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Why Overly Commercial Webinars Fail

Push a product too hard, and you’ll bomb.


Josh Gordon By Josh Gordon
08/12/2008 -13:28 PM






From time to time I find myself in a conversation with an advertiser who wants to sponsor an overly commercial webinar. Bad idea. Webinars that push product and do not provide useful information usually bomb.

Share this chart with them to explain that attendance in a webinar is voluntary and unless the event is honestly presented and the content has�real value attendees will leave their sponsored webinar with a less favorable attitude than when they started.

The key metric that tells you your webinar is failing is the number of attendees who click out of your event before it is over.

This chart from a Marketing Sherpa study measured the reasons attendees give for leaving a webinar before the program is finished.

From the study:

"Lack of honesty about content heads the list, followed closely by less-than-dynamic presenters who need better communication skills.

Key takeaway:

Misleading visitors is often an innocent mistake. Marketers write copy about webinars given by internal or external experts, and the true topic gets lost in translation. Sometimes, the marketer manipulates the topic by including what he thinks the audience wants to hear. Presenters should always get a look at and sign off on the main topics being pitched by marketing. Opt to under-sell and over-deliver.

Another key takeaway:

People like presenters who grab their attention, even if they're not funny (although being entertaining doesn't hurt). But they do need to be sufficiently dynamic. Unskilled presenters who read from slides will bore attendees and see head counts drop steadily throughout the session.

Webinar speakers also feel stress, although they are under less pressure than those at live events. Often, in technology sales, talented scientists and programmers don't turn out to be dynamic speakers. What you gain in authority at a webinar, you will lose in boredom. Consider sending such folks to speaker training or use a two-presenter approach. Adding a team member with great communication skills can offset a dry presenter.

Shorter webinars are in vogue now – despite no evidence that says shorter presentations garner more opt-ins or more enthusiastic reviews. At the same time, respondents don't seem too worried about webinars that run a full hour. Let the content dictate length, and leave plenty of time for questions. If you expect certain questions, consider saving some relevant content for Q&A. The change in format can enliven the audience."

Don't let bad webinars happen to your clients.

Click here to read more about the study.

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Josh Gordon By Josh Gordon -- Josh Gordon is president of Smarter Media Sales.com where he works with publishers to maximize their online and print revenue through training, consulting, and representation.

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