5 Must-Have Tools for Hosting Successful Webinars
Here’s what you’ll need.
Smooth booking system
While there are certainly hosts and even companies who still struggle with audience attendance through overfilled excel lists and manual e-mail workflows, this is a truly inefficient way to spend your time. There are many aspects going into an event, from the actual content to marketing, and you don’t want to spend all of it trying to keep track of who’s coming and going, or who have paid and who has not. That’s why a good booking system is essential.
We at Invajo deliver a seamless user experience from the get go and offer a platform which delivers not only personalized booking options and easy integration with your finance system, but e-mail and text message follow-up, streaming and live links through which you can share curated guest lists with the door-guard or catering firm. A smart way to save time and make sure guest information does not fall through the cracks.
Streaming service or webinar platform
Whether you’re recording your webinars in advance or streaming them live to be able to interact with guests, there are a multitude of streaming services out there that are relatively cheap or even free. We offer a streaming service through our online platform, but also the possibility to connect with your viewers through an external streaming service of choice.
Youtube lets you stream in real time, read comments as you record and save the video for later viewing. If you want to be able to keep the video and use it on alternative channels later, you can also choose to download it after recording.
Other popular streaming services are Vimeo and Wistia. Wistia is very much focused on marketing through video and webinars, and offer extra functionality such as lead capture.
Here at Invajo we offer a separate service which compromises a virtual conference platform, where you can submit host bios and share material with participants, allow participants to save a personal webinar schedule and go back to streamed events. The events are saved in a personal archive so that you can see the internal speaker structure and a saved copy of the chat. It’s an all inclusive platform that not only allows you to stream singular events, but in fact comprises a whole classroom where participants can partake in learning material, share content and create their own unique webinar schedule.
Camera tech: make sure your attendees can see you clearly!
A good quality camera is essential for making sure your attendees can see you clearly. If you’re using a webcam, make sure it has a high resolution and that it’s positioned so that your face is well-lit and in focus. If you’re using a DSLR camera, make sure you have a good lens and that you’re using the right settings to get a clear image.
Our top pick for a camera
The market has virtually exploded with good vlogging cameras, offering smooth-looking images for influencers that want to make an impression on camera. These cameras also work great for webinars, and our top pick for an entry-level webinar camera would thus be the vlog-cam Sony Alpha ZV-E10L which is easy to use and not as bulky as regular system cameras. Also make sure to buy a good setup for mounting your camera, so that you don’t have to prop it up on a book shelf or a stack of magazines.
Microphone: Essential for making sure your voice is clear
If you’re using a webcam, chances are it comes with a built-in microphone. However, these are usually of poor quality and can make your voice sound muffled or echo-y. For best results, we recommend using an external microphone. This will ensure that your voice is clear and audible to everyone in the audience. If you have several participants in your webinar, getting a microphone for each participants is recommended.
Our top pick for a microphone
The Blue Snowball is a classic in podcasting, video creation, and really any and all situation where you want your voice to be clear as a summer’s day. It’s a great entry-level model that offers good quality without breaking the bank, and it comes in different designs to match your set up. If you want to go pro, consider the Rode NT-USB which is a bit more expensive but also delivers top-notch audio quality. Personally, I think the Snowball gets you far — it’s amazing quality for the money.
Lighting: Make sure your attendees can see you clearly!
Just as with a camera, lighting is essential for making sure your attendees can see you clearly. The best way to do this is through having a light pointing towards your face, as this makes your face appear without any weird shadows and colors, and gives a very forgiving, smoothing quality to your sweet facial features. There are a multitude of cheap studio ring lights out there.
Otherwise, natural light is a cheap and amazing natural resource — find a room with lots of natural light, and make sure to sit facing the window with the camera faced toward you.
Webinar tools: whiteboard or flipchart
A whiteboard is a fun analogue presence in your otherwise digital lecture hall. You can use it for taking notes, brainstorming ideas with your participants, or even doodling if you need a break from staring at the screen. If you’re planning on doing any sort of presentation during your webinar, a whiteboard or flipchart can be a great way to engage your audience and get them involved in your creative process.
Check your internet connection
Wifi is great, but it can be unreliable. For a webinar, you want to make sure that your internet connection is rock solid. This means using an ethernet cable instead of wifi, and if possible, connecting your computer directly to the router. This will minimize the chances of your connection dropping out in the middle of your event.
Moderate audience questions
Moderating audience questions is a great way to keep the conversation flowing and ensure that everyone has a chance to participate. This can be done in a number of ways, but our favorite is through the use of an online forum or chatroom. This allows people to post their questions anonymously, which can encourage shy participants to speak up. Additionally, it’s a great way to keep track of all the questions that are being asked, as well as ensure that everyone gets a chance to have their voice heard.
Engage subject matter experts and guest speakers
Inviting an inspiring guest or two is never a bad idea. This helps mix things up, and also ensures that your webinar has a good variety of content. If you can find someone who’s an expert in your field, even better! This will give your attendees the chance to learn from the best and ask questions that they might not otherwise have had the opportunity to ask. It’s also a great way to earn extra exposure for your event — if your invited guest has a niche network or a dedicated audience, activating said audience through a social media post or two on their network is a great way to reach potential attendees.
Create an engaging presentation
The best way to end your webinar is by leaving your attendees with something to think about. This could be in the form of a call to action, or simply a thought-provoking question that will stay with them long after the event is over. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to thank your attendees for their time and participation. This helps to build goodwill and ensure that people will want to participate in future events.
To end this article, we’d like to give you some tips on how you or your sales team can reach your target audience and really give your event the boost it needs. Because a great webinar starts with terrific material and well rehearsed content, but what’s the point of a terrific presentation, if there’s no one there to listen?
Reach your target audience
Are you confident in your ability to deliver a high-quality, thought provoking webinar, but unsure on how to reach your audience? Check out these video- and blog tutorials on how to best reach a suitable audience. And remember: adjust your tools to your demographic. TikTok might be awesome for make up and dance tutorial webinars, but Linkedin might be better for a demo of your SAAS finance system.