Running a successful webinar is just as much about your execution during the event as it is about the actions you take leading up to it. You can invest in your webinar strategy all you want, but without execution, there’s no event.
Nobody wants to see a flustered host or speaker showing up late, not knowing how to admit guests, or not knowing whose turn it is to speak. Don’t get me started on all the technical problems that creep in without rehearsals.
A simple, yet deliberate webinar execution process can help you iron out the kinks and prevent webinar mishaps.
11 Webinar execution tips to ensure your event goes off without a hitch
Take the worry out of your next webinar by developing a robust webinar execution strategy. Use this tactical checklist as your go-to tool to help execute a high-performing virtual event.
Here are 11 steps to include in your webinar execution strategy:
- Start with reliable webinar software
- Schedule a speaker rehearsal
- Send calendar invites with key details
- Schedule reminder emails and mobile notifications
- Send speaker reminders the day before
- Prepare a pre-webinar checklist
- Have tech support on standby
- Bring on customer support to answer questions
- Prepare interactive elements in advance
- Follow up with attendees
- Evaluate your webinar performance
1) Start with reliable webinar software
In the early stages of your webinar planning, you should have a good idea of which webinar software will fit your needs. Your chosen tool will be critical to the success of all your virtual events, as you’ll likely use one software for all your webinars.
If you already have a trusted webinar platform, it’s a good idea to check the software’s features and make sure it can fulfill your upcoming event needs. For example, if you expect 5000 registrants, can your webinar tool support at least that many live attendees?
Prioritize reliability for your webinar tool, as it’s one of the biggest contributors to a good viewer and speaker experience. That means no sound cutting off in the middle of the event, or crashing when you get too many attendees.
If you’re trying out a new platform, do an initial test run to verify it has all of the features you need and it’s easy to use for your speakers and registrants. While it may seem tedious, these checks help ensure your webinar runs smoothly from start to finish.
2) Schedule a speaker rehearsal
Practice makes perfect, and the same rings true for your webinar. Schedule a rehearsal with all of your speakers to run through your content and timing. Aim for one week to the day before, so that if you realize something needs to be fixed during your rehearsal, you still have time to make updates.
All speakers and supporting team members should attend the webinar rehearsal to familiarize themselves with the webinar platform, the flow of the content, and their responsibilities during the event. You should include your technical support team, who can assist with any last-minute technical errors.
Use this time to find your flow — practice your webinar and make sure everyone knows when it’s their turn to speak. The run-through will allow you to spot any mistakes in your presentation. During your rehearsal, you should define milestones and pointers for speaker handoffs. These could be subtle cues within your presentation, verbal announcements, or timestamps shared internally with your webinar team. Make sure all your speakers know what they’re doing during the webinar, and encourage them to ask any questions they have during the rehearsal.
Your practice webinar is also usually the first time your webinar speakers meet before working together. This time can help settle any pre-webinar nerves and build rapport before the live event.
3) Send calendar invites with key details
Calendar invitations are your secret weapon to event clarity across all parties. For every speaker, send them a calendar block (I like to use Google Calendar) that includes:
- A link to the event landing page
- Key event details to remind them what the topic is
- Unique access links for them to enter the webinar room
- A link to the shared Google Slides presentation for the webinar
You can also include a link to a more robust planning document that includes things like seed questions, prizes, poll questions, and more.
Tip: Download a webinar planning template from my content resources.
4) Schedule reminder emails and mobile notifications
One of the most important aspects of webinar execution is keeping everyone on the same page, and giving them clarity around what to do next. This goes for your speakers and registrants.
Send out well-timed notifications to your registrants to prevent them from getting lost, and give them immediate next steps. A reminder email the day before gives them a heads up and reminds them what the webinar is about. Send out push notifications via email and your app the day of the webinar to encourage registrants to join live. For example, “We go live in 15 minutes! Join us live to ask questions about the state of freight forwarding.”
This can increase event attendance, which boosts engagement. This is especially helpful for webinars where you have live Q&As, so that you can get insight into what your market is most concerned about.
Tip: Have some seed questions ready so you can cover the FAQs and in case your audience doesn’t ask any.
At a minimum, you should aim to send reminder emails and notifications the day before the webinar, the day of the event, and as a final reminder when you’re going live. Some organizations will plan weekly email marketing reminders or a series of webinar reminder emails to keep registrants informed of the upcoming webinar and what to expect.
The emails and mobile notifications you send to registrants should include:
- Webinar confirmation with a calendar invite
- Webinar details (such as prizes, agenda, and speaker announcements)
- Series of webinar reminders, including the day before and as you go live
- Webinar follow-up, where you can capture feedback for improvements
Figure out what works best for your business and schedule those reminders as part of your webinar execution strategy.
5) Send speaker reminders the day before
Send all of your speakers a reminder the day before the event with key information. This email should include the same information in your calendar invite, with additional details like:
- Access link for the webinar
- Technology reminders (e.g., use headphones and mute microphone when not speaking)
- A request for them to show up 15 minutes early
- A reminder of the webinar topic and structure
This email should go out to your speakers as well as anyone else expected to join the backend of the webinar, like technical support staff or customer experience teams.
Tip: Save a template of this email to reuse for future webinars.
6) Prepare a pre-webinar checklist
A pre-webinar checklist minimizes any mishaps mid-presentation. For every webinar you host, you should have a pre-webinar checklist to run through before the event.
Share this checklist with webinar speakers and partners to keep them aware of anything they need to do prior to the event. Also, ask webinar co-hosts and tech support team to join the webinar 15 minutes early to do the pre-webinar checks.
Your pre-webinar checklist should include:
- Sound quality check
- Technology checks (video, microphone, content sharing, etc.)
- Check recording status
- Turn off notifications and close unnecessary applications
- Turn phones to silent
- Mute microphones when not speaking
- Video status (whether or not all speakers will have video on)
- Prepare webinar resources needed during the event
- Set up webinar tools and elements
- Recap who will introduce speakers, and the speaker flow
- Remind the team who will manage interactive elements
- Confirm who will admit webinar attendees (if you require manual approvals)
This checklist is key for your webinar to have a strong start. It’s a simple, yet effective tool to make sure your webinar team knows the exact expectations and processes for the webinar that’s about to begin.
7) Have tech support on standby
Along with speakers and partners, a technical support person should also form part of your internal webinar team. This person will be on hand to assist with any technical issues that may arise during the webinar. They can lead the pre-webinar checks and should be involved in your rehearsal and any other major technical decisions concerning your upcoming webinar.
During the event, your technical support person waits behind the scenes ready to tackle any technical errors and assist speakers and attendees. They can also be responsible for managing the recording status of the webinar and ensuring microphones and video cameras are set up correctly.
Having this person on standby will give your webinar a professional air. Plus, it minimizes the chances of delays or interruptions due to technical difficulties.
8) Bring on customer support to answer questions
Hosting a webinar is hard work even without having to monitor comments, host Q&As, and field questions. Bring someone from your customer support team to monitor the interactive elements of your webinar. As an added bonus, if you have customers complaining about your product or service on the webinar, your support person can look up their tickets on the fly.
In addition to answering questions, you may also ask this team member to direct audience questions to the most appropriate speakers and interject audience interactions and comments into the webinar presentation at the most suitable times. This will help preserve the flow of your webinar while also making sure audience members are heard.
Audience interaction is crucial to increase engagement and audience satisfaction. Having a customer support member is an easy way to make sure your audience isn’t neglected or ignored.
9) Prepare interactive elements in advance
If you want to go the extra mile in your webinar, make it interactive. No matter how invested your audience is in your topic and speakers, distractions have an annoying way of popping up.
With virtual webinars, it’s increasingly difficult to hold the audience’s attention. Introducing interactive elements can help you overcome this challenge. When hosting your webinar, include activities such as breakout rooms, Q&As, giveaways, and polls.
You can prepare these webinar elements by testing the software you plan to use to host live polls, tasking your customer support person with managing activities during the webinar, and ensuring attendees have received any handouts or resources they might need during the event.
10) Follow up with attendees
Once the webinar is over, you need to follow up with your attendees. This step is crucial for two reasons: first, it allows you to nurture attendees, and second, it gives you an opportunity to collect valuable feedback.
As part of your follow-up activities, you should send attendees an event feedback form. Their responses will help you gauge general opinion and determine webinar success on a qualitative level. You can then share this feedback with your internal webinar team and speakers, using it as a benchmark for what went well and what could be improved from an audience perspective.
After the event, you should also send webinar attendees a “thank you” email. This email could include a link to rewatch the webinar recording, and can feature key information such as social media and website links for webinar speakers, how to get in touch with you, and/or links to resources discussed during the webinar.
Don’t forget to add your webinar attendees to your email newsletter so they can find out about future events too.
11) Evaluate your webinar performance
The success of your virtual event largely comes down to evaluating the performance of your current webinar.
Evaluating performance allows you to see what elements of your webinar strategy worked well and what didn’t go quite to plan. You can then use this to make your next webinar run even smoother.
When evaluating your webinar, use KPIs to check its performance against your initial webinar goals. This will help you to determine the success of your event without being clouded by personal bias.
You can also include audience feedback in your webinar evaluation and provide suggestions for how to amend your webinar strategy to boost the success of your next webinar.
Wrapping up — Plan ahead and continuously improve to achieve seamless webinar execution
Putting on a webinar is no easy feat, but by following these 11 tactical tips for webinar execution, you’ll put yourself in the best position for a headache-free event. Planning in advance, keeping everyone on the same page, communicating often, and having the right team members live during the webinar all contribute to a 5-star attendee and speaker experience.