May 5, 2016
If you’ve never attended a webinar before, you probably aren’t in a league of your own. If your association has never administered a webinar before, you definitely aren’t alone. Many association executives are just getting onboard with social media, let alone the idea of a webinar. Some of you may be asking, “what is a webinar anyway?”
It allows organizations to discuss topics that are important to them, to people that are important to them. Sounds ideal, right? Many associations underestimate the power of a webinar’s full potential. In a day and age when innovation is not a luxury, but a necessity - webinars may be the next avenue associations take to engage members.
Blogs, vlogs, podcasts and webinars. These are all terms that are infiltrating our lives. What do they even mean? They may look intimidating, but they serve a purpose: Providing its audience with information. Simply put, a webinar is an online seminar with a host(s) and attendees. The organization hosting the webinar invites attendees to partake in the event to gain knowledge about a specific topic.
Members want to get things out of their memberships that they can’t get anywhere else. A webinar is the perfect platform for that. You’re not only engaging your members, but you’re educating them on a topic they may have been unfamiliar with. That’s a huge value for them.
Some association executives may not see the value in webinars. Webinars provide associations with a plethora of benefits. Still not sold on the idea? We have some advantages that may change your mind:
Webinars are a different breed. They may seem similar to a PowerPoint presentation; however, they are given virtually. There are many ways to make webinars a huge success.
The first and most important aspect of developing a successful webinar is to pick an appropriate topic. A great way to gauge what will work is to understand what your members are talking about. Additionally, you have to make sure there’s enough to discuss. Webinars normally last between 30-60 minutes, so there should be enough material to keep it interesting. Still not sure where to look? You probably already have the answer.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news - but if not done properly, webinars can be pretty boring. Associations must make sure to keep the conversation alive and the content engaging. An easy way to do this it to keep slides interesting by using more visuals to capture and keep attention. Additionally, the slides should not mimic what the presenter is saying. Think keywords, not sentences.
Since your slides will be rather bare, the presenter must keep talking points concise. A great way to ensure this is to have the presenter revert to notes during the presentation. This way, they will not get off track and the slides will remain in order with the presentation. The presenter should make sure that their talking points coincide with the slides so that the attendees can follow accordingly.
Associations that have many members should strive to have as many as possible attend. Promotional emails should be sent 2-3 weeks prior to the webinar. These emails should include basic information, along with registration details and instructions. Associations should make it as easy as possible for members to register. Once attendees begin to register, your association should send reminder emails to ensure their knowledge of the event. It’s important to send these emails to members that aren’t registered for the webinar as well. This will allow them to register if they forgot to do so the first go-around.
Is there anything worse than your presentation not working? It’s important for the presenter to practice their presentation prior to going live. Since many presenters revert to talking points, rather than scripts, they must know what they want to convey. This will remedy any timing issues and ensure that the webinar software is working correctly.
As the association space continues to evolve, new features are available to members. Webinars are a cost-effective way to engage and educate members while conveying your association’s message. By understanding the potential that webinars offer to associations, you may see an improvement in your engagement rates. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone - give it a try!
To learn more about using technology market to members, take a look at our blog: E-Marketing Isn't Dead.