There are a lot of moving parts when planning a webinar. Between the content creation, promotion and the actual webinar execution, it’s easy to let your to-do list get out of control.
Before you start pulling your hair out, we have a simple webinar planning schedule that will make your life easier. With a little preparation and organization, you can plan a stress-free webinar in eight weeks or less depending on your resources and the specifics of your webinar.
If you want to learn everything there is to know about planning a webinar, using the right equipment, engaging your audience, measuring success, and more, download our new Insider’s Guide to Webinars [Marketing Edition] here!
T-minus 8 weeks
Two months before your live webinar get the right team members involved. For large marketing departments, you may need to include a handful of people across teams including folks who manage demand generation campaigns, your website, email marketing, content marketing, social media, marketing operations, and sales.
Here’s a summary of basic webinar roles and responsibilities:
- Webinar presenter(s) – These are the subject matter experts who are comfortable speaking on a webinar.
- Slide creation – Webinar presenters can develop their own slides or hand off their slide content to be spruced up by a designer.
- Promotion – Get marketing channel managers involved to promote your webinar. This likely includes email creation, social media posting, paid media advertising, native advertising, and blogging.
- Marketing operations – This includes building the webinar landing page, sending email invitations and reminders, and setting up integrations between your webinar platform and marketing automation or CRM.
- Event execution – In addition to your webinar presenter(s), you need someone who can configure the webinar, start and record it, launch polls, and field Q&A. Don’t make presenters do all the background work.
- Follow-up – For effective webinar follow-up you need a way to score webinar leads, send follow-up communication, and measure success.
At this time you also want to pick your webinar topic, draft an abstract, and identify potential webinar partners – preferably an influencer in your industry who can help extend your reach and add credibility to your event.
T-minus 6 weeks
Once you’ve delegated responsibilities and finalized your webinar topic, it’s a matter of making sure things keep moving forward. At six weeks prior to the webinar:
- Confirm partner participants
- Finalize the webinar date and time
- Create a landing page and other promotional materials
T-minus 4 weeks
To maximize registrations, launch promotions four weeks ahead of the webinar. According to research from the Big Book of Webinar Stats, 12% of registrations occur four or more weeks before a webinar. Start your promotions early and continue them up to the day of the webinar.
To avoid making your slides last-minute start creating your webinar content now. Begin with an outline of your main speaking points and craft the narrative before you begin creating slides. This will save you tedious hours in PowerPoint.
T-minus 2 weeks
Your webinar is right around the corner. Continue to work on the webinar content including the slides and actual speaking presentation.
Build the webinar polls and a post-webinar survey. In the survey, have attendees rate their satisfaction with the webinar so you know how well the webinar was received.
Check in on how many people have registered for the webinar and optimize promotions if registrations need a boost. If this is the case, you can:
- Expand the initial invite list
- Send additional email reminders to people who didn’t open or respond to the first invite
- Increase activity on social media
- Have sales reps personally invite prospects and share the webinar on their social media accounts
T-minus 1 week
Now is the time to finalize the webinar content and continue promotions – 59% of webinar registrations occur in the week leading up to the webinar.
A few days before the webinar do a dress rehearsal. With GoToWebinar, you can do a rehearsal in “practice mode.” This way you get to practice the presentation and using the webinar controls, launching polls, advancing slides. You can also test the audio and lighting and background if your presenters will be on webcam (which they should).
Use the dress rehearsal to smooth out rough transitions, get comfortable with the technology, and address any audio or video issues. And don’t forget to double and triple check the webinar slides for typos.
It’s webinar day, and with all your careful planning it should go off without a hitch.
Start your webinar early in the “waiting room” where attendees won’t be able to hear you or see your screen. Do final checks to make sure everyone is ready to go.
- Check all presenters’ audio
- Practice sharing your screen and passing presenter controls
- Check the room lighting and make sure presenters are camera ready
- Remember to have fun!
Follow-up with all webinar registrants and attendees within 24 hours of the webinar. Share the webinar recording and/or slides and send along any other relevant follow-up materials.
Segment your registrants into the appropriate nurturing tracks.
Now it’s time to celebrate a job well done. Evaluate your webinar performance and share the results with everyone who had a hand in the success. Include key performance indicators like:
- Total number of registrants
- Attendance rate
- New or sales-ready leads generated
- Attendee approval rating (if you included that in a post-webinar survey)
Now that you’ve mastered the webinar planning process, your next webinar will be even easier!
For more webinar best practices and advice, download the new Insider’s Guide to Webinars.