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Since I put content/audience fit first, here's a bit more background on how to find a good webinar topic.
Also wanted to share this chart for webinar timing in the US:
Yes! Thanks for asking :-)
1. When I was still at GoToWebinar we did an in-depth analysis and yes, attendees that lean-in convert to MQLs/pipeline at a higher rate. Actively prompting interaction (with the tips mentioned in the answers above) will help drive engagement and in turn, lead to better bottom-line results. A simple way to increase conversions from your webinar is to actively get them to raise their hand for a follow-up conversation with your sales team through an in-session poll (see more details on this tip in one of the answers above)
2. The typical length is 60 minutes, largely because that is the standard setting of most webinar platforms. Keeping engagement high for sessions longer than 60 minutes is really tough. 30 minutes can have a slightly positive impact on attendance. No matter what length you pick, you won't please everyone. In 30-minute webinars parts of the audience will say they wanted more in-depth content. In 60-minute webinars some will say they would have preferred a more concise version. Go as long as you have amazing content for ;-)
3. The team at WildApricot has tested this and found three reminders to be ideal. 1 week, 1 day, and 1 hour before. You can also consider text message reminders. Zapier has integrations for several SMS tools like CallLoop and you can hook those up to your webinar tool. Also a great reason to ask for your registrants' mobile phone numbers. Play around with your reminder emails. Make the reminders personal, for example by recording a video of the presenter sharing how excited they are and that they hope you can make it. Sort of like the one I made for this AMA.
Here's a look at my setup
This comes up a lot as an audience question. I'm not camera shy and I did like doing theater as a kid. But I also had massive public speaking anxiety at one point in school. I had these blackout moments that got so embarrassing that I avoided any type of public speaking until I was in my mid-thirties. Then I realized I would have to get comfortable because of the job. So I challenged myself to do the spider thing and face my fears. And it worked. I am 100% confident this is a skill that can be learned with practice. And that isn't only true for public speaking but also for just appearing/being on camera.
If you're really uncomfortable or have a speaker that's uncomfortable, try this:
1. Turn on your camera when meeting people you know well. I.e. get your entire team to always turn their cameras on for online meetings. It'll just turn into a habit.
2. If you don't have time for that, start by just coming on for the intro. Just a quick wave and smile, you're done.
3. For tech experts that are uncomfortable speaking in general, try pre-recording their segment and playing it back as a video. They get unlimited takes. No pressure from a live audience. You can edit out any bloopers.
4. As you mentioned, make them look good. The key things to looking good on camera:
- a great camera (duh ;-). An HD webcam will do but a DLSR camera will make you look really great
- good lighting. even facing a window will help, but getting a dimmable lighting panel can do wonders
- a great backdrop. A low-cost way to do this is to get a photo background stand (ca. $30) and a roll of endless paper (Savage, ca. $90). then have a light pointing at that
This is one of my favorite aspects of webinars. There are a bunch of things you can do to stand out and wow people.
1. Play with the format. Instead of a single speaker slide presentation, try a panel, an interview/fireside-chat-style webinar, a mini-summit
2. Have an icebreaker ready. Something that is easy for everyone to answer right as you start the webinar. My favorite example is a webinar I did on video marketing. My icebreaker was an image of David Hasselhoff in bathing shorts and the question "What TV show did you binge the most on when you were a kid?". Easy for everyone to answer. Instantly creates a fun vibe. Easy to tie back to video marketing.
3. Pre-plan a couple of polls. Good polls to try: Ask for their maturity level related to your topic (Beginner/Intermediate/Pro), ask for their use case, ask a yes/no question you can turn into an instant chart to share on social
4. Do something a little out there. Use props (I've worn a viking helmet), use SnapChat filters (I did a unicorn one), have crazy slides. Just generally try and go for a pattern break / something unexpected
5. Play some music. You can get an ASCAP license for around $250/year and play some music on your webinars (you'll need a sound mixer)
Some more ideas on engaging webinars here.
Hi Barbara, here's my (unordered) list of big mistakes:
- Have a boring topic there are so many webinars out there, your content must be A-level valuable and wrapped in a magnetic title
- Do a script read. Nothing is more boring than listening to a presenter read their slide deck. Instead, minimize the actual copy and use big bold images. They serve is your mental crutches for staying on track. Ditch your script. Instead go and rehearse well.
- Not interacting with your audience. You need to pre-plan for interaction. Have an icebreaker ready, have 2-3 polls pre-planned, encourage Q&A all throughout and pick up and answer questions as you go along, for small auidneces consider unmuting the audience for Q&A
- Not getting on camera. 83% of attendees polled say presenters on cam are engaging or very engaging. Get over yourself and get on camera!
There hasn't been much on the strategy-side that I felt went wrong. Most of my webinar strategy decisions have been around mixing things up and that has always ended up being a good thing. At times not on the first try, but once you have it dialed in.
I've made plenty of more tactical mistakes that I learned from, though. Here are a few:
- Thought I could skip the dry-run because the presenter was a >1m followers influencer with massive speaking experience. The webinar was a disaster. The influencer was completely unprepared, talked 20 minutes about themselves (we lost 40% of the audience during those 20 minutes), then gave a lackluster version of his standard speech. NEVER skip the dry-run.
- Not following the advice I just gave to Ricardo above and not having a backup. Power turned off in the room I was in. Webinar ended. Oops.
- Winging it. Ok, sometimes you have to cut people some slack. You have lots going on and the webinar was planned a while back. It can still be a decent webinar if you wing it will never be near as good as a webinar you have rehearsed well.
Ah, yes, the bane of every webinar host.
1. Be prepared with a backup. Have a laptop ready that is connected to the Internet through your phone/LTE
2. Have a co-host who can save your bacon if you go offline. Make sure you both have the latest version of your deck/demo/whatever it is you're sharing on a shared drive
3. Own up to any SNAFUs. Be transparent when things don't work. Make light of it. Nobody expects you to be perfect. Some of the best audience connection happens when you mess up and things get real ;-)
For freezing/dealy/choppy voice
1. Get a better internet connection ;-)
2. Kill your camera feed
3. Get a better webinar software for next time
Hi Hale, B2B makes up the bulk of webinars and Software/Tech is by far the industry with the highest adoption. Anybody that can demo what they sell sees real value.
Most companies use the standard/tried-and-true approach. Educational presentation plus Q&A. Companies that stand out to me are the ones that break the pattern. People have a pre-conceived notion of what a webinar is and when you break that expectation you have a chance to really build a connection/fan.
A good example is Intercom. Their webinars at times have an informal studio feel of two guys behind a desk. Breaks the pattern and works well.
To me the best B2B companies see webinars as part of how they're approachable and build connection at scale. More personality. Less standard. Ideally tied-in with other live formats like live streaming and podcasting.
Re your last question: Yes, it is common practice and I recommend you do it. We've done polls that show 26% of registrants only sign up for the recording. They have no intention of ever showing up live. They want to watch on-demand. Give them what they want!
As for why people still attend live:
1. There's an opposite group that really digs the live nature. They want the event character.
2. The main other reason is that people get their questions answered. I've seen people ask 15+ questions on a single webinar. If you did a Clarity.fm call you might have to pay $5/minute for a similar level expert. On the webinar, you sometimes get the founder or top expert in the field to answer all your burning questions for free. sort of like this AMA ;-)
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