Editor's note: "The First 90 Days" is a series about how to make 2016 a year of breakout growth for your business. Let us know how you're making the first 90 days count by joining the conversation on social media with the hashtag #Inc90Days.

Need help growing your business fast? Have you considered webinars as part of your marketing strategy?

There are many other powerful technologies you should use to fuel massive growth over the coming months - we've discussed several over the past few weeks. Things like website updates, video ads, and business productivity apps.

Today we're talking about webinars, which are critical for doing B2B or solution sales at scale.

Webinars are hardly new. Many companies do them. But many companies do webinars incredibly poorly. I'm sure you've experienced a terrible webinar first hand - and probably not too long ago.

Don't let the same thing happen to your business! Here are 11 incredible tips to get 10x more output from your webinars.

1. Topic Generation

Doing a webinar about a boring topic, or a topic that your target audience simply isn't interested in, is a recipe for disaster. Why waste the time and effort promoting and presenting something that few people really want. 

Here's the key to success with webinars: you need to pick topics that have already proven themselves. For example, if you've produced an ebook that got tons of downloads or a certain email subject line for one of your newsletters got huge open rates, that's a huge flashing "DUH!" sign that people are interested in that topic.

Look to your data. Figure out what your top 5 percent performers across all your channels and content.

Pick one of those topics.

2. Reduce Frequency

Some companies do hundreds of webinars per year. Seriously? Yes, seriously.

You really don’t need to do multiple webinars per month (definitely not multiple webinars per week!). That's crazy.

You’re much better off doing one big spectacular webinar per month than doing four mediocre webinars. Focus on QUALITY, not quantity. 

At WordStream we were able to increase registrations to 5,000+ for one big monthly event versus seeing signups of around 500 for our smaller, less produced and promoted weekly webinars.

3. Go All In on Visual Slide Content 

Are you still using bullet points in your slides? Please. Just. Stop.

Today it's all about high impact visual slides. Visual content is so incredibly powerful. Awesome visuals will keep your viewers engaged. Be memorable and entertaining.

Take this deck as an example - 97 slides and not a bullet point to be found! Oh, and it just happened to be one of the top 20 SlideShares of 2015.

Not a visual person yourself? Hire a designer to help to make high-impact slide decks. Trust me, it's worth the investment.

4. Go Nuts on Event Promotion

You have to do email blasts. That's a no-brainer. But email isn't enough. 

You should also be targeting your target audience using:

5. Turn on the Webcam

Most of the webinar software products let you turn on the webcam. Do it! Although people can't be in the room with you, this is the next best thing.

Your presentation will be even more impactful when they see you presenting. Also, people will trust you more when they see your face, versus just hearing an anonymous voice.

6. Do A Poll Question With An Offer

Polls are a good way to learn about and engage with your attendees. But we're talking about business growth here, so let's take it a step further.

Attach an offer to one of your questions. For example, something like: "Do you want us to follow up with you about a free demo?"

Then, after the webinar, this lets your sales team follow-up by saying, "Hi, I’m just following up on your request for a demo…"

7. Personalize Your Event Reminder Emails 

Your reminder email should come from the presenter.

For example: "Hi, this is Larry. So glad you signed up for this event. Looking forward to chatting with you tomorrow."

This small thing can increase attendance rates from 20 to 33 percent. That's huge!

8. Send Out the Recording immediately 

As every entrepreneur knows, opportunities don't last forever. If someone is slightly interested in your webinar today, chances are two days from now they'll be less interested - if they haven't forgotten about it entirely!

People lose interest quickly, so send out your webinar recording quickly. Keep your leads engaged. Don't let hot prospects go cold!

9. Follow Up With Non-Attendees 

People who don’t attend are still good leads. Actually they may be even better leads since it means they’re busy people and likely to need whatever it is you’re selling.

Webinar attendance versus non-attendance isn't a discriminating factor in lead quality. So don't make the critical mistake of assuming that people who didn't attend aren't interested in your product or service. 

10. Practice Your Presentation a Few Times

Not everyone is a naturally gifted speaker. In fact, while it may look giving outstanding presentations is second nature to some speakers, what you never see is all hours of research and practice that went into creating that presentation.

If you want to deliver an amazing webinar that people will remember, it's essential to take the time to practice your presentation.

Consider doing a practice run in front of a colleague, friend, or family member.

Another tip: record yourself giving the presentation and listen back to see what areas need work. You may discover bad speaking habits that you can easily fix.

11. Make Your Webinar Interactive 

Solo webinars are terrible. We live in a world of short attention spans. After 15-20 minutes, the mind starts to wander, no matter how skilled and knowledgeable he or she is.

To avoid losing your audience, use an active moderator who can ask questions dynamically. Make it more conversational - like a radio program with back and forth and callers interjecting. This will make sure your audience stays engaged and entertained.

Published on: Mar 14, 2016
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