Webinars are not new, far from it. The have been a staple part of marketing content for many years but with a new breed of marketing and a new breed consumers, webinars need to be better.
The History of Webinar Technology
The roots of most webinar technology come from workplace collaboration tools. They evolved out of meeting technology. Point to point technology was built to allow small groups of people to have online meetings with each other. This technology has been wildly successful. It is used in nearly every enterprise and there are a huge range of options out there.
It was quickly realized that this technology could also be used to reach and engage people outside the organization - customers, partners, leads and prospects. The extension of a meeting is a seminar. The extension of a web meeting became the webinar.
The important point to note though is that ALL the enterprise meeting technologies engineered and built their technology essentially the same way. Basically, using client based software to allow presenters to share their screens to other attendees. WebEx, Microsoft Lync, Goto, Adobe, Zoom. They are all the same.
Given that they were built this way, every presenter and every attendee receives the same experience. Brilliant for the software vendor to maintain, increase their exposure and brilliant for Enterprises to deploy internally. But not so brilliant for Marketers, presenters or attendees. Let me explain why by stepping through the stages of a webinar
What makes a great registration experience?
Driving registration is the 1st major milestone of a successful webinar. You want as many people to register as possible.
Clearly the topic, agenda, presenters and relevance are hugely important factors in this. Getting these right and inviting an audience that these resonate with will lift conversion rates.
Clearly the design of the invite emails, posts and ads for the Webinar will drive this but there are also other factors to consider such as:
How do you make sure that as many people as possible see and convert on your registration form?
How do you make the registration form as appealing and as easy as possible?
How do you confirm registration in really positive, branded way that drives engagement?
How do you make that those who do register put it in their diary?
How do you make sure that the reminders for attending are effective?
Web Conferencing tools can let you down on many levels.
Registration numbers are compromised by up to 40% because:
They only provide bland unbranded forms that don’t match your email invite
They present cumbersome forms that are fiddly to fill out
They have standard confirmation pages that are branded to the tool not the event
The confirmation emails are branded to the tool not the event or promoting company
Calendar files are non intuitive and not available form the confirmation page
An example of a common experience
It Shouldn't be that way!!
Meeting tools still have a snug place in today’s online communication market, but webinars should engage and give the hosts and registrants the experience they deserve. It will drive more registrants!