Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Ever Popular Webinar

I've passed the three Webinar invitations per day threshold and the trend doesn't seem to be slowing down. Everyone wants an hour of my time. They all promise to answer the toughest questions and provide valuable insight that will change my business. Too often, the change they have in mind involves cutting them a check every month and the information consists of their accounts receivable mailing address.

Enough. There must be some accountability here. People will not continue to stand by while vendors line them up for hour-long sales pitches. Here are some tips for managing expectations better with this Web 2.0 tool.

1) Set webinar goals in terms of the attendee, not the host. It's not about you getting 50 qualified leads (at least it's not only about that), it's about attendees walking away better informed about something than they were when they got there.

2) Don't turn the webinar into a product demo unless the attendees have signed up for a product demo. If you promise to talk about industry trends, you better lay them out.

3) Quit wasting an hour of our time. Who has an hour to spend on a webinar? If the attendee has that much time on his hands, he's not making any money. Cut them down to 30 minutes, max.

4) If you promise attendees will get a free white paper or other informational product, make it easy for them to get it. Luring them in and then making them complete the Mackay 66 before you give them the link is not cool.

5) Don't let untrained executives run the webinar. Hire someone who can get the program moving and keep it moving. It does not serve the host well to have attendees hang up the phone and sigh in relief. You want them to leave the meeting wishing they had more time.

Is this to say that the host can't have any goals for the webinar? Of course not, but they are secondary to the goals and needs of the attendees or you will get people in the doors once and only once. In my next post, I'll talk about how to make webinars pay dividends for the company that hosts them.
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