Without question, one of the biggest barriers to webinar success is simply not having an iron-clad webinar project plan in place. Too many companies and marketers think that they can simply ‘wing it’ and people will automatically register/attend. Nothing could be further from the truth. At Elastic Solutions, we believe the ideal webinar project plan is a six-week process that covers everything from topic/abstract creation to event archive. Here is a sample six-week plan for a live webinar (this will vary slightly if you’re executing a simu-live webinar):
Six Weeks Out:
- Topic and Abstract brainstorming and selection
- Choose compelling speakers that will generate interest and give an engaging live-day presentation
- Plan out your promotional roadmap (email x 3 or 4, website, social, partners, etc.) and on-demand plan. Don’t forget that promoting the on-demand version can be just as important as promoting the live event
Five Weeks Out:
- Finalize topic, abstract, speakers and live date
- Build your registration page and have it ready to go LIVE!
Four Weeks Out:
- Now that the webinar is live it’s time to begin promotion on your website, through a dedicated email blast to your audience, and through various social media channels. If you have partners and/or 3rd parties that you’re leveraging, begin promotions through them as well
- Schedule a dry run 2 weeks before the live webinar
Three Weeks Out:
- Make sure that your sales team gets your webinar in front of key prospects and customers. While webinars are the ultimate lead generation tool, they’re also a great asset to accelerate opportunities through the pipeline and can be used to upsell existing customers. Webinars are no longer JUST for lead generation!
- Double check with your presenters to make sure that the live date still works for them and that no conflicts have popped up on their calendars. Things happen and you need to be 100% sure your presenters are going to be available
Two Weeks Out:
- 1st Dry Run. First, make sure that your presenters are comfortable with the technology and are confident with everything they need to do to deliver a top-notch live webinar. Second, go through the presentation itself and make sure that presenters know their roles, who’s going when and who’s saying what, etc. An initial slide deck should be loaded into the platform for this dry run. Finally, start talking about what’s going to happen the day of the webinar – when do they need to login, what devices should they be using to deliver an optimal webinar experience for attendees, what happens if they’re having technical difficulties (worst-case scenarios…always need to plan for them), etc.
- Send your second dedicated email blast to your list. Continue with the other promotional strategies, of course
One Week Out:
- If necessary, execute an additional dry run with your presenters. For presenters that don’t have a lot of webinar experience and/or you don’t feel like they’re comfortable enough with the technology and everything they need to do the day of the live event, a second dry run is a great idea. For presenters that are webinar pros, it’s not necessary
- First reminder email is sent to all current webinar registrants
- Third promotional email blast is sent to your audience to generate more webinar traffic
- Make sure the final slide deck is loaded into the platform and that your presenters know exactly how the deck is going to be presented
Day Before/Morning of Live Webinar:
- If you are looking to get an extra registration boost, a final promotion the day before or the morning of the webinar has been proven to drive good ‘11th hour’ results
- Send 2nd reminder email to all current webinar registrants the morning of the live webinar
- Presenters need to login 30-40 minutes before the start of the webcast to run performance checks and test audio/sound quality (no cell phones and no speaker phones!). Make sure your speakers are in a quiet environment where there won’t be any distractions
- Ensure that your team is ready to support your presenters and your attendees in case there are technical difficulties that need to be troubleshooted immediately. Again, always be prepared for the worst-case scenarios
1-2 Days After Live Date:
- Get your webcast archived on-demand and posted on your site within 24 hours of the live date
- Send a post-event email to all attendees and folks that registered/didn’t attend, providing them with access to the on-demand webinar
- Begin the process of promoting the on-demand webinar to the rest of your audience that never registered for the live event. Remember, don’t think that the live event is all that matters. On-demand webinars have incredible long-tail lead generation impact when promoted the right way!
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Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @ email@example.com