5 Tips for Hosting a Successful Small Business Webinar

By Natalie Bolton, Wise Penny Marketing & Design

As a small business professional, you’ve probably attended a webinar recently – maybe even in the past week. But if you haven’t hosted one of your own yet, there are a few important things you can do to help make the experience as smooth and professional as possible. Here are five recommendations to help your small business webinar marketing take off.

1) Prepare well in advance

Put together your presentation well in advance and go over it thoroughly. Make sure you have a clear outline that is easy for your attendees to follow. If possible, have someone from outside your business go through it with you and see if there are items that are unclear. Remember: You’re an expert in your field, so the subject makes sense to you, but your audience may be hearing about this topic for the very first time.

2) Have at least one “dress rehearsal”

This piece is critical! Do at least one practice run beforehand to make sure you’re within the designated time limits and that you understand how to run the software, speakers, and microphone. There’s nothing worse than getting a big group of people to attend your webinar and then face technical difficulties! Also, prepare a backup plan just in case something does go wrong (like having a power or server failure, bad phone connection, etc.).

3) Be sure everyone has the correct access information

Most services require a log-in code as well as a phone number to join a webinar, so make sure all attendees have the information they need to download access codes, URLs, and phone numbers in advance so they can get set up easily. If you can, it’s a good idea to email participants the day before or the day of the presentation to make sure there aren’t any last-minute problems.

4) Record your presentation

Making a recording allows you to review the webinar afterwards and look at places for future improvement, see if all points were clear, check for items that need follow-up, etc. Also, it’s a great idea to host the recording online so that anyone who couldn’t join your live webinar can view the video at his/her convenience; you can send them a link in a follow-up email.

5) Focus on educational content

If you’re hosting a promotional webinar for your small business, your attendees (read: potential customers) want to know what’s in it for them. They’re much more likely to join you (and stay in your webinar until the end) if they’re learning something of value. A good rule of thumb is to devote 90% of your time to education and 10% to your product or service.

As a final note, it’s a good idea to do some research and find the best online service for your needs. Depending on the number of people involved and the type of presentation you want, there are many options available. With the right preparation, you’re sure to find the right way to improve your small business marketing efforts.

Natalie Bolton is the owner of  Wise Penny Marketing & Design, a Boulder, CO-based company providing strategic marketing and graphic design services for small and non-profit businesses.  http://www.wisepennymarketing.com/