Companies are increasingly incorporating webinars as a key component of their marketing strategies. Webinars allow them to get before hundreds of people with relatively little effort and cost while generating significant results.
The advantages of webinars are straightforward. They allow both presenters and attendees to save significant amounts of time, energy and money by avoiding the travel required for more traditional live presentations. Presentation costs are also minimized since all that is required for a webinar is a computer and an Internet connection.
Most webinars last between 30 to 60 minutes, with some extending up to 90 minutes or beyond, but these are increasingly rare. People just don’t have the patience or time for such a long presentation.
The first few minutes of a webinar are spent introducing the presenter or speaker to the audience. This helps the audience relate to the speaker while also burnishing the latter’s credentials. The final minutes of a webinar – the questions and answers segment – further enhances the speaker’s relationship and credentials with the audience.
Roughly 60 percent of the presentation consists of quality content. This is why people attend webinars – for the content. If this content or the presentation is poor, attendees will leave in droves. They’re there for the content – which should be unique, interesting and different from what they can obtain by merely reading an online article.
While the critical part of the webinar for the audience is the content, the critical piece for the presenter is the call to action (CTA). It’s usually the purpose behind the creation of the webinar. After all, very few people are going to spend the time to create and promote a webinar simply because they are altruistic; webinars are for business.
Let’s say I want to sell a product or service. For this example, let’s use a QuickBooks service. I create a webinar, invite a lot of people to attend and present some really interesting information about QuickBooks that is designed to highlight and solve a common problem that QuickBooks users frequently encounter. Now that I’ve presented some great and useful information to my audience, my call to action might consist of offering my knowledge and services to them or selling a product that automates their bookkeeping activities. It’s that simple – and difficult.
One of the difficulties is the ability to easily leave a webinar. If I physically attend an in-person presentation, even if it’s not very good I won’t abruptly leave. I’ve invested too much energy and time (and probably money) to attend. Conversely, with webinars I’ve made no such investment. All I’ve done is click on a link and fill out a signup form to attend. I can just as easily exit from a webinar without any remorse by a simple mouse click. This is a big problem encountered by many presenters.
Another problem is attracting an audience. While in theory this sounds easy, sending out an email to a mailing list and contacting friends and followers in social media frequently provides disheartening results. People are very busy and do not have the time or inclination to attend a webinar – even if it’s relevant to their work – unless it has some perceived value. Furthermore, they must be motivated to take action by the call to action, an often difficult task.
This is the crux and goal of any webinar: being able to offer great content and perceived value to a highly targeted audience and then getting them to take action. When this is accomplished, great results will occur. What makes these results even more attractive is that webinars can easily be repeated as both live and on-demand recordings that continue to produce excellent results.
Bruce Newman is the president of wwWebevents.com, a division of The Productivity Institute, LLC in Carmel. He is a social media guru and a specialist on webinar creation and promotion. Newman is currently completing a comprehensive webinar training course, The Complete Webinar Training Course – Everything you need to know to create and promote highly successful webinars, which will be available in late October. Newman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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