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Since corona a lot more companies have been organizing webinars. And sometimes things can go wrong. Do you want to prevent big blunders? These are the eleven things to really avoid, according to our webinar expert Cindy Ottenhoff.

1. An unclear topic

A topic that is too general can be a risk. The danger is that this can attract participants you don’t want to attract or that the message during the webinar is unclear. Before the webinar, think carefully about what your goal is and what target audience you want to appeal to. In many cases this already gives a good direction for defining the title. Example: you want to attract starting investors. A good title would be: “A webinar for starting investors.” Or you want to attract people who are close to retirement. The title could be: “Almost retiring? What does it mean for you?” It’s wise to mention the target audience in the title, so that readers immediately know whether or not it’s meant for them’.

2. Not enough interaction

‘If you only want to transmit, you might as well record a video. The great thing about a webinar is that you can interact with your audience. And people want to participate. My advice is to use around one poll question per ten minutes. These should of course be valuable for the content of the webinar. A poll question at the beginning of the webinar can be a nice way to directly involve all participants in the story.

Of course, the live chat function also offers the possibility to submit questions to the experts at any time throughout the webinar. My advice is to always have a few questions prepared in order to start the interaction, in case questions do not come directly from the audience’.

3. Going on longer than agreed

‘When preparing the webinar, always stick to the time that was communicated to the participants. Continuing longer causes participants to drop out. They will miss the valuable call-to-action or survey at the end of the webinar and that would be a shame.

A webinar is not only about transmitting information, but also has a lot of interaction with the participants. With a webinar of one hour we advise to spend 45 minutes on content and 15 minutes for the interaction with the participants’.

4. Bad preparation

‘Don’t have any experience presenting a webinar or standing in front of a camera? Make sure you have prepared yourself well. If you are presenting the webinar with multiple speakers, make sure that the storylines are nicely connected and that everyone takes sufficient account of the interaction during the webinar.

Our presenter training can be of great help in preparing the webinar. During the training we give tips & tricks for presenting and using the interaction possibilities. Our experience shows that the training delivers very good results.

Our advice is to start determining the red thread of the story about four weeks in advance. Determine in advance what the purpose of this webinar is and take this into account in the preparation. Then you can start finetuning’.

5. Too much sales talk

‘A webinar is no Tell-Sell. If it gets too salesy, people drop out. They’re looking for real information and they wouldn’t be watching the webinar if they didn’t have sympathy for your brand. It’s much better if it’s not too pushy. However, I always recommend placing a call to action at the end of the webinar. If people are interested, they would like to get on with you. Keep the call to action light-hearted. For example: “Is this valuable to you? Would you like to know more? You can now book a free introductory call via this link”. “So keep it sympathetic’.

6. Too little promotion

‘Sometimes companies say “We were expecting more participants.” When I ask about the promotion, they say “We included the announcement once in a newsletter.” That’s simply not enough. People almost always have to see a message several times before they are convinced. My advice is to send the first invitation at least two weeks before the webinar and two more reminders in the run-up to the webinar. Sending the last reminder on the day of the webinar or one day before the webinar works very well.’

7. Don’t put on unsuitable clothes

‘In my experience, people are overdressed rather than underdressed. Suddenly they wear a tie, which they would never do otherwise. Your look should suit who you are, it shouldn’t be an act. So if you always wear jeans, do it in the studio. You’ll be much more recognizable to potential clients.’

8. Not the right speaker

It is pleasant for everyone if the speaker enjoys presenting: for the speaker himself, but also for the viewer. Speaking is not something to underestimate, you have to do quite a lot: chat, poll, present, keep time. That is not always easy. Hiring a professional moderator can be a great way to make the experts more comfortable, take various tasks off their hands and lead and summarize the conversation’.

9. Absence of data collection

‘A webinar is the perfect moment to collect valuable data about your participants. I notice that many companies are reluctant to do this. Can I ask this? And am I not asking too much? No, I always say, just do it! Because participants are anonymous, they reveal a lot. It’s a shame not to take advantage of this. Would you switch banks, for example? That’s a very legitimate question. Keep in mind that when a viewer is interested in your product, they are also open to reveal information about themselves.

There are multiple moments during a webinar where you can collect data, so it doesn’t all have to be done at once. Think of the registration form, the poll questions, the call-to-action during the webinar or the survey afterwards. All these functionalities offer the possibility to sketch a nice profile of a participant’.

10. A bad presentation

‘If your presentation is too hectic, the logo is always somewhere else, there is no clear storyline: then you overwhelm the viewer. So keep it simple. The presentation really is an addition to the video. If necessary, have the presentation made by someone who does that more often. Don’t put too much text on the slides. That way you keep it pleasant for the viewer’.

11. Bad timing

‘Your webinar during an important soccer game? On Whit Monday? When your target audience is at an important conference? Don’t do that. Check all calendars for any possible overlap. It prevents many disappointments. Of course, there is always a possibility to watch the webinar afterwards, but of course nothing beats the live experience’.