Have you ever attended a webinar that you couldn’t listen until the end? When you read the announcement, you immediately decided to register as the title was so intriguing. After a few moments of listening to the speaker online, however, you started to scroll through your e-mails, update your LinkedIn profile, check the agenda for another meeting, or even had a conversion with your colleague in the office. Soon, the topic of the webinar wasn’t that interesting for you anymore. What was the reason? Isn’t content king – as all marketers are saying? Could you have done something to change that or was ‘the fault’ with the presenter who didn’t manage to engage you enough?
Webinars (seminars conducted over the internet) are becoming more and more popular. Many companies and organizations are using them for different reasons: marketing, promotion, or just sharing information. They take place online and allow participants in different locations (worldwide) to see and hear the presenter. Participants can even ask questions and sometimes answer polls. The only thing they need is a computer (also a tablet or a smart phone would do), good internet connection, a browser, and audio or phones (microphone and webcam are only an advantage for better interaction). Once they receive a webinar link from the presenter, they can log in and participate (maybe a small plug-in will have to be installed first).
Though the process is so simple, the average webinar attendance rate is 40–50% of registrants. Why is that? According to ReadyTalk, 48% of people say that webinars were least enjoyable when there was a poor presenter. There are also other very important reasons (also for not joining at all): difficulty in joining, poor content, poor presentation, lack of interaction, etc. Choosing the right time is essential too. Based on some statistics, Tuesdays (the most), Wednesdays and Thursdays would be the best choice. However, it is always best to test with a specific audience.
After studying all these facts, we have discovered that webinar content is not king. Who the presenter is and how he presents the topic is far more crucial. It is a fact that it is not all about knowledge and that people like to see faces. Speaker has to show personality and be authentic. The content should be created around storytelling, functionality or useful tools which proved also in our case.
In 2016, we at the CEF conducted quite a few webinars and learned a lot from the experience. Most of our audiences were public finance officials from South East Europe. Some participated in our blended learning initiatives Strengthening Line Ministries’ Budget Preparation, Financial Management and Control in SEE, and Strengthening Budget Execution. When we asked them to rate (on a scale from 1 to 5) their webinar experience, the average rate was 4.5. After having additional conversations with people, who reported webinars as a great way to learn from experts and other peers, we decided to deliver even more webinars and organize a whole webinar series in 2017.
We are currently designing these webinars jointly with our experts, keeping the focus on our main topics: public financial management – auditing and accounting, tax policy and administration, central banking, and leadership. Public officials from the SEE will be able to join us regularly after registering at the CEF Online Learning Campus. All the webinars will be announced also on our events site, in social media channels and the CEF newsletter. An indicative list of the webinar topics that we consider addressing in 2017 is published in our 2017 Learning Program.
As a learning organization we want to bring even more learning and collaborative opportunities to the public finance officials in the region. We look forward to meeting online everyone who joins us and stays with us this year. You are all welcome to experience webinars together with us.
Dictionary.com. 2016. Webinar. Available at: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/webinar.
ReadyTalk. 2012. 20 Questions and Answers from Content Marketing and Webinar Experts. Available at: https://www.readytalk.com/blog/bo-bandy/20-questions-and-answers-from-content-marketing-and-webinar-experts-3.
ReadyTalk. 2015. 12 Webinar Stats You Need to Know. Available at: https://www.readytalk.com/blog/christine-nguyen/12-webinar-stats-you-need-to-know.
ReadyTalk. 2016. Benchmarking Webinar Best Practices: In-Event [Infographic]. Available at: https://www.readytalk.com/resources/webinar-marketing/infographics/in-webinar-best-practices#.WHSsLVMrKUn.
Redback. 2013. Exposing 9 Webinar Myths. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siAFSeIlln8.