The ability to share your content via webinars, whether it be a sales message or straight training has been one of the biggest boons for information marketers in the last 10 years. You have the ability to do them live or record them and have them available to watch via replay upon request or at normally scheduled times with tools such as WP Webinar.
Your webinars can include slides such as PowerPoint presentations, screen sharing where you show the viewer things as you do them on your computer, pre-recorded videos or any other number of things.
Regardless of the media you choose to incorporate within your webinar, the biggest factor by far in the success of delivering your content is to simply get people to show up.
Show rates can depend on a lot of thing such as if it’s free or a paid webinar. The average rates seem to be between 30 and 40%. That means at least six out of every ten people who sign up for your webinar will not attend the live presentation.
That’s why it is imperative that you record any webinar you present and make the replay available—usually for both the people that originally signed up as well as for newcomers. One study said that 55% of their registrants viewed the webinar recording vs. the live presentation.
Assuming there was no overlap in the people attending live and those watching the recording that put total attendance at around 90% for them. Now that’s pretty impressive.
Bryan and I once did an entire 90 minute webinar and then realized we had forgotten to press the “Start Recording” button within our webinar control panel. I can tell you it wasn’t much doing the entire webinar over again right away, as we had to have the recording. It’s difficult to keep your energy levels up where they were during the first presentation and you’ve lost the interaction of your live audience when you have to do an immediate do-over.
Another factor impacting show rates is certainly the day of the week which you do your webinar. Obviously, you want to avoid weekends in almost all cases. But you also typically want to avoid Mondays and Fridays, as those seem to be catch-up days for people so they’re less likely to take time out of their schedule to view a live webinar.
It’s generally reported that Tuesdays are best, followed by Wednesday and then Thursday. Time of day can also be a factor. The most popular time seems to be between two and three in the afternoon east coast time. But as with all marketing, you should test to see what works best for your industry and target market. Some people have great success with evening presentations depending upon who is their target audience. For example, if you’re targeting people that most likely have a nine to five job about a business opportunity they may not be free to watch during normal business hours.
We recommend that for any webinar that has been recorded for playback later that you include a menu bar on the left side of the screen that is essentially your table of contents. Each topic in that menu can be clicked to take the end user directly to a particular section of your content in which they are most interested. Some may opt to force the viewer to watch the content from beginning to end, but what happens if your customer is interrupted one hour into a five-hour training? No one will want to have to start again from the beginning or try to find the spot where they left off in the middle of your training.
You should also have a progress meter along the bottom of your screen that shows the consumer how far into your presentation they are and what the total length of time is. If your total time is much longer than even 60-90 minutes you may consider breaking your webinar into multiple parts. That way the viewer gets the psychological satisfaction of seeing that progress bar moving steadily forward vs. creeping along.
Also try to figure out what you can do to encourage audience interaction during your webinar.
Can you poll your audience, open up the line to individuals to ask questions or anything else that will increase overall interaction? Be sure you give people a reason to stay around to the end. Try incorporating a preview of a coming attraction later in the presentation that encourages people to stick around.
Finally, with the explosion of mobile devices these days be sure that your webinar video is recorded in mp4 format. You just never know these days how someone will choose to consume your content. Webinars will continue to grow as a sales and content delivery method. As with all methods, you need to do everything you can to make your information easily consumable for the audience you want to reach.