Demo Webinars are tough. They tend to be equal parts product demo, and entry level training. Typically, they are a device for generating leads and for winning over prospects, but rarely do we directly interact with any of the attendees. It's a performance, and in my time giving demonstrations online I've learned a few things I'd like to share..
1. It's not just the Software - Fair or not, when a person is attending a webinar, they're not only vetting your software but the technical and best practices chops of your organization. If you work for a company that makes a social media marketing tool, you aren't just going to talk about what fields to fill out to send out a campaign, you're also going to show you have some understand of best practices as well such as time of day, week, and key word usage. A software company with a focus on security wouldn't gloss over account creation, it would highlight a few points of secure account creation, and perhaps assure people that they followed best security practices for lost passwords and resets. Make sure your audience knows that your software is built for the the intended market, and so is your company.
2. Be organized, and show it! - A pure live demo can ramble and get lost. Even if you have an outline of what you want to cover "backstage" with you while you are walking through things, the audience has no idea what is coming next, and may not remember what you've covered! Most webinar softwares allow you to share slides, or at least regions of the desktop. Use Powerpoint, or at the least Word, to provide an itinerary of what you will be covering.
(hint: this should be in the description of your webinar when people sign up as well to avoid false expectations.)
Go back to your itinerary, or to a seperate slide highlighting what section is next as you go through the webinar. If you are covering concepts that are complex, technically or otherwise, consider a few slides that break things down into simple visual terms, then move on. When you get to the end of each section, summarize what you've just covered and ask for questions if you accept them. When you get to the end of the webinar, show the itinerary again to review what you've covered, then either take questions if you accept them, or wrap it up! This can help audience recall, reduce questions, and help you and your company look professional and polished, to go back to point 1.
3. Know your Audience - Most webinar audiences are a mix of techical and decision makers. If your audience is small enough, be sure to review who is attending and their role (something your Marketing or Sales department advertising the webinar should be collecting when they register!) and tailor your presentation appropriately. If you allow questions to be submit during the Webinar, you could get anything from configuration questions to pricing. If you don't have the answers, or the answer is case specific and better answered in private. be sure to note the question and who asked it, and forward it to the appropriate department for an answer. I personally like having an engineer, a salesperson, and a best practices/support person present as resources if possible, but often, especially in a smaller company, people are busy doing their jobs. (funny that!) Make sure questions are answered within 1-2 business days, and delivered by the sales contact. It facilitates further conversations and the sales process as well!
In closing, I invite you to share your experiences with webinars, and what you've learned that has helped make them successful. Also, what is your measure for success with a webinar? Is it bringing a sales further down the pipeline? Or simply having the attendees let you know it was helpful? I'm curious to know!