As an advisor, you know you have good content and an audience hungry for your information. But you also have a hurdle: finding a new way to “get in front of” your audience. With person-to-person meetings largely in the rearview, many businesses and professionals have turned to online delivery platforms to educate, inform, and build community. An accounting firm webinar is an ideal podium for your SMEs, but if webinars are new to you and your firm, you might feel overwhelmed by the idea of having to learn yet another new technology and marketing tool. Here’s the good news – learning how to host a webinar doesn’t have to pull you away from your core business or require a huge investment of time and money.
In our work with clients, we have witnessed first-hand the power of webinars. From brand awareness to client service to revenue generation, the recorded or live-streamed word captivates and signals to your audience aptitude and innovation – a winning combination for firms focused on growth. We also work with clients who are nervous about moving forward or don’t know where to start. We’re here for you! Adding webinars to your marketing and business development tasks is easier than ever. Here’s an easy-to-follow guide for getting started.
Pick the technology
The most important thing to remember when choosing your technology is don’t panic. Most of the common platforms in our profession are easy-to-use, scalable, and are likely programs you’ve already seen or used. Popular choices among CPA firms include Zoom, WebEx, and On24, but finding the right fit really begins with a few questions:
- Do you want to integrate promotion, invitations, and registrations?
- How many participants do you expect?
- What type of interaction do you want in the webinar?
- Do you want to track participants?
- How many webinars do you plan to deliver in the next 12 months?
Once you answer these questions, you can select a “model” that best suits your needs. Free versions will get you online quickly; paid versions will give you more options; all-inclusive packages will leave you a little lighter in the pocket but fully equipped. Fortunately, many paid options offer monthly subscriptions, so even if you select a platform and decide it’s not a perfect fit, you can switch with minimal cost until you find the system that works for your firm.
Build your webinar “team”
Many times, if you have an idea for a webinar, you feel like you have to produce and market the event all on your own. However, we have found the most successful webinars have a few key stakeholders with specific roles and responsibilities for getting things done. You may be responsible for providing the webinar content development and presenting, but don’t be afraid to enlist others to help with preparation, day-of delivery, and follow-up. The roles and primary responsibilities of producing a webinar include:
- Administrator – sets up and maintains technology; downloads and posts recordings and materials
- Moderator – delivers the welcome message and introduces the speaker (often the same person as the administrator)
- Speaker/Panelist – creates, prepares and delivers content (can be more than one person)
- Panel/Roundtable Facilitator – drives panel or roundtable discussions by coordinating with other speakers
Each person or team is critical to your presentation’s seamless delivery and will have unique responsibilities and timelines. Some will be heavily invested in the pre-webinar setup, while others will support you on the day of the webinar and following your event. Your roles grid will help you designate the right people for the right jobs and mitigate the pressure of running an event solo.
Work from a checklist
Hosting a webinar works best with a script and a plan. You’ve chosen the technology, you’ve assembled the team; now, you need a checklist to keep track of the moving parts. A webinar checklist will track the tasks, responsible team members, due dates, and status updates for tasks like content development, marketing, and follow-up. Populate, circulate, and monitor the progress so you can rest easy. Some popular items on webinar checklist include,
- Determine topic
- Determine your target market
- Speaker to outline presentation
- Develop required promotional material
- Develop housekeeping script
- Perform a test run
- Download reports and recording
The complexity of your checklist will vary depending on the size of your team, the type of content, and the sophistication of your audience. Don’t be afraid to alter your checklist as you learn from your accounting firm webinar experiences.
When it comes to serving clients and prospects, you know the value of communication, especially in times of acute change. We think the reason so many firms stall in getting started with webinars is from a fear of “doing it wrong.” Rest assured, there is no such thing as the perfect webinar. We recommend starting simple and learning as you go. Like many aspects of accounting marketing, the best way to learn is by doing. Just get started. Your speaker’s podium is waiting.
Need additional assistance?
We’ve designed a toolkit to help firms that are just getting started with webinars. The toolkit includes:
- A presentation that walks you through creating, promoting, and measuring the results of a webinar
- Accounting Firm Webinar Checklist
- Marketing Communications Template
- Registration Template
- Scorecard Template
- Script Template
Let us know if you’d like to learn more or if you would like to discuss more ideas to get you started. We look forward to hearing from you!