Show Me the Way: A Step-by-Step Process for Delivering an Excellent Virtual Event
In one of our blog posts from last year, we discussed the steps involved in creating an outstanding in-person event. In many parts of the country, the pandemic has changed the way that we communicate with our clients and almost everyone has had to adapt to the “new normal.” Thankfully, even those who are not digital natives can continue to share their expertise with their clients and use online tools to host informative and engaging virtual events, where clients can participate from the comfort of their own homes.
This blog post focuses on the steps required to deliver a flawless online experience with seminars for your clients and prospects.
Pre-Webinar Planning Steps
- Think about your desired outcome. How many prospects versus existing clients will you invite? How many leads will you convert? What sort of increase to your AUM have you set as your goal?
- Decide on topics. Remember not just to promote your services. Think as well about topics your clients would want to hear about such as “TFSAs versus RRSPs” and strategies for optimizing their contributions. Make it educational and to the point.
- Get a guest speaker. You may want to invite a speaker on your selected topic. Sometimes a guest outside of Financial Services (a psychologist discussing coping with COVID-19, for example) will be a big draw. You can give a financial update at the beginning and then introduce the guest to your invitees.
- Obtain a brief bio of your guest and promote their strengths and what they bring to the table.
- Prepare presentation materials. Will you or your guest speak with a Power Point presentation, charts or give a live demonstration?
- Decide on the day and time. From our experience Tuesday or Wednesday evenings work well. Make sure that you give yourself enough time to prepare and your guests are invited well in advance. We recommend sending the invitation (more on webinar invitations below) a week before the event.
- Decide on the technology. Decide on your webinar platform. Be it Zoom, Webex or Microsoft Teams, be sure to ask your Dealer what they consider compliant. Set up your event so that you have included all the links and dial in information for your guests and guest speakers. If your Marketing or Compliance Department has Co-Operative Forms for you to complete prior to the event, please remember to do so.
- Make signing in simple and straightforward. You must be sure the sign in details are very explicit.
- Decide on the registration process. Do you want your guests to register in advance? Do you want them to send you RSVP? Or do you want them just to be able to join when the time comes?
- Design an invitation. Think about what you would like to have on the invitation: your information (logo, picture, bio, contact details), your guest’s picture or bio, any other visuals, sign in information or registration details (depending on your process). Make it inviting and easy to follow. The benefits to the participant should be highlighted, e.g., “By the end of this webinar, you will have gained, adapted or learned…” Make sure that your agenda is clear and the invite gives an idea of what to expect from the event, e.g. “Prepared remarks will run for approximately 30 minutes followed by Q&A session”. Check with your compliance team regarding your disclaimers and regulatory prescribed information.
- Create a master list of names and e-mail addresses for both clients and prospects. At this time, you are going to invite your potential participants using e-mail blast software such as Mailchimp, where you can export the e-mail addresses, or just send invitations from your mailbox. Think about your strategy on when to send the invitations and if you are going to send the reminders a few days later. Depending on your registration process and webinar platform, reminders may be sent automatically.
- Promote your event. You may use your website and social media channels to make more people aware of the upcoming event. Make sure to include all the necessary details.
- Send the reminders. If the software you are using to host the webinar does not send out reminders to the registrants, then you must do so yourself. We recommend sending a reminder an hour prior to the presentation.
Test, test, test!
- Have a dry run. Ensure the technology is working properly. What do you want to appear on your attendees’ screens? All speakers (gallery view) or active speaker only? Are you going to share any materials? If yes, who will be sharing it? Check your camera position. Make sure that the sound and picture work and sit up straight. Check to see if there is anything in the background that will distract from your presentation. If you are using remote desktop applications – you may consider to connect to your video conference software directly, to avoid any video/sound issues.
- If feasible, have a dry run with the guest speaker to work out any delivery issues.
Conducting the Seminar
- Spend a few seconds on housekeeping and encourage your guests to participate. Inform them if they can ask questions and how to do so.
- Minimize distractions and noises. Make sure that when you (or your guest) are not presenting, the microphone is muted and the video is off.
- Ensure you set the stage for the event and include:
- A Purpose (“The purpose of our presentation today is…”)
- A Plan (“I will give a brief update on my 2021 approach and then turn it over to our guest speaker who share her thoughts on…”)
- A Pay-Off (“By the end of this presentation you will have learned…”)
- Engage your audience with a brief story or key interesting statistic, tell them how to ask questions and tell them you have a feedback questionnaire at the end of the event.
- Have a call to action, (“In the days following this seminar our team will be following up to obtain your feedback…”)
Post-Seminar follow up
- Collect feedback questionnaires and ensure each and every one of the participants is contacted via e-mail or phone.
- Ask questions around what your participants liked and gained from the seminar. In addition, ask for constructive pointers and desired topics for your next event. If applicable, don’t be hesitant to ask for next steps (a 1:1 meeting to discuss product for example).
- Consider having a replay. This may be useful for those who couldn’t attend or missed the invite.
- Consider sending follow up materials. This is the time to share some of the materials used during the webinar or send additional information on the topic.
Now that you have the steps in place to conduct an effective webinar, please remember that as a partner of Caldwell Investment Management Ltd., you have access to our Portfolio Managers (PM’s) who have experience speaking with retail clients. Advisors who have partnered with our PMs for webinars consistently tell us that clients appreciated our PM’s jargon-free approach to investments. Make sure to connect with your compliance department to get a formal approval and proper guidance on the regulatory process for arranging such event. Please reach out to us if you are interested in having one of our staff members to act as your guest speaker. We are ready to assist you through the process and contribute to the success of your virtual event!
As usual, there is a song in the title of this blog post. What is the song and who is the band who sings it?
Thank you to Oksana Poyaskova, our Marketing Manager, for lending her insights.
For more than 25 years, I have worked with Advisors helping them build their businesses. My commitment to you is to partner with you in your practice and offer solutions to help build your business.
The contents of this blog are the personal views of the author and not necessarily the views of Caldwell Investment Management Ltd. The contents are provided as general in nature and should not be relied upon nor construed to be the rendering of advice. Readers should consult with their own compliance/legal advisors for advice on their specific circumstances before taking any action as sales and prospecting activities are subject to regulatory oversight.