When growing a service based business, or promoting the launch and release of a new product, webinars are an absolutely outstanding way to attract attention, gain popularity and send people into your lead funnel. And as webinars become an integral part of any marketing campaign, it’s really important that your business takes advantage of them. However, getting started with webinars and finding out what is right for you can often be difficult, and it can be daunting to figure it out for the first time. For example, did you know that there are actually two kinds of webinars? In this article, we’ll cover live and automated webinars, discuss their advantages and disadvantages, and advise you on which kind is the best for your business or career!
Every minute, a representative or group of representatives at a company or organization goes live on a webinar. Webinars have hundreds of purposes, usually to attract new prospects and increase the popularity of a product or service. In the early days of webinars, live was the norm. As the name suggests, a live webinar is hosted and broadcast real time, giving you worldwide access to new customers and clients and easy ability to answer questions and respond to people’s messages in your stream. The concept of a live webinar is fairly self explanatory and has been used since about 2010. In the past few years, we have seen social media sites like Instagram and Facebook innovate with live streaming features that have allowed businesses to host sessions and speak to their followers over the internet, hassle free.
What are the pros of a live webinar? Since it is the tried and tested webinar method, there’s a degree of trust that you can put in a live webinar; they have performed brilliantly over and over again, and as you consistently go live, you’ll gain a knack for interacting with your viewers. Furthermore, a live webinar gives you a great deal of flexibility to engage with your prospects and guide the direction of the conversation based on your consumers’ interests. For example, if the viewers are predominantly asking about a specific feature of your product or service, you can seamlessly incorporate more of that into the conversation and double down on the kinds of benefits your demographic appears to be interested in. This can convert to sales and greater interest in your brand.
Moreover, on a live webinar you’re more likely to come off as credible and trustworthy. There is a clear aspect of authenticity that comes along with a live broadcasted video stream, and because your viewers can comfortably interact with the session, you’ll be thanking the wonders of technology and a fast internet connection soon enough.
Furthermore, on a live webinar, you can gain a more solid understanding of what your audience is interested in and how they’re responding to different prompts. Across the span of multiple webinars, you can get better and better at presenting and targeting your customers’ interests. Through tactical A/B testing, you can get really talented at increasing your conversions rate and bringing in new customers through testing out your strategies in real time with your potential customers.
Unfortunately, there are various downsides to running a webinar completely live, and these can substantially harm the image of your brand in the eyes of your consumers if they affect your stream. Take internet speed for example. If your internet is slow or tends to lag at points, you will quickly lose the interest of your viewers, which equals possible customers or clients lost! Even fast internet connections can become slow from time to time, and no prospect wants to sit through a webinar if it is glitching and lagging every now and then. To make your product or service most presentable in the eyes of your consumers, a slow internet connection just won’t cut it.
On the same note, there are a multitude of problems or unexpected circumstances that can arise when you are running a live webinar. Understandably, since everything is broadcast real time, if you are interrupted or if an issue arises on your side, you may be forced to cancel your webinar or to leave your viewers waiting. In the same vein, this can cause you to miss out on top ticket customers or clients, or to give your prospects the impression that either you don’t care about them, or that you’re unprepared and irresponsible. Sadly, there’s very few ways to mitigate these kinds of problems when you are on a live webinar so if you brave this method then you should be ready to tackle any interruptions or technical problems. You might want to sit closer to your router, too.
The disadvantages of live webinars continue. At a very basic level, not everyone is cut out to present to tens, hundreds or even thousands of people on the internet! You might be surprised by the amount of stage fright you can get when trying out your first webinar, and for many people it can take several sessions to get into the swing of it. Of course, it doesn’t go perfectly on the first try for anyone, but some people may never be able to make it work. What if you forget your script? Or what if you miss out points which cause your consumers not to see a major benefit of your product? When we’re stressed or have a lot of anticipation, it’s easier than you think to make these kinds of mistakes, and once you’ve done them, it can be tricky to reverse them.
Lastly, when you choose to run your webinar live, you’re at the mercy of your own schedule. You have to present at the agreed upon time and if you announced these details to a wide audience, you’re likely to receive a lot of frustration and disapproval if you do not deliver upon your promise. If an emergency happens or if your boss switches up your schedule, then you might have to postpone your webinar, and if your viewers have to reschedule too, that can give them a very bad impression of your company. Also, what if you do not have enough time to prepare before the webinar, and you’re not ready to cover your talking points? Either you go ahead and deliver a subpar presentation, or you cancel and annoy your prospects.
These disadvantages of live webinars have called for new technology, especially in the past couple years. Let’s take a look at automated webinars and see how they differ from live ones - and most importantly, how you could benefit from them!
Automated webinars are a little bit less of a vanilla concept that live webinars, but they’ve risen to massive popularity in the past few months as hundreds of businesses worldwide figure out how they can reap massive rewards from preparing their presentations in advance. You’ve probably guessed what an automated webinar is, and of course it’s quite the opposite of their live counterparts. When you prepare an automated webinar, you are planning and recording in advance, which gives you all the opportunities you’ll ever need to make corrections and get your speech absolutely perfect! These sessions are saved and automatically scheduled to go live at a specific time, meaning once you’ve prepared it and configured the technology, you could disappear to a remote island with the confidence that people will see your webinar!
There are massive advantages to using an automated webinar over a live one, with some minor downsides. Let’s discuss a few of them.
Firstly, with an automated webinar you can make sure your presentation is absolutely perfect before the world ever sees it. You are not confined to just one attempt and you don’t have to present on the spot! You can plan the entire session out, even write a full script, and perform it exactly like you imagined without any hassle whatsoever. This means theoretically you can outsource substantial parts of it and have it all prepared and ready to go on the day. You can see how this really helps negate the disadvantage of live webinars where if you make a mistake or forget to mention something, your sales and brand image could be damaged.
Furthermore, when you invest in automated webinars, you can massively increase your production quality and thereby hugely impact your brand’s reputation in a positive way. You will have a great deal of time to prepare for an automated webinar and since it isn’t a live, real time broadcast, you can use production features and editing which isn’t normally available. For example, you can show product demos or screenshots in your webinar, and edit it together to make the perfect presentation, which simply isn’t possible when you’re delivering a session on the spot!
Of course, the mentioned advantages make automated webinars extremely popular among representatives who are less confident performing live, and take a lot of pride in the way they deliver their presentations. When you choose to run an automated webinar rather than a live webinar, you may be sacrificing some of the “realness” aspect, but the professional theme of your presentation will be far more prominent, and this can really help you to convey the features and benefits of your product or service!
But the benefits of automated webinars don’t just go as far as production quality. You’ll also have way more opportunities to repurpose your content and schedule it in other places. For example, since the automated webinar will be planned and co-ordinated, it is easy and effective to split it up into clips which can be distributed on your company’s social media pages to draw in more prospective clients and customers, or build your brand’s reputation in general. And since your listeners are not forced to tune in at a specific time to hear you talk in real time, you can save your presentation to the cloud and allow prospects to view it whenever they like and as often as they like. This can have a huge impact on your conversion and sales rate, and also leads to more referrals - especially if viewers can share your webinar with people they know in your targeted industry who might also be interested in your product or service!
Lastly, you have the unmatchable technological advantages of hosting an automated webinar. There is a great deal of versatility and flexibility that comes part and parcel with pre scheduling a presentation, and thanks to modern technology it is easier than ever to integrate your webinar with other marketing mediums, such as your email list or sales funnel. You can build programs that automatically distribute your webinar content to social media at specific times, and you can schedule your session to go live at a time that is most convenient for your audience. When you’re live webinar-ing however, you’re confined to a time that fits your schedule!
It may be easy to think that an automated webinar would have a lower overall conversions and sales rate than a traditional, live webinar, but this simply isn’t true. With the ability to integrate your presentation with various other marketing technologies, it’s extremely efficient and effective to reach a broader audience, market better to prospects, and keep your consumers more directly engaged with your brand over a longer period of time. While you can only interact with your viewers through text based chat, on an automated webinar, you can be sure that your presentation hits all the right points and has the greatest persuasive value.
In conclusion, both kinds of webinars are fantastic, but we believe that automated webinars are the future of digital marketing, especially for brands who want to build a fantastic image and reputation, and market to their consumers through multiple mediums. If you want to set up a flexible, easy to use and powerful automated webinar for your company, ElasticWebinar offers outstanding setup services and a platform to prepare your presentation on, so you can achieve the maximum interest and conversion rates! With our suite of tools it is easier than ever to create an automated webinar for your brand and attract new, top ticket customers! Click here to find out more about our simple, effective services for automated webinars.