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7 Common Webinar Mistakes to Avoid

By Ashley Orndorff, aka Marketing Geek laptop with video equipment

Hosting a webinar can be a great way to increase brand awareness and even generate some leads for your business. You can introduce new products or services, provide valuable training, present useful information, and more. But, it only helps your business if it’s useful for attendees. Here are some common webinar mistakes to avoid to help you make yours a good one:

Mistake #1 – Focusing on the Wrong Topic

One of the most common webinar mistakes is focusing on the wrong topic. A webinar is one of the ways to repurpose video content. And, you can keep your old content working for you by expanding it or repurposing relevant topics into a webinar.

However, the topic has to be relevant to your audience and the information you provide needs to be valuable, useful, and actionable. If it’s not, your webinar will not be interesting to your audience and it may even leave them with a negative impression of you and your business.

Be Careful With Promotional Webinars

Although webinars about products or services can work, you do have to be careful because they often come across as too sales-focused and pushy. It’s a delicate balance and can be hard to get right. But, spending some time researching and understanding your target audience can help you choose a topic that will be a good fit.

Mistake #2 – Forgetting About Visuals

A webinar is a visual presentation, so whatever you’re presenting needs to be aesthetically pleasing at a minimum. Forgetting about the visual aspect of your presentation is a big, and all too common, mistake.

Focus on Clear, Clean Slides

Your slides should be visually appealing and clean with plenty of space. Too much text easily becomes overwhelming, distracting, and too hard for attendees to read. Plus, if they’re reading slides or taking a lot of notes because there is too much text, they won’t be as focused on what you’re saying.

When it comes to presentation slides, less is more. They should prompt you and support your presentation, but should not be your script. A presentation where someone simply reads from the slides is boring. It’s impersonal, doesn’t engage your audience, and also doesn’t leave room for you to create a story that draws your audience in.

Include Graphics When it Makes Sense

And, don’t forget to add a relevant image or graphic when it makes sense for your information. Not only does this make your presentation more dynamic, but it also makes it more interesting for your audience.

Mistake #3 – Ignoring Promotion or Not Promoting Enough

Just as you need to promote your website to drive traffic to it or an event to increase registrations, you also need to promote your webinar. Ignoring promotion completely or not promoting enough can seriously hinder your efforts and set you up to fail.

Start Promoting Early

Start promoting your webinar early and promote it often across multiple channels. You don’t want to overwhelm or blast the same people over and over, but you do want to use a promotion strategy to increase your reach and increase registrations from people in your target audience.

Promote it on Your Website

Create a landing page about the webinar with a form to register and promote it. Dedicate a budget to promoting it and run Google Ads, Bing Ads, ads on social media, etc.

You can promote a webinar by including a call-to-action for it on relevant blog posts and through an announcement on your website. People are already visiting your website, so why not use an announcement banner to grab their attention, let them know it’s happening, and encourage them to register?

Use Social Media and Email

At the same time, you can share information about your upcoming webinar across your social media channels. You can even create teaser videos or share interesting quotes or stats to generate interest.

Send an email featuring the webinar to your subscribers. Get your sales force on board and include it in prospecting emails and in their email signatures.

Add in Outreach

If you have strategic partnerships in place that would be relevant for the topic of the webinar, reach out and ask if they will promote it to their audience. You can do similar outreach with thought leaders and bloggers in your industry whose audience would benefit from the information in your webinar.

There are a lot of opportunities to promote your webinar. Every single tactic might not be the best fit for your particular topic or target audience, so it’s important to spend some time figuring out a promotion strategy that will help you reach more of the right people for that particular webinar.

Mistake #4 – Skipping Necessary Preparation and Practice

Choosing the topic, creating your presentation, and implementing a promotion strategy are necessary parts of a successful webinar, but they are not the only things you need to do. You also need to cover the necessary preparation and practice to ensure a smooth and successful webinar. Skipping these things is one of the common webinar mistakes to avoid.

Create a Pre-Webinar Communication Plan

You also need to consider what sort of communication plan you will have in place for the people who register.

A basic communication plan prior to the webinar includes sending confirmation emails upon registration, invites about a week before the event, a reminder email the day before, and a reminder email a few hours before the webinar.

This is a great template to help you cover the basics and you can customize it as needed to fit your specific audience and their communication preferences.

Practice Your Presentation

Also, as with any presentation, you want to dedicate enough time to actually practicing it. You don’t want to be robotically repeating a memorized speech, but you also don’t want to rely completely on improvisation. Make sure you invest the time to practice your presentation enough that you are prepared to deliver a good presentation to your audience.

Mistake #5 – Disrespecting Your Audience’s Time

It is important to respect your audience’s time. Attendees are taking time out of their busy days to listen to you. Keep that in mind and do everything you can to start on time, keep things moving, and also to wrap things up in a timely manner. Not respecting your audience’s time is one of the webinar mistakes to avoid because it often contributes to low registrations and can also leave attendees with a negative view of you.

Pick a Good Day and Time

This also means scheduling your webinar for a day and time that works for the majority of your target audience. Mondays, Fridays, and weekends tend to be horrible choices for webinars, on average.

Your audience might be different, so test it if you need to. But, generally, the middle of the week tends to be a better fit. On average, afternoons tend to be better than evening or morning times.

Stay on Schedule

If the audience is under the impression that they’ll be spending about an hour with you, don’t let things stretch much longer than that. At the same time, don’t feel like you need to make 30 minutes of content and Q&A stretch to a default of 60 minutes just because that tends to be a standard for webinars. Be realistic with the scheduled time for your webinar and make sure it fits the length of your content and leaves time for you to answer some questions.

Wrap Things up on Time

If you’re coming up to the end of the allotted time for the webinar and you’re still getting a lot of questions. Let people know that you need to wrap things up. Encourage them to continue sending questions and follow up with a blog post or content of some kind that answers them. You can also encourage people to contact you individually to continue the conversation.

Also, don’t be afraid to wrap things up early if people don’t have that many questions. You should be providing some sort of contact information to attendees anyway, so you can always encourage them to reach out with any questions that come up later and then end the webinar.

Mistake #6 – Not Engaging Your Audience

Even if a webinar topic and speaker are interesting, a presentation that is not interactive does not engage the audience. The best webinars create opportunities for engagement and two-way communication throughout the presentation. Because of this, not engaging your audience is one of the biggest webinar mistakes you can make.

Thankfully, the technology we use to host webinars provides a lot of opportunities to create interaction and engage with your audience. Depending on what you use, you can have live chat with a moderator, virtual hand-raising, polls that you can launch throughout the webinar, a space for downloadable handouts, video and webcam features so your audience can see you and your slides, and more.

Asking questions throughout the presentation through polls helps keep your audience engaged and also can provide valuable data for you about the attendees and what they think about certain topics. Spending some time at the end of the presentation on Q&A is also a great way to make sure two-way communication happens.

Mistake #7 – Forgoing a Call-to-Action and Next Steps

Another one of the common webinar mistakes to avoid is not offering a call-to-action or providing next steps for your attendees.

Offer Attendees Something at the End

You should have some sort of offer or gift for your audience that encourages them to contact you after the webinar, work with your business, purchase a product/service, etc.

The right offer will depend on the topic of your webinar, your specific goals for it, and what resonates the most with your audience.

Have a Post-Webinar Communication Plan

There should be a follow-up communication plan in place as well for after the webinar. Usually, this includes a link to a recording of the webinar, a link to download the presentation slides, and a call-to-action that reiterates the offer or provides another next step they can take.

Repurpose the Webinar Content

Another thing to consider is how this webinar content can continue to benefit you. Offering the webinar recording on-demand after the event allows you to continue to generate leads from it.

You can also add the slides to relevant blog posts to add some interactive content to them, upload them to platforms like SlideShare, repurpose interesting quotes or statistics into images for blog posts or social media, and more.

These are just some of the most common webinar mistakes to avoid. Doing so can help you create a better, more useful, and more valuable webinar that can help you drive traffic to your website and also grow your business.

But, if your website isn’t offering a good user experience to visitors, you could be missing out on potential leads. If your website isn’t performing or hasn’t been updated in a while, it may be time to consider a redesign.

Contact us for a meeting of the MINDs to talk about how we can help get your site back on track and performing for your business!

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