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17 Oct
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Pros and Cons of Automating Webinars

by Benjiin InfusionSoft

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Webinars are fantastic tools before, during, and after a sale of products or services.  They let you educate your potential customers on the value of what you're selling. They make fantastic follow-up and upsell tools, too. Lately, I've noticed a trend toward automated or rolling webinars. These are presentations you record once and then show again and again on a regular basis. On the surface, it's a great idea to pre-record, but there are some drawbacks you should be aware of before you dive in headfirst.

The cons of 'fake' live webinars

The call doesn't seem live - There's a special quality to a live call, and people can tell the difference. If you've advertised a live webinar, presenting a recorded one can make people feel like they've been tricked or lied to, and that's never good. One way you can overcome this is to record the webinar with a live audience so you replicate the feeling of a live call as much as you can. Also, don't advertise the call as "live" if it's not.

Can feel like a sales pitch - The beauty of a webinar as a sales tool is that it feels educational. You are providing valuable information and insight before you sell anything. But with a recorded webinar it's easy to sound too sales-y, which will alienate people and could reduce your overall conversions.

People don't like feeling alone - When people know they are on a call with a group, they feel more at ease, like they're not alone. Nobody likes to feel alone. It makes us very uncomfortable. If there's only one person on the call, and they know it, they are likely to drop off mid-call or not pay as much attention. It's important to make people feel like they're not alone.

No live interaction - One great conversion-boosting tip for webinars is to use people's names or answer specific individual questions during a call. With a recording, you can't talk directly to the listeners. So that live interaction is lost.

No sense of urgency - If people know the call is recorded, or that they will be sent a recording, they are less likely to listen at all. They'll put it off until they have time, and eventually they can forget about it altogether. A live call is best, and encore replays that people have to listen to at a certain time beat emailed recordings.

The pros of pre-recorded webinars

You save time - With recordings, not only do you save time by not being there in person every time you give a webinar, but you also save time in the sales process. An automated webinar gets people past the frequently asked questions and basic information they need before they talk to you on the phone. So your sales calls go smoother and faster.

You can make the presentation "perfect" - This is great if you hate to be "on the spot" when speaking. You get as many do-overs as you need to make the perfect webinar. Don't worry that you'll forget something important, just record and edit in any changes.

You can experience better conversions than a website alone - Even an automated webinar is better than no webinar at all. It's a rare website that can convert a cold prospect right on the spot. An informational webinar gives you the chance to answer questions and overcome objections in a more interactive environment, which leads to much better conversions than a website or email marketing series alone.

You can sell 24/7/365 - Time zones and personal schedules no longer matter with an automated webinar. People can sign up for the time that suits them best, so you're making sales even if you're on vacation or fast asleep.

You add people to your funnel automatically - You want people to self-select and sign up for your mailing list so you can market to them over time. But these days you must give them something valuable in return for their name and email address. An automated webinar is a great way to pass along useful information and get people to enter your sales funnel at the same time.

The best of both worlds

So how can you overcome the downside of automated webinars and still utilize this time-saving technology? It is possible when you use automated webinar software that includes a live chat component. We like the Evergreen Business System software for a number of reasons, but mainly because of this chat feature.

You can tell your visitors up front that parts of this webinar are recorded (so they don't feel cheated or tricked) and then say something like "We are standing by to answer your questions via live chat. Just type in any questions you have and we'll get you the answer right away." The Evergreen system also lets you display the names of other people registered for the call, so listeners never feel like they're all alone.

There are lots of features to love about this rolling webinar software, including sophisticated timing, analytics and split testing capability. Plus, you only have to buy it once. There are no monthly fees or ongoing payments.

The best automation systems take the mechanical, time-consuming parts out of the equation, but leave as much of the human interaction as possible. No one likes dealing with a machine, or feeling like they're just part of a system. So remember to keep it human when dealing directly with the customer, and let technology handle the scheduling.