Webinars. We all have a preconceived notion of what we expect when we sign up for one. For most, we’ve experienced a spectrum of webinar quality. There are fantastic webinars, which leave us feeling ready to conquer the world. Then there are lackluster webinars, which are kind of ‘meh’ and leave much to be desired in terms of actionable takeaways. Finally, there are ‘waste-of-time’ webinars where we didn’t even keep listening long enough for the takeaways.
Since 50% of B2B marketers use webinars and webcasts, and 32% predict that these tools are critical to their success, it’s important that if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.
Planning a webinar may not necessarily be at the top of your bucket list. But proper planning and considering the needs of your viewers will only result in better audience connection.
In preparation for a webinar series I’m working on, I posed this question on LinkedIn:
What do you hate about webinars? What are your webinar pet peeves?
The answers were insightful, surprising, and real. It turns out, frequent webinar attendees aren’t shy about sharing what they want. I’ve compiled the top 8 pet peeves from precisely who you center your webinars around: the viewer. Check them out and see how they impact the next webinar you host.
1. Too much time introducing the host, guest, companies, etc. before getting to the guts of the presentation.
The sooner you get to the point, the better! As much as we’d like to hope, viewers don’t sign up to exclusively learn more about our presenters and company, especially for topics at the top of funnel.
Brevity is critical when it comes to introductions, especially since studies show the ideal length of time for a webinar is between 30-45 minutes. If the content you present is compelling enough, they’ll want more and reach out, but if you push it with humble-brag intros, you’ll lose fans.
2. Disorganized and repetitive presenters.
In the words of Ben Franklin, “If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” Your viewer scheduled time out of their day in hopes to gain value from what you have to say. Don’t leave them feeling like it’s a waste of their time.
I’ve been to webinars where the presenter wasn’t prepared and webinars where they repeated the same thing in different ways, hoping it would stick. That only led to me checking my email for something more interesting. Put in the time to prepare a well thought out webinar that will show viewers you have your stuff together and are a true thought leader.
3. Too many words on slides.
Images help explain what you’re talking about. When it comes to presentations, the consensus amongst marketers is a whopping 84.3% that said their presentations are highly visually focused. The right visuals are key to engaging viewers and helping them connect the dots. Good slide design is crucial in keeping viewers’ attention, so they’re invested enough in your presentation to retain the knowledge you’re sharing.
Keep design polished and clear, especially when it comes to your fist few slides, since this is when you’ll lure your audience in to sticking around for the main course. The more drawn in I am to a slide, the more willing and ready, I am to comprehend what the presenter has to say.
4. Straying from learning objectives and key themes.
The whole point of an agenda is so viewers know what they’ll be gaining from your presentation. When you get into the meat of the presentation, and only gloss over the main points without much detail, viewers will drop. 38% of attendees consider exciting and relevant content as the webinar trait they engage with the most.
Consider that before signing up for your webinar, viewers made a decision based on what was promised in your summary. Deliver on your agenda and give the people what they came for.
5. Talking at viewers, instead of to them.
Think less script and more conversation. Viewers attend to gain practical tips they can implement – not to hear a 40-minute sales pitch. Yes, you need to deliver a lot of information in a short amount of time, but that doesn’t give you permission to word-vomit. The best webinars are the ones where you deliver relevant information in a way the viewer can enjoy.
You can make a bevy of beautifully designed slides, but if all you do is read them to your viewers, they’ll disconnect. Gain their attention with a narrative. 90% of people believe that a strong narrative in a presentation is critical for an engaged audience. From a viewer’s perspective, if you’re truly a thought leader on the topic, you won’t need a script or to read directly from the slides. Everything will flow naturally like a conversation.
6. Not providing the information to viewers after the show is over.
Your viewer may have tuned into your webinar during their lunch break. They’ll want the information you presented readily available to review when they have more time to digest what it was that specifically drew them to your webinar.
Whether that’s through a copy of slides, links to your websites, or a video recording, be sure to provide the information to your viewers. Multiple content types are better since different content types resonate better with different prospects.
7. Add humor.
We all know webinars can be a bit dry. Throw in some personality and make it fun whenever possible. Spouting off nothing but technical product information gets old quick. Humor helps you become more likable to your audience, putting them at ease, which equals an audience more receptive to your ideas. Add in tidbits of humor or funny stories to gain laughs and connect with viewers on a human level.
8. Walk the walk.
Don’t just share one-off stories. Viewers need real stats and metrics to get them to buy into what you’re saying. Using a narrative is a great way to reel in a viewer, but viewers want solid proof of why this is going to work if they take the time to implement it.
As you prepare for your next webinar, keep this feedback in mind to shift the viewer experience from the run-of-the-mill to 40-minute value sharing spectacular. By knowing what your viewers do and don’t want, you’ll be well on your way to delivering a webinar that imparts wisdom and gains the attention of prospective buyers.