9 Technology Trends Affecting Webinars Now


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There are nine main technology trends happening now in the webinar world. As a webinar producer, understanding these trends can help you determine where you can improve your webinar program. To learn about how to best leverage webinar features like presenter video and the backchannel, read on to hear from presentation expert, Roger Courville on which trends are worth your time and effort.

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9 Technology Trends Affecting Webinars Now

  1. 1. 9 Technology Trends AffectingWebinar Programs NowA 1080 Group, LLC brief | Prepared for Citrix GoToWebinarThere has never been a better time for using webinars as part of your marketing strategy. Thechallenge for some organizations, though, is up-leveling their webinar program strategy.This leaves money on the table.What follows are nine worldwide trends that should convince marketers to align their webinarprogram with a larger strategy. None of these trends should be a surprise, and all can be easilyinvestigated. More importantly, each is accompanied with tips for how to look at your webinarprograms more strategically.The economics of attention spansYou’re holding a webinar for a reason: You want someone to register and become a lead, butyou also want them to hear your message. If they don’t show up from the neck up, you miss avaluable opportunity. Real people connect with real people, and live webinars are an excellentopportunity to get and keep attention.Take actionCreate a plan to master all four dimensions of engagement: content, design, delivery andinteraction.1. Use a psychologically proven model to create compelling, can’t-miss content.2. Design an audio/visual/video experience that includes – but is not limited to – a great looking presentation.3. Deliver authentically with voice that draws people into the experience.4. Interact in a natural and authentic way to turn passive viewers into active participants.BackchannelPeople are multitasking and conversing at events of all types (including in-person events). Areyou going to ignore, react to or get out in front of the conversation to be a thought leader andinitiator? For webinars, the backchannel often happens in the chat panel of the webinarsolution and via social media, like Twitter.
  2. 2. Take action Even if you hate Twitter, learn how to initiate the conversation and interact with participants. Help non-Twitter users be part of the conversation by helping them be observers of it. Don’t ignore the power of the chat or Q&A that’s built into GoToWebinar. Have a plan (if not a team) prepared to help across channels. Time (re)scaling Web conferencing is a medium, yet a webinar has come to mean “45-minute presentation + Q&A.” Why? Different types of webinars can and should have different durations, and savvy marketers will take advantage of both shorter and longer forms depending on their webinar type and goals. Take action Consider segmenting types of webinars based on the stage of the customer discovery/buying cycle. Short webinars may generate more leads, as the commitment asked of the prospect isTop 5 business benefits of shorter. However, other prospects may benefit from a longer educational investigation of your product or services – and have the patience to be present because of a different level ofpresenter video: ✦ Show something that is not interest. easily shown from a Presenter video computer screen. ✦ Eliminate or cut travel costs. While webcam quality and reliability is better than it has ever been, the relative newness of ✦ Be more environmentally- using it uncovers two new challenges. Presenters may be unaccustomed to presenting online while also being seen by the audience, and our 2011 study found that top audience friendly. ✦ Reach more people in an complaints of speakers on video were “distracting mannerisms or gestures” and “cluttered or distracting background.” easy and meaningful way. ✦ Make better use of time. The opportunity to deliver impact with presenter video is huge. In addition to personalization, presenters who learn to adjust to using the camera can dramatically improve their impact withBoost Your Image: non-verbal expression.Master the Three Stages ofVideo Conferencing Success Take action1080 Group, LLC Train presenters to become aware of how they appear on camera. Use the power of eye contact during critical points in the presentation (e.g., openings, closings, key points). Avoid relying on the camera at the expense of creating appealing visuals (e.g., well-designed slides, guided desktop demonstrations, etc.). Don’t be afraid to turn the camera off during portions of the presentation to focus attention on other visual elements. Globalization/tribalism Presenting globally introduces challenges of time zone, language and culture barriers. Globalism and the web have also given rise to tribalism – the desire for connectedness among like-minded people. The opportunity is to lead and guide conversation and connectedness not only with the thought leaders who are put on stage, but to create momentum and community in a way that fuels future webinars and programs. Take action Ensure relevance and inclusiveness (e.g., choose a different analogy than “American football” for the global audience). Equip presenters with awareness of cultural or news issues which may influence how the audience hears a message. Enable like-minded attendees to connect and
  3. 3. stay connected, both for each other and for future webinars (e.g., participating in the same Facebook group). Monetization As lead nurturing grows in practice, the focus on webinars evolves from “Did I get a lead when they registered?” to other measurements (i.e., “What was the conversion rate of webinar leads that cost us X versus another lead that cost us Y?”). Two characteristics of webinars create opportunity to create more value. One, real human-to-human contact has amazing potential to get and keep attention. Two, engaged participants are more likely to vote in polls, submit questions and respond to end-of-webinar surveys with useful information that deepens the understanding of the marketing and sales efforts. Take action Consider framing the value of webinars in executive language: Make money, save money, reduce risk, improve time-to-market and/or improve response time. Remember that while anything can be measured (technically), it may not always be prudent or necessary, and it isWouldn’t it be great if your often sufficient to simply get credit for success with acknowledgement (e.g., the sales VP giveswebinar data were open appreciation that the team liked and wants to extend the program).automatically transferred to thesystem where you track leads? Crowdsourcing One key challenge for content marketers is knowing exactly what content to prioritize. This isNow it does. exponentially complicated when you begin segmenting content by markets or customer- decision cycles. The tools built into your web conferencing platform, however, are ideal forTo better leverage your webinar gathering additional data that will improve nearly any factor of lead-generation effectiveness.data, set up free GoToWebinar The short-term result: better qualified leads. The long-term result: targeted, better-producingintegrations with your webinars and programs.marketing automation system. Take action Use every point in the webinar lifecycle to ask questions that will help you target and refine relevance (e.g., time of day, duration of webinar, topic prioritization, etc.). Consider using audiences to source content such as FAQs or resources. Evaluate webinar reports over time to identify trends. Design thinking In many organizations, webinars occur as one-off events, which leaves money on the table in several ways, like underutilization of data-collection/lead qualification, failing to build momentum and generate more leads with a program-based approach and lack of insight because data exists in silos. The opportunity is the opposite of these maladies, but only happens with intentionality. Take action Think “agility” like a web-based publisher. Reduce development costs by re-purposing segments of presentations. Create program momentum with cross-promotion. Leverage multi-webinar reporting that uncovers insights and trends. Flexible work The challenges and opportunities associated with flexible work styles exist on two fronts for the marketer. Mobile workers can attend webinars on phones or tablet devices from anywhere, demanding a new consciousness for content creators. Marketers are also finding that flexible
  4. 4. work arrangements mean that the project management of producing webinars and programs increasingly involves remote team members. The opportunity? Increasing the supply of awesome talent you put on stage in real time with anyone, anywhere. Take actionWith GoToWebinar, you have Teach presenters two things: one, how to design for a new environment. Online presentationsaudio options. Choose from demand different flows and content. Two, how to create a sense of presence or inclusion for alllocal, toll-free and international attendees. To get there with your presenters, go beyond “send me your PowerPoint” andphone numbers in addition to instead host a quick rehearsal in the actual conferencing platform. This will accomplish twoVoIP so your attendees can join important things: the speaker will grow in comfort with the tools that enable natural, authentichowever is most convenient for delivery, and you can explore (together) the options for increasing interaction (e.g., using a poll).them. Learn more. The bottom line Your webinar program can be better. To up-level your webinar program, focus on strategy, engagement and scale. ♦♦♦ About 1080 Group, LLC 1080 Group, LLC is a training and research firm that helps organizations design and deliver interactive webinar, webcast, and virtual classroom programs. The collective team experience includes hundreds of clients, thousands of web seminars, and more than a million web seminar attendees. Contact 1080 Group at info@1080group.com, +1.503.476.1080, or www.twitter.com/1080Group. Roger Courville’s blog, curriculum vitae, et al can be found at www.thevirtualpresenter.com. Subscribe to 1080 Group’s newsletter and get a free bullets-to- visuals tutorial here: http://bit.ly/cyKZUJ. About GoToWebinar Webinars Made Easy. Citrix GoToWebinar is the easiest-to-use do-it-yourself event tool that projects your message to up to 1,000 online attendees. With GoToWebinar, you can reduce travel costs, generate more qualified leads at a lower cost and enhance communication with customers, prospects and employees. Host unlimited webinars for one low flat fee and give attendees the option to join from a Mac, PC or mobile device. GoToWebinar Premier Event is also available to provide custom-built solutions for thousands of attendees and available with video streaming. To learn more, visit www.gotowebinar.com.