Amy Moczynski / Digital Strategy / April 12th, 2012

5 Things Not to Do in Your Webinars

Webinars are a great way for businesses to reach out
directly to customers and prospective customers to share industry information
or give a basic how-to session. At 352 Media, we’ve done webinars on social
media basics, SEO tricks, as well as information on improving calls to action
and the navigation for your website.

We weren’t looking to pitch a new product or get people to
buy a new shiny toy to make their business run better. We did it to offer information
from industry professionals for free.

I recently attended a webinar that I left halfway through
out of pure irritation. This company did a host of things I consider huge
errors for anyone presenting a webinar, so I’m sharing my critiques here should
you ever host a webinar of your own.

1. Don’t spend the
first 15 minutes of an hour-long webinar talking about yourself, your company,
your history, what you’ll be covering…

Your attendees’ time is valuable. Don’t make them sit around
while you boast about how wonderful your products and services are. Instead, show them how wonderful you are by
beginning the session on time and making the experience worth their while. If
you haven’t started diving into the information within the first 5 minutes of
your webinar, you’re running behind schedule.

2. Don’t entice
people in with a free webinar only to pitch your products or services

I understand that having a captive audience hanging on your
every word is a great place to tout your new product. But, people aren’t coming
to your webinar to learn about a product. They are coming because of the
subject matter you planned to discuss. If your webinar is only serving as a
backdrop for a product you’re offering, you’re doing it all wrong. No one likes
a narcissist, so talk about something other than yourself.

3. Deliver what you
promise

If you’re going to offer someone a more effective game plan for
managing PPC accounts, give them that information. If you have a tool or
service that can help them manage the account, feel free to mention it.
However, the idea of the webinar should be managing PPC accounts, not your new
product or service. If you aren’t offering your attendees anything of value,
you’re essentially offering them an infomercial about what you do. Not everyone
likes infomercials but everyone enjoys information. Make the distinction clear
and don’t con people into attending an hour-long product pitch.

4. Realize that your
attendees’ time is valuable

The people watching your webinars are professionals eager to
learn. Make their time worthwhile and give them information they can use and
apply to their business. Start on time, provide them with good tips, and be
sure to answer questions as they come. The more interactive you can be with
your audience, the better. Attendees will likely have questions of their own,
and this hour they’ve reserved to listen to you speak might be the perfect
opportunity for them to seek their answer.

5. Put together a
quality visual presentation and speak slowly

Realize that people attending the webinars are going to be
trying to listen to you speak, most likely over a speakerphone while they are
typing notes. Put together informative visuals for people to reference and
elaborate on key points further while you are speaking. While having a photo of
a soccer ball and two sentences on attaining goals might look visually
appealing and keep your presentation clutter-free, what is that telling people?
Keep your audience ever in mind and make sure they aren’t struggling to write
down key points off your slides while also trying to remember what exactly you
were saying.

Also make sure you speak slowly enough for attendees taking
notes. In general, apply the old rule of theater and speak at a slower pace
than you think is necessary. Typically, people speak faster when they are
nervous and this can lead to confused webinar attendees who are scrambling to
write down the last three sentences you rattled off while presenting your
slides.