Webinars are one of the best, most cost-effective tools a marketer can exercise. Successful webinars are a great way to generate leads; build trust, respect, and brand awareness; and to collaborate with other organizations and thought leaders.
If you’ve run a webinar before, you’re probably aware of the most common keys to success – choose a strong speaker who’s a thought leader in their field, plan your event well in advance, promote your webinar using multiple channels, rehearse, and practice a few times using your webinar technology.
But even if you master these steps, your webinar can still be a huge failure. Running a successful webinar is more than just not fumbling the transitions and choosing a speaker with a strong speaking voice. In fact, here are three reasons why your webinars suck.
You Didn’t Deliver What You Promised You Would
Most webinars get high registration numbers by promising to teach the audience something new or to solve a common problem they might be experiencing. If you do this – you’d better follow through. The quickest way to lose respect and trust from your audience is to overpromise and underdeliver. If you tell your registrants that if they spend their precious time listening to your webinar that they will learn a certain skill, trick, or strategy, you must follow through and deliver what you promised.
In addition to agreeing to teach your audience something new, it’s always a good idea to give them actionable advice for after the webinar. Outline steps they can take in order to take their new knowledge to the next level. This is, in fact, why they registered for your webinar. It’s not about you; it’s about them and their skill set.
The final piece of delivering what you promised is to respect the audience’s time. If you tell them they are signing up for a 30-minute webinar, stick to that. Make sure you leave plenty of time for Q&A. Conversely, if you’re promising a full hour of content, make sure that you’re not cutting your presentation short at 35 minutes because you ran out of content or didn’t properly time your talk tracks. A webinar is a time commitment for your registrants. Give your audience exactly what they asked for, and what they signed up for. You can end 5 minutes early; that’s a gift. But ending 25 minutes early feels like a robbery.
Your Webinar Was Essentially Just a Product Pitch
Yes, you get to talk about your company. But be really careful about how and when you do this. Nothing makes an attendee drop off the presentation quicker than when they realize that what they’re listening to is just a pitch for a product. Don’t lure people into your webinar to then just speak about the benefits of your product, or how your company is the end-all solution to their problems. If your speaker works for your company, you can mention that. If you market your webinar as a product demo, fine; the people who sign up will know what to expect. In all other situations, webinars should not be a demo of your product.
While your product or service may have a great (small) role in the webinar, keep in mind that your attendees still want to learn, and not just about what you have to offer. If your product or solution does make an appearance in your presentation, be sure that it’s brief and that it comes toward the end of the presentation.
If you think they could benefit from learning more about your offering, feel free to (briefly) let them know how they can educate themselves or reach a representative at your organization. “This webinar has been brought to you by Whizzkers, the number-on app development package. Learn more at Whizzkers.com, or check our online demo at whizzkers.com.demo.”
Your presentation should be focused on the larger goal of trying to help your audience learn something new or solve a problem – your product should be only a small part of that.
Your Webinar Was a One-Way Conversation
Why attend a live webinar if you aren’t able to participate? If you’re not going to involve your audience in your presentation, you might as well just make a recording of your presentation or a video, and send directly it to them. Webinar technology today has incredible capabilities to allow you to have two-way conversations during your webinar event. This digital dialogue will increase engagement, keep people on your webinar longer, spark great questions and conversation, and encourage people to attend your future events. Don’t miss the opportunity for two-way relationship-building.
Modern webinar platforms such as ON24 and GoToWebinar allow presenters to stay in close contact with their audience. Since most webinars are not meant to be formal presentations, but instead to be somewhat conversational, these technologies allow presenters to make their attendees feel as involved as possible. New platforms offer live Q&A, polls, quizzes, and in-presentation social media engagement options. These features help you speak WITH your audience, instead of AT them.
Another great way to keep your audience engaged during the webinar is to create a unique hashtag. Think of Twitter hashtags as the gift that keeps on giving. If you promote your webinar with a hashtag, participants will share the hashtag and use it to add to the conversation during the event. In turn, your attendees are promoting your event and your brand. Communicate to your registrants prior to the webinar that they’ll be able to use the unique hashtag to ask questions or make comments during the event, and then remind them again throughout the presentation. There’s nothing that attendees love more than to feel as though they’re part of a webinar, and participating in the presentation.
Webinars can be really hard work (all that planning! All those moving parts!), but they also can yield great results. A successful webinar will generate quality leads, move existing leads further down the funnel, and increase your name recognition and brand equity.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to webinars and avoiding webinar mistakes is that it’s all about the audience. Provide quality content and actionable takeaways. Keep your audience involved in the presentation and make it worth their time. Don’t worry about promoting your product or service during the presentation. If the presentation is great, they’ll associate you with quality. If you put in the work to deliver a high-quality presentation that answers your audience’s questions or addresses their pain points, you’re well on your way to satisfying a future customer.
Events are a critical part of any B2B marketing plan. But no matter what types of events you’re planning, the right approach to data management and marketing automation can eliminate potential issues while maximizing your event ROI. Download Act-On’s free eBook, “8 Ways to Maximize the Value of Online and In-Person Events,” to learn eight important tips for taking an automated, data-driven approach to your events.