November 1, 2018

My take on automated webinars

The topic of automated webinars has come up in the last few days. Once from a subscriber who hates them. Another from a subscriber asking if they work.

An automated webinar is a webinar that runs automatically, without you having to be there. Which for obvious reasons makes them a popular tactic.

I do have an EverWebinar account, which is one of the platforms. I don’t use it much, but I’ve dabbled. The problem really is you should only automate a webinar that has proven to work with a live audience.

What I hate, hate hate, perhaps more than anything else in marketing, is when you join a webinar that is obviously automated, where the content is presented like it’s live. The presenter will say dumb things, like “I can see Jane is asking a question,” or “ask your questions in the chat, and if we don’t get to it, we’ll get back to you after the session.” Usually there’s some roster of ‘attendees’ all with exotic names, who all seem to ask mysteriously leading sales questions.

Literally, I’m not stupid. Don’t mug me off.

There’s a deeper issue. If you’re willing to deceive me up front, what does that say about the relationship later on?

With that presentation caveat aside, I don’t have a problem with automated webinars. The alternative would be to put a video on a web page, which in my opinion is too distracting, and too easy to pause or exit.

Doing a live webinar is like theatre. Or more specifically like pantomime, where you get live feedback from the audience. Although despite the interaction, a good webinar will stay mostly on script.

An automated webinar is like cinema. A show may run four times a day over a four week period, until it disappears. Eventually, you can probably buy the DVD. The cinema experience encourages you to pay attention, and not look too much at your phone. You can’t pause the movie for a while to respond to an email.

Of course, at the cinema the actors never try to call you out. Because that would be stupid, right?

I’ve seen automated webinars work very well for clients. If you need somebody to watch a 45 minute presentation before they’ll buy, I’d consider it. Just don’t do any of the misleading nonsense I’ve described above.

Rob Drummond

Rob Drummond runs the Maze Marketing Podcast and Maze Mastery. Rob specialises in content production, ad creation, storytelling and CRM systems. He has two published books, Magnetic Expertise and Simple Story Selling, affordable on Amazon.