Ask an MSP ExpertQ: At my MSP, we’re about to host our first webinar! We have a few people signed up so far, and we’re looking forward to educating our customers on the dangers of phishing and what they should watch out for to avoid becoming a victim. We’ve had a lot of questions about it with all the phishing scams in the news, and unfortunately one of our clients fell for a phishing email last week! While I have plenty of great information compiled for our webinar, I’m concerned on running into errors or something just simply going wrong. Do you have any best practices should follow to help make my first webinar a success?

Congratulations on taking the step to host your first webinar! It’s a great tool to help educate both prospects and customers, so we applaud you for the effort. Planning and hosting your first webinar can be a little daunting, but don’t worry. We’re happy to give you tips that will help you make sure your webinar goes off without a hitch.

To give you best practices to use when planning and hosting your first webinar, we contacted Intronis’ Senior Manager of Demand Generation, Sarah Duffy. Sarah is a webinar guru, and she’s well-versed in how to make your webinars run smoothly. We sat down with her and asked for her advice on how to make your first webinar a success.

Best practices for hosting a webinar

While you can’t control everything in a virtual environment like a webinar, there are numerous best practices you can implement to make sure your webinar runs as smoothly as possible.

webinarGet your team onboard. When you plan your webinar, make sure your team is ready to support you and that you have enough time and resources to promote it correctly. Believe it or not, your tech employees can be your best advocates when it comes to promotion. They are talking to clients on a daily basis, and before they get off the phone they can quickly invite them to join your upcoming webinar.

While your techs are a great resource to get the word out about your upcoming webinar, there are a variety of other tactics you can use to increase your attendance. You can advertise face-to-face when you visit customers, send a direct mailer, include it in your email newsletter, or adding an advertisement on your website for prospects and customers to sign up. By using more than one method, you can get a broader range of attendees.

Use a platform that is easy to join. Ideally you want to choose a platform that both the presenter and multiple users can easily join. Do you need a platform to host numerous presenters, or do you only need to have one? Be sure to consider that before selecting a webinar platform. A couple well-known platforms for hosting webinars are WebEx, GoToWebinar, and Join.Me. There are numerous other platforms you can use, but these are all low-cost platforms that are easy to start off with.

Keep your conversation relevant. Plan your webinar before you start promoting it. What topics are your customers looking for? Consider topics that come up in your everyday conversations, such as how to use new software, different updates, or simply training on how to avoid a phishing attack.

While you are an expert about the topic, make sure you keep the conversation for the webinar accessible to people who aren’t experts. Depending on the topic, plan to present your webinar for 20 minutes to 50 minutes. Lastly, make sure you leave 10 to 15 minutes for questions at the end. While you may have a webinar without any questions every now and then, leaving this time will allow viewers to clear up any confusion about the topic. This can be very beneficial to the SMB customers attending your webinar, and it will help you learn more about what they’re most interested in or what they need the most help on.   

Be virtually prepared. The day before your webinar, if needed, practice a run-through of the presentation. This helps to make sure the material is appropriate for the registrants and ensures you are fully prepared. If your presentation seems a little choppy, don’t be afraid to add more slides or to change your wording around a bit. This is your last chance to catch any glitches or mistakes and to make some small tweaks to your presentation.

Keep in mind that webinars are virtual, so there will be technical glitches, but don’t let this frazzle you. The audio might go out, or something else may happen. Just remain calm and finish your presentation.

Webinars are a great tool for educating your prospects and customers, and with these best practices your first one should be great. Best of luck!

Ask an MSP Expert is a weekly advice column answering common questions from MSPs and IT service providers. It covers topics ranging from pricing and selling to marketing and communications—and everything in between. 

Lauren Beliveau

Posted by Lauren Beliveau

Lauren is a Senior Content Marketing Specialist at Barracuda MSP. In this position, she creates and develops content that helps managed service providers grow their business. She also regularly writes The MSP’s Bookshelf and our Ask an MSP Expert column.

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