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5 Rookie Webinar Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them)

August 7, 2015

After 15+ years of using webinars to boost my sales, you can bet that I’ve made every mistake in the book! I want to share some of those rookie mistakes with you here, along with specific tactics to help you seamlessly bypass any unnecessary challenges that might get in the way.

These tactics took me years to learn, but you can take the lessons you discover here now and instantly apply them as you build your webinar strategy

Mistake #1: Fearing the Transition from Content to Sales

While on my webinar, when the time came to move from my free, value-add content to selling my online course, something inside me would awkwardly shift . . . and my audience could feel it.

When I finally began to talk about the product I was selling, everything changed in me –my voice, my tone, my confidence level. I would start to ramble on, desperately looking for a talking point that would allow me to subtly shift from content to promotion…and it never came. It was painful (for ME and my audience)

Over time, I realized that the problem was all in my perspective. I felt like I was doing something wrong by making a sales pitch, at the very moment when I had most reason to feel confident about it.

  • Takeaway: The right perspective will give you a seamless transition.

After giving away an hour’s worth of your best content (not to mention all the time you took to craft your impeccable webinar), you have more than earned the opportunity to promote your product.

Also, this shift is about mindset. Do you believe in what you are selling? Do you know that it can make a positive impact in your audience’s lives? If so, then look at it as your responsibility to get it out into the world. Make it your mission.

One more reminder. If your webinar content is fully aligned with your product, the sales pitch will flow naturally from content to promotion. In fact, your audience will see your product as the next step in taking action on what you’ve just taught them. It’s a win/win all around.

Mistake #2: Too Much Content on Each Slide

There’s both an art and a science to creating a valuable webinar that reflects well on your brand. The art is the look and feel of your slide deck: font, colors, imagery, and words. The science comes in with how much of all these elements you put into each slide and how you craft the flow.

In the past, I would load a bunch of content into every slide. I kid you not, sometimes I’d have only 20-30 slides for a 60-minute webinar! What happened was that nobody was actually listening to me. Instead, they were multitasking because I lost their attention and impatiently tapping their feet for the next slide to show up. Not good!

You can’t just depend on your voice for the energy in a webinar. You need to keep the slides moving to create a dynamic flow that keeps your audience interested.

  • Takeaway: Use your slides as a guide to your message.

I recommend that for a 60-minute webinar, you have at least 80 slides. Use each slide to visually punctuate what you’re saying and keep things interesting.

It can be as simple as a single image/graphic or just a couple of words. Never stay on a slide too long or you will lose your audience quickly.

Keeping the slides simple and moving through them quickly will not only keep your audience engaged, but it will get you into a more energetic flow.

Mistake #3: Lack of an Onboarding Process

Once people have signed up for your webinar, it’s your job to get them excited about it until your webinar airs. Get them thinking ahead of time about the topic you’re going cover so they show up ready to learn and engage.

I found out how important onboarding is after a few webinars with dismal attendance rates…sometimes as low as 20%. That feeling of failure totally ruined my energy in the presentation. It’s pretty hard to deliver your content when you feel as if no one cares.

That’s why it’s your job to make sure they care. A LOT.

  • Takeaway: Get intentional with your onboarding.

I’ve doubled my average attendance rate for webinars by spending quality time on my onboarding email sequence.

You want to send a series of 3 to 4 emails BEFORE your webinar airs to ensure that your registrants show up live. This is important for both live and automated webinars where you are offering air time at specific dates and times.

Even if you plan to send out a replay, it’s paramount to encourage live attendance. Why? When people take the time to be present, it’s easier to make a connection with them, they are more engaged and ultimately more likely to buy.

In your onboarding emails, you have many options to encourage live attendance. Tell stories about how the content you’re going to offer changed your life or your students' lives. Offer a workbook for them to use during the webinar. Encourage them to make time to invest in themselves. Give them a tease of the content.

Above all, remind them in each email of the date, the time, and that showing up live is the best way for them to get the most out of it.

Mistake #4: Weak Follow-Up

This mistake really cost me in the past. Once a webinar aired, I’d send maybe one or two emails afterward to thank people for coming and encourage them to buy the product I promoted on the webinar.

What I didn’t do was make those emails specific enough to address my still-on-the-fence buyers.

The thing is, a webinar will get your hottest prospects in a “buying state,” but they still require the right information, motivation, and assurance they can trust you to get them to the finish line.

  • Takeaway: Use your follow-up to educate and inspire your audience toward a buying decision.

The follow-up email sequence makes sure that you tap into the goldmine that awaits after your webinar is over.

Use your follow-up emails to first offer the replay (where they will hear your sales pitch again) and then talk about the product in terms of benefits, features and opportunities.

As your emails continue, move into sharing stories, case studies and examples of how your product will benefit them. This is your chance to sell in a way that continues adding value to your audience.

Mistake #5: Rushing through the Q&A

I used to plan on 15 minutes of Q&A, at the most. When my time was up, I’d hop off the webinar, leaving maybe a hundred people who still had questions. (Read: objections to purchasing my product).

Your Q&A session (usually at the end of your webinar) cannot be an afterthought! It’s a huge part of the engagement (and the selling power) of a webinar.

  • Takeaway: Stay as long as you need to until everyone is satisfied.

I can’t stress this enough: the people who stay for Q&A are your buyers. You want them to feel fully supported in their journey toward making a purchase.

Once you begin your Q&A, prepare a few quality questions that you can use to get the ball rolling. That’s when you have the most captive audience, so don’t waste a bad question on an interested audience!

Once you’ve answered a handful of quality questions, if you have just a few people hanging out with you still, stay there. If you know your audience well, you’ll know what objections they might have and can continue to address them. If you are not getting quality questions, prompt your audience with some questions for them to get them talking in the comments section and then they will begin to ask away

If you have the opposite problem–too many questions–pick the ones that will be relevant to the greatest number of people in your audience.

Final Thought

Remember, the strength of your webinar is all about connecting with your audience.

And when you have a great product, intimate knowledge of your attendees, and a belief in the value of your message, you have everything it takes to create a powerful connection that gets people pumped about doing business with you.

Take a deep breath and dive in–you can do this!

Results are not guaranteed. Please see earnings disclaimer for more detail.

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