More webinars are taking place now than ever before. And that’s not a bad thing — they’re a great way to engage both your members and prospects.
But with so many webinars being offered, how can you ensure your organization’s webinars stand out? And not only that, but how can you keep members and prospects coming back? What can you do to prevent your regularly scheduled webinars from becoming stale?
The easiest trick: Switch up the format! Here are four fresh ideas to consider:
The “informal coffee talk” webinar
Many times, webinars feature one speaker and they’re a bit, well...buttoned-up. Now, there’s nothing wrong with a traditional webinar, but to switch things up (and again, prevent your webinars from becoming stale), consider experimenting with a more informal format. A coffee talk, for example, or even a happy hour if it’s later in the afternoon.
But remember: If you do decide to call it a coffee talk or happy hour, make sure that’s incorporated in the overall presentation. If the speaker’s video is on, they should have a drink in hand (or at least nearby). And it’s worth incorporating in the conversation, too. For example, as people are joining, you could have the host or speaker ask what other people are drinking. Is it their first cup of coffee? Second? Perhaps it’s something seasonal? This is a great way to get the chat warmed up!
The “fireside chats” webinar
Solo speakers are great, but again, to switch things up, consider hosting a fireside-chat-style webinar with a panel of speakers. Panels are typically more interactive in nature, and not only that, but the more speakers you have, the more people you can count on to promote the webinar. (Ask kindly, and they’ll likely be more than happy to!)
This is even something you could invite your members to either be a part of or hop onto — while it’s taking place live. (Maybe it’s to ask a question or share an experience or idea.) Many times, if there are already multiple speakers, people feel less intimidated about jumping on (because the attention is already dispersed among several people). Just another way to engage your organization’s membership!
The “choose your own adventure” webinar
As you know, if you want your audience to engage with you, it’s important to choose a topic that resonates well with them. One format worth trying is the “choose your own adventure” webinar. Here, you’d have a general topic picked out for your webinar (for example, marketing trends), and then, once people logged on, you could have them vote for what specific segment of that topic they’d like the speaker to address (for example, social media or email marketing). An approach like this ensures you’re appealing to the people already engaged with your association or chamber.
To pull a webinar like this off, you’ll obviously need to have a speaker who’s willing and able to be flexible. Do know, though, that there are plenty of people out there who are experts in their industry and can speak on a whim based on what people want to know.
The “crowdsourced” webinar
This is another great way to engage your organization’s membership and ensure you’re delivering content your members are truly interested in receiving. Now there are a few ways to go about doing this. You could send out a pre-webinar survey, asking your members questions and inquiring about their interests. (What’s currently keeping you up at night? What are you most interested in learning more about right now?) Or, you could take it to social media. You could post a few Twitter polls and build out your webinar that way.
The more involved your members feel prior to the webinar, the more likely they are to attend live, and not only that, but engage more in the chat!
Want more tips for engaging your organization’s membership beyond webinars? We’re talking tips for your website, emails, social media, and more. If so, download our free guide below!
Note: This post was originally published on 5/9/18, but updated on 9/16/20 for added value.