When you’re preparing for, delivering, and unwinding from a huge event like a webinar, things are bound to go less than perfectly. It’s just life. But it’s also nice when you can know some of the pitfalls that might await, so you don’t have to deal with them! That’s why I’ve compiled a master list of the webinar mistakes you might encounter at some point in your webinar journey, so you can hopefully head them off at the pass. I’m rooting for you!
We’ll cover the critical mistakes you need to look out for at all three phases of your webinar journey. Then before we say goodbye, I have one more exciting opportunity to share with you.
Here's what's in store in this final chapter:
- Pre-Webinar Mistakes
- During-Webinar Mistakes
- Post-Webinar Mistakes
- One Final Webinar Mistake to Avoid
- Taking Your Webinar Success to Greater Heights
Become a Webinar Rockstar
All right, let’s get these webinar mistakes out of the way!
There’s a lot to do before your webinar to make sure it goes off perfectly. Which means there’s a lot of ways to mess up your webinar before it’s even started! I’m messing with you, really. You’ll be fine once you go through this list of pre-webinar mistakes to avoid.
- Your topic sucks. Let’s be real: your webinar needs to be something that people actually, you know, want to show up for. A great webinar is built around the needs, wants, and intended outcomes of your target audience, so if you haven’t done the legwork to learn what your audience wants, your webinar is not going to be as successful as you’d like.
- You’re not promoting it enough. Giving yourself a few weeks of lead-up is great, but not if you don’t actively promote the webinar during that time. You need a solid webinar marketing plan, so read up on how to do that if you haven’t already.
- You’re not giving yourself enough lead time. If you don’t allow enough time for people to learn about your webinar and register, you’re just not going to get as many signups as you could. One week is the bare minimum, and two or three weeks is better.
- You’re giving yourself too much lead time. While giving yourself too little time to market your webinar is a bad idea, too much can also backfire. Anything more than three weeks, and people’s interest and attention can start to wane. Stick with a sweet spot of two to three weeks.
- You’re not incentivizing people to join. The webinar itself should be amazing, but it doesn’t hurt to give people a little boost to get them to attend. You can do this by sending a lead magnet or bonus when people sign up (to incentivize people to register), and by promising a special discount, bonus, or other resource that you’ll reveal toward the end of the webinar (to incentivize them to stick around).
- You’re not sending reminders to attendees. Getting people to register is great, but you can’t just assume they’re going to remember to show up at the right day and time. You need to send reminders leading up to the webinar, including (and especially) the day of!
- You’re not using an add-to-calendar feature. Make it as easy possible for attendees to remember when your webinar is happening. One simple way to do that is to provide an add-to-calendar feature in your email reminders (see above). Demio and most other webinar platforms provide the ability to do this.
- You’re scheduling at the wrong day/time. Most of the resources out there seem to suggest that scheduling a webinar midweek (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) and around the late morning or early afternoon (but watching out for lunch hour!) in your target audience’s main time zone is the way to go.
- Your marketing messaging is ineffective. You need to sell people on your webinar, even if it’s free! All of your webinar marketing materials need to explain clearly and succinctly the purpose and outcome of the webinar. Check out the marketing chapter for more.
- You don’t practice your presentation. Underpreparation can sink even the most promising webinar. You need to map out a clear path from initial engagement with the viewer to getting to the payoff at the end—then you need to practice it before going live. It’s fine to leave moments during the webinar when you can speak off the cuff—but not for the whole presentation!
- Your registration form is too long. The webinar registration form can seem like an afterthought. But be careful you’re not asking for too much information when people sign up—name and email address should be sufficient. Unless you really need to know their pets’ names, keep it simple and avoid creating a roadblock right before the finishing line.
- You have too much content. How many slides do you have in your presentation deck? If you need more than two or three hands to count all of them, it’s time to rethink things. And will your audience members be calling their optometrist to get their prescription checked after trying to decipher the text on your slides? Practicing your presentation in front of friends or team members is a great way to get feedback on what to cut, but generally speaking less is more when it comes to your content.
- You’re overpracticing. Don’t stress about delivering a “perfect” webinar, especially on the first go! It takes time and practice to build up your webinar muscle. Practicing is obviously important, but overpracticing is likely to just make you nervous about making mistakes. It’s fine to make mistakes, even in front of a crowd—it means you’re human!
- You’re trying to do it all yourself. Preparing for a webinar is a lot of work! If you have a team, let them help you with the technical stuff (ordering equipment, setting up your webinar platform, etc.) so you can focus on getting ready for delivering an awesome webinar.
Guess what? Even after you eliminate all the possible pre-webinar gaffes and misses, there are also a lot of mistakes you can make during your webinar! Thankfully, they’re all things you can address—some with a little more prep, and some with a change of strategy during the webinar.
- You’re winging it. Practice, practice, practice. Nuff said.
- You’re going over (or under) time. People are giving you their time, so keep your webinar to the promised length. If you go too long, people will run out of motivation to stick around. If you run short, people will feel short-shrifted. And not staying within the promised time window may even diminish people’s trust that you’ll stick to your word. A lack of practice is usually a big part of the issue here, so, you know, practice.
- You’re not using the right equipment. Using the right hardware is crucial to a good webinar experience for you and your attendees. While you don’t need the most expensive microphone, web cam, or lighting setup, it helps to invest a little in equipment that will help you look and sound more professional.
- You’re not recording your webinar. Do you even evergreen, bro? Your webinar recording is a valuable resource you can use to create an on-demand event you can run multiple times throughout the year, or even on an ongoing basis. Make sure your webinar platform gives you the option to create a high-quality recording.
- You’re not making it interactive. With all the options to involve and engage your audience using current webinar platforms, there’s no excuse not to make your webinar interactive. Trust me: people love to have their voices heard, so give them a chance. It’ll improve everyone’s experience immensely.
- You’re pitching too much. I’ve been to my share of those webinars—the ones that stir with a few minutes of story followed by 45 minutes of a pitch for some product or course. What’s missing? Valuable insights and actionable content your attendees can get excited about putting to use in their businesses right away.
- You’re not providing a CTA. A webinar is a great way to educate your audience and promote a product or service if you like. And while there’s no requirement to be selling anything on your webinar, you should still give your audience a next step, some way they can continue to take action with you
- You’re not looking the part. Your office is messy. Your shirt has a ketchup stain on it, and you’ve got that just-rolled-out-of-bed hair. Oh, and you didn’t lock your door, and your kids are playing right outside and could bust in at any minute. I totally get that it can be hard to create the “perfect” setting and appearance for your webinar (after all, you do want to appear human)—but do what you can to look professional and minimize the chances of a rude interruption.
- Your video and audio quality are lousy. Nothing can put the brakes on a great webinar like glitchy audio or frozen video. Make sure you have an adequate internet connection, shut off any unnecessary apps, and do a test run beforehand with a friend or your team!
- You’re not engaging with your audience. People have given you their time and attention, and you need to meet them halfway. If you're just reading from a script and not asking questions or engaging the audience, you're not giving people the experience they deserve—and wasting your own time, too.
- You’re taking too long to get to the good stuff. If you spend twenty minutes rambling on at the beginning of your webinar about who you are and what you’re going to talk about, you’re going to lose people. Don’t wait so long to provide value.
- You’re being a machine. While it’s not a great idea to ramble about yourself, especially at the beginning, it’s important not to be too impersonal. Share who you are, including your qualifications and personal story, at points throughout the show. These details can help establish trust and credibility when it comes to the topic of your webinar.
- You’re overapologizing. If you mess up during your webinar, say sorry, then get back on track and keep going!
- You’re using the wrong software. You need a bunch of features your current webinar tool doesn’t have. Or you’re paying for a bunch of features you’re not using. Demio is the tool we use because it delivers the webinar experience and features we’re looking for, but I want you to make the right decision based on your needs.
- You’re stressing too much! Yes, delivering a webinar (especially if it’s your first one) can be nerve-racking, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, too! Remember to breathe, take breaks, let your guard down, and check in with your audience from time to time.
- You’re trying to do it all yourself (again). Delivering a webinar is a lot of work! If you have a team, let them help you with stuff like managing the chat window and addressing any technical difficulties so you can focus on giving an awesome webinar.
Okay, you’ve avoided all the pre-webinar and post-webinar pitfalls. You’re in the clear, right? Nope! In many ways, your work has just begun, and more potential troubles await. But you’ve got what it takes to stay on the straight and narrow even after your webinar is over—I believe in you.
- You’re not learning from your webinar. Go back and watch the webinar replay to learn more and consciously improve! Get feedback from others too, like your audience and your team. You might get feedback without asking, but it’s a better idea to go looking for it.
- You’re not following up. If you’re not following up properly after the webinar, you’re missing opportunities to reach people who didn’t attend, who left early, or who didn’t even know about the webinar in the first place.
- You’re not analyzing your data. When it comes to building on and learning from your webinar, data is your friend. How many people registered and didn’t show up? How many people left early? What were the most popular questions asked during the webinar? Looking into all of these data points will help you understand what worked well and what could be improved for next time.
One Final Webinar Mistake to Avoid
Before we go, there’s one more webinar mistake I want to alert you to—well, it’s one we’ve already talked about, but it bears repeating…
- You’re trying to be perfect. Yeah, I know the list of potential mistakes you could be making with your webinar is pretty long. But here’s the thing: mistakes are fine, and you’re almost definitely going to make some, especially if your next webinar is your first one. So give yourself some credit. Your audience wants to hear and learn from you, the imperfect human, and have a human experience together.
Taking Your Webinar Success to Greater Heights
I hope this guide has given you some handy tools, tactics, and insights to put to use in creating, delivering, and building on your own successful webinar!
I hope you’re excited to continue your webinar learning journey—and if you are, my brand new course, A to Z Webinars, is the perfect next step.
If this guide has helped you build your rocket, then A to Z Webinars is the rocket fuel you’ll need to fly even higher and take your webinar success to the stratosphere.
In A to Z Webinars, I’ll teach you how to create, promote, and run webinars and virtual workshops that grow your list, increase trust, and help you make more money.
I created A to Z Webinars because I want to show you everything I’ve learned over the past five years of hosting more than one hundred webinars, so you can make webinars and virtual trainings work for you, too.
This isn’t a course about what worked for me years ago. In A to Z Webinars, I’ll show you exactly what I’m doing today in my webinars to get the results I want.