avoid these mistakes when hosting webinars

Webinar Hosting Mistakes You’re Probably Making and How to Avoid Them

February 20, 2017

by — Posted in Best Practices, successful webinar, Tips and Tricks, Webinar Hosting Guides

Quality webinars are great for building up an audience, selling products and services and getting your name out there.

However, if you don’t avoid the following mistakes, your webinar will be more trouble than it’s worth.

 

Not Hosting Webinars

If you’re here reading this, you’re probably not going to make this mistake, so we’ll keep it quick. If you’re here because you’re thinking about hosting a webinar but aren’t sure if you should, we would heartily recommend it.

Any time you can leverage another form of media – whether it’s webinar hosting, infographics, podcasts, etc. – you stand to win in a big way. You now have one more channel for reaching your audience.

Sure, it might make you nervous at first, but that’s no reason to write off webinar hosting entirely. You’d hate to find out that it was the exact medium your market loves most after a competitor was so successful with it.

Using the Wrong Webinar Technology

“If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”

We’ve all heard this line before. It definitely holds true, though, when it comes to webinar software.

If you’ve ever seen a webinar done with a low-quality camera and/or software, you know that it’s like the world’s slowest train wreck. It’s incredibly sad, too, because, most of the time, the person hosting the webinar has put a lot of time and effort into what they were going to say. They may even have a lot riding on the results.

Unfortunately, their technology stood in the way.

Whether it’s fair or not, people will judge your webinar hosting abilities based on the result. They’ll do the same for your company and its products/services. No matter how much you know or how great your products/services are, if their webinar experience is poor, your attendees will leave with a bad impression.

The good news is that high-quality webinar software doesn’t need to cost you an arm and a leg. Premium hosting packages start at just $19/month, which won’t break the bank if you’re hosting webinars on a small budget.

Not Hosting a Practice Run

Presumably, one of the reasons people go ahead with hosting a webinar even when they’re using unreliable webinar technology is because they don’t know about it. This wouldn’t be an issue if everyone did a practice run first. By doing so, you’ll get an opportunity to check the visuals and sound levels. You can also test to see how the webinar displays for your audience.

Aside from ensuring your webinar technology is working properly, doing a practice run will help you work through any nerves you might have or simply troubleshoot your script. Something that sounds good on paper or in your head may come off a lot differently when you say it aloud.

Sharing Too Much Content

If you’re going to make a mistake with your webinar hosting, this may seem like a fairly forgivable one. Nonetheless, it’s still a problem that will negatively impact your presentation, so do your best to avoid it.

This issue often manifests itself when the webinar host uses text-heavy slides. Regardless of how much content you’ve planned to cover during your webinar, slides containing lots of text often run the risk of losing the attention of your audience.

Every time a slide changes, that’s an opportunity to bring people back to what you’re talking about. Any change of scenery will do this (more on that in a moment). It’s only natural for your eyes to be drawn to a sudden movement like that.

Take advantage of this by keeping the text on your slides lean.

There’s no magic formula for this. Everyone’s presentation is a bit different. When you practice, though, try to get a sense for if you’re spending way too much time on a slide or if it’s otherwise becoming stale.

Not Mixing Up Your Media

A webinar that features nothing but you speaking into the camera is probably not going to be very interesting for your audience. Sorry. Get as dressed up as you want, but it’s just not going to be enough.

Think about it: people are on their computers watching you, right? Your webinar hosting is competing with everything on their mobile devices, notifications from social media, emails and more.

Aside from using lots of slides, you also need to think about other ways you can grab their attention.

This could mean photos, illustrations, videos, graphics, animations, etc. Slides with text are great, but even then, use some color and an appropriate font. If your slides are nothing but black and white, you have some work to do.

marketing and promotion tips for hosting webinars

Not Doing Enough Marketing/Promotion

Depending on how you look at it, webinar hosting might be a lot harder or a lot worse if no one is watching. On the one hand, there’s no pressure if you hardly have anyone signed up. Of course, that kind of defeats the purpose of the webinar.

If you agree that it would be better to have the pressure that comes with a large audience, then please make sure you thoroughly promote your webinar.

Regardless of how big or small your social media following is, push yourself to continuously share your webinar on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn two weeks before you go live. Refrain from sharing too much further in advance, though, as people may not want to add a webinar to their schedules if it’s too far out in the future.

Aside from spreading the word on social media, you should be leveraging the traffic on your website. Every single person who comes to your site should immediately know that you have a webinar coming up.

If you don’t have a lot of traffic, try guest posting on popular industry blogs. This can help bring traffic to your site. Just make sure you’re talking about a topic that’s relevant to your presentation.

You may be able to buy ad space on these sites, as well. Don’t just tell people you’ll be webinar hosting in the near future, though. Make sure your ad brings them to a landing page where they can sign up.

Obviously, these types of approaches will take a bit more time, but if you’re starting with nothing, they’ll be worth it for the sake of your hosting efforts.

Not Reminding People About Your Webinar

Everyone’s busy these days, so you shouldn’t take it personally when you start hosting webinars and find that a lot of people who signed up for it aren’t present. Many people will simply forget because they have so many things going on.

Also, keep in mind that, for free webinars, the majority probably won’t turn up. Statistics vary, but conventional wisdom seems to be that if 30% of the people who signed up for your webinar hosting program actually show up, that’s acceptable.

Nonetheless, make sure you’re sending out reminders anyway. When people sign up, you should get their emails so put them to good use.

Make sure you remind people a week before, a day before, the morning of and an hour before your webinar.

On the day of, your emails should include a link they can click to be taken directly to your webinar’s page. You want to make it as easy as humanly possible to get people to your event.

Forgetting to Follow Up

What?

More emails?

Yes!

If you want your webinar hosting efforts to be worth it, then yes, more emails.

You should be sending one out to everyone to thank them for their attendance. If you did a Q&A session (more on that in a minute) after the formal presentation, then thank those who asked questions and add anything you didn’t think of on the fly.

This is also a good email to get more people to watch the replay of your webinar if you recorded it.

People should read the thank you message and think, “Wow. That sounds like it was really informative. I guess I’ll go ahead and watch it.”

A follow up email is a great way to get your webinar in front of even more people.

If you’re hosting webinars to sell a product, this is a no-brainer. You have an objective ROI tied to your presentation, so one or two more emails are definitely worth it if they increase your purchases.

This is why one final email a week or two after the follow up is okay. Again, give some more information to your readers or offer an insight from the webinar and then link to it again.

hosting webinars with interactive features

 

Ending Without a Q&A

No matter how much you prepare for your webinar– including a practice run – you’ll never cover every single piece of information possible. There’s just no way there won’t be people in the audience who want more or need clarification about a certain topic.

Now, think about one of these people on the other side of your webinar. They’ve enjoyed themselves and they like a lot of what you’ve said, but they just can’t seem to make sense of one of your points.

Unfortunately, if you get to the end of your webinar and simply thank everyone and sign off, they’re sitting there with no resolution. Maybe they’ll be able to find their answer online, but that certainly won’t help you.

This is why you should leave time for a Q&A at the end. If your webinar is supposed to be an hour, make it 50 minutes and then ask for questions. Tell your audience you’ll stick around for as long as questions keep coming in, too. If this means 15 minutes, fine. If it means an hour, so be it.

Q&As are such important forms of engagement that you should never host a webinar without them. Again, if you’re doing one to sell a product, you could potentially miss out on a customer because they had question and you weren’t around to give an answer.

Never Hosting Live Webinars

There’s no doubt about it: webinar hosting can do a serious number on your nerves. Most people don’t like to do public speaking to begin with, much less the kind that can be seen all over the world by a group of faceless thousands.

If you want to record your first one or two, do it. However, as soon as you’re even remotely comfortable, start hosting your webinars live.

We already covered the main reason for this: it allows you to do the all-important Q&A sessions.

Live webinars simply flow better, too. There’s a different energy when you know you only have one take and can’t always word everything perfectly. People who are watching will feel a stronger sense of connection to you, too.

You can always record them live and put them online for people to watch, as well. As we mentioned earlier, you should be encouraging people to come back and watch again and again.

Forgetting to Have Fun

We’re dead serious about this.

If you hate hosting webinars and view them as a chore, that will come across to your audience. No matter how much you smile or how much awesome information you cover, it will be clear that you’d rather be somewhere else.

Don’t be hard on yourself for having nerves about doing a webinar. It’s natural. Practice will help a lot, but you’ll still probably feel some butterflies the first time you see the light on your camera and know you’re live.

The trick is to have fun with it, though. Not only will your audience appreciate it (they know they’d be nervous too, by the way), but it will make things that much easier when it’s time to do it again.

Conclusion

Webinars are an art form and, like any form of art, they take practice to get good at. Fortunately, you don’t have to be perfect to put on an effective webinar. Just remember to avoid the above mistakes and you’ll be well on your way to success.

If you want help with this, BigMarker is here. Check out our blog for more free advice or leave a question in the comments below.

Sources:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesinsights/2015/02/19/6-common-webinar-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them/#712666f14229

http://communications.on24.com/10-common-webinar-mistakes

http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/education/white-paper-library/10-common-webinar-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them-white-paper/

http://www.smartsimplemarketing.com/7-common-webinar-mistakes-avoid/

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