Webinar Technique:Cash is King-How to Retain Your Attendee’s Attention During a Webinar

I attended a great webinar yesterday, entitled What Converts? Building Landing Pages that Evoke Action. The two speakers were Kim Albee, a content marketing and sales expert from ContentZap, and Margaret Johnson, from Genoo, who provides an online marketing platform. I wasn’t aware of either company or person before I received the invitation, but since I sell books and consulting services from my website, the headline and pitch letter were compelling and I signed on. 

The purpose of this blog post is to tell you what the promoters and speakers did right before, during, and after the webinar, not to pass long any subject matter knowledge gained during the webinar. But I did want to post one slide, which shows the importance of a good landing page. 

To explain, in marketing the webinar, the promoters tried two landing pages. The one on the left had a 97% conversion rate, the one on the right had a 33% conversion rate. What was interesting was that the speakers polled the audience to guess which page was more effective, and the audience was split 50:50. The point? You never know until you test. And, of course, that design and many other factors really, really matter. 

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Webinar Technique Review

What was noteworthy from a webinar technique perspective? Multiple things. 

First, the (only) bad. The group used GoToWebinar for the presentation. I signed on way early because I got mixed up on the time zones (my bad), and after I got in, I saw this message pop up. 

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Seemed kind of harsh to me; as in get your sh*t together in 5 or you’re history. Seems like GoToWebinar could craft a more friendly message; the speakers cleared things up in time, so I never learned what would happen if they missed the deadline. 

On to the webinar technique review. 

Before the webinar: The speakers worked hard to maximize attendees by sending out a number of emails before the event, both simple reminders, and a notice that the event was oversubscribed, and that if you didn’t sign in early, you may not have a space. They also promised and delivered three pieces of content before and after the webinar. Their approach came across as a desire to start a relationship; not to sell me something. 

I typically take a more hand’s off approach; as in hey, I sent them an Outlook reminder, if they want to come, they’ll come. I may rethink that. 

Media quality: The webinar was audio-only, and the audio quality was very good for both speakers. 

Speaking approach: The two speakers went tag team, with Ms. Albee doing most of the talking, and Ms. Johnson chiming in occasionally and handling all webinar system related functions, like polling. The two speakers seemed to know each other well, and were game-show perky, which I certainly couldn’t pull off, but worked well for them.  

Tag team is definitely a nice approach, and a nice change from the typical introduction and hand off to single speaker or multiple consecutive solo speakers used for most webinars. Not only did it keep me more attentive, I also think it gave Ms. Albee multiple mini-breaks along the way, helping her stay fresh. Lord knows, it’s tough to stay energized through a fifty-minute presentation when you’re speaking into your computer monitor. I’m not sure how to build this into future webinars, but it’s worth a thought. 

Use of system: The pair made excellent use of the system, with two polls during the event, and multiple uses of the hand raise function, as in raise your hand if this is the first webinar on landing page optimization that you’ve attended. I didn’t even know this one existed, but it was useful, and seemed to produce a good response

The speakers also gave away two $50 gift cards to the first attendee who correctly answered a question at the beginning and end of the webinar. The question was based on webinar content, which gave everyone an extra incentive to listen closely. I’m happy to report that your humble correspondent won the second $50 card (see below); please don’t tell my daughters, who assume that everything I earn, win, or otherwise get my hands on, automatically belongs to them. 

Incidentally, the speakers used the chat function for the gift card giveaway, showing a slide and awarding the card to the first person who typed in the right answer. This worked well.

Content presentation: I received an outside phone call as the webinar started, so I missed the first four or five minutes. Perhaps there was a sales pitch then, but otherwise, the webinar was pitch-free; it was all about the content. This makes me feel very good about the presenters; if they offer another webinar in a topic area that I’m interested in, I’d definitely attending.

The slides were very well developed, with lots of images and data, not much text. The text they did use was presented bullet point by bullet point, a technique I haven’t used either in person or online, but will do so in the future. Not only does it keep the viewers from reading ahead, but it also makes sure that the speaker covers every major point on the slide. 

So, what did I learn (besides landing page stuff)? 

  • Consider a tag team approach for future webinars
  • Be more positively aggressive about getting registrants to attend; focus on providing value and starting a relationship.
  • Resolve to use more system features, including polling and raising hands
  • Gift cards are a great way to keep viewers focused on the content
  • With text heavy slides, go bullet point by bullet point

That’s it.

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About Jan Ozer

I help companies train new technical hires in streaming media-related positions; I also help companies optimize their codec selections and encoding stacks, and evaluate new encoders and codecs.

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