Pre-webinar planning is essential to a successful event. There are a lot of details to remember, but this checklist will help you stay on track.
Your Hartford Funds advisor consultant may also be able to help: as a guest speaker or to secure another speaker, to provide content ideas, or to share best practices.
Before the Webinar
- Identify your target audience (consider clients or prospects, caregivers, local professionals, etc.)
- Choose your webinar topic and get any necessary approvals from your firm
- Select your preferred date and time
- Book any special guests or speakers who can add value to your event (optional)
- Create the guest list; include names and email addresses of invitees
- Create your email invitation. You can use your firm’s webinar platform, or if you’re using a Hartford Funds presentation, request an invitation from your advisor consultant or internal advisor consultant. (As always, follow your firm’s compliance guidelines.) Be sure to test the registration link before sending it out.
- If you’re new to webinars, practice enough that you feel comfortable using the platform. You’ll also need to know how to:
- Turn on and off your webcam
- Share content on your screen
- Mute all phone lines
- Prevent attendees from turning on their webcam (if preferred) and from sharing content
- Hide the list of attendees so participants can’t see each other’s names
- Plan your remarks. If you’ll have a guest speaker, be sure to discuss how you’ll handle timing and transitions.
- Decide how you’ll handle Q&A. Options include asking attendees to email you their questions beforehand, asking them to type questions into the video platform’s chat window (if your firm allows that), or telling attendees how to unmute their phone line to ask live questions. Also prepare a few back-up questions, just in case no attendees ask one.
- Consider doing a test webinar with your co-host or a colleague
One to two weeks before the event:
- Email invitations. Clients tend to respond more to personal invitations and reminders. If possible, follow up with a phone call or email.
- If your firm allows it, encourage clients to invite a friend or family member who may be interested
- If permitted, promote your event on social media. (Be sure to review your firm’s social media policy and guidelines before promoting.)
- Monitor webinar registration using your webinar platform. Don’t be discouraged if attendance is light. Clients who can’t attend will still appreciate being offered educational opportunities. You can follow up with them afterwards to share the information.
Three to five days before the event:
- Review final details
- Ensure you have any slides you’ll be using loaded on your computer
- As a back-up plan, make sure you have your dial-in number in case your internet connection is lost, as well as a hard copy of the slides. If you’ll have another speaker, discuss a contingency plan in case either of you have technical trouble.
- Begin follow-up calls or emails to invitees who haven’t registered yet
Day of the Event
- Log in at least 15 minutes early to ensure you have time to address any technical troubles. Display an image on the screen as people are logging in, and consider providing a few spoken updates that you’ll be starting soon. (It’s a great way to warm up your voice and settle any nervousness you may have.)
- Consider starting the event promptly to respect everyone’s time. Before jumping into the content, take a moment to explain how attendees can zoom in on images, indicate that they have a question or are having technical problems, etc.
- Have fun and let your personality shine through!
After the Event
- Your webinar platform will provide a list of attendees as well as registrants who didn’t attend. Use this information to segment and send your follow-up messages.
- Email a thank-you message to attendees with any follow-up material you offered during the webinar. Consider asking for feedback and future topic suggestions, as well. (Where appropriate, call instead.)
- Email a “sorry you missed it” message to those who registered but did not attend. Offer to provide more information about the content that was covered and/or to invite them to a future event. (Where appropriate, call instead.) Offer to provide more information about the content that was covered and/or to invite them to a future event.
- Review the attendee lists to pinpoint people who attended but aren’t your clients yet. Be sure to follow up with them soon after to ask if they have any questions, or if you can be of additional assistance.
Other Tips to Consider
- One way to get more attendees is to ask clients their preference beforehand. Survey clients on event topics that would interest them. You can then make a point of saying, “Mr./Ms. Client, we’re holding that webinar you were interested in.”
- Once you’re comfortable using your virtual platform, consider other uses such as virtual coffee breaks or lunch meetings with clients, a virtual dinner with a client who lives alone, etc.
- Many financial professionals have had success providing webinars as part of an educational series instead of one-off events.