• Niels Strohkirch

The Deadly Sins of Webinars

- Observations from a critical User -

In todays time where the Corona virus has hit most of us all out of left field many companies and individuals try to bring their business online and many try to bring their teaching/coaching/mentoring sessions etc online as well. This is a great thought and a great way of trying not only to survive but also to build a stronger business with more distribution channels and sales channels than before the crisis.

I have now been “flooded” with invitations to webinars of all kind of different topics. Some people do already do this since a while to reduce the cost of physical seminars where they invite for free into a 5 star hotel and try to up-sell you a service or product in the running of the day. Some do this extremely professional and very successful while others clearly lack behind. Still, the rule of the big number prevails. If you manage to get in a number of x people then y will sign up. So, increase x and Y will automatically follow. It is a simple but sometimes very lucrative game.

Now, where the world is in lock down this does not work for the foreseeable future and the same people are now flocking to the online world and trying to copy their bricks and mortar profitable process into the online world. And as expected, it is an utter failure as retail stores experienced before while trying to bring their bricks and mortar business into an e-commerce shop. Same product but totally different process and may even total different customer.

I do not claim to be a webinar guru or anything close here. I would call myself an open minded user who is running own business and who is obsessed with building systems and implement them. The rest is then just following the system which I leave to others as I get bored very fast doing that. So, what are my observations:

  1. The moderator has to be a super star and not just the guy who pushes the button to start the webinar and says “Hi”. I have not seen a single professional webinar EMCEE/Moderator or whatever you want to call it. Most struggled with the technic to get it going and I am not sure whether most have been probably the IT guy who was asked to introduce the speaker. They all sucked. The moderator should build the bridge to the speaker. Just like in the real world, the moderator should excite the listens even before they started with the real thing. Great moderators achieve this already today on stage. This leaves a big room for a new breed of moderators as online operation is vastly different to real world moderation. So, get a professional in.

  2. I am just off after a 2 hour webinar with a speaker I have seen a few times live. He is a brilliant story teller and the way he acts on stage I would just call him a natural talent. That his power point presentation most of the time sucks did not matter so much as he could easily make good while explain it on stage. Even being sometimes out of his topic and loosing himself in his stories seems like it is part of his “show”. Anyway, in a webinar it sucks. You cannot see his gestures and his voice alone is not powerful enough to make good for his still badly arranged power point presentation. Just now it is in your face and hard to ignore. I just imagine how a Toni Robbins would do in a webinar. I thinks he also would have a high chance of failure if he just tries to replicate his on stage show. I might be proven wrong…he is may just more professional and will work on it till it is up to his level or just nor do it.

  3. Q&A/Feedback: Honestly, most webinars have a chat group, but accept being asked to write where you are from it was never used. Or the question: “Can you hear me…?” What is the moderator doing? Why then having one at all? Asking questions and getting listeners involved makes it so interesting. Otherwise a podcast will do. Less stress and you can tweak the podcast in case anything did not go well.

  4. How about the sales process in a webinar? I am missing own data and experience, or reliable data from another source. But I truly doubt it works the same way. In the case I described above in the bricks and mortar world the organiser is able to get a few thousand information hungry people in a hall. The speakers present their pitch on stage and people interested could just get up from their chair and get their credit card charged in no time. I am not sure, but sometime I think the organiser placed own people in the ranks to entice others to sign up. Anyway, deal done. I have seen it working extremely perfectly. How in webinar? Do you think people copy your link put it into a browser window, fill in all the details and get charged? Maybe, I just doubt it. You need a “one click” or something similar. Amazon is still a super star here. All the webinars I attended did not provide for this. I am sure they miss most of the people and loose them in the process. What a waste.

  5. Follow up in a webinar: I registered and attended webinars and I either get no feedback or a dump email “you can click here to register” for the next level. Sometimes even sent to me from sales “gurus” who are trying to teach me online sales in the webinar but fail themselves utterly when it comes to this point. I am not sure whether I should laugh or cry.

  6. After Sales: This is definitely not working as in the old world. It needs new feedback tools and a constant way of communication with your customers. So far, I have only seen dumb emails here in trying to up-sell me the next webinar. Guys, where is your creativity?

I truly believe webinars and everything around it are having a great future, but as we saw it in the e-commerce field it is a long process full of trial an errors and the fastest learners and fastest adopters only will make the cut.

Ok, I’ve got live and personal with my experience in webinars. This is my personal experience and opinion. What is your experience? Please share here.

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