Webinars are a GREAT way to engage members and potential members…as long as you can get people to register.

To drive registrations, your webinar must be interesting, convenient, and valuable. Now the trickiest part of that series is probably the “interesting” part. What makes a webinar interesting, aside from the topic? Well a major factor is the format.

To keep your members (and potential members) on their toes, consider experimenting with these fresh webinar formats:

The “informal coffee talk” webinar

Many times, webinars feature one speaker and they’re a bit, well…buttoned-up. Now there’s nothing wrong with a traditional webinar, but to switch things up, consider experimenting with a more informal format. A coffee talk, for example, or even a happy hour if it’s later in the afternoon.

Now a few important tips here:

  • If you’re calling it a coffee talk or a happy hour, make sure to tie that into the conversation. If you can see the speaker, they should certainly have a drink (whether that be coffee or something else). It also might be nice to ask what other people are drinking. Is it their morning latte? A hot peppermint mocha for the holidays? Make people feel like they’re all having coffee (or drinks) together.
  • Going off that last point, you want people to feel like they’re all gathered together, so the more interactive you can make these webinars, the better. Ask questions. Conduct polls. Read people’s comments aloud on the side. This should be less of a presentation and more of a conversation.

The “fireside chats” webinar

Solo speakers are great, but again, to switch things up, consider hosting fireside-chat-style webinars with a panel of speakers. Panels are great because 1) they can attract a larger audience (because each speaker has a different following), and 2) the content is engaging (since it’s more of an open discussion).

This is even something you could invite your members to either be a part of or hop onto – while it’s live. Many times, if there are already multiple speakers, people feel less intimidated about jumping on (because the attention is already dispersed among so many people). Just another way to engage your association’s membership!

The “choose your own adventure” webinar

As you know, if you want your audience to engage with you, it’s important to choose a topic that resonates well with them. One format worth trying is the “choose your own adventure” webinar. Here, you’d have a general topic picked out for your webinar (for example, marketing trends), but then, once people log on, they could vote for what specific topics they want to discuss (for example, AI or video). This ensures you’re appealing to the people who are already engaging with your association.

Now this goes without saying, but to pull this off, you’ll need to have a flexible speaker. Do know, though, that there are plenty of people out there who are experts in their industry and can speak on a whim based on what people want to know.

The “crowdsourced” webinar

This is another great way to engage your association’s membership and ensure you’re delivering content they’re interested in receiving. Now there are a few ways to go about doing this. You could send out a pre-webinar survey, asking people questions and inquiring about their interests. Or, you could take it to social media. You could post a few Twitter polls and build out your webinar that way.

The more involved people feel before the webinar, the more involved they’ll want to get during the webinar.

Want more tips for engaging your association’s membership not only through webinars, but through other tactics as well – your website, emails, events, etc.? Check out our free guide, Membership Engagement for Small-Staff Associations, below!