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Designing a webinar for maximum engagement

Over the past decade, the webinar has emerged as a powerful digital marketing tool that engages targeted audience segments, produces measurable results, and lends itself to additional marketing uses.

This first article in our three-part Webinar Success Essentials series cover best practices that are being used to produce levels of engagement and impact — in order to generate substantial qualified leads and opportunities for conversion. Key considerations when planning and creating your next webinar include:

Establish clear goals and success metrics upfront.

Think about specific actions you want attendees to take, along with the metrics you want to achieve. You could be looking to build your overall database for ongoing communications — generate inquiries for a new product — or teach customers about additional uses for established products. This is key both to composing your overall webinar content and the specific call-to-action (CTA) elements to include.

Choose your presenter(s) carefully.

Selection of the right presenter(s) for your webinar depends on a number of factors. A product manager may be the best choice for a product-specific webinar. Your sales manager may be best for a capabilities oriented discussion. A “where the industry is going” presentation may behoove you to look outside the company for a known thought leader — which can also help to boost attendance.

Educate, don’t pontificate.

The last thing you want to do is turn your webinar into an all-out sales pitch. Make sure your webinar is providing solid educational value for the people who are devoting their valuable time to attend.

Make slides as active and visual as possible.

To keep attendees engaged, build in as much motion as you can. A given slide shouldn’t remain on screen more than 40 to 45 seconds. Split slides with more than 5 points into an additive sequence. Use graphics, animation or video clips to highlight key points where appropriate. However, be aware that slow-rendering animation/video clips can be distracting for attendees and also derail your momentum.

Think color commentator vs. play-by-play.

While keeping verbiage on slides as minimal as possible, avoid having the speaker do a read-along through the text. The idea is for the speaker/audio to bring the text content to life in a conversational way. This means going into the material with just enough substance, while avoiding over-explanations that interrupt flow and eat up valuable time.

Use interactive elements throughout.

Various human-touch techniques can be used to keep your webinar from feeling like a canned presentation. An early-phase survey or poll can help involve the audience from the get-go, while gauging its current overall knowledge level. Onscreen annotations by the presenter(s) can heighten the feeling of having a live connection.

Q&A sessions are also valuable tools. The key here is to answer questions well in a succinct way. This helps the presenter(s) to get to as many questions as possible within the alloted time. Also consider having a dedicated faciltator or moderator in the mix, to enable the presenter(s) to focus solely on communication and connection.

Neptune Web is a full-service Boston-area interactive web and digital marketing agency with expertise in Website Design, Web Development, Digital Marketing Strategy and Execution.

We look forward to your comments and would be most happy to address and help solve any Digital Marketing or Website Design & Development challenges you may have.

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