straightforward.
Have you hosted a seminar before? Do you have any useful tips for making the event a success? Let us know in the comments section below.