Webinars generate more leads than most other forms of content marketing. That’s because they offer an opportunity to engage and educate your clients in a way that static content simply cannot do. They lead your audience into your funnel, pulling them in to engage with other content on your website – and edging them ever closer to your call to action(s).
Effective webinars take time to plan and prepare. Your PowerPoint slides need to be on brand and on message. Any video clips or animations need to be tailored to your goals. And, of course, there’s the all important dress rehearsal.
Importantly, to make the most of the preparation you’ve done, it's vital to ensure that everyone who wants to join your webinar can do so with ease - and here we outline five common technology barriers that can lose your webinar leads and attendees.
1. Make sure your webinar is easy to join
Would you go to the trouble, time and expense of organising a corporate event for your customers and then decide to host it at a venue in the middle of the countryside, late at night, where even the local taxi drivers would struggle to find it?
Or, instead, would you choose a venue that was close to public transport, had lots of free parking, was well signposted and easy to find?
The secret to keeping your leads and attendees engaged in your webinar is to treat each webinar as if it were a corporate event, removing as many of the barriers that might stop people from joining you as you can.
The latest webinar platforms don’t need to be downloaded before use, so they pose no obstacle to potential attendees who want to join right up to the moment when your webinar starts. This advance in technology also means that it’s becoming less acceptable to ask attendees to download your webinar software before they can join you. Therefore, to do so you risk losing a significant percentage of your audience, consciously or unconsciously.
It’s also worth remembering when you choose your webinar platform that the software won’t be able to feedback any data on those attendees who weren’t able to access the event due to them being unwilling or unable to install your chosen software. They're completely lost people.
2. Make sure your webinar isn’t an (Adobe) Flash in the pan
Take time to check that your chosen webinar provider does not use Adobe Flash as its primary distribution method.
Why is this?
Well, we don’t think we’re being too harsh when we say ‘Flash is dying’.
The software platform has many security vulnerabilities, and it’s the reason why most corporate organisations, browsers and devices are phasing out its use. It's undoubtedly still in use, but you need to consider it as a 'tick box' excercise, rather than your main webinar platform.
3. Format matters
Remember Betamax, way back when in the time before VHS? How about those years when cassette tapes held your entire music collection? Or CDs? Do you still have your collection or are you now all about streaming?
Technology evolves and develops quickly these days, and webinar software is no exception.
To make sure the live webinars you run are accessible by as many people - and on as many devices - as possible, they should be available in a number of formats, including:
HLS (Apple live format)
MPEG-DASH (an alternative live format used by newer Android devices and PC browsers)
It’s also recommended you use an HTML5 player and Flash to ensure viewers on iPhones, iPads, Android devices, Macs and PCs can access your events with ease. After all, no one listens to cassettes any more, right?
4. Stay in the same place
If your business uses a marketing automation platform like Hubspot, Marketo or Eloqua, aim to set up as much of your webinar as possible within that environment. Simply put, this will ensure your emails and registration forms need the least possible effort from your attendees to be completed.
Good webinar platforms will even let you embed your webinar into a landing page. Keeping your presentation ‘in one place’ helps you to streamline the registration and viewing process for your attendees, making it more likely they’ll join you once the webinar is running.
5. What? Where? WHEN?
Just as you need to think of your webinar as a physical event that’s easy to access, you need to ensure people know exactly when it’s happening.
To enable as many potential attendees as possible to join your webinar, make sure the calendar you use to schedule it is compatible and works on all the latest and historic (within reason!) calendar software options. Gmail. Outlook. iCal. The more you can support, the better.
And don't forget reminders are your friend - send them out right up until the hour before you go live.
Webinars are truly a brilliant marketing option. Their versatility and functionality is arguably second to none. Doing your utmost to make sure these barriers are removed will boost your chances of webinar success, leaving you in a position to enjoy interacting with your customers, developing your messaging and demonstrating your depth of knowledge.