10 smart ways of hosting your first webinar


When you are planning a webinar, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by everything that you can do with it. A smart way of hosting a webinar not only helps to channelize your efforts in the right direction but also helps you achieve your objective at the end of it.

But first, let me reiterate what is a Webinar:
Webinars are online seminars which allow you to connect with a wider audience. Most of them provide valuable information and rest are just bla..bla.

Personally, I think they are intended to be lead generation or branding ‘magnets’. To make this magnet effect here is a ‘smart’ approach especially when it’s your first webinar.

1: Choosing the Right Message and Time
No, it’s not about the title yet. What is it that you would like to educate/share with your audience? Who is it most relevant for? How soon do you want this message to be delivered? Defining all this should help you move towards finalizing your webinar goal. It would also define who is the right person to conduct your webinar and secondly, which is the right audience? Eg. I would like to organize a webinar to remove misconceptions around Cloud Computing or IoT for SMBs. This message will help in defining your theme while promoting on social channels as well. Even the title would be written to address the message.

2: Choosing the Right Tool
There are a host of tools available online viz. GoToWebinar, Google Hangouts, Cisco WebEx, Adobe Connect, Mega Meeting, and many more. The flexibility and feature list on each one of them can easily confuse the hell out of you. Remember – it’s not about choosing the cheapest one or the best rated one. Understand its utility from the perspective of your business. Just because a tool is free does not mean it is secure or allows downloading the webinar or allows more than your intended set of audience. The tool you choose should allow these minimum features:

  1. Minimum audience of 100
  2. Webinar recording/downloading
  3. Email automation
  4. Mobile support
  5. Analytics
  6. Network security

3: Choosing the Title
What’s the first thing that would draw people’s attention? Ofcourse, the title of your webinar. It is not only the most crucial step but also kind of simple (pun intended!). Here’s are some options while writing your title:

  1. Do I want to raise curiosity or incite some action?
  2. Do I want to share benefits by solving some problem?
  3. Do I want to make it educational and give content based clues/guides/freebies etc.?

Your choice will define the audience interaction you will get.

4: Promoting the Webinar
You need at least 3 weeks to promote your webinar on social media channels and also the maximum relevant audience. ‘3 weeks’ is not an industry standard but a fact which many would agree. Choosing the right time of the webinar also defines if people would attend it or not. In Digital Marketing, there is no such thing as a stroke of luck. If you are aiming for success, a well-defined strategy is your only saviour. Rely on combination of email marketing techniques, amalgamation of social media, traditional marketing methods and some tried and tested business strategies as well. There is only one keyword though: ‘be organized’. A smart way would be to prepare a back tracking calendar from the date of the webinar. Schedule all your posts based on this calendar. Keep an eye out for replies and queries and answer them immediately. Make sure all registrants gets an email confirmation with the link and time of the webinar. A successful promotion is a best combination of high quality content, listening to your audience and being proactive. For a smarter recipe, make a note of all registrants and prepare a persona of the webinar. (We will talk about its use later in the blog)

5: Presentation, Sample Script and Testing
Being organized demands good preparation. A Microsoft PowerPoint presentation or Prezi is usually preferred in such cases. An ideal size of 15-20 slides is enough for a 1 hour webinar (2 min avg/slide). Include a pre-title slide with webinar related instructions/guidelines for the audience. Once your presentation is ready prepare a sample script for rehearsal. Sample scripts and mock/test webinar sessions go a long way in making the presenter comfortable and builds up confidence. The presenter also becomes aware of the tool features. It also helps to understand how much time each slide would take. Make sure you test all the features in the tool such as – How to mute the audience, how to take/answer questions, how to add another screen, how to redirect questions, how to check whether the webinar is being recorded or not, etc.

6: Landing pages
One of the most important element in a webinar campaign is a landing page. A webinar specific landing page allows registrations and gives a brief of the webinar. It can also introduce the host/presenter and provide freebies for registrants. Importantly, it helps in analytics of the webinar campaign and branding. The video of the webinar can also be showcased on this page once the webinar is over for further promotions. (Marketing tip – Make sure to collect information of the viewer before allowing him to view the video)

7: Webinar Ethics
You are all set now and about to start your first webinar. Here are some webinar ethics to help you through besides the webinar presentation.

  • Always log in to the webinar before the audience arrives
  • Log off from your email or other communication channels to avoid pop ups during the webinar
  • Change the message on the landing page to ‘webinar active’
  • Welcome everyone and introduce yourself
  • Give instructions about the webinar
  • Introduce the presenter and allow him to take over
  • Keep everyone else on ‘mute’ during the webinar
  • All queries raised during the webinar should be addressed at the end and those unanswered should be replied via email
  • Thank everyone for joining the webinar
  • Stop the recording and change the message on landing page to ‘webinar complete’

8: During the Webinar
I know it is very difficult to talk when you cannot see anyone in front of you but since you have geared up here’s a quick way of delivering a smart webinar.

  • Keep smiling, your voice will emulate the same warm feeling
  • Maintain a conversational tone
  • Break your script into possible questions at the end of each slide and answer them
  • Sentences with the mention of ‘You’ work better than ‘I’
  • State facts without any ambiguity
  • Give credit to all those whose data points you have used
  • Remember your voice is the connection – so don’t lose focus

9: Post Webinar To-Dos
A smart webinar is not complete by just making sure you have promoted your webinar and delivered the right message. A final nail is still required to ensure there are no loose ends. Post your webinar, it is recommended to download your webinar video and keep it as a backup. Always keep the webinar page active even after the webinar ends. The social channels circle of a link can be as short as a min to as long as a year. If your webinar is relevant even after a year, this landing page would be generating leads or promoting your brand for days to come.

10: Analytics
Anything and everything in digital marketing starts and ends with analytics. Track all possible points in your webinar from clicks to your landing page, to social shares to funneling of leads. Give it a value and reap the dividends of your webinar efforts.

 

Congratulations, you are now a webinar expert! Don’t loosing this momentum now. Start expanding your connects and get noticed for your valuable experience. Maintain communication and plan your next webinar now!

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Singapore dreamz


2000 miles apart is a land that has mystified everyone over the years. Some call it the global financial center, some call it the best holiday destination. For me it’s one place I have always dearly wanted to visit (especially outside India).

Singapore | The Lion City | The Little Red Dot

It’s said that when the time comes everything falls in place! That’s exactly what happened with me too. I’ve been planning to visit Singapore since ages but it never materialized. The photos of people visiting this place would build up my desire to visit even more. The more plans I made, the more it felt short of something. Guess I was short on lady luck! 🙂 Last year however, my dream came true. Loads of discussions and research went on in what was to be one of the most memorable tours in my life. The thrill and excitement of a dream come true is truly amazing. You can see that smile stuck up on my face in the photo as well! (LOL)

singapore-dreamz

There are zillions of blogs and loads of people who will tell you “whats-hows-wheres-whichs” about Singapore but nothing beats an actual experience. Marina Bay Sands, Marlion, Sentosa Island are some of the chart toppers but there are many more things which are an experience in itself. Some of the best ones that I enjoyed was the calm evening at Clark Kay, the beautiful roads on the way to Singapore Zoo, watching the Singapore skyline from the 21st floor of my hotel, meeting an old friend at Marche (a simple yet classy joint at Orchard Road) and lots more.

But the best one was the walk around the entire Marina Bay holding hands with my wife. This blog is a small token of love on our anniversary today! Reliving the best moments!

singapore-dreams

The trip to Singapore has opened up the book of dreams to lot more amazing destinations and I am planning to tick off yet another page along with her in the new year. Have a super time fellas!

 

AJMST celebrating 10 years – a walk down memory lane


10 years! Just can’t believe it! A dream that was shared by everyone, a sport that was loved by everyone, a tournament that became the spirit of sportsmanship and a bond that developed more friends that I could have ever imagined. Amit Joshi Memorial Softball Tournament or now rebranded and known as ASL (AAY’s Softball League) has now become a respectable name in all of India. The players who played the first year would remember how quickly this idea was materialised. An emotional attempt to bring friends together and contribute to the sport that made us who we are today. More than 1000 players have played this tournament and all of them have only good memories of these ten years. I remember each and every year how it evolved and how we made true every dream that we had seen as a young player.

  • The first ever tournament to be played under lights
  • The first ever tournament where all the players contribute in both organizing as well as playing
  • The first ever tournament where players share the gimmicks of the game with their rivals freely during the tournament
  • The first ever tournament where an “amazing catch” or “strike out” or “homerun” is cheered by everyone regardless of who takes it
  • The first ever tournament where guests wait till the match is over to greet the players
  • The first ever tournament where there is no politics involved
  • The first ever tournament where trophies were given by parents and grandparents who came to cheer for their kids

The list is endless and this is just Level 1 which I am talking about.

ASL

The first year was such a big success that players couldn’t control the flow of ideas that came through. The strength from the first year paved way for expanding the tournament into 2 levels. The first level was the intended to develop the sport in Pune and also provide a platform for upcoming/new teams across Maharashtra. It was also an emotional promise made by us to meet each year atleast once and play. It was also a small token of gratitude towards the sport which developed us as good human beings.

The teams playing at level 1 were intended to focus only on developing their softball game and look forward to becoming a better sportsmen. It is difficult to believe how true this intent still is. Even teams and players not selected to playing the Level 1 come to watch and learn this sport. They share ideas and cheer for teams they have seen for the first time. Without any barriers of caste and creed everyone is considered equal at AJMST.

Level 2 is a different ball game altogether. Efforts from senior members of the game helped in getting 12 sponsors. This sponsorship changed the face of the game. All teams got individual sponsors along with team kits, accommodation, food and travel allowance. The tournament ground also got a facelift. More lights, fence, stands, podium, live telecast, cash prizes and lots more. It’s a super tournament of sorts where some players consider to be better than the official All India Tournament that is being held each year.

This journey of AJMST or ASL will continue in the years to come with bigger dreams being realised and even better players who would contribute to the sport. You never know, a team who started playing in AJMST or ASL might even go ahead and win the World Series! I thank everyone who played and grew the tournament, who put their heart and soul into its success.

2007-ajmst

This was our team which won the first ever #AJMST!