13 mistakes you can make when preparing and leading a webinar
Webinars are a great solution for remote training, since your audience can access them from anywhere that they have an Internet connection.
Although it might sound simple - you just display a presentation and talk about a given topic - numerous things can go wrong. How to prevent these problems and avoid making typical webinar mistakes? That’s what we’re going to talk about today.
What is your webinar goal?
A lot of webinar mistakes originate from a lack of clarity about your webinar goal. When you don’t know if you want to drive sales, make your brand more visible, share knowledge, or all of the above, then you can easily make some common slip ups.
Bringing value to your audience
This is the primary reason that people sign up for your webinar: they expect some value. Whether you analyse the newest trends on the market or explain how to boost conversion, you will attract people who are interested in that topic.
Keep this in mind when researching your target group, as people’s definitions of value will vary from one to another.
Well-managed webinars can translate into higher sales and engagement, which is actually what 70% of webinar hosts are looking for. Obviously, you want to make sure that the time and effort you invest in leading a webinar will have a tangible impact on your business.
Boosting your brand awareness
Webinars, like all knowledge-sharing actions, are also marketing tools. They help you to position your brand as an expert, trust-worthy player.
Even if you are not selling any products directly, nor representing another brand, your webinar can prove to be an efficient tool to support your own personal branding. You should definitely keep that in mind when preparing the materials.
The 13 biggest webinar mistakes
We have chosen 13 of the biggest webinar mistakes, although in reality the list could be never ending. When participating in future webinars or organizing your own, take a look at how many of these mistakes are made and how they impact the overall experience. Let’s learn from each other!
1. Not targeted properly
Have you ever participated in a webinar, but left disappointed with the knowledge delivered? Whether it was due to overly generalised information being shared or rather delving so deep into details that you felt lost, the webinar just didn’t provide the value you expected. How to not repeat such a mistake?
Start with defining your target group. This will let you work not only on defining the content, which we will cover in the next point, but also on looking where, when and how you should promote it.
2. Lack of researching your target group
Before you get round to preparing the material, you should make sure that the topic will be interesting for your target group. Also, figure out what level of complexity they will appreciate, how much detail you should include, and what takeaways would be most valuable for them.
3. Lack of promotion
When you invest time in creating a high-quality webinar, you may fall into the trap of thinking that it will attract people on its own accord.
Well, nothing is further from the truth.
You need to be heard clearly through the overall communication noise and reach out to your target group. Depending on whom you want to connect with, you should consider different channels. The most popular ones are, without doubt, social media communities that gather people who are interested in a given topic. You should also consider a newsletter, or if you invite special guests then engage with their audience too.
4. Not making use of its full potential
As we highlighted in the first place, webinars open up many possibilities; but it’s your role to make the most of their potential. This action shouldn’t be detached from other activities. Why is it one of the biggest webinar mistakes? If you skip this part, you will limit the efficiency of your webinar and the time that you have dedicated to it.
Well, what does it mean? Importantly, your webinar should be aligned with your content strategy. For example, you can prepare a series of articles about a given topic, and then invite some special guests to share actionable tips based on their experiences.
Take into account your primary goal for the webinar. If you want to drive sales, you should make it easy to access a landing page, and encourage your participants to do so.
5. Lack of usability and aesthetics
The design you use for your webinar is vital: in terms of both practicality and visuals. Ignoring this point is one of the most serious webinar mistakes, as both elements are important.
Even the prettiest design, if written in an unreadable font, won’t leave a positive impression. On the other hand, picking a boring template will also harm you. You can choose from a variety of existing, good-looking yet clear templates, or prepare your own. Make sure that your slides are both pretty and easy to digest.
6. Too much text on one slide
Putting all (or the majority) of what you want to say onto slides is one of the most common webinar mistakes. You could have spotted this in university and corporate presentations or sales meetings. Putting all of your speech into text on the slide is a trap we often fall into.
Ultimately, you’ll end up reading from the slides to ensure that you don’t miss a thing. You will also force your attendees to decide whether they listen to you and follow the narrative, or focus on the wall of text on your presentation.
When you want to avoid this, you can try switching from regular PowerPoint slides to Prezi presentations. They let you zoom into details, and then zoom back out to show the bigger picture.
7. Weird camera position
This point on a list of the biggest webinar mistakes might be surprising, so let us explain. Contrary to regular training sessions or presentations, you have to check on your own camera view for webinars. Normally, the camera in your laptop is below your head, facing upwards. Make sure that you can lift your device so that the camera is at eye level, and adjust it to be perpendicular to the surface. This way, your face won’t appear at an angle and you’ll look far more professional.
8. Skipping a dry run and a technical check
Although it can feel like you are wasting your time, since you have already prepared all of the material, you should try out the presentation at least once. You’ll probably be able to spot some weak spots or moments that need to be treated with a little more caution. This awareness lets you work on the difficult points, and as such limit your stress levels during the webinar.
A technical check is equally important. We have all been in this situation. After joining the webinar at the right time, we have to spend several minutes watching the hosts check if the mic is working.
Of course, you won’t be able to eliminate all technical issues or be sure in advance that all of your participants will be able to view the webinar without problems. Still, you should make an advance technical check, which will reassure you that the slides are working and the connection is stable.
9. Hard for the audience to participate
When you plan an engaging webinar, you should ensure that the communication flows both ways. The first issue you should think about is the structure of your webinar. Make sure you plan on some pauses for engaging your listeners and encouraging them to speak out.
Another thing that you should prepare is having the right tools. When picking a platform to organize your webinar, make sure that it has options like breakout rooms, polls, surveys, or a chat. This way, your participants will feel more comfortable to ask questions or reply to you.
LiveWebinar has various features that let you easily engage the audience in a natural way. One of the most exciting options is a live whiteboard. You can explain your ideas in a more interactive way, making the webinar more interesting for your attendees.
Also, you should pay attention to the Vote Manager feature. This lets you ask various questions to your audience, regarding not only the flow of the presentation but also organizational issues. Think about questions such as whether the participants agree to the webinar being recorded, or if they want to receive a copy of your presentation afterwards. Let nothing slip through the cracks.
10. Terrible delivery or low content quality
Among the biggest webinar mistakes, this one can reflect the most on the impression that your participants will get. When your participants evaluate your webinar, both the appearance and the content count. You need to work both on what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. When lacking either one of these crucial elements, your webinar can turn out to be a disaster.
Make sure you provide various formats for understanding the content. Some people prefer to read and so they want a visual layer, while others like to listen and analyze what’s being said. There will also be a note-taking group, as well as others that expect access to some material afterwards. Try to make your webinar available and accessible to audiences with different needs.
11. Not following given time frames
When you plan out your webinar, you usually set a specified duration and communicate this to your audience. Not following the schedule, whether it was due to technical problems or weak planning, is disrespectful for your audience and their time.
Here you can find a subset of further webinar mistakes. One is a lack of clear communication regarding the duration of your webinar. Setting clear expectations is a must, especially when your webinar takes place during working hours.
That is why you should plan your webinar and its content so that you can adjust it to the remaining time. A good idea is to prepare both what you can cut out if you’re running out of time, and what you can add at any given point in case you go faster than expected.
12. Lack of recording
Recording your webinar brings several benefits. First, you can share it with your audience: both those that attended the event and those who couldn’t make it. Also, you can repurpose the material for further use later. Whether you divide it into tiny bits or publish the content in another form, repurposing is definitely worth considering. The last perk is that, after analysing your recording, you can spot the webinar mistakes you made last time and improve your strategy for the future.
Make sure you get permission before you actually record the performance though.
13. Lack of measuring
Remember that goal of driving your sales? Well, unless you measure the impact, you’re making one of the biggest webinar mistakes. It translates into a lack of data to evaluate your webinar’s efficiency.
If you want to measure the easy way, use a proper webinar tool. It will help you streamline the process and avoid tedious manual checking and report preparation. LiveWebinar, for example, provides you with information on how many participants attended your webinar from mobile devices. When you spot a trend here, you can use this knowledge to adjust your presentations accordingly.
Have you made any of the biggest webinar mistakes that we have mentioned above? How did you deal with them afterwards?
Happily combines a love of writing and new technology as a copywriter, and enjoys the puzzle of putting together a good article. In her spare time she likes to catch up on the latest, greatest books, bake chocolate chip cookies and ponder her next travel destination.More posts