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We all get them … the mass emails telling us to tune-in for the “next great webinar.” Throughout my time at Blast, clients have often asked, “How can we get more attendees to register for our webinar?” or “When should we start promoting the webinar?” or the unfortunate question, “Why did we not get the turnout we had hoped for our webinar?”

Last month, as I had my finger on the delete button on one of these infamous emails, the title caught my eye: “Why Did My Webinar Fail?” This interactive webinar, hosted by ON24, promised to address webinar best practices and reasons for why they fail. I decided to tune in and see if I could learn anything new that might help our clients.

What is the biggest webinar “fear?”
One of the first questions ON24 asked the attendees was, “What is your biggest webinar fear?” It was no surprise that 32% of attendees feared no one would show up, followed by 27% who feared technical difficulties, 20% who were worried that they might bore their audience and 19% who were afraid that the webinar wouldn’t turnover any leads.

The narrator, Mark Bornstein, VP of Content Marketing at ON24, pointed out that while these fears are reasonable, there are some best practices hosts can follow, giving way to a successful webinar experience. Here are some of his suggestions:

Webinar Best Practices

  • Give yourself time to run an effective promotional campaign leveraging social networks and campaign data. The longer you give yourself to promote, the more registrations you will have. However, it’s important to note that too many un-tailored email blasts can be detrimental to your webinar. Keep in mind that if it doesn’t work the first time, it probably won’t work the next few times. Be sure to leverage data to create tailored messages with rich media, and remember, no one wants to see the same email 5+ times.
  • Engagement is the magic that makes webinars so powerful for marketers and training audiences. The more viewers are engaged, the more we learn about them. Do NOT become that horrible college lecturer we all had, reading each slide verbatim in a monotoned voice. Instead, deliver a lively, engaging, two-way conversation.
  • Upgrade your speaking talent! The introverted colleague in your IT department might be the most knowledgeable on the webinar topic you’re planning to discuss, but he may not be the best speaker to engage your audience. Find your in-house star or hire outside talent — it’s worth it to bring in someone who knows how to entertain an audience.
  • Help listeners, but do not sell them.
  • Change up the format. Conduct Q&As throughout the webinar or use interactive tools like random trivia questions to connect with your audience and make them laugh. Better yet, do a panel discussion or turn your webinar into a short, serialized broadcast with interviews.
  • Make sure the reception/sound is good quality and without background noise; turn off loud AC units, heaters and cell phones. Additionally, make sure the spokesperson is in a quiet location with good service, preferably an office with folks who can assist you, should a technical problem arise. We all know executives are busy, but don’t let your CEO “take this one from the airport” — poor audio quality is one of the main reasons why people drop-off webinars.

Webinars have certainly evolved from the “check box text that were meant to generate leads at the top of the funnel.” And with this evolution comes an opportunity to embrace new technologies and engage with audiences in a more sophisticated way.

Find fun, unique ways to make your webinar stand-out and be different from some of the less successful ones you’ve attended in the past. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and have fun with attendees!

-Shelley Petri