Webinars are a powerful marketing tool for keeping in touch with leads during the sales cycle and building your reputation as an industry thought leader.
Next to in-person events, webinars rank as the most effective B2B marketing tactic, according to HubSpot. Sixty-seven percent of B2B buyers seek out webinars prior to making a purchasing decision, making webinars more sought after than infographics, eBooks, videos and ROI calculators.
Planning and executing a successful webinar, however, can be easier said than done. Are you putting together a webinar for the first time or disappointed in past webinar performance? Get your webinar game back on track with tricks for avoiding common webinar mistakes.
Webinar Mistake No. 1: Spending Too Much Time Focused on Your Product or Service
Solution: Client needs come first.
While this tip sounds pretty obvious, it’s easy to overlook.
Like all forms of content marketing, webinars need to fit within a broader strategic marketing plan and play to your audience’s genuine needs and challenges rather than simply highlighting a business product or service your company offers.
Let’s say you’ve got a great app for a common industry need. Even it’s a truly revolutionary app, no one wants to hear solely about your app for 60 minutes.
Respect your audience’s time and give them information they truly need in your webinar, recommends Forbes.
In this case, a discussion about industry problems and different solution strategies is beneficial – and you can use this conversation to position your business as a solution provider with a soft mention of your app.
Webinar Mistake No. 2: Over-Promising and Under-Delivering
Solution: Stay in your wheelhouse or co-present with a strategic partner.
You can’t be all things to all people, nor should you try to be. Focus on your specific area of expertise and partner with complementary companies to offer expanded services that address additional client needs.
For example, let’s say your company provides strategic advice to startups on SEO and social media. Your startup clients could probably benefit from information on how to target investors, but if you’re not an investor yourself, you’re probably not in a position to provide qualified advice.
Partnering with an angel investor or venture capital firm for a webinar is a great option for delivering valuable information that’s outside your area of expertise.
Webinar Mistake No. 3: Choosing the Wrong Presentation Platform
Solution: Test out options in advance.
One of the very common webinar mistakes is a low-quality webinar platform. It’s just as bad as a poorly designed website, and it makes your business look unprofessional and hurts your brand reputation.
My go-to webinar provider is ClickWebinar. It’s fully integrated and compatible with Adobe, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Flickr. Plus, ClickWebinar offers a moderated Q&A chat for enhanced interaction with participants.
Another popular webinar platform includes WebinarsOnAir, which runs over Google Hangouts. Whichever webinar platform you choose to use, test it out in advance with a practice run. Be sure you’re familiar with the platform’s different features and confident in its capabilities.
Webinar Mistake No. 4: Participation Rates are Low
Solution: Incentivize sign-up with a special offer.
In addition to the great (free!) information you’ll be offering about a common industry problem, you can further incentivize participation by sweetening the deal with special offers.
Offer the first 100 participants who sign up access to a free eBook or supplemental materials, like the slide deck or on-demand webinar replays. Allow sufficient time to get the word out about your upcoming webinar via emails and social media.
Even if you can throw together a webinar in 48 hours, you should be marketing the webinar at least two weeks in advance.
Finally, be sure that your webinar sign-up form is not reducing participation. As Webinar Success President Ken Molay points out in his whitepaper on webinar best practices, lengthy input forms kill participation rates.
Webinar Mistake No. 5: Scheduling Your Webinar Too Early (or Late) in the Day
Solution: Avoid workflow interruptions with a midday webinar.
While it’s impossible to find a single time that works for everyone, midday is a generally a great option for boosting participation.
Selecting a consistent time is especially important if you’ll be hosting a series of webinars over the course of several months.
For example, if you have a monthly or bi-weekly “lunchtime chat” webinar, scheduling for the same time (e.g., 1pm EST) will make it part of your participant’s routine and boost participation by making the webinar a recurring appointment on their calendar.
HubSpot recommends scheduling webinars at 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. Eastern time for maximum bi-coastal attendance.
Webinar Mistake No. 6: Failing to Capitalize on Leads
Solution: Continue engaging after the webinar ends.
Webinars have many benefits, but the role of the webinar in your lead generation funnel does not end once the webinar is over.
Stay in touch with participants by sending follow-up materials, requesting feedback, and letting them know about upcoming webinars. Segment your webinar signup list into three separate groups: those who signed up (but did not attend), those who attended, and those who attended and participated in the Q&A.
Target your follow-up accordingly based on the needs of each group.
For example, did a participant ask a really detailed question that you were unable to fully answer within the scope of the webinar? In this case, you’ll want to follow-up with an email or call.
Did a lead express interest but fail to attend? Send a follow-up email offering access to the slide deck or webinar recording.
Webinar Photo via Shutterstock