5 ways to completely ruin your webinar

Webinar mistakes to avoid

Let’s face it. Organizing webinars is just not as easy as the thousands of ‘How to host a webinar and drive lots of revenue’ articles make it out to be. There’s so many steps involved, from sourcing the speaker to planning the dry run, making the landing page to sending out emails, etc.

But even if you have a solid plan in place, you may be overlooking simple steps or activities that can completely derail your efforts, leaving you like this:

So in this article, we’ll cover the top 5 ways you could inadvertently shoot yourself in the foot - and tips on how to prevent this. 

1. You send out basic follow-up emails after someone registers

The mistake: It can be tempting to schedule ‘1 week to go’,  ‘1 day to go’ and ‘1 hour to go’ emails, emphasizing ONLY the date and time of your webinar, and call it a day. But you need something beyond just this to keep interest in your webinar piqued.

The solution: This is why it's important to keep reminding registrants the value of turning up on the day-of. This means that in every follow-up email you send, you need to reiterate why your webinar is unmissable. And you can do this through some simple ways:

  • Share a screenshot of your previous webinar, highlighting the interactivity of the Chat for instance, or a learning moment that an attendee had.
  • Share social proof of positive tweets or comments from attendees at your previous webinars.
  • Play up the FOMO by highlighting what the registrant will lose out on if they skip the webinar, for instance ‘Learn how to double your leads from a webinar by the end of the hour.’
  • Offer an exclusive perk for those that do attend live.

2.You pick the entirely wrong date and the wrong time for the webinar

The mistake: If you’re not factoring in the day of the week, holidays, other industry events, and timezones, you’re making it difficult for people to want to attend your webinar. If it conflicts with anything else they have going on, you can bet this is how they’ll react:

The solution: Center your scheduling around your target audience’s availability. 

  • Marketing wisdom states that Tuesdays and Thursdays are the best dates for a webinar. (On Mondays, people are in the thick of planning their work for the week while on Fridays, it’s likely that most people are already in a weekend mood and unlikely to tune in. ) But take this with a grain of salt, and use your analytics to determine which day attracted the most turnout.
  • Avoid the run up to holidays like Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas and conflicting major events, whether that’s an industry conference or the Superbowl.
  • Time differences can cause scheduling conflicts - it’s very difficult to accommodate everyone, so shoot for the majority instead. At Zuddl we usually schedule webinars at around 10:30 AM PT as it corresponds to accessible time zones across most geographies.

3.You take a hands-off approach with your webinar speakers

The mistake: Your speakers are busy, busy people, so while they may confirm their availability on a specific date and time for your webinar, this can quickly change. It’s just life. 

But if the only communication with your speaker is weeks after the initial call, then you’re only going to hear about a change in their availability later rather than sooner. This may mean having to cancel your webinar altogether - and quite abruptly.

The solution: Check-in with your speaker at regular intervals. Not only does this help build the organizer-speaker relationship, but enables you to spot red flags early on - like if a speaker requests a time or date change more than once, or doesn’t respond to your follow-up emails.

4.You decide not to make a basic conversation flow for your speaker and host

The mistake: We’re not telling you to make your speaker and host read directly from a script  - that’ll only make them sound either like a robot or a news presenter. But not providing them with a conversation guide either is a mistake. 

It leaves too much room for interpretation, by which we mean that the speaker and host could go wildly off topic, or not quite know how to navigate moving from one sub-topic to another leading to lots of awkwardness during the webinar, and causing attendees to drop-off the call.

The solution: A conversational flow can help guide your host and speaker through all the topics they need to cover, whilst letting them sound natural and conversational. This isn’t as complicated as you think. Even something as simple as this will work:

Introduction

  • The host introduces the webinar/webinar series and goal
    E.g. “Welcome to Event Heroes - a show where we engage with industry professionals to offer you practical guidance on crafting a successful event strategy and executing it with excellence, all to maximize your returns.”
  • The host introduces the guest speaker and their career story
    E.g. for our webinar with Alex Temple - “Our guest today is Alex Temple, Senior Corporate Relations Manager at Explori. Now, Explori is an attendee feedback platform for events, expos and event venues.”
  • The host asks the guest to introduce themselves
    E.g. “Hi, thanks for having me on as a guest today. I’m a B2B event marketer with 15 years of experience., etc. etc.’

Educational content

  • Questions that touch upon the pain point or goals that your audience signed up for
    E.g. Solutions to challenges in the industry, a new perspective on an age-old practice, commentary on new trends, insights and best practices from their day-to-day. Protip: Use customized questions on registration forms to gauge what attendees are really interested in learning at the webinar

Q/A

  • The host reads out questions shared by the attendees in the Chat or using a Q/A tool and prompts the speaker to answer each in turn

Fun rapid fire 

  • End the session on a high note with fun questions for the speaker
    E.g. ‘What are you proud of, but never have an excuse to talk about?’ or ‘If you were a pizza topping what would you be and why?

Closing and next steps

  • The host thanks the speaker for their time and the attendees for theirs. Then, the host shares next steps.
    E.g. “Thank you for joining us to learn about <X topic> and hope you learned a lot. We’ll be sharing a link to a video recording of this webinar with you in an email so you can go back and watch it at a time of your convenience.’

5. And you opt not to do a practice run

The mistake: Without a practice run, you may not realize issues with the software or your speakers presentation or your showflow (ie. it might be too short or too long). As a result, you may appear unprofessional, confuse or bore your audience, and self-sabotage the opportunity to make a positive impact.

The solution: Do a dry run. Not only can you check that everything is in working order - webinar platform, presentation flow, speaking points etc. - but it helps your speaker feel more comfortable and confident too. 

Prevent mistakes instead of trying to firefight them

No one is immune to making mistakes, but knowing what obstacles are ahead makes it that much easier to overcome them.

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