What's Wrong with Your Webinarzzzzzz?

Barry Feldman President, Feldman Creative

Posted on August 20th 2012

What's Wrong with Your Webinarzzzzzz?
I’m ready. You’re ready. Let’s go! I’m at your webinar. You did some things well. You gave it a compelling title, priced it right ($0), promoted it, and reminded me at strategic times.
Not so fast. First, you have some housekeeping rules for us. Next, it appears you panelist people will be introducing each other, complimenting each other and making speeches about how excited you are. I’m not quite as excited, but perhaps I soon will be.

Flickr/Creative Commons - photo by tsmall

No such luck. It seems it’s now time to look at the agenda for our 45 – 60 minutes together. Can we start now? I wish. Now, you want to let me know you’ll be taking questions at the end, fielding tweets throughout, recording this hour, offering some lovely parting gifts, offering an amazing today-only offer to all those in attendance, and making the slides to the soon-to-begin snooze fest available for free.

Oh crap, you almost forgot: there will also be a follow-up survey at the conclusion.

I could be happier. I’ve been hanging with you for 15 minutes and haven’t learned a damn thing. I can’t even remember what prompted me to block this hour for you. And dammit… I’m 20 emails behind. I have deadlines today and I forgot to pony up for the 50-cents Starbucks refill.

I want to be entertained.

When Seinfeld takes the stage, he tells a joke. A great one. Immediately. If it’s a Springsteen show, it’ll start off with a rock and roll explosion—one of his greatest hits. No housekeeping. No agenda.

Whether you like these same entertainers or not, I’m hoping to have been less than subtle in developing my argument and making my point.

You’re the entertainer. I’m the audience. At the end of this ordeal, I suspect you’ll want me to buy your album. It’s not going to happen. I’ll never make it to the end. You’re boring.

Leading bail factors.

I’ll call upon some research now and thank the always informative MarketingSherpa for the data supplied in “What Causes Webinar Attendees to Bail?” They’ve reported your top four bail factors are:

  • You were already familiar with the information
  • Webinar began with sales information
  • The presenter read you the slides
  • (And the biggest bail factor of them all) The content was not as advertised

Uhhhhhhhhhhhhgh. If you attend a decent dose of webinars, you really didn’t need this research.

Bring on the smelling salts.

Provided you consider it a bad thing that your attendees leave, hurt themselves, or doze off at your webinar, let’s discuss some possible remedies. 

  • Promote the real deal—Dig into the topic as advertised. Refrain from the “putting rears in seats at any cost” mentality. It’ll bite you in the butt. The MarketingSherpa guys say, “under-sell and over-deliver.” 
  • Get going—Why are we meeting like this? Do you have something to say? SAY IT! Say it loud. Say it proud. Say it within the first 10 seconds or I’m not even going to bother to say “goodbye.” Webinars start so slowly, I’m now in the habit of showing up strategically late.
  • Keep your damn brochure to yourself—Was this webinar advertised as a product demo? C’mon.
  • Bring something new—Webinar that plod on the same old same old have gotten old. I might have heard the same thing elsewhere—or even from you. Put an original slant on the stuff or just nix it.
  • Take out what you don’t need—Charts. Acceptance speeches. Mutual admiration. Blah, blah, blah. Why? Why? Oh why? Puhleeze, if it’s steak, serve it up. If it’s sizzle, shine it.
  • Take chances—No one here wants to hear you spout clichés. Go for it. Be memorable or be forgotten. 
  • Make your slides and your speech different—In preschool the teachers used to show us the page and read it to us at the same time. Now that we’re mostly grownups, any chance you might improvise a little? 
  • Put on a show—Maybe you don’t have it in you to be entertaining. Most people don’t. Find someone who does. 

Keeping the faith.

I get invitations to special webinars all day everyday. Many sound good. So I keep registering and I keep the faith expecting the next one—yours—won’t hit me like two Benadryl pills.

I’m batting under .300 though. It might be acceptable in baseball. It’s intolerable in the webinar business.

C’mon dude, lady, panel, whoever… Amp it up. Say something. Make it funny. Make it hurt. Make me feel something. Not 20 or 30 minutes after I tune in. Toss that friggen’ firecracker at me in the first 15 seconds. Start off with a bang. Give me a reason to stay awake and to stay put.

Do you host webinars? If so, share with us your secrets for keeping the audience engaged. Do you tend to sleep through webinars? Tell us why. 





Barry Feldman

President, Feldman Creative

Barry Feldman operates Feldman Creative and provides clients content marketing strategies that rock and creative that rolls. Barry authors "Content Marketing Minds" here at Social Media Today and has recently been named a Top 40 Digital Strategist by Online Marketing Institute and one of 25 Social Media Marketing Experts You Need to Know by LinkedIn. 

Barry recently released a comprehensive strategic workbook "The Planner for Growing Your Business with Effective Online Marketing." If you would like a piece of his mind, visit Feldman Creative and his blog, The Point. Find Barry on Google+.

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Posted on August 20th 2012 at 6:53PM

Great stuff Barry. Thanks for the tip on arriving 15 minutes late to webinars.

Posted on August 21st 2012 at 8:19PM

Yikes. Not so sure that was a tip. If it was, I don't feel good about offering it. I don't want you to be late. I want the presenter to start engaging me from the get-go. 

Posted on August 21st 2012 at 8:21PM

I noticed you have the same last name and my brother's first two initials. I wonder if we may know each other.

Posted on August 21st 2012 at 8:03AM

Outstanding piece Feldman.Engagment is an important part in marketing of  medical products through social media.Doctors cannot afford to overlook the advice provided.

Erick kinuthia

Team MDwebpro.com

Posted on August 21st 2012 at 8:20PM

Thanks Dr. K. Loved your comment.


Posted on August 22nd 2012 at 2:03AM

Thanks for a great post Barry...I just recently started using webinars and these tips will definitely come in handy! I'm going to start practicing my opening joke tomorrow! :-)