How to botch a webinar and lose an engaged audience

Hosting a webinar gives you the chance to turn your leads into customers. Done the right way, you’ll end up with 2-5% of attendees purchasing your offer. It’s also worth considering running a webinar if you’re looking to boost interest in your brand.

What convinces people to listen to you?

It’s free! And everyone loves a freebie.

The only downside to webinars is your audience needs to be available at a set time to watch it. To counter this, provide replays for a limited time afterwards.

So how do webinars work?

You create a presentation and your attendees sit and watch it. It’s easy to whip up a snazzy looking presentation in PowerPoint or Canva. Help your viewers connect with you by including some video snippets of you talking, they want to see you.

Topics based on a list or a ‘how to’ are likely to gain the most interest because they offer the most return on investment (ROI).

Your audience is giving up their valuable time so they expect a decent ROI. By providing them with useful information or helpful tips (bonus points for both!) they’ll feel like it’s been a worthy exchange.

Now I’ve been to some fabulous webinars, some shonky ones a whole lot of meh ones.

Getting people to attend your webinar requires a decent amount of communication on your behalf. But you get the golden ticket of marketing in return – their email address.

Gaining subscribers is a precious commodity. Once you’ve got them on your list, you need to treat them with respect, care and a little love. They’ll reward you with their loyalty.

There are two ways to screw up your webinar and have people hitting unsubscribe faster than I can eat a lemon tart.

  1. Lure them in with the notion of gaining loads of useful information but don’t deliver.

I’ve signed up for webinars which sounded so awesome, I was super excited to attend. I scheduled client work and family life around it, making sure I could soak up all of the goodness. The promo’s made me believe I’d walk away with seriously good info. But the dismal effort put into these webinars left me disappointed and unlikely to ever trust that brand again. Your promotions need to educate your audience about the webinar not mislead them. Don’t lose subscribers by using deception as a marketing tactic.

  1. Plug your offer for 20 minutes or more.

Now being the savvy marketer I am, I know when a webinar host is changing from offering value to pitching their offer. I’ve sat through pitches anywhere from five to 15 minutes long. One pitch went for 35 minutes! It was absurd. I jumped off after 20 minutes but scrolled through the replay later to see if I’d missed any gems at the end. Nup. Nada. Nothing but in your face buy from me interspersed with long testimonials.

Yes, the end of your webinar is when you get to push the sale.

But make it snappy.

Tell them how awesome your product or service is.

Show them social proof (testimonials, shares on socials).

Give them a bonus freebie for signing up now.

Then get off and let them either make the purchase or get on with their day.

So now you know how to utterly ruin your reputation with a dodgy webinar.

I’m guessing you’d like to know how to run a successful one?

You do? Fantastic, let’s take a look.

Man in a cap and leather jacket surrounded by smoke on a stage, black and white image

Hot tips to becoming a webinar rock star

It’s not hard to run a decent webinar, just give your audience what they want. If you want to really put some sizzle in your presentation, surprise them with a bonus tip that you didn’t advertise in your promo’s. It’ll make them feel special.

  1. Start your planning by thinking about what they’ll get from attending.

Your audience is giving up their precious free time, they want something of value in return. Will they know the three steps to making healthy changes in their lives? Will they have a better understanding of how to use standard gym equipment? Think about what you’re going to give them.

  1. Choose the right time and tell them what time zone it’s in.

I was recently messaged by a business coach on Instagram. We got chatting and she invited me to her webinar. Popping over to her landing page, I saw a counter ticking down but nowhere did it tell me what day it was on or what time it started.

Now I could have tried to calculate it from the counter, but heck I’m too lazy to do that and so is everyone else.

So I went back and asked her. That’s right, I had to ASK her when it was. Most people, as in 99.999997%, won’t do that. I did. Because I’m a caring poppet and I wanted to help her. When she told me the time, I then had to ask what time zone it was in. Gosh, her audience would not work this hard, ever. Turned out, the webinar was at 2am my time. Nope, I’m not losing sleep for that.

It’s crucial to state the day and time of your webinar on your landing page.

Want to increase your signups? Convert your webinar’s time to the main time zones your leads are from.

Bonus tip: Schedule your webinar between 10am-11am on a Tuesday for maximum attendance.

  1. Answer their questions.

A whopping 92% of webinar attendees want you to have a live Q&A session at the end. They want the chance to speak with you, to feel like they have exclusive access to you because you’re personally answering their questions. Show them some love and be available.

  1. Say what you need to and wind it up quickly.

Webinars between 30-45 minutes long are the most popular with attendees and yet almost every webinar I’ve attended has been an hour long. Some were longer. (Who has time for that?)

  1. Advertise your webinar early.

Make sure you start promoting your webinar at least four weeks before hosting it. And keep in mind that most people only view 1 webinar per week. That’s across all industries. If they’ve watched a webinar about being a compassionate parent, don’t expect them to squeeze in one about career advancement. You’re competing with every webinar available.

So, plan your marketing strategy early and know what makes yours so valuable they won’t want to miss it.

If you’ve done a good job of promoting your webinar, you’ll get an average of 40-50% of sign-ups attending the event.

Bonus tip: A webinar gives you great fodder for your social media posts, blog posts and emails. Make the most of having content already written and use it in your promo’s.

Now you know how to wow your audience, you’re wondering how much it’s going to cost you right?

The average spend is around $1000-$3000 but if you’re on a tight budget it’s possible to run a basic one for around $100. It’s a fairly inexpensive marketing tool that you’ll be able to use over and over again.

So remember – educate don’t deceive with your promotions, provide tonnes of value and focus on what your audience wants.

Looking forward to seeing your sassy face plastered all over my screens soon.

(That’s not a typo, I have two screens, a laptop and occasionally I use my phone as a backup. Just call me Screen Queen 😉)

Have you attended a shocking webinar? What did the host do to make your elbows quiver? Share in the comments below.

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