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Jul 15, 2008

New Chart: Attendees Share Webinar Turnoffs - Find Out Which Ones Top the List

SUMMARY: Webinars are marketing mainstays. They should hold their place at the table as long as you meet the needs of attendees. Here are the top 6 reasons attendees say they bail on a webinar. Avoid these turnoffs and you'll see plenty of return visitors to your webinars.

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Chart: What Causes Webinar Attendees to Bail?
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Click here to see larger, printable version of this chart

Webinars are a mainstay of many marketing programs. The dynamic platform can explain your offerings, establish thought leadership and grow house lists. Companies that see visitors return to their webinars, despite increased competition, do a good job of addressing the needs of their attendees.

The chart above shows the top webinar turnoffs for marketers. Lack of honesty about content heads the list, followed closely by less-than-dynamic presenters who need better communication skills.

Key takeaway:
Misleading visitors is often an innocent mistake marketers write copy about webinars given by internal or external experts, and the true topic gets lost in translation. Sometimes, the marketer manipulates the topic by including what he thinks the audience wants to hear. Presenters should always get a look at and sign off on the main topics being pitched by marketing. Opt to under-sell and over-deliver.

Another key takeaway:
People like presenters who grab their attention, even if they're not funny (although being entertaining doesn't hurt). But they do need to be sufficiently dynamic. Unskilled presenters who read from slides will bore attendees and see headcounts drop steadily throughout the session.

Webinar speakers also feel stress, although they are under less pressure than those at live events. Often, in technology sales, talented scientists and programmers don't turn out to be dynamic speakers. What you gain in authority at a webinar, you will lose in boredom. Consider sending such folks to speaker training or use a two-presenter approach. Adding a team member with great communication skills can offset a dry presenter.

Shorter webinars are in vogue now despite no evidence that says shorter presentations garner more opt-ins or more enthusiastic reviews. At the same time, respondents don't seem too worried about webinars that run a full hour. Let the content dictate length, and leave plenty of time for questions. If you expect certain questions, consider saving some relevant content for Q&A. The change in format can enliven the audience.

Useful links related to this article

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More Research Data from Sherpa:

MarketingSherpa's 5th Annual Business Technology Marketing Benchmark Guide 2008-09:

See Also:

Comments about this Article

Jul 15, 2008 - Bhupesh Shah of ethnicomm inc. says:
While the research provide some insight, it skews the results based on how the question is asked and what the potential choices are for a response. It is obvious that one would want to participate in a webinar that was focused, that offered new insights and value by way of interpretation and relevant examples instead of just reading off the slides. I don't think you need a study to confirm this. It would be interesting to see the results if the question was phrased "How likely would you be to sit through a webinar if..." The responses themselves are also negatively phrased. It almost as if the survey is leading the respondants down a particular path IHMO. The only question that is not leading is "the webinar was 1 hour long". This is pure fact and the respondent can provide a response on a scale of 1-10 (I imagine).

Jul 16, 2008 - Stefan Tornquist of MarketingSherpa LLC says:
Bhupesh, After reviewing the questions, I'm inclined to agree with your criticism. There is a decidedly negative slant - never a best practice in survey design. That said, I'd argue that the relative differences in response still tell us something about attendees' real opinions. Thanks for catching and commenting on this.

Jul 20, 2008 - Maria Marsala, Business Strategist of Elevating Your Business says:
Thank you for this survey as I haven't seen anything like it before. Since I speak, it's always interesting to see how people react to different venues. With the exception of the "time" question, what I see from the answers are very similar responses to what a speaker gets when they speak in person. Was the question posed regarding free or paid webinars. When I take a class for free, I expect some sales, usually at the end or in the middle. But when I pay for a webinar, well sending me to website is enough, thank you. Regarding the length of a webinar, what time frame would attendees prefer? And would webinar survey results be = to teleseminar survey results?

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