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Ask the Readers: What’s Wrong with Webinars?

questions-cardIf you’re active online, then dollars to donuts, you’ve attended a webinar of one kind or another.

Some of them are sleazy pitches, and some of them are valuable learning opportunities.

If you’re running a business online – maybe you’ve run them too – they have a tendency to work really well in terms of getting tons of new subscribers interested in what you’re doing. We believe strongly in the webinar as an engagement, and as a sales technique.

However – there is a problem with webinars. And it’s a big one.

We’ve got pretty good numbers for the webinars we run. On average…

  • 50-60% of people who visit the landing page will register.
  • 20-30% of those people will attend live.
  • 5-10% more will watch a live replay over the weekend.
  • 20% of live attendees will buy something from us.

Now, these numbers may be above average for the industry, but something seems… off.

What gets to us is that 60-75% of people don’t watch the webinar they registered for!

(And in case you’re thinking it’s because we don’t release recordings, you’re wrong; we stopped releasing recordings when we found that most people don’t watch them, and having a one-time live replay over the weekend actually works for a lot more people, by the numbers of people who actually watch it.)

This sucks for a number of reasons. They don’t have the chance to get to know us, or we them. We don’t get the opportunity to see if there’s a fit for the product we offer, and we don’t get the chance to give them any of the value we offer!

So Why Do People Do It?

  • Is it because they assume there will be a recording they can get to someday?
  • Is it because their initial excitement dies off in the time between registration and the event?
  • Do they forget the signed up at all?

Now, we’re playing with a few different ideas on how to fix this problem – here are some of them:

  • Adding a button that lets you add the event to your calendar to the registration page.
  • Asking for a phone number so we can text people before the webinar begins.
  • Showing an emotionally resonant video after registration that will, hopefully, start to make a connection.
  • Explaining in advance that we don’t offer recordings because we believe in appointment marketing – but let them schedule their own replay.

We’d like to get your thoughts on this:

What do you think the problem is, and what might the solution be? Have you ever encountered this? Have you ever registered for a webinar you didn’t attend?

Let us know in the comments!

About Megan Dougherty

Megan Dougherty is an alumnus of Mirasee and is passionate about online education, small business and making a difference in the world. You can find out what she's up to and how side-hustles will take over the world at PayingforLife.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MeganTwoCents.

135 thoughts on “Ask the Readers: What’s Wrong with Webinars?

  1. Hey Megan!

    I’ve never run webinars, so this is just a guess on my part – and part of the reason that I personally don’t attend many.

    I’ve noticed that a lot of online entrepreneurs schedule webinars during the day when the bulk of their audience is working. I’m sure that’s most convenient for them, but up-and-coming online business people still work day jobs, so it creates a scheduling conflict.

    Maybe part of what you’re seeing is people who really WANT the information but can’t attend? They might register as “wishful thinking” or hoping to get a recording they can listen to later so they can be a small part of what they really wanted to attend live.

    I realize audience members live all over the world, so time zones are an issue. But scheduling when the majority of the followers are available might help.

    Just a stab in the dark 🙂

    • Hey Gary, that could definitely be it. We’ve done our best to accommodate people with replays on the weekend, and in the middle of our night time, which is a much more convenient time if you’re on the other side of the world. But I’d love to hear from people who might be in parts of the world, or on schedules, where that still might not work?

      • As I live on the other side of the world and totally down under, the time is a huge challenge sometimes. I can have the best intentions but I rarely manage to get up for event the webinars playing at 6 am. As for my own webinars, easy to get local people but people seem to feel challenged when they see the webinar scheduled for Friday and their link to time says Thursday. It puts them off somehow

        • Ditto with me. I register to a lot of them but 90% of the time, the live session are held around 2-5AM in Singapore.

          A replay isn’t as enticing to watch, especially when you know you’re going to be pitched to at the end.

          I don’t mind the pitch that much as long as I know who the presenters are and I know they often hold great webinars, but it’s different if it’s live.

          Another reason is the length of the webinars, too many are ill-prepared and take way too long just to get to the point.

      • Hello Gary, Danny, Megan.

        You will always get more people to one-time webinars than easy replays because we take them more seriously and we’re motivated by scarcity. I’ve noticed that the easier it gets to plan, schedule and attend events, the lazier we become with just about every aspect. What did we do before cell phones? We showed up more often because we couldn’t call and back out at the last minute. Easy, anytime webinars is the equivalent of saying, “Oh, yeah, we really SHOULD do that sometime.” Which pretty much kills it right there.

        So making it easier to schedule won’t help. That is already way easier than attending.

        And what is appointment marketing? What about just plain old fashioned keeping your appointments? I would say that too. I would say, “We believe in holding one another accountable, so don’t sign up unless you intend to be there.”

        It just occurred to me that one strong psychological thing would be to show people on a guest list with their photo once they have signed up for the webinar. Hmmm.

        I will say I like the idea of scheduling one-time replays in your calendar yourself. It may not get you tons more attendees, but it DOES communicate that you are willing to go out of your way to be as accessible as possible. Which is awesome. And I think being awesome is underrated.

    • I agree. Most of the times I miss a webinar is because it is during the work day and someone schedules a must-attend meeting right during the time of the webinar. Admittedly it’s hard to factor in all the global time zone issues when trying to schedule a webinar.

  2. Danny, some of it is scheduling issues, some of it is wishful thinking. I’ll sign up for something thinking I’ll find time, then when the webinar comes up there’s something else more important to do.

    But here’s the real issue. I’ve only done a couple webinars and they were such a waste of my time I’m reluctant to block out an afternoon on the odd chance that this next one will be better. I got really excited over my first webinar, with this big name blogger who’s super sucessful…he spent most of the time telling his tragic story and about a minute of useful advice. (It could have fit a 200 word blog post.) Then the rest was how what I really needed what his super expensive mentoring, because there was no way I’d succeed as a blogger without his personal help. It was insulting.

    As for time, I’m a freelancer, so I like to schedule anything work related during the day. Evening is for my family. I am NOT going to waste an hour after dinner listening to a sales pitch. That’s like calling the telemarketers and saying, hey, I’m free now, tell me what you’re selling.

    • I agree with Denise. As a Solopreneur I have many hats to wear and don’t have time for anything that isn’t focused and useful to my business. As a speed reader I find that most webinars move MUCH TOO SLOWLY and contain MUCH TO MUCH useless, time-wasting verbiage. I prefer written material to audio for that reason.

      Many of the webinars I sign up for present things I may be interested in and ‘nice to know’ kind of stuff but not specifically related to any current project or problem I’m having. Therefore, if I’m not battling a forrest fire at the moment I will probably login. Otherwise not.

      • Ditto. I don’t sign up for webinars either. Or watch many videos. Or listen to podcasts. You can read the same thing in a fraction of the time. Rarely, the information being imparted is something that needs visual demonstration and justifies a video format.

        • Ita,

          I’m very interested in reading all these comments for obvious reasons. You sound like me, a reader, who prefers the transcript. I’d like some confirmation of this and your take on why it is easier to read than to watch a video.

          • There may be some topics where visual or audio media actually enhances the tutorial. This is likely the case for you regarding keyboard lessons.

            Having said that, there are still very, very few occasions that would convince me to watch a video or webinar – I simply don’t have the time. I can read a blog post while I rock my baby so sleep, but if I turn up the volume to watch a video, she wakes up.

        • Bravo, bravo! Let’s get back to reading. I can skim in seconds or a few minutes and determine what matters. Even the four-part webinar I actually did pay money for was such a waste of time, and I never spent the time to go back and review the few minutes of material that would have been helpful if I could have just READ IT.

          I will not waste my time again on webinars. If there’s a way to do this and it’s a topic I really care about, I might extract the audio and listen while I do something else.

          Danny, your written content rocks. Keep that rolling.

          • Hi Sharon,
            I understand where you’re coming from — reading is best for you — but I wanted to reply to you because my learning style requires me to see, hear, read and do — so webinars and videos are a big part of my self-study toolkit.

            I agree that poorly done videos and webinars can be very frustrating, but I usually take away at least one gem from each one. That gem may be how-not-to-do-something or it may be a new perspective on a problem I’m having that I hadn’t thought about before.

            Sometimes I schedule webinars into my calendar that are directly related to projects I’m working on (like the one on Sep 3 with Daniel Levis). I’ll work on other things while listening to the webinar — much like listening to the radio — and tune in when I hear those valuable nuggets or great questions from the audience.

            I’d never heard of Danny Iny when I heard him interviewed in someone else’s webinar over a year ago. I don’t remember much of what the host talked about, but I connected with Danny’s approach right away and after a few email exchanges and phone conversations became one of his students (so glad I did!). That would never have happened if I’d just subscribed to his emails and read Firepole blog posts.

            Anyway, I do understand your perspective and appreciate that you voiced it here. I will keep your comments in mind when I start doing my own webinars 🙂

        • Good point on whether a webinar is the right approach many take with their content.

          At the very least, I’d prefer seeing the presenter(s) along with a slideshow.

          If it’s a Q&A, interview, etc. then I don’t mind spending the time sitting in like as if I’m watching TV or listening to a radio talk show, but many are just doing PPT slides and blabber in the background, which makes it pointless and yes, a transcript is a better approach.

          Software, or ‘over-the-shoulder’ instruction webinars are highly helpful via video, but unless it requires me to be visually engaged, I see no point.

    • Given your reaction to the recent webinar, Denise, I have to think that we were maybe on the same webinar. I have to agree that waiting over an hour to get to the useful “how to build a popular blog” was useless. I was checking my email and getting other things done until he got to the meat of the issue. 🙂

    • Oh, do I ever hear you about the wishful thinking!

      And excellent analogy about the telemarketers. Appointment marketing may not be the same in spirit – but I can see how it is in outcome. Thank you!

    • I know we were at the same webinar! I am pretty sure I had the same exact thoughts. Maybe a bit more colorful. I attended one too many of those types of webinars. Here’s my bio, here’s a quarter of a tip, and the last 1/2 is a commercial. So many times a webinar promises something (it’s usually something big and catchy) and then it falls flat – way flat. It’s a commercial for some $5k product (a week long batch of emails). I realize people are working for a living and I shouldn’t just have my hand out for free things, but don’t say I’m going to tell you how to gain 100k email subscribers and then don’t give any actual tips beyond write great content and self host.

      Without wanting to sound like a brown-noser, Danny’s was the only webinar I’ve ever attended that actually gave me real applicable information – the whole time. Yes, he did offer his product at the end, but for me it was okay, because he didn’t break his promise and he gave valuable non-eye-rolling-information.

      I also agree with Charles, I would much rather read the information. I know the world loves video and audio, I just am not one of them. I hate hate hate the webinars that are just audio without any slides or changing visuals for me to look at. Boo to just staring at their bio picture. I’m much too visual to just sit there and listen.

      I do love the idea of rescheduling your live replay when it fits into your schedule. I am super swamped with all the things I do and it shows that you value my time, and the scheduling allows me to show you the same courtesy.

  3. Danny — you might be surprised that your numbers are actually quite good. When you send an email it’s a direct response pitch. A 5-10% return rate — people who actually will “buy” your webinar — is better than the 1% that most direct marketers get. Why don’t people watch after they’ve registered? They get too busy, they register on an impulse and are not really interested, they know they can’t attend the live webinar and plan to watch it later (usually that never happens). I’ve organized literally hundreds (actually thousands) of events over my career. From experience, I know that you that you can expect at least a 50% no-show for free events and an average of 10-20% for paid events, even those with a high price tag.

    • Hey Jeannette, I know that the numbers are good (well above average) as compared to the industry, but the bottom line is still that 60-75% of people who register for a webinar (ostensibly because they want to watch it) don’t end up watching it, and something there just isn’t adding up for me.

      • Danny — You are too hard on yourself. When I first started blogging 4-1/2 years ago, and I look back at the thinness of my first posts, I’m really surprised at the level of traffic I received. Fast forward. Now there are so many other companies competing for eyeballs. Everybody and their brother is in the social media game. I get invitations to webinars almost every day. No possible way I could attend them all, even if I wanted to. The competition is fierce. Savor your wins!

  4. I’ll answer from the perspective of a prospect, because I have never host any webinar.
    And I’m valuable prospect, relatively new to the internet marketing world (I attended the first webinar in December 2012).
    I’ll tell you Danny the exact reason: the market is spoiled.
    It’s not just the webinars it’s the problem of internet marketing in general: triumph of form over content.
    If you don’t believe me just browse through the Web. What do the internet marketers (IMs) teach? The answer:
    “Yes, you need to bring the value to the prospects, BUT how can you provide a value, if you don’t grab their attention first?” Some research proved, that people ignore the part of sentence before the “BUT”. So it all comes down to the pitch sale. The value is put on the subsequent place. The headlines and copies tend more and more to oversell, just to be more interesting, to grab that elusive “prospect’s attention”. The expectations are set too high and the reality differs from copies’ promises. And people notice the exaggeration.
    To put it plainly people are disappointed with IMs.
    You can get people to sign up for the webinar using the marketing tricks, but then they are left alone to think clearly, the thinking process it goes like this: “What did I do? I signed up for another webinar, I must have been stupefied! Is it a chance that this IM’ll provide me all those hyped features? Nay, it’s BS, as usual. Waste of my time. I won’t attend this, clever me.”
    Jeannette said it so aptly – people “register on an impulse”. And who is creating those impulses? IMs. They focus on generating an impulse and they get what they focus on.
    So it’s not your fault in particular Danny, it’s everybody’s fault.
    You are not guiltless, mind you, you use the same marketing tricks (ehem, “proven techniques”). But you have a such larger integrity, that your results are much better than the average.
    Just one example: I read the Firepole Marketing’s blog regularly. Many times I read new post before I receive an email invitation to do it (part of it is that you send so many emails, that I tend to ignore them 😛 ). I’ve read an interesting post about Dollar Shave Club. Nice piece of a real case study. But I was a little disappointed with the content. The title says it’s about getting subscribers and getting them fast (allegedly: easy). In fact it was about developing a serious business, long months of prep work and big bucks spend on it. Nothing fast and easy there. But I didn’t read this post because of the title, I read it because reading FM’s posts is on my daily to-do list, no matter what the subjects is 😉
    Now, think about your subscribers who have read it only because they found the headline in their email: “Zero to 25K Subscribers in one Week! Are you Kidding?!”. Heck, if I had read this post only because of the headline, I would be seriously pissed off.
    And that’s what happens in the case of webinars. We (the prospects) are seriously pissed off. We were cheated out of our priceless personal time just too many times. The problem is that it’s hard to tell “sleazy pitches” apart from “valuable learning opportunities”. My advice to you is to play your integrity card, in my eyes that’s what makes you different from everyone else. Lessen the hype; don’t oversell; keep your promises; if possible provide relevant numbers, not testimonials.
    Saying upfront what to expect is a great idea, too. Knowing your model (live webinar, one live replay, no recordings) I would never sign in to your webinar, because it’s just not the model which suits my needs. And you would have one “ghost attendant” less.
    I’m so glad you brought this matter up. I could write about it for hours. In fact, I’m going to write an ebook about the growing disproportion between IMs’ promises and the reality. I scheduled the publish date for December. Firepole Marketing will be featured in it, too. (more as a positive example 😉 )

      • There are too many webinars out there and they seem to be proliferating. Also, once someone does a topic, other people start doing that topic too. I sign up because I’m afraid I’ll miss something important, but I probably attend less than 50%. I get bored before the hour is up in many cases. I get sick of people talking about 6 Figures as if it were the Holy Grail. I’ve made 6 figures; it was nice, but I’m really not motivated by $$.

        I like your emails; they’re big type, white space and easy to read.

    • This is some amazing food for though Michal, thank you!

      I’m not 100% positive I agree with everything you said – but it is 100% awesome to get the viewpoint of a “prospect” – especially one who takes so much time to be so clear and precise ! The market is flooded – and I agree that it sucks that some “sleazy” tactics simple perform better. 🙁

      • Oh no Megan, they are not performing better. They just work on bigger numbers, but their per capita efficiency is a lot lower.
        I’m curious in which exact points you don’t agree with me and why. I love a feedback too.

  5. Hi Danny, For me, part of the problem is time difference. I am situated in Denmark, and a webinar has to sound pretty darn interesting for me to lose out on sleep! I love when there are replays, because that’s my chance to catch up.

    But I also agree with some of the other comments here that a lot of webinars out there are simply too lousy. Several of them run for almost 2 hours and when you look at how maybe 1 hour is pure pitch, it seems like a waste of time to attend. I know there are popular “formulas” for how a webinar should run, but when you have heard a couple in a row, where the superlatives are flying around, you get really annoyed. Less selling and more content would be a nice change.

    • You make a good point, Lise – there are a lot of unpleasant webinars out there!

      There are good ones too, of course, but it can be really hard to pick out the one fro the other ahead of time.

  6. Well, having just listened to two stored up webinars from the last week, I can tell you how it happened: I was on a client engagement when they ran, plus at least 5 other webinars ran while I was gone– all in prime time when they I had nothing else to do. When the weekend comes and there is still more to catch up on, those webinars become semi-important to do’s that compete with returning social emails, maintaining you daily care and feeding of your sm sites, and performing money making activities for your self-employment or job masters.
    There are simply too many webinars competing for finite time slots and mental parking stalls in our schedules and priorities. Now, what does this say about whether we should prepare and conduct them– something regularly proferred as a means of “getting business fast”? Or are they really for getting ignored and put in the pile-up box faster?

    • I think that’s part of the reason some folks aren’t offering replays any more – no one wants to think of their webinar sitting in a file, unwatched. 🙁

      And you’re right – there is so much to do – making time can be a real challenge!

    • I think that’s part of the reason some folks aren’t offering replays any more – no one wants to think of their webinar sitting in a file, unwatched. 🙁

      And you’re right – there is so much to do – making time to catch up can be a real challenge@

      • Actually, that cuts both ways. I will probably eventually watch 95% of all recorded webinars I get, unless they get too long and intricate or “pitchy”. And, frankly, if they have a self-destruct deadline, that has the same effect on me as artificial “deal deadlines”– get it now before the price goes up. That’s all about the seller and zero about serving the customer or prospect.
        Oh, and excessive worry about the lonely recording collecting dust is all about the seller too.

  7. I’ve stopped signing up to them for a number of reasons –

    * the sheer number of people running webinars these days means that my inbox is full of emails about them. I suppose that I’m sick of the ‘sales pitch’

    * the fact they go for an hour and you just know the first 15+mins is going to be the usual ‘housekeeping’ (turn off distractions, blah, blah, blah) and then the presenter’s background. It feels like a huge waste of time when you’ve only got a limited amount of time each day to spend on learning or study. I think a 30mins webinar would be awesome; I’m never going to watch a replay when it goes for 75mins!

    * time zones are probably the biggest issue. US day time is obviously out. But then the US night time webinars are out too because I have clients during the day here. This is why a replay has always suited me best – and why I no longer sign up to them since the latest ‘fad’ of not offering any replays.

    I wonder – of those who do / don’t watch the replays, have you looked at where they are located?

    • As an aside, I *love* the idea of being able to schedule a replay at a time of my convenience. That would enable me to play time to watching the replay around MY schedule rather than the person hosting it.

      • No there’s an idea, Jen! I like the sound of it as well. There is the worry of course – about scheduling a replay that then, is not attended! Some extra cost associated there, I think. Thanks for taking the time to share your view!

        • Megan , I think Jen was referring to a replay, NOT a re-broadcast.

          Recently, I was hoisted, tarred, and feathered by a very prominent webinar presenter that these 2 things are VERY different. He said that it was a veritable cardinal sin for me to not refer to them correctly.

          So, I heeded his educational distinction.
          (I’m still stinging from his intense correction of my error.)

          Since then, I’ve seen lots of folks confused the two, then be corrected by other respected leaders in the webinar business.

          A replay is a pause, rewind, fast forward situation where you can listen at a different time.

          A re-broadcast is a re-airing one time only of a previously recorded event.

          I think when Jen (above) mentioned a “replay”, she was referring to an actual replay, not a re-broadcast.

  8. The idea of being involved in “appointment marketing” is a good one, but it is being applied in a one-sided way with webinars.
    You determine what time/date your webinar will occur, you market it to your audience, they are interested and then sign up. Unfortunately, the only thing missing is feedback from your prospects as to their availability. You are simply pre-determining when the content will be delivered regardless of your prospect’s schedule.
    Contrast that approach with setting an appointment to actually have a sales call with your prospect (what webinars supplant and allow you to scale). Would you consider simply offering an ultimatum along the lines of “I am only available Tuesday at 2pm ET”? Would it surprise you if your conversion and attendance were lower if you did handle appointment scheduling that way?
    In a nutshell, the higher number of registrants who fail to attend is simply the cost of automating and scaling the sales presentation process via webinar. The fallout represents those marginal prospects who are intrigued by your pitch but are either not fully committed to your topic or not fully committed to being available at your predetermined time/date.
    The real challenge is not to reduce the number of prospects who register but fail to attend. The true challenge is to develop a branch of your marketing funnel to recapture and recycle these interested but not fully engaged prospects.

    • But sometimes – don;t you find that you ARE only available on Tuesday at 2pm? 😉

      It’s wonderful to poll for availability – but I am not sure it’s practical. That might be a really interesting fix, however, if someone could come up with a way to make more flexible scheduling scalable!

      • Megan, I am not suggesting that you poll for availability.

        What I am suggesting is that increased no-shows are simply the cost of leveraging your marketing to reach more prospects via webinars.

        The challenge is recapturing these leads AFTER they don’t show up for the webinar.

  9. Hi Megan. I have registered for webinars I did not attend, although I attend most of them. The problem for me is that most webinars are scheduled for weekdays when I am at work. I am always hoping there will be a replay, and I do watch the replays most of the time too. I love the “add to calendar” button and use it. I also like the idea of being able to schedule my own replay, because I know exactly when I will be able to sit down and watch it. Keep ’em coming!

  10. I’ve never hosted a webinar but I have attended quite a few. I’ve also signed up to a few and then not attended.

    My reasons for not attending are mostly around other things taking priority, if a recording is made available, or loss of interest (the latter probably happened twice).

    The solution? Again, this is purely from a personal perspective, I would suggest the following:

    – Offering a replay (I do listen to them at a time that is convenient for me)
    – Keeping the webinars at 20-30 mins. A duration longer than this would lose my interest.
    – More interaction. If I think I am going to be dictated to the whole time, then it loses my interest also. Audience Q&A would help me feel more engaged.
    – Webinar with more than one person, so there is a discussion, rather than one person doing the teaching – always far more interesting (the gents at fizzle.co are doing this well, although I know their mode is different to the one you are exploring here).

    Your idea of allowing the subscriber to schedule a replay that suits them is really great – I haven’t seen a lot of bloggers offering this and would definitely take it up.

    There are a few who don’t offer replays at all. I wonder how their conversion rates compare to yours?

    – Razwana

    • Good question! I don’t know how other conversion rates look, really.

      Interaction is wonderful – but then that makes it really hard to offer a relevant replay, I think – if there are a lot of questions and answers that the people on the replay didn’t ask – what do you think?

  11. Yep, I agree with the above. Every man (and woman) and their dog are talking up and peddling their webinars. I get INUNDATED with offers every week.
    Personally I like webinars that I can download and watch at my convenience. Period.
    I don’t care what sort of call to action hype or scarcity tactics that are used to compel me to watch them.
    My time is valuable. I want to watch things when I want to watch them. I have a hard drive recorder on my TV and I download movies and shows on my apple TV so I can watch what I want when I want. In the rare times I’ve been excited about a particular webinar I’ve even been known to get my video camera out and record it. I like to stop, take notes, get screen shots, rewind and repeat things especially if there are technical points or resources. This is not possible on live webinars. What’s the harm in a downloadable webinar? It might take me a while to watch it however if it’s good I might bounce back to the site and if the webinar points to things I can download, great! If a webinar is useful I don’t mind listening to a pitch at the end and if it’s good I might even buy. That’s how I enrolled in the Audience Business Masterclass. I do agree with Michal where I get so many emails from you guys I often don’t read them. Respectfully, in my opinion I think you send too many.

    • A downloadable webinar has its appeal – but then it isn’t really a webinar – it’s a video. Valuable – but not the same thing! It allows us to answer a lot of questions all at once, for a lot of interested people – something not possible when queries are sent in individually, sometimes long after the webinar is passed. (Which we are, of course, happy to do! But it is easier to be able to answer for multiple people at one time!)

      • Generally speaking I find on webinar’s it’s hard to get my individual questions answered in detail because of the number of people live at the same place. Consequently questions have to be answered after the webinar anyway. Therefore in my experience this negates the advantages of being live. To me live is not that appealing. I prefer convenience and the option to stop and start. Call a pre recorded webinar a video if you like but to me downloadable prerecorded content is the way to go!

  12. Guilty.

    I sign up for webinars because that is the only way to get the recording.
    I forget to watch the recording because, as in the case of the original, I just do not have the time. Or I do not schedule the time. Or my forgetter is working overtime.

    Or, it seems that all the really good webinar providers that I love to frequent will all set up their production for the same basic time slot.

    I often feel guilty about taking things on my plate I cannot hope to be able to eat, but it really speaks to how well you market your webinars, in a way. I truly feel I should attend and seem to collect these things like books I fully intend to read, but find stacked absolutely everywhere, unread.

    It’s definitely more about how much time I have left over to write about it, read about it, think about it, and study about it, as opposed to how much time I must spend on “just do it.”

  13. Danny and Megan,

    First off, I so agree with the folks who left comments above. I especially resonate with the ideas of Michal.

    It’s all about the individual webinar “goer” and what they need and want and when they need and want it. I myself am an unusual case, in that my students tend to come after work, and thus, I’m usually busy in the evenings! Still, my webinar attendance has fallen off cause many are what I suspect are lies.

    “It’s easy,” is something most of them say. I don’t find it easy at all. Day after day, I awake to find that no one has responded to my online promotions. Thus, I suspect that those that say it is are lying through their teeth. Or they are busy lying to customers. I say “lie” knowingly cause I’ve seen many of these folks. They KNOW what they say is untrue but say it just to make a buck. That’s not how I am, which is why I continue to read these blog posts from Megan and Danny. Honesty! Good stuff, in my book. You make no bones about being an Internet Marketer but you are NOT liars.

    • Thanks Dan! We certainly never want to be liars!

      What we usually say is that things, like building an audience online are simple – but decidedly not easy. 🙂

      I think it’s because webinars are so popular that so many of them are less than excellent – we who do them just need to make sure to be really respectful of people’s time. 🙂

  14. For me, I can tell you straight out, it’s usually a timing thing.

    Sometimes I get the time difference wrong when I register. Sometimes the initial invitation doesn’t tell me *which* time zone is meant (I’m sure yours are never guilty of that), but often, I register knowing the time won’t work but hoping a weekend reply will, and I know I’ll only get to hear about that if I register (the reply time is almost never advertised beforehand).

    Then, I either miss the email about the reply until it’s too late, OR, it’s still 5 in the morning here (I am currently 14 hours ahead of US EST, so if it’s offered at say 3pm on the weekend there – which seems to be common, and is convenient for people who may have been working during the week – it’s 5am the next day here).

    A “set your own reply time” would work well for me. Not that I register for many these days anyway, but that’s my 2c. Timing is everything.

    • We have probably been guilty of mixed up or missed timezones at one point or another! It happens to everyone – and with viewers being in so many – it an be a real challenge to keep straight.
      Timing is everything – WITH good communication!

  15. I sign up for a lot of webnars because at the time of signup they hype it as a great learning experience. When the time comes I don’t always attend because I weigh it against other priorities at the moment and often the webnar looses because I know from experience that 99.44% of them are nothing but a sales pitch.

    • Some really are great learning events, though – especially with the growing popularity of other sorts of online learning too! (even if just a little percentage!)

  16. Most of the time in a webinar you have to put up with someone who likes the sound of their own voice. They take an hour to get through the thing, that if you took out all the bulldust, could be over and out in 10 minutes or less.
    All of our attention spans have shortened.
    I prefer a vid that I can download for future reference and can fast forward.

  17. First off, let me say: If you plan to request phone numbers, I hope you’re planning to make them optional. I can tell you, if a webinar requires a phone number from me I don’t sign up at all. Doesn’t matter if you assure me that you’ll only use it to send a reminder text for the webinar – if I don’t know you yet, I don’t trust you with my number. (Of course, the “you” there is a general “you,” not “You, personally, Danny Iny. 😉

    Second, I’ve attended quite a few webinars over the past year. As a freelancer with a pretty flexible schedule, I’m usually able to attend all of the webinars I sign up for. I’ve been missing more of them lately, though, for some of the reasons cited above: 1. Other things come up and I’m not able to attend (which is when, as Gary mentioned, it would be nice to be able to download a recording later. The live replay doesn’t always work with my schedule either).

    And 2. There are a LOT of crappy webinars out there. I’m talking about the ones that promise to give you all kinds of real, actionable advice…and then give you one or two tips and spend the rest of the hour on the sales pitch. There are a couple of fairly high-profile marketers out there from whom I will never, ever buy anything. Not so much as an ebook. Because they didn’t deliver what they promised in their webinar, and instead used it as a lure to get me to a pitch session.

    I think that’s part of the reason I jumped on the Audience Business class after your webinar, Danny – you delivered on the promise to provide great information, and kept the pitching to a minimum.

    And there’s my long-winded two pennies’ worth. 😉

    • That was more than two pennies worth!

      I agree – optional phone numbers sounds much more appropriate. Kind of odd to think of some marketers having so much info…

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

      Megan

  18. The two biggest reasons I’ve signed up but not attended other webinars (I never miss yours!) are “I forgot” and “Something better/more interesting came along.” You can help control the former by the tactics you mentioned — an “add to calendar” feature (that works on all major calendar platforms), and an option to receive a text message 15 minutes before start. The reason I “forget” most things is that they never make it to my calendar, so the button would be really helpful. As for the “Something better,” not much you can do there. You already provide valuable content. But in this world of intense competition for people’s time, you can’t control the value someone places on your offerings – even though they are highly valuable!

    • I’d never dream of competing with something like an invitation out for pie, or time with the family. 😉

      It’s sounding like the add to calendar feature might be a really good way to go though – thank you!

  19. I’ve attended a few webinars, and I can say that yes, people schedule them in busy times, or schedule them when they’re actually not interested in the. I’ve actually signed up for webinars at times I knew I would not be able to watch them because I just wanted insider information. But I have a beef with most free webinars. I attended two in the past week. Half of the time was spent talking of the speaker’s credibility (which I understand the reason, but really? Fifteen minutes?) and then their sales pitch. All of this I have read before to get prepared for the webinar. I am left with twenty minutes of somewhat useful stuff (digging through free information on the speaker’s site afterwards yields the same info on the webinar) and ten minutes of questions where everyone fights to ask something. Most of the time webinars promise to gear their sales pitches for my line of work but they end up making me scratch my head in confusion. There is never enough time to get specific to be worth it, and only enough time to make vague sales. This is only for a one hour webinar though. Two hour webinars are more specific, but anything over one hour can be a large investment or sacrifice of time.

  20. I used to get excited when I was offered a big name webinar. But, they’re SO boring I never even sign up any more. The ‘story’ – the length of it – tiresome. We already know it. Yes, some may not, but they read the page and watched the grab ya video beforehand. The camaraderie of the guest and host babbling. Just don’t have time for that.

    • Some people really do like to get right down to brass tacks – I’ve noticed though, that those folks don’t seem to be as engaged by the end!

      Everyone has a style they like best for taking in information, I think. 🙂

  21. Hi Megan, I think all of the ideas you mention to deal with the problem are good ones. Sometimes people forget so yes a button would be good. Personal connection would be good too, as I almost didn’t listen to your last one because I thought it might be ‘just like so many other ones’ with no value and a huge sales pitch, and of course it wasn’t so I was SO glad I listened in. I was actually taking notes on how the webinar was run at the same time as taking notes on the information being given. That’s how good I thought it was. You could also say that the webinar promises to deliver ‘take aways’ or ‘concrete value to your business’ within the first x number of minutes. That’s the thing that irritates people as you well know. I hope that helps!

    • It does, Barbara – thanks!

      I’m really glad you listened in as well! How would I have learned about the Raw Food Diva otherwise? 😀

  22. One of the reasons I don’t like attending webinars is because they take up so much of my time – and, in my experience, it’s rarely time well spent. Even those that incorporate some actual teaching materials usually include an inordinate amount of self-promotional waffle by the presenter – it’s often boring, repetitive and a waste of my time. I find myself screaming at the computer, “OK, OK, I’ve got that – now just get on with it!!”

    The last webinar I attended was by a VERY high profile, successful, well respected blogger, whose work I admire – there was going to be no recording, so I attended the live event. I came away, after well over 2 hours, seething. There was the usual “look at the spectacular view from my window” crap at the beginning, the educational content could have been condensed into about 20 minutes, and it turned out to be little more than a lengthy promotion for an eye-wateringly expensive coaching program. I felt well and truly ‘had’ and vowed that was the last webinar I’d ever attend. It will take a lot to persuade me to attend another.

  23. My biggest complaint is the presenters in many cases don’t respect our time. I was on a webinar last week with a well known online marketer. The webinar was 5-10 minutes late in starting because we are waiting for everyone to get online. Don’t make me wait because others can’t make the starting time.

    Then even though most people have heard the stories before, the moderator has to give his history and “credentials” and then the same for the guest. Thirty minutes into the seminar not one word had been mentioned about the subject. I’m still mad I wasted 30 minutes before I left the webinar.

    My suggestions would be start on time, take less than 5 minutes for background and chit chat, and deliver value in 30 minutes or less and then do your sales pitch. If you deliver value I might stay for your pitch, if not I’m gone. Lastly, always provide a replay we can schedule at a time that works best for us, and don’t try to create urgency by saying this replay will only be up for 24 hours.

    Thanks for reading my rant!

  24. I have been known to sign up for a webinar and then not attend — and I do it more and more often.

    Sometimes it’s just timing — I get busy or distracted or decide I don’t want to spend an extra hour in front of my computer.

    Also I don’t have internet access at home, so having a call-in option would be a *huge* help. I can make time for a phone call at 8pm, but for a webinar I have to leave the house (again).

    Sometimes I’ve forgotten why I was interested in the webinar in the first place (so a reminder would help with that.)

    But a lot of it is just information overload — I’m still trying to execute suggestions from webinars I was on six months ago. I can’t take too much more information.

    That said, I’ve actually attended the ABM webinar twice — I attended in February and signed up again last month, just because I remembered it being really good and I was ready for it this time.

    As webinars proliferate, I pay more attention to who’s offering them and how I feel about that person. There are few people I can count on to give really solid information — an entire business model, of the sort where buying the product would *help*, but I could actually go out and execute the system myself if I really wanted to. Other people’s webinars I tend to disregard–either because I don’t know much about them or because I’m not quite in tune with how they’re operating.

    I tend to agree with Howard’s last paragraph there — you can probably reduce the numbers who don’t attend (a bit), but you might be better off focusing on what you can do with/for the non-attendees — either sell them on ABM through some other means, offer them a different product, or prep them to actually attend the webinar the next time around. You could even offer to ship them a DVD of the webinar content — get it into their hands via a completely different route.

  25. It’s a combination, in my case, of my idiosyncrasies, a function of where I am on the webinar continuum (newbie, watched some, watched a lot) and whether or not I’m really your “ideal client.”
    For instance, I’m drawn to the least “unbelievable” headline promises. And although my schedule is quite flexible, I want to schedule it on my time (in case an urgent priority arises in its time slot), so if there’s no replay, I almost never register.

    Also, I cannot stand sitting through the background speech nor the “sob story” and don’t really care who you are and how you got where you are–not during that initial meeting at least. (It’s as if I’ve entered a classroom ready to begin a course and the teacher gets up and says let me tell you about me. I’m not interested. I want the. lesson and how it applies to me!)

    If the material you present is good enough, then I’ll check you out further to see if you’re for real or just another schemer. And if these guys (NOT Danny Iny) are going to “sell,” that’s fine. Just tell me it’s an infomercial. I know where the off button is if I need it.

  26. I’m one of those people who signs up for webinars but never shows up and that’s because I live in a part of the world (Asia) with an odd time zone and the webinar ends up being at 4 or 5 a.m. my time. I often hope to get a replay of the webinar but there’s this myth going around that replays never get watched – I know that’s not true for me but then I realize I must be one of a kind:)
    Honestly though, another thing that I have noticed as a an avid webinar registeree is that there are an awful lot of webinars out there. Sometimes two or three are scheduled at the same time, sometimes there are so many that you just lose track of when they are supposed to take place and miss them. Other times you sign up realizing that you may have a schedule conflict but hoping that you’ll be able to make it (but you don’t) and finally, things sometimes come up at the last minute and webinars are always bottom of priority for those moments.
    Finally, it’s just the old self-sabotage in play for many people. People get excited about some webinar’s content but after signing up, they lose enthusiasm because their negative thinking takes over and a sort of “buyer’s remorse” sets in or perhaps we should call it, “webinar remorse”. They just don’t believe the webinar’s content can change their lives or they think they’ve heard it all and they don’t make attending the webinar live a priority.

  27. I want a replay I can look at later. Maybe much later.

    The reason? I can fast forward it through the “life story” and all the rest of the garbage I and everyone else speaks of hating as a time waster and see if there is any worthwhile content. If I spot some good stuff they get some more of my time.

    You can’t “sample” webinars live but you sure can do it on a replay.
    Maybe we need a webinar DJ cranking just the best samples? Just kidding.

    There are some people I trust will pack worthwhile info/entertainment into a webinar and they usually get a free pass on the sampling routine…until they fail to deliver or cease to be entertaining.

    Sometimes things get and stay crazy busy enough I couldn’t get to even sample a webinar until a week later. There’s part of your number for those who don’t watch the replay if it’s not available on a longer time frame.

  28. I used to attend webinars fairly often, but I’ve mostly stopped going to them. They seem to be nothing but an hour long sales pitch. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a free thing that being offered, and in return, I have no problems listening to what they’re selling and offering up my email address. I just hate when I’m promised something, but then the whole webinar is about how awesome XYZ product is, and how it will answer all of my questions and solve all my problems.

    I want something valuable in return for giving my time, my email address, and my precious attention. And it doesn’t even have to be big or ground breaking. I just simply want to leave it feeling as if I learned something useful. Not as if I just left a car lot with a car I didn’t want.

    Of course this is a generalized statement based on different webinar hosts – yeah some have surprised me with their value, but sadly the majority have been a disappointment. So, it’s hard to want to go when the odds of disappointment are high.

    As for not attending after signing up, yeah I’ve done it. Mostly, it’s because I forget, or the time is wrong. I hate when I’m told the date of the webinar, but not given the time until AFTER you’ve signed up. In those cases, if I don’t go, it’s because it’s a bad time. Of course there is no universal “right time”, even among the same time zone. I can’t attend evening events, but a morning event would be perfect. But my neighbor might be exactly the opposite. For me, being able to schedule my own replay would be fantastic.

  29. I would be much more willing to attend a webinar that told me how long it was. I think I even asked Danny one time. He, of course, answered immediately.

  30. I have attended many webinars. If I don’t attend it is because
    1. I forgot. I love it when there is a button to add to my google calendar.
    2. There was a scheduling conflict. In this case I might sign up anyway and listen to the recording at my convenience. I also like listening to recordings rather than attending live because I can stop, take notes, go back and listen to something again, etc.
    Recently I’ve stopped attending as many webinars for the reasons that other people have said.
    1. My inbox is inundated with webinars, teleseminars, telesummits, etc. and I just don’t have time for all that.
    2. So many webinars have been a disappointment because there was about 10 minutes of real content and the rest was filler and sales pitch. I felt like I had wasted an hour (or more) of my time. The content has to be really compelling for me to take the risk of wasting my time again and sign up for a webinar.

  31. I rarely attend a webinar live or watch one of those replays that play at x time on y day. I watch the 24/7 type replay so I can stop and back-it up to hear something again if need be. I watch it when it works for me. What motivates me to watch it (besides the content) is when a webinar organizer says it will be available for viewing for 72 hours before it disappears. That usually allows me to watch it over the weekend or on a Monday. And… they remind you that you have 48 hours to watch the replay and then 24 hours via email.

    As some others said above – I also watch replays so I can forward through the intro parts (unless I don’t know who the speaker is) and even forward through the content to see if they get into the promised material or just ‘talk about’ the topic. It’s also helpful to be able to forward through the 30 min. of product promo to get the url for the product and to see the price. It really sucks when you’re on a live webinar and have to sit through 30 min. before finding out the product is way out of your price range.

  32. There are just so many webinars lately and most of them are sales pitches, with little content and mostly disappointing. It now turns me off rather than on. Not to mention they all say just about the same thing.

  33. 1. I have attended many webinars, some good, some bad, but I’m at the point now where I recognize names and know the good ones, so I’ve been able to whittle it down and get the best. I realize webinars are to promote (and sell) the product, but some are so blatant and pushy. It feels like direct marketing of the “But wait, there’s more” type. Usually, I watch till it gets to the promotion part and then switch off. What I like about your approach is its lack of “pushiness,” plus a lot of obvious and real sincerity. I BELIEVE you. Most turn on the sincerity button, but it’s all part of the act. 2. I have registered for, and not attended, some webinars, usually due to a conflict in scheduling. Two days ago, I was waiting for an important call which meant I’d be out the door. It came JUST as the webinar was starting. The timing couldn’t have been better (or worse!) and 3. Live replays are nice, but what I really like are transcripts that I can read at my own pace, skip over what I don’t need, and save a lot of time. Second best is a recording for much the same reason. I can watch in bits and pieces and skip over parts if I want to. I have recordings that I didn’t get to for weeks after it aired. But if I have a recording I usually DO get around to it. Same with a transcript. Live replays are similar to the original in a sense – a limited time to watch before it goes away. I only recently discovered Firepole Marketing and am very impressed, by the content, and as I said earlier, the attitude, and the realness of the person behind it. I know you’re selling, but it’s OK because you don’t pressure. Your sales pitches are actually interesting to watch just to see how you do it. I do have one question – drives me crazy- how did you come up with a name like Firepole Marketing and is there a meaning that I’m not getting? Thanks for all you do.

  34. I agree with many of the other comments. I sign up for a webinar because I’m interested in the topic (have to know exactly what the webinar will cover) and I think I will have the time. Often life gets in the way (or others using the computer) and I can’t watch. Sometimes by registering, you get a shot at a replay, which is often when I have to watch it (on my own time).

    Also, I may start to watch, but see that it will be over an hour long or I’m tired of hearing everyone’s great “rise from poverty” story. I’m looking for good content and expect to hear a sales pitch at the end. If the content looks like something I can use, I will listen to the sales pitch, otherwise, I’m off before the end of the webinar.

    No gimmicks or unnecessary humor or too many people to be introduced and telling their stories, just good quality content.

  35. I am guilty of registering for webinars and not watching them. Most of the time, I just don’t bother registering anymore. I don’t think I have ever come away from a webinar feeling like I learned something valuable and know exactly how to implement it. They are mostly just a waste of time. But sometimes, I get caught up in the excitement, thinking maybe this one will be different. That excitement often fades as the time for the webinar approaches and I realize it’s probably just going to tie up an hour or two of my time for nothing.

    Last time I watched one of your webinars, I had signed up for two on the same day. They both sounded exciting. The first was two hours long, and it was by Jon Morrow: “How I Grew My Blog to Over 13,000 Subscribers and Made $500,000 the First Year.” He promised “super advanced, difficult stuff.” There was really nothing new.

    An hour into his webinar, yours started, so I closed his out and went to watch yours: “4-Step, 12-Month Process to Create a Raring Fan Base.” It was almost the exact same webinar, with the key points reworded to sound slightly different. Who ripped off whom? I don’t know, but it was a complete turnoff either way.

  36. I like the idea of being able to pick a replay time. Another element of this is the idea of considering allowing somebody to pick a second time if they happen to miss the first one. For example, I was supposed to be available for most of the weekend and I was not because several different things came up. I’m almost never home when the live webinar occurs, so a replay is the only way that I get the information.

    Thanks for all of the great stuff that you offer and I hope to see more of it in the future.

  37. I can totally relate to what the above commenters have mentioned. I give webinars & we also host webinars. One thing I’ve been experimenting with for the past 5 or 6 months have been “lunch break” webinars – and I’ve seen (gradually) a rise in attendance & response.

    These came about when I realized that at the BEST webinars I had attended, there was no more than 20 minutes of useful information – usually MUCH less. For me, I can “spare” 20 minutes if it’s valuable information. Heck, I’m even willing to carve out 30 minutes of my time if I know it’s going to be good stuff. I DON’T give away 90 or 120 minutes of my time, though. Generally, IF I go to a webinar, the presenter has 3-5 minutes to convince me to stay. Most of them are still stroking their own egos at that point in the presentation.

    There are 3 HUGE differences between the webinars that we have created & many that I’ve attended.

    1. They are 30 minutes or less. Each one gives at least 3 actionable items that can be applied IMMEDIATELY (with the research & real world experience/case studies to support why it works). Imagine, all that in a half hour – these webinars are JAM packed with useful info – not fluff!

    This does a few things: a. our speakers/presenters have to agree NOT to spend more than 1/10th of the time on their background (so if they go the full 25 minutes aloted – because we always allow 5 minutes for q&a, they can’t spend more than 2.5 minutes talking about themselves). b. they aren’t allowed to spend more than 1/10th of the time – again – 2.5 minutes – on their sales pitch. So, our viewers/attendees KNOW, going in, they are going to get GREAT information for at least 20 minutes of the 25-30 minute presentation. This is HIGHLY favored & like I said, we are seeing BIG results.

    2. We offer this webinar series at exactly the same time & same day every week. We have been looking at changing this up so we alternate days/times each week. However, we ALSO offer replays for a few days after that for those registered attendees that don’t have their “lunch break” during the webinar (available the next day & over the weekend). So, we are really focusing on the ATTENDEE’S schedule. Time is a highly valuable commodity – people have to choose really wisely how to spend it. We have done our best to do whatever we have to do to respect their time.

    3. As I mentioned above, if it’s a guest presenter, we have to have their presentation outline IN ADVANCE (before they are even booked!). If it’s weak or watery, they don’t get on the schedule – if it looks like a giant sales pitch in disguise, they don’t get on the schedule. They have to answer the “what”, “why” & give a few steps of the “how” (at least a few) to get the ball rolling for the attendees.

    I mentioned this model to my own business coach (a very successful IM), and he wasn’t crazy about it. I’m doing it anyway & it seems to be working. We aren’t at our goal for weekly attendees yet – but, the word is spreading that our webinars aren’t a 90-120 sales pitch & the response has been very very favorable. We (and our outside presenters) do get conversions (higher than the industry average) from our webinars – so, we hope we can smash that myth that people need to hear long backgrounds to build “credibility” (people ARE capable of doing research on businesses on their own – I hate that the common idea is that they are too stupid or incapable of doing some of their own leg work before a webinar) & people DON’T NEED (and definitely don’t want) a long sales pitch. Either they want MORE from a speaker/presenter or they don’t. It’s really simple. The clients we WANT aren’t those that are going to let someone mentally pummel them for long enough that they cave & buy. We want clients that actually WANT what we offer & can make that decision/pull the trigger on it without making us twist their arm.

    HTH!

    • Dee — I LOVE your idea about the “Lunch Break” webinars, and having a strict 30 minute boundary for yourself and guest presenters. I’d appreciate learning more about your model and your experience with it. Could you please contact me via email so we can connect? I’m at nancy@sstones.com. Thanks.

  38. I love webinars. However, as more and more opportunities come my way, I find that I sign up for them with a “tentative” on my calendar. In other words, it is kind of like the vacuum sales guy showing up to my door. The question that comes to my mind is “Is the benefit of this going to out way what I am losing to listen to a sales pitch.”

    Therefore, the more specific the sales copy (including followup emails) is to what I can tangibly walk away with, the more likely I am to show up.

    Also, if you want two hours of my time, you really gotta sell me. Nothing else in my life takes two hours. I should be able to get great content and a sense of whether you will add enough value to my life to give you $$ for it in 25 minutes or less. If I’m not sure, you’ll do better to have me come back for your next webinar than to spend more time trying to convince me.

    That said, I love the webinar model and seriously think that it will become a preferred method going forward.

  39. I have to say, this is a super interesting question. I used to take quite a few webinars, and now I really limit myself to maybe one every couple of months.

    I do not like the fact that they are in the middle of my work day, especially since I am the West Coast. They often cut right into my mornings, which are my most productive times. But I don’t work in the evenings, and I try not to work on weekends (and when I do, it’s because I need to catch up on important stuff).

    I will say, though, that when it’s put on by a presenter I know and like, and on a topic that is relevant to something I’m working on, I’m happy to block out an hour or two in the late afternoon. 🙂

  40. Danny, Megan & Everyone —
    I’m a “grizzled” veteran of on-line Info Marketing — I started doing teleseminars back in 1999, at the beginning of my coaching career. Here are a few points that popped for me after reading what so many have written above:
    1. Most webinars today have SO many people participating, they feel so impersonal. Sometimes, presenters do what Danny has done on the 2 Webinars of yours I’ve attended — they enable the comments section and actually add the comments/questions into the mix WITH the person’s name . That makes it feel a bit “smaller” and more participitory. When I 1st began doing teleseminars, we’d welcome each person individually who came onto the call (if it was small), or ask several people to “check in” at the start (if it was a larger group). We’d also pause many times during the program to ask for comments, questions, etc. It made it feel more like a gathering of actual people that we could hear, even if we couldn’t see them. Many times webinars are rebroadcasts of pre-recorded material, which has not been disclosed to the participants prior to their participation. It’s a one way exchange of energy, and people can tell.
    2. We used to have a higher participation rate in free teleseminars — the rule of thumb was that about 30-50% of registrants would show up. I believe that the biggest difference is that teleseminars are much more portable and easy to access. With a webinar, you have to be in front of your computer and have access to high speed Internet. With a teleseminar, all you need is a phone and a quiet space. There were many times that I sat in my car having lunch with my mute button on while I called into a program I wanted to hear.
    Also, there is so much info flow to keep up with in a webinar — visuals, audio, written comments, etc. In “the old days”, if there was written info to be shared, we’d post a PDF of a handout people could download prior to the call, or send out an outline or notes afterwards. And often transcripts for me are a much better tool than a recording — I can absorb info much more quickly.
    3. Yes, indeed, I totally agree that most webinars only provide a scant few minutes of useable info — the rest of the time is wasted in intro and pitching. (A noteable exception was Danny’s recent Rapid Learning webinar — one of the most informative I’ve ever attended. ) AND, they go on WAY TOO LONG. (Doing a 30 minute program would be a great challenge, folks!) Over and over, presenters disrespect participants’ time. Back in the day, those who honored pre-set time boundaries, and who started and ended their calls on time out of respect for others’ schedules, were the ones who got greater attendance. People try to cram so much into one program — after a while, nothing penetrates because its going too fast and too rapid-fire. No point there!
    I learned a great rule of thumb as a speaker many years ago that I’ve always applied to my on- and off-line programs: outline everything you want to present in a program, then cut it in half and then in half again. THAT’S the quantity of info that people can comfortably absorb in 45-60 minutes.
    4. Many people who present webinars and teleseminars have little or no experience presenting live, in person programs (or forget what that’s like!). When you’re in front of a group, even when people HAVE that visual element, holding an audience’s attention for 30-60 minutes requires great and compelling info as well as understanding how to “dance” in the ebb and flow of audience and presenter energy. When presenting a teleseminar, I had the element of live people on the call. Even without the visual, I could take the disembodied voices who called in at the start of the call and turn them into a little mini-community, even if just for the duration of the call. People could hear each other’s voices, and each others’ comments. It was a great way to create a shared experience, which made participation more apprealing, because some people actually got recognized and acknowledged. And, most important, this format recognized that effective learning is NOT a one-way experience. Just like a live event, a long lecture (which is what most webinars are, really!) is usually very boring and disengaging. When people participate — break out into mini-groups, turn to their neighbor and discuss a point, share their input or ask a question — it provides much more texture. I learned a good rule of thumb in building my teleseminar was that for every 2-3 bullet points I was sharing, I had to stop and check in with my group to see if clarification or examples were needed to bring home the point. My programs were about 30% AUDIENCE DRIVEN. I planned for it, allowed for it. I’d often drop a point or 2 I planned to cover if the discussion got interesting. These days, weninars are about 95% presenter driven — no wonder many people don’t even show up, or stay to listen!
    5. In my experience, the most successful teleseminar presenters were those who were able to ‘check ego at the door’ — to make the program intention about sharing a few points of important info with their audience, and making sure the audience GOT IT. It’s just another form of customer service — it needs to be about THEM, NOT us. Most of the webinars today are highly ego-driven and more about telling me what a fabulous person the presenter is. Spending 20 minutes on your story when people have taken precious time out of their day to participate is insulting. Many times I’d just introduce myself with a sentence or 2 on a teleseminar, and direct people to my web site if they wanted to learn more about me.
    George Bernard Shaw said: “A great teacher simply reminds students of what they already know.” Often, it isn’t the actual information that people need to hear — rather, the way its organized, or perhaps put in a unique framework — THAT’S what gives our participants that AH-HA moment. And, isn’t that what it’s all about?

    • 30 minutes is very hard, I completely agree!!! We’ve had multiple presenters who really fought us on it, but we stuck to our guns. Eventually, they would find a way to condense – usually all it took was cutting out the non-essential information or focusing the topic really tightly.

      Our attendees appreciate it more, though, because they know that what we are telling them they will learn is exactly that topic. For example, some people may be interested in social media (in general) & really struggle with one particular aspect of one particular network. Those people don’t need or want to sit through a long seminar on the whole network – they just need the information to get them past that struggle (and the opportunity to connect with someone who is knowledgeable about their specific needs). We give them that while still giving our speakers/presenters the opportunity to get in front of a new audience & get more leads/clients.

      I know that our format isn’t for all presenters/marketers. We’ve had some GREAT presenters that we’ve turned down because they couldn’t/wouldn’t meet the guidelines we set out. On the other hand, we’ve found that the presenters who do meet those guidelines (time & content) are rewarded greatly by the attendees.

  41. Danny,

    You do an excellent job and as a solopreneur I attend your webinars to learn and see what I’ll need to do when I’m ready to launch.

    First, I appreciate how hard you work and your drive. I work 5-6 days a wee/9-12 hours a day. I know your success is earned and I respect that. That said, to the point of this post.

    The last webinar on learning anything in 20 hours was VERY weak. It was all common sense stuff and frankly I bailed out with about 15 minutes to closure. I couldn’t stand it, it was starting to be painful. That bad!

    It was like death by 1000 cuts. WAYYYYYYYYYYY to many digressions off topic and the speaker needed some high test coffee. Ten he repeated his dialogue in the power point slides and this went on and on. I’m sure he’s an expert in his field as I am in mine BUT I’d never want to go through that again.

    What I’m looking for, since you asked, is fast paced practical info that is not simple common sense stuff that you’d tell a ten year old.

    Your first and 2nd webinars were off the charts good. I told at least 20 people about them. You need to do more of your own – they were that good.

    In a nutshell, for business professionals, webinars need to be quick paced w/out any digressions and trying to say the same repetitious points over & over. Stick to the action, make it pop and you’ll get repeat business. BTW, repeat business is the lifeblood of any company – as you very well know.

    Please keep up the fine work.

    Best of health and continued business success.

  42. Hi Megan,

    I seldom attend live for a few reasons:
    1. I believe that my questions won’t be answered if I do ask them.
    2. I don’t believe that it’s live anyway.
    3. Why is the schedule of the presenter more important than my schedule? It isn’t.
    4. The recording always does as fine of a job for me.

  43. Hi Danny,
    I register for a lot of webinars because often I find them very useful and sometimes they offer products or services I really want.

    That being said, here are my problems with webinars in general:

    1. I often can’t get onto the webinar with the link I’m sent. And/or am sent to a register page for the webinar rather than the webinar itself.
    2. Lately it seems that most seminars require you download specific software to go to the webinar instead of just letting you use gotomeeting (which used to be the standard). This puts me off because it’s just one more thing to download and I really would rather not if I don’t have to.
    3. Almost always there is about 20-25 minutes of ‘dead time’ while the webinar sponsors are working out tech problems and then talking about themselves and who they are and what they’ve done. I understand the whole concept of social proof but I’m usually good to go after about 5 minutes. I mean if I was interested enough to register, then I don’t really need 20 minutes about who is talking. Since I’m self employed if I’m going to give up an hour or more of my time, then I want that time to be filled up with information I need or want. Know what I mean.
    4. Also, someone else mentioned this – the time these webinars are scheduled are usually right in the middle of the day for me, which means I either have to pass or stop working so I can attend.
    5. Also, sometimes when I register for a webinar I get mulitple notifications and that clutters up my inbox (a small thing but still I get enough email that extra isn’t needed.)

    Anyway, that’s my two cents, hope it helps.
    Annie

  44. Yes, I’ve registered for webinars I didn’t attend. But only because at the time, unexpected issues arose that I had to deal with and I was too exhausted to take in anything more.

    I think the last two of your ‘fix-it’ ideas would go a long way to resolving the problem. Offer a session just before the webinar that’s emotionally resonant and offer folk the choice of their own time to attend.

    I also suspect that the inviting summer weather might account for many missed webinars!!

  45. Hey Megan,

    Firepole has the best seminars and you have set a high bar. When others do not match it, they do not get my money, or my time; I unsubscribe.

    Sometimes life just gets in the way. I attend webinars and conference calls frequently and appreciate it when: I can click to add it to my calendar; get a text reminder a few minutes before it starts; and having the option to call in by phone for the audio alone. Firepole has good slides, but I do not always want to be sitting in front of a computer. The phone option will help with timing; I could listen on the way to another meeting. But I think I would resent the time drain of an emotionally resonant video after registration. It seems counterproductive when replays of webinars are not offered .

  46. How great that you asked this questions. From my viewpoint, the first problem is that there are way, way too many of them and they’re all too long. Some go on for three and four hours!! People don’t have that kind of time. People who give webinars talk as if they’ve got all day, but must spend very little time trying to hone what they say into a succinct presentation. If you cannot say it quickly, go back and rework it. Also, unless there’s a replay, chances are I won’t make it. Most of us have many commitments and need to hear it at our convenience. Everyone is trying to sell you something and everyone has a webinar. That’s it in a nutshell. I get at least three offers a day.

  47. Even though I’m basically simply going to agree with what’s been said, I figure the more people you hear from the better, right?

    There is definitely a quality issue. Part of the time it’s on purpose because the presenter prepared minimal quality content, part of the time is the person isn’t great at presenting. I agree, don’t take an hour or more to say something you could deliver in 20 minutes. If you waste my time once, it will take a lot to get me to do another one and my bias may even spill over to other people’s offers too, especially if I get to them through you/your referral ( I am using “you” here generically).

    Also, the attitude of “if you don’t show up when I say you show up shows you cannot commit/don’t feel is important” is arrogant. As someone said above, if you are selling face to face or scheduling coaching appointments etc. how can you expect to give someone one time and that time is perfect every time? It just isn’t. When someone uses the above tactic, it truly sounds like they only care about their time not mine. I do like and listen to replays fairly often. The listener’s lives aren’t going to fit in a nice neat little box, no matter how much you want them to. Those who have an honest reason for wanting a replay will listen if they’re really interested, just like they’ll show up live if they can, if they’re really interested. Showing up at one designated time or not is not an indication of intent/seriousness, most of the time in my opinion, just an indication of how life works sometimes.

    I would also agree with the overarching theme here that like so many other tactics, I think webinars have been essentially overdone, maybe ruined by those who have made them misleading or just poorly put together.

    I think this example sums it up well too. Back in the early 90’s, I did telemarketing for an insurance company. At that time, it was a newer strategy, so I could call households at dinner time/in the evening, and actually get the info I wanted. I was pretty good at it. Now it doesn’t work anymore for a variety of reasons and I believe webinars are essentially headed down that same path.

  48. I have such a crazy schedule – I teach 13 fitness classes a week. But I love attending worthwhile webinars, so I do often sign up hoping that I will be able to attend a replay if the time conflicts with my schedule. One man whose webinars I attend, usually offers two different time slots – one early in the day, the other in early evening. The flexibility helps.
    So many webinars – not yours – go on and on and on. Have you considered doing Hangouts? They are so much more personal and interactive!
    You know that I love your information and content, so I attend as many as possible.
    Thanks, Chris

      • Nancy, Hangouts are the latest way to have conversations and information shared. They are included in Google+ and can be informal and attended by many listeners and presenters. They are free and can be revisited like a replay. The presenters are speaking live from their locations (usually their studios) and a chat is included for asking questions. I haven’t offered one of my own yet, but have attended several. I feel that I learned a wide amount of information and got to personally know the presenters well. I am going to look it up on Google, too.
        Thanks so much for your interest!

  49. Danny- I often have scheduling problems when the webinar actually comes. I prefer people who post recordings…I can then watch when I have the time. The second best is being able to schedule a replay when I want to.
    Webinars are sometimes a waste of time, as you said. There are a few people I know are good (it’s a short list, and yes, you’re on it!) and I do try to attend the original.
    Although I know they work well, I’m personally not fond of them because I’d rather read (and then can copy and save and highlight). I retain more that way, just my learning style. I’m more hands-on/visual style and watching anything isn’t my best way. (I rarely watch tv either.) I guess it works for most people and it’s my problem, so I deal with it even though it’s a pain in the butt for me. I realize I’m in the minority. I’d appreciate a transcript (which could be an alternative to a repeat performance also) but no one seems to do those.

    • You are not alone at all Joyce. I like transcripts too, they’re faster to get through, and though video is popular, there are plenty of people who learn in the other two primary ways as well.

      • Glad to see I’m not alone, Cheryl. Webinars and teleseminars are so popular today but like anything else you learn from, it’s only one style. It may be the majority style (hence, the popularity) but we went through all this in grammar school, didn’t we? Those who didn’t learn as well in that style either lost out, suffered through it all (and suffered lower grades in some instances) or got defensive (and a bad reputation in the classroom). There is more than one learning style and surely at least a couple of them can be represented most of the time. I appreciate that it’s a lot of extra work sometimes but I’ve taught live classes and varied my style and provided supplements. At least in a classroom you can take questions and sometimes provide extra time for those who didn’t quite get it. Maybe I’m over aware of this problem but it’s out there and it’s real. Maybe a transcript wouldn’t be so hard, I assume there’s an original script for these things. All it would take then is some fine tuning of added remarks and the q&a if there is any. Well, things to think about…Danny Inny. Food for thought!

        • I agree with the learning styles comments about pdfs (transcripts) …

          Transcripts would be appropriate for training …

          … but …

          Webinars aren’t (in the context we’re discussing) a training venue. As someone mentioned above, they’re infomercials for the internet.

          The whole idea behind webinars (as we’re all talking about them) is to SELL something, to get you to continue to open the ensuing emails (as being on the webinar presenter’s list would indicate is coming) and eventually buy something from the webinar host/presenter — if not on that webinar, then in an upcoming webinar.

          Given that, webinar hosts/presenters aren’t likely to want to pay for the transcription process unless you pay them for something (ie, becoming a monthly payer as a member of the inner circle).

          The original question posed (by Firepole Marketing) is about the commercial venue we all know as webinars — how best to present them for the buyers.

          I still say replays are the best approach.

          (IMHO)

  50. As part of doing what I can to cut DOWN on my computer use webinars will be one of the first things to go.
    I only ever sign up if there will be a recording I can listen to at a time of my choosing.
    I have listened to hundreds and the main reason I will be cutting back is that the formulaic structure of – housekeeping / bio info and then often a lack of genuine quality content before the sales pitch means that I now feel like this is a poor use of my precious time. Some recent webinars have been insulting in this regard. Reading is much more time – efficient method for me.

  51. Fascinating responses and great question asked Danny and Megan

    I run webinars myself and host people for them and I’ve found that around 50-60% people who register turn up live – my audiences are no doubt smaller than yours Danny but mine is also an international audience.

    When I run webinars I’m way too weary of promising the earth and I make my topics very specific and packed with a ton of value. Perhaps too much value and information within 45-50 mins and I always leave time for Q+A which I love.

    In part I think there’s an info overload of webinars as a few other people have commented. People sign up with the hope of watching `someday’ – I know I’ve done that too. But ultimately if people are really 100% in to what you’re offering they’ll attend and I’ve had people staying up til 4am to watch it live.

    So at the end of the day you only want people turning up to your webinars who truly want to hear what you have to share!

  52. For me, I REALLY enjoy the webinars that do offer recordings and here is why. As with a lot of people that are probably reading your stuff, I run my own business. I simply don’t always have the time to sit down for 30 minutes to an hour in one entire sitting and watch something. Not to mention, I’m also an visual learner, not audio, and so webinars and things like that I usually have to watch a couple of times before I really get all the useful information out of it (even with the slides!).

    But more often than not , I’ve been on a webinar of yours and then I’ve received a sales call in the middle of it (one that I have to take in order for my business to survive) and I can’t press the pause button. So I leave. And that’s why I’m not really registering for the webinars anymore. In the past, I’ve held on to your recordings and watched it in 15 min increments over the course of a day or two because that’s what could fit into my schedule. Because I work a normal business day, I don’t want to do things like this over the evening or weekends when I’m “off”. However, to try to devote an entire hour with no interruptions during any freelancers day is just too difficult to always be able to do.

  53. The answer for me is 2-fold:

    1) I can only listen in segments of 20 minutes or so, then have to pause and come back to it for the next 20 minutes. This may be hours later (even the next day).

    The reason for this is medical.

    It usually takes me a day or so to get through ONE webinar.

    I take notes. I’m always eager and excited to listen thoroughly.

    Sometimes if I miss a phrase because of background noise where I am, I rewind for a couple of minutes to re-hear that part again.

    You can’t do that on live presentations or live broadcasts.

    2) I usually can’t listen when anyone else is “awake”. I usually listen in my wee hours (2 am -4 am).

    When there is a live re-broadcast only, I have to SEVERELY sacrifice in order to get in on it. That means going without essential physical therapy or even medical exam appointments.

    I also can’t back up to hear a phrase again or listen in segments of 20 minutes at a time.

    I fervently and consistently listen to REPLAYS ONLY when they’re available. I don’t miss it at all. It’s the only way I can really listen in.

    Even though I’m a devoted fan and listener, I most likely will bail on a live broadcast or a live replay for the reasons above. Just can’t do it.

    By the way, in the past several years anytime I’ve ever paid for anything from a webinar, it’s ALWAYS from a replay.

  54. Time zones will often make it difficult for me to attend. If it is a morning here (NZ) say around breakfast or an evening meal time, this makes it unpredictable with a family. If there is no replay I will try to multi-task but have given up as I end up missing too much. I am one of the faithful who watch the replays.
    Thanks for asking.

  55. Hi Megan, Danny and Co,

    Wings, I read this post earlier today, and was going to comment on the aspect of disabilities on webinar attendance – but you’ve just beaten me to it 🙂

    When I register for live webinars, I try to attend out of courtesy towards the people taking the time and effort to put the webinar on free-of-charge for me (most are free). Sometimes, there are extra bonuses or discounts for attendees. Also, it’s more fun, friendly and interactive – just plain “nicer” – than watching a replay.

    However, sometimes I cannot attend the live event. This may be because of timezone issues (I’m in the UK), because of prior or more important engagements (such as my university studies), or because I am asleep or too exhausted to concentrate, or for medical reasons. A replay is good – but I may be unable to attend that for the same reasons (Danny, this happened to me with your recent “Learn Anything in 20 Hours” webinar).

    I prefer a replay – preferably one that I can not only stop and start, but also rewind at my leisure. My disabilities mean that I often miss information in live webinars (or television programmes, for that matter). I need to pause, rewind and fast-forward the webinar in order to make more sense out of it. And closed captions/subtitles would be great! It’s illegal in many countries to not make online information accessible to disabled people in a format that they can use. Danny, maybe you could let disabled people have a replay on request?

    I agree that 2 hours is a long time for anyone to sit through a webinar – disabled or not. I like the Business Success Cafe by Cathy Demers, which seems similar to Dee’s model (in comments above). The “short webinars” are FREE for a certain period of time (to people who have registered), and you can watch, rewind, pause, etc. any time within that time. After that the videos disappear into a paid-members-only vault. I may do webinars like this in the near future.

    So, yes I prefer short, sweet and pause/rewind/fast-forwardable! (Even though live is nicer.)

    • Helen — Thanks for sharing the link above. I’m endlessly fascinated at the variety of models people develop to deliver info & attract new customers. This one looks quite interesting.

  56. To throw my 2 cents into the mix. I have pretty well given up on trying to go to any webinars for the following reasons:

    1. They are scheduled when I have other things to do – like work! I have a day job and it seems any that are marginally interesting are scheduled during the day and I can’t attend. I did try to watch the replay on a few; but, they failed to deliver on what was promised.

    2. The webinars I have attended all follow the same script as mentioned in several comments. They are a mostly a one-way sales pitch. Yes, there are questions at the end. You have to have people left at the end to ask questions though. Most I have seen I haven’t been interested enough to stay that long.

    3. The webinars don’t provide enough detailed information to make a good decision on the purchase. The only webinar recently I attended that was really useful was one from Frank Kern. He actually went through each step and explained it and his pitch was to join his training and learn all the details and get access to tools. There was enough information to make a good decision if it was something you could actually do.

    The medium has succumb to a “standard” and not living up to it’s potential. The presenters are stuck in their own presentation. They seem to have to do it “this way”. Probably because everyone else does it that way.

    The real missing part of the whole process is the front talk. To find out what the attendees are looking to get out of the webinar and then the presenter uses this opportunity to provide information about what products they have to fill the need of the audience.

    It seems webinars have become not much more than an “infomercial” on the web.

    That’s my story and I ‘m sticking to it!

  57. Hi,
    I want to reply with personal input. And it might justify “Not Viewing” for my geographical point of view.
    On average, I register for 2-3 webinars every month. Most of them are suitable for North American Time zone.
    On several days, especially weekends, I managed to attend the webinars at – 12.30 AM, 2 am, 3 am, 5 am.
    You know definitely that what could happen if you have whole day of working life next day.
    And I am surprised, even with Fire Pole Marketing, the replays are time bound. I mean that you can restrict the replay for 1-3 days post event. If you assign a specific hour to replay, that again causes the same problem that I mentioned above.
    Hope that it will resonate with you!
    Thanks and Regards

  58. Hi, Sometimes the live event is scheduled at a time when I sleep and when the replay is also in the ‘wrong’ timezone that is not good.

    Other times the scheduled time is within both the awaken time and my schedule is open, but some event of great importance come in the way. Again the replay doesn’t necessary fits my agenda either. That has happened often with Firepole’s replays actually.

    I do prefer the live event. If you think limited replay is a good idea you should perhaps consider more options with respect to timezones. There might be marketing (scarcity, avoid copying) issues for having limited replays, but I have to say I prefer the free availability of the replay. It gives more flexibility for those with busy schedules and living in other timezones. If the quality of the webinars (cannot be direct sales pitch – those webinars I ignore completely) are good and I am interested in the topic I will watch replays.

  59. All the above is true, although I usually try to watch the webinars I actually sign up for.

    But one problem I have with webinars, is the presentation by some speakers. If they use a lot of ‘ehs’, bad slides, or endless phrases or if they have an annoying voice, I tend to tune out. It diverts my attention away from the subject matter.

    Also technology that doesn’t work, not starting on time and endless life stories are very annyoing.

    A question for the other webinar vieweres here: Would you prefer a recorded video – that you can view anytime and fast forward if necessary – without the possibility of interaction to a webinar? I’m thinking about putting some videos online with hidden links, only available to people who are on my list. And skipping the webinar thing entirely…

    Thanks!

  60. With so many comments above mine, I rather doubt many will get to this one! But I have been thinking about my answer, so here are my 2 cents.

    I wonder if internet marketers have no one to blame but themselves (ourselves? Do I dare call myself that yet?) if there are a lot of no shows, and even a lot of complaints. The real question is, since when did people think that they have a right to get something for nothing? Essentially, that is what happens when people complain about so little value in the webinars! Napster went away, replaced by iTunes. Free news is going away, being replaced by paid subscriptions. It seems to me that there is really nothing wrong with asking people to pay for quality products, even if that payment is in the $5 to $10 range. Then people who sign up are more likely to show up, and the marketer has a real reason to provide quality content. When you go into Costco and they give you some food, is it more than a mouthful? Everything else requires actual money.

    Yes, I understand the bit about using quality content to build relationships with potential customers. I guess that is the new cost of advertising, right? You, the presenter, give up your time to prepare slides with (hopefully) quality material, then you give up your evening to present it to people for free. Those who show up give up their time in hopes of gaining some small morsel of information that they hadn’t heard or considered before. Hmmmm…. As I write it, this model sounds a little funny. Perhaps that is why there is less and less trust between potential customers and the marketers.

    To be fair, Danny’s webinars have been phenomenal. He delivers exactly what he says he will, and he doesn’t fool around at the beginning. So do a few others, like Derek Halpern (who, last time, got into the meat of the presentation within about 4 or 5 minutes). But these are few and far between. I think these types of webinars have an unwritten contract between audience and presenter: I’ll give you something valuable and useful in exchange for your time and attention. Then please consider my reasonable offer at the end. Ramit Sethi also makes it very clear that there will be an offer at the end and if you don’t want to hear it, go away!

    It’s like the vacation time-share presentations. You give up an hour or 90 minutes of your day to hear their pitch in exchange for 2 airline tickets. It must work – they must make money – or they wouldn’t still be doing that same old thing!

    So what is the answer? Unfortunately, good webinar presenters take the hit for all of the bad ones. Webinars have developed a bad reputation because there aren’t enough good ones. So the message must be clear: in exchange for your time and attention I will share some good stuff with you; please then consider my offer at the end because that is how I make a living. And yes, shorter presentations would be terrific! (Advertise them as 30 minutes and you may get more people to show up!) In essence, it is unfair for people to expect a lot for free; it’s not how our economy works!

  61. Great point, Deborah! It’s a delicate balancing act — present useful info that will attract people and get them curious and wanting more in a convenient format for everyone.
    I don’t mind attending a free program knowing that there will be a pitch of some sort. Even if I’m not interested in the product, I love to observe how different people do that part of the program. It’s a great learning opportunity.
    I think that the folks who’ve posted here talking about really short programs have a great point. What a challenge that would be — to do a 30 minute webinar/teleseminar with authentic, useful info AND a pitch/invitation!
    How about it — Danny, Megan — a contest/project??

    • (just to clarify – I live in the UK and the last webinar I signed up for was replayed at 8pm Saturday night my time….. enough said?)

  62. I’ve recently started to attend webinars as I’m planning my own series. I’ve deliberately stayed away from all the IM / Blogging / Social Media webinars as I don’t want to “absorb” their content. So I have watched webinars in some very different niches. Every single one of them has spent a lot of time, and by that I mean at least 30 minutes telling us who they are. One of them told us how ill he’s been, it was sad. But 27 minutes later I;m still hearing how ill this guy is and I’m wondering how he can deliver his product at the end of the webinar. The actionable content is often very flimsy. Sometimes there is no actionable content to hook me in on order to know the stuff works.
    In short, I’ve found webinars to be one long and dull advert for the presenter’s product

  63. I love Megan’s expression “dollars to donuts”!

    For me, attending a webinar (that I’m not delivering) is a bit like trying to get to a gym class.
    It’s at a fixed time, I’ve got tonnes of other stuff going on, and putting down what I’m doing for something that I don’t have to be at is something I find tricky.
    I’m part of the guilty 60% who sign up to a webinar because it looks interesting, but kind of knowing I’m not going to make it, but at least I’ll be on the promoter’s list for future material and emails.

    Thinking about it, I have the same view with TV. I love watching things like Doctor Who and Buffy (back in the day) but rarely will I watch them when their on tv. I generally pick them up once they’re on box set and watch them all back to back on a Friday night.

    Lovefilm (like Netflicks) has the similar effect. It’s on demand, and I can be demanding when I want. 😉

    Having said all this, as someone who uses webinars, I’ll still take 20-30% attendance and 20% conversion. ;P

    Even in my (paid) mentoring programme I know that the recordings are used because people refer to them all the time in our facebook group, even if they weren’t on the call – but this is different because its not promo material.

    Great discussion Danny and Megan. Thanks for doing this research! Very interesting the comments that are coming up 🙂

  64. Megan,

    I see you have lots of feedback already, but I’ll add my opinion anyway. Webinars always seem like a great idea. If it’s a topic I want to know about I will sign up, but often don’t attend. There are several reasons for this.

    I’m busy or not available (often asleep as I’m on GMT) at the webinar time, so I hope I can see the replay, but don’t get time to watch that either. They are always so long, and with questions, can last 90 to 120 minutes sometimes. This is too much time to commit from a schedule that’s already too busy. Sometimes I forget about it or my schedule changes. So, I try and watch the replay. Sometimes I start watching and realise I haven’t enough time to watch it all.

    This is why I like written material best. I can break it down into chunks of time and fit it in around my schedule, rather than trying to rearrange my time to suit the webinar time or trying to find the time to watch the replay.

    Hope that helps
    Terry

  65. I read this post two days ago and have been thinking about why I sign-up for webinars, then don’t attend and don’t take advantage of the recording.

    I don’t do this too often, but when I do it’s because my enthusiasm about a particular topic has passed. And unlike a face-t0-face meeting I don’t feel like my absence will make any difference. No one will know I didn’t show up, except the webinar host. There is a high degree of anonymity that keeps my reputation safe. I suppose if I did it to the same host over and over again they wouldn’t take me seriously if I asked them for help with there product or service, but so far I haven’t experienced that. (Or I don’t know that I have…we never know what anyone is saying about us when we are not within earshot 🙂

    One of the communities I belong to holds training webinars. The sessions are limited to 35 seats. If you don’t cancel within 24 (or 48) hours of the webinar, your credit card is charged $30 USD. If you attend, it’s free. Most sessions are recorded and added to a member’s area called On Demand Training. All On Demand Training is free to members.

    I enjoy the energy of these live webinars and know that if I miss them, I’ll have to pay $30.
    This model won’t work if the webinar contains a sales pitch, but I think it will work if you’re delivering solid content to members.

    What do you think?

  66. There are a few reasons I don’t catch all the webinars I sign up for:
    – the BIG one is time differences from Australia (don’t have internet at home)
    – even if I had internet at home I just wouldn’t want to live my life around teh technology (partly why I no longer have a television!)
    – some sites send you so many reminders it kind of turns you off dealing with the people (they seem too desperate for your attention instead of confident that you know they are worth it = NOT you Danny, but some others around you I must admit;)
    – unforeseen higher priorities (family is a big one here for me as a carer for elderly “very independent” (they wish = don’t we all) people eg. Alzheimer’s
    – and sometimes I just kinda “get over it” excitement-wise or have read up something else that I can act on immediately so don’t feel so impatient about waiting for appointments…
    – and then of course there is the whole cycle of marketing marketing… like there doesn’t have to be any other product or purpose in life.
    They are the main ones…
    Patience

  67. I attend 2 to 3 live webinars a week & miss others. Like all of the above time priorities dictate my attendance.
    Defiantly have your webinar available for replay. The best webianr I have ever attended on how to create presentation material was aired in 2005, is still available and I send it, probably once a week to presenters who display the annoying traits listed above.

  68. I have registered for lots of webinars and telesummits that I never listened to. This is usually for the reason of timing: something comes up, it interferes with my work schedule, I have other commitments at the time. And, to be honest, I don’t watch many of the recordings. I am much more of a reader than someone who likes to watch videos or listen to audios.

  69. I’m also going to add that, like Terry above, time is a factor. I would prefer to read (or even speed-read or skim) an article that has outlined bullet points of what to do than listen to an entire 60-90 minute webinar on something where the presenter spends the first 15-20 minutes talking about himself, the next 40 minutes presenting content with a lot of fluff (stories, etc.), and then making a sales pitch at the end.

  70. I totally relate to not having time / bad timing for webinars. The one thing that I don’t get, though, is this: if you know you’re not going to attend, and probably won’t even listen to the replay or recording, why sign up? I don’t have time, so I just don’t register! But it seems like a lot of people register regularly, knowing that they will not attend.

  71. Ita, I register knowing full well that I won’t be able to attend the LIVE webinar.
    The only way I can have access to the replay is through registering.

    I DO loyally listen to the all replays … every one of them. It’s the only way I CAN listen.

    So I sign up so that I’ll be guaranteed to be sent the link to the replay.

  72. … And by replay I mean a recording that you can pause, rewind, etc.

    A rebroadcast (where you can’t pause, etc.) doesn’t help at all ….

  73. I am tempted by webinar descriptions– as always sound like something I need to know.

    Sometimes what I take away is more how the person presented, than any content.

    I miss webinarsI’ve signed up for through fatigue or life getting in the way. Try to catch the replay, but often end up doing that on the weekend, when I would like to do a little living that does not involve sitting in front of a computer.

    I have a life to lead and it can only be lived once. Webinar–and marketing overwhelm. I hate to unsubscribe to helpful people, but I am going to have to take my life back.

    I prefer MP3 recordings that leave me free for other things while getting informed to sitting through more live pitches for further training, just so they can read my comments. A moratorium on webinar attenance may be coming soon on my part. I wll have to get strong within myself about this. I had told myself I wasn’t going to take any over the summer–and then, couldn’t resist the inbox marketing. See?

  74. So far, I’ve read many comments about what people don’t like about webinars and I can only agree but…

    Really your question is: How can I improve my net conversion rate above 2 – 3%?

    Obviously, implementing the suggestions given will help but there is another aspect to the webinar I haven’t seen specifically mentioned: trust.

    In our minds, the quality of the webinar is a preview of the quality of the product you are trying to sell. Give a weak, rambling, self-centered, under-delivered, or misleading presentation and we’ll expect the same in the future and in your product.

    When I attend a webinar I want the promises made that enticed me to register to be fulfilled. Fail that, and I’m gone. Not just today but essentially forever. You’ve lost me as a customer because you betrayed my trust and didn’t respect my valuable time.

    It is only after you have delivered on your promise that you earn the right to pitch your product. Done right, I’ll actually WANT to hear about how your product takes what I just learned to the next level.

    When I attend a webinar for an hour, that’s an hour at my billing rate. If you’re planning to waste my time, I’d like to be paid. Imagine 100 people attending all “paying” an hours’ worth of time for the privilege. If the average is only $20 each, that’s a $20,000 event. Deliver like it is, and we’ll be glad to have paid our part.

    BTW, I’ve only attended one of your webinars (with Jonah Berger) and you weren’t pushing anything, only helping Jonah sell his useful book “Contagious” so I can’t comment specifically on your presentations, just on the other webinars that have largely wasted my time.

    If Douglas Adams (of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fame) were to describe most webinars, they’d all be labeled “Mostly Useless.”

  75. Hi Megan & Danny,

    I know I’m a bit late to the party but for what it’s worth here’s my two cents.

    For the most part I agree with many of the comments already posted here. A lot of webinars are done really badly and would be more correctly labelled as a pitch fest.

    I also prefer to read rather than listen to a podcast, video or attend a webinar. However, periodically a webinar topic comes up that is really interesting or dealing with a topic I am trying to learn. So, I’ll sign-up, usually with the intention to attend, (although sometimes I know I can’t attend but register so I can get the replay). But sometimes I simply forget by the time the date comes around. I never sign-up if I don’t plan on listening/watching the information provided.

    I think there are two primary solutions to get better attendance, at least for me. . . (although, your attendance numbers are really good), The first is to let people sign-up to get a text message a few minutes before the webinar. The few times this option has been available to me the text reminder has helped me get to the webinar on time when I intended to go.

    In other cases when I know I can’t attend and I’m signing up to get the replay, being able to actually schedule a replay at a convenient time for me would be great, rather than having to choose from another set of dates I may not be able to attend. Even better if I could get the text reminder for the scheduled replay : )

  76. It sounds like you need to go and consult with Geoff Ronning http://geoffronning.com/ he has some incredibly fascinating stuff around the use of language and framing your opt-in pages for webinars.

    I’m starting to do my first series of webinars in October and I’ve made a point of packing them with value and the part where I introduce myself lasts 3 slides and 4 minutes leaving 54 minutes for actionable content. Yes, I too have attended the webinar where I turned off after 30 minutes of listening to the host waffle on about his rags to riches story…

Comments are closed.

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