Webinars have become a top strategy to find an audience, share incredible value, and build your brand and business. People want to see and hear you, learn your story, and how your product or service will transform their life. But what people do not want is an incredibly poor experience because you and your team did not take into account the brand strategy behind it.
There has been a long running debate online about webinars. A few years ago, the technology was such that it was almost more of a pain to join or run a webinar than it was to travel for an in-person meeting or conference. Now, webinar technology has become so advanced, your dashboard is like that of a television studio. This has led to the rise of evergreen or pre-recorded webinars. The problem is, the inconsistencies are so bad it is, in my opinion, hurting the individuals and brands that are promoting this type of event.
While the technology behind the platform is incredible, the experience that your company offers to the audience that signs up matters 100 times more. Why? They are taking time out of their schedule to listen to what you have to say, let alone hear you pitch your “amazing new product or service.“
What the audience does not want is a poor experience, one that leaves them wondering why they signed up in the first place. And worse yet, how can I get off of this email list?!
My Experience with Webinars
I’ve become a big fan of webinars as a way to learn. Not just the information that the individual is teaching, but in looking at the overall brand experience before, during, and after the webinar. There is definitely a strategy to it! And while you can pretty quickly realize webinar presenters use templates provided by their webinar platform provider, many are also missing a lot of the nuances that go into designing and delivering an exceptional brand experience.
The Trouble with Evergreen (Recorded) Webinars
The concept for evergreen webinars is fantastic. The idea that you can put in the immense amount of effort to produce a live webinar event and then have that content available in an evergreen sort of way to run on repeat, continuously selling your produce or service for you passively – that is the dream.
With a few major downsides. The execution of these pre-recorded webinar events sucks. Yep – I said it. The questions that need to be asked when producing an evergreen webinar as a recurring strategy are the following:
- What is the webinar experience you are working to create?
- How do you want your audience to feel?
- How will this content work after the live session?
- How can the pre-recorded webinar stay interactive? (polls, questions)
- How can bonuses and special offers be delivered to the audience seamlessly?
These questions often go unanswered simply because the webinar host has not put any thought into them. Here’s the kicker – it shows.
3 Webinar Inconsistencies to Avoid
1. If you call out the technology platform that you are using, make sure the recorded webinar is on that platform.
I just recently attended a webinar where the hostess called out how much they loved using GoToWebinar. The problem was, I had signed up via WebinarJam and was viewing the webinar through WebinarJam. This immediately broke the brand experience and cast doubt on the entire presentation. What else wasn’t she telling me?
2. If the webinar is interactive (it should be), find a way to make it interactive as a recorded experience.
It was bad enough the webinar experience was shattered when it became apparent that it was pre-recorded and from a different platform, but when she went to poll the audience, there was no way for me to participate. Putting together a strategy for how to overcome this and how to provide an exceptional experience recorded and live is incredibly important. You are making an impression – most likely a first impression. As you continue to shatter the brand experience you are building, how will your audience trust you?
3. If offering a bonus, have a system or process in place to deliver it smoothly to the audience members
So while the brand experience may have been shattered, the content is what is valuable. If the host offers a bonus to those who stay to the end, they should be able to obtain that bonus no matter if it is a recorded or live session. I’ve sat through two or three webinars now of people I admire as online entrepreneurs, only to be completely dissapointed and left feeling like they dropped the ball. Has this happened to you?
BONUS 4. If you have pre-determined that the live webinar will also be turned into an evergreen piece of content, you must stay in character during your performance.
Look, I get that it feels more “natural” to wing it during your webinars. You want to be relatable. Here’s the problem. You are producing a piece of content that will be used for the next 12-18 months on a continuous cycle. If you do not perform at a high level, the content will not be as valuable as it could be, leading to lower sales and a poor brand perception. Here’s a few examples:
- Mentioning the time of year – do not do it- it breaks the experience altogether.
- Referencing the day – chances are the recorded webinar will be available on any of the 7 days. If you mentioned the day and the audience is watching it on a different day – the experience is shattered.
- Mentioning upcoming events – a recent webinar I attended mentioned a program that was launching in the fall – they also mentioned the year, which immediately dated the entire experience!
- Words matter and so does your slide deck – there is a movement out there to make things ugly because they sell better. You do not need to hire a designer, but you do need to put effort into your slides- they are what your audience will be focused on.
- Websites and Links Matter – think about the user experience of a webinar attendee. If, after hearing your offer, they decide to purchase, the link you tell them to go to should be live, active, and match the look and feel of the webinar they just attended. Enhance the experience by tieing these elements together.
Webinars Are a Great Tool When You Use Them Correctly
I am all for webinars. I think they offer tremendous value, a great interactive platform, and a way to reach an audience you otherwise would not have been able to. However, if you are going to do them, you must put in the effort to create an effective strategy for implementation and execution.
Your brand experience depends on it!
Over to You
What’s been your experience with webinars and recorded webinars? How can recorded webinars be improved? How can you provide the best user experience possible? Leave a comment below. Or connect with me on Twitter @BWarsinske.
Also published on Medium.