There are 3 myths about webinars
- It’s an online PowerPoint
- It’s about the information
- The audience is there to learn
It’s just an online PowerPoint:
Nope. It’s its own thing. You can’t take the same slides you’d use for an in-person meeting and use them in a webinar. Webinars need their own slides, in a webinar format. And your VoiceOver, what you say, needs to be different too. It has to be made for an audience that can’t see you, is using an unknown screen size, and might not even be looking at your slides.
It’s about the information:
Nope. The purpose of the webinar isn’t to provide tons of information, it’s not about completely educating the audience. The PRIMARY purpose is to inspire the audience that the problem we’re talking about is solveable, and that what we sell solves the problem. Even if you think your webinar is about education. Even if you think it’s about thought leadership, when you boil it down, your webinar is about inspiring the audience and impressing on them the belief that we solve this problem.
The audience is there to learn:
The audience has people with different reasons to be there. Some people are there to do something during work that sort of counts as work. Some people are interested in the topic, or your company. Some people want to solve or build something. Some people are just looking for a distraction. Some people are there to compare you to your competition, or to other webinars. And some people have a fear of missing out — so they’re just going to have the audio playing in the background while they read their email.
What are the truths?
- A webinar is its own thing
- Inspire and impress
- We’re always losing their attention
In B2B, there’s usually no possibility of anyone directly selling or buying anything by the end of the webinar. For the audience, the point is often to be entertained for an hour in a way that you can convince yourself is work, while you learn a little.
In the B2C world, there are webinars where the point is to sell something now. You don’t care if 85% of the audience isn’t paying attention to you, you only need 15% to stay to the end and pull out their credit card. That’s enough for you to make a nice profit. In B2B webinars, the audience’s attention IS the payoff. We want 100% of the audience to pay attention, 100% of the time. Because there won’t be sale today, or maybe even a year from today (though there SHOULD be a call or meeting, driven by your CTA). We need them to be inspired, to believe that the problem we’re talking about can be solved, and is solved by us. So that they’ll remember, a year from now, who they can call. Us.
Over the years the audience has learned that not much happens onscreen. We’ve trained them that the stuff onscreen is boring and safe to ignore.
So they split their attention. The audio plays like background radio as they read email or browse the web.
Rules of a Great B2B Webinar:
Rule number 1 is … your webinar’s job is to inspire people and make them believe that what we sell will work for them. It’s not to deliver the maximum amount of information in one hour, or to completely educate them.
Rule number 2. You’re in a constant danger of losing your audience’s attention. So we build in elements to our slides and VoiceOver to keep their attention, and to hook them back over to our slides, and away from their email, during our time with them. You want them to pay attention as long as possible, so you can drive home your message. The message, in case you don’t remember rule #1, is “what we sell will work for you”.
And rule number 3. Since Webinars are their own thing, with their own needs, Content has to be created specifically for those needs.