Here we go. Another email has landed in your inbox with an urgent subject line from a brand you’ve never heard of. It’s telling you about the next ‘must-see’ webinar with a random guest that delivers zero value… and it’s one of 100 other similar requests you’ve received that week alone. Sound familiar?
Our managing director Adam Oldfield tells MAD//Fest that you're likely experiencing ‘webinar fatigue’. And as someone who is well-versed in hosting webinars - and understands how and when to play it the right way - he's provided this insight below to the disruptive brand on what the future holds for virtual attendances...
Webinar fatigue is something that’s hit us all throughout the past 12 months. And it’s hardly surprising when your emails are being flooded with event after event and you’re struggling to delete them quick enough.
But come on, give yourself a break. It’s absolutely okay to have a day where all you want to do is scream into a pillow as the video meetings, calendar invites and phone calls pile up. It’s been a hell of a year after all.
But as you dream about our impending ‘freedom’ and that first ‘proper’ pint on June 21st, I’m here to tell you that even though many of us will be getting into the swing of attending and hosting more physical events, don’t discount webinars altogether.
Yes, there have been some awful examples of webinars throughout the year. It’s been clear that brands have had to fumble their way through them just to get some content out there that cuts through the online noise. The bad ones are sometimes no fault of their own either – it’s purely come down to a lack of preparation and confidence as they were forced to bin their 2021 marketing strategy overnight.
If you’ve learnt something from webinars, you’re doing okay
I’ve hosted a few webinars in my time. However, I know that if I check out any of my earlier ones, I’d cringe. They’d be full of script mistakes, internet connection faux pas, and rubbish jokes complete with a soul-destroying tumbleweed moment or two.
And we’ve all heard the nightmarish anecdotes of hosts who have had someone in their audience forget to mute themselves, and instead yell an expletive about it ‘being a waste of time’ before leaving the chat. If that’s happened to you, don’t worry about it – in fact, use it to your advantage!
What’s important is that you learn from all of these instances – and enjoy the good ones. For example, were there particular subjects your marketing audience couldn’t get enough of? Leverage your marketing automation technology data here and focus on these topics in future to welcome even more bums on seats. And be bold with the experts you bring in as your next ‘must-see’ panel guest – they’ve got to give marketers a reason to switch off from their busy day-to-day working lives.
You might’ve noticed that people were flagging halfway through, some may have dropped out of the call altogether, and others weren’t asking as many questions as they were before. Although it is admittedly difficult to win the room back, it might be worth revamping your format with polls and visuals throughout so it’s more engaging and drives interaction.
And, as damning as it might feel at the time, always ask for feedback – and act on it – even if there are marketers who said your session was absolute tosh.
The point is, just because we’re all still in relative isolation, don’t roll out a webinar series for the sake of it, or join every single one just to ‘show willing’ to your employer. Pick and choose the topics you feel will provide the most value to your learning and development. And if you’re hosting, put your efforts into making the event something marketers will be highly engaged in and be eager to register for. If you can’t be bothered making the event great, you can’t expect attendees to put the effort in either.
If they’re bringing in the right audiences, leverage webinars as part of your overall marketing strategy. However, don’t ever let them stagnate – instead proactively respond to customers’ of-the-moment interests and develop your online events content accordingly.
Oh, and please, for all our sakes, don’t ‘batch and blast’ the next webinar invite with an un-personalised ‘Hello [first name]!’ That’s exactly how you’ll ensure busy marketers are screaming at their laptops and hammering you on Twitter before swiftly hitting the ‘delete’ button – or worse still unsubscribe, for good.