Many coaches and entrepreneurs market their webinars or use them to market their services. They can be a powerful tool for marketing. One question my clients often ask is, “How long should my webinar be?”
Keeping your webinar at a good length really depends on the topic and your audience. In general, 60 minutes is the maximum for one session. People get tired of sitting, and need breaks when you deliver something longer than that. If you’re using a webinar for business and product promotion, then taking too long can be the kiss of death. An exception is if you are delivering course information to paying clients. In this situation, you can stretch it to 90 minutes. To keep your webinar on the right track, follow these tips.
Start and end with engagement. Whether you are delivering a promotional webinar or an educational one, it should feel very personal. Start your webinar with engagement. It can be as quick and easy as asking everyone to say their first name and where they are calling from. Webinar audiences love this and it takes nothing away from your call.
Keep it simple. If you have a really complex piece of information to share, you might consider hosting a series of webinars instead of just one, with each talk being on a different aspect of the information you want to share. Keeping things simple will help you keep things shorter, but you don’t want to go so short that your audience misses an important ingredient of the information you are sharing.
Offer intermission. One way to handle a long webinar, is to offer a five or ten minute intermission during the event. The risk is that some people will not come back, but you can entice them to come back with a promise of a great offer at the top of the hour with their return. You may also open the lines for interaction during this time. While it feels like a break, you are increasing engagement.
Give away prizes on promotional webinars. This will wake up your audience, break up your presentation, and help keep the excitement going during a long presentation. If your webinar is an hour, start the first give-away after the first 30 minutes of the presentation. You can have another at the end of the call. For a longer call offer a prize every 15 minutes. Make getting a prize contingent on being present through the entire call.
Let them see your face. Don’t make the entire presentation all about the slides. You want a good combination of showing yourself and your presentation to your audience. People like being able to look into your eyes. Seeing a face will make the presentation less boring. Plus, switching back and forth between showing slides, videos, and yourself will break it up and make it feel shorter.
Plan ahead. Create an outline for your webinar and practice in advance so your webinars don’t go over the time you have planned. This ensures that you know how to cover all your points in the time you’ve allotted. You can’t just wing it, because we either tend to be long-winded or talk too fast when nervous and you want to fill the time slot that you promised.
Your focus should be on content and not promotion. Of course you do want to promote but that should not be the focus of the call. Plan to do a short promo half way into the call and another at the end. This portion of the call should be only about 10 minutes. Instead of promotion, focus on offering valuable content that your audience can put to use, this automatically makes the event more interesting.
Offer a follow up call on the fly. If you end up getting a lot more questions than you thought you’d get, plan a follow-up webinar on the fly within the next 48 hours. You can send an invite to everyone who has signed up for the webinar, but tell those who are in attendance that due to so many questions, you’re going to do a follow up and send them the details later.
Hosting super long webinars is normally not necessary for most topics. If you need a long webinar, consider breaking it up into a series instead of doing it in one fell swoop. But, always give your pitch and make your offer at each one.