The Pros and Cons of Live & Automated Webinars
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In this blog post I am going to answer a common question, should I do automated webinars or live webinars? This is a question I get asked a lot. Let's dig in and I'll share with you the differences between live webinars and automated webinars and then I’ll break down the pros and cons. Let's go!
What is an Automated Webinar?
First, let me kind of define what an automated webinar is. You may have heard it interchangeably referred to as an automated webinar, evergreen webinar or an on-demand webinar.
The terms are used interchangeably however there are minor differences between them. An automated webinar is a pre-recorded webinar. evergreen and on-demand webinars are different types of automated webinars. This could be a video that you record as you are presenting the webinar. In most cases, an automated webinar was once a live webinar.
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An evergreen webinar is very close to an automated webinar. When we think of the term evergreen it's something that is always relevant. It doesn't matter when you record the webinar if you recorded it two years ago an evergreen webinar is still relevant today.
This is the best way to have a webinar where you don't have to go in there every month or every quarter to reproduce it. Keep it evergreen so that it's always relevant.
On-demand webinars are pre-recorded webinars. They were once live webinars but they are now available anytime, every day on the hour, or however often the presenter wants them to be available.
I have seen on-demand webinars on someone's website homepage and all you have to do is click play and it's playing instantly, its on-demand.
As you can see when it comes to on-demand, evergreen, and automated webinars they are pretty much all the same. It is a webinar that's not presented in real-time or pre-recorded. You now also got the subtle differences between each one as well.
What is a Live Webinar?
A live webinar is a webinar that is delivered live. Alright, there is really not much to say about that! The content is live, the chat is live, the engagement is live. Everything is live so when the webinar starts the presenter is right there delivering the content with the attendees.
Perhaps the presenter is starting out with a little rapport by welcoming everyone. You can even call out the attendees’ names. This gives your webinar an element of realness.
Ex: “Hey there Derek! I see we have someone from Toyko with us today! Type in the chat where you are tuning in from. Welcome Susan, so glad you are here with us today!”
There is an instant interaction with live webinars, it's in real-time, and everyone is in the same space.
A hybrid webinar is the best of automated and live webinars! With hybrids you are not actually spending time performing the 45-minute webinar each time, you're just hopping on at the beginning to welcome your attendees or the end of the webinar to answer any live questions that would come your way.
You just start the webinar live, the welcoming interaction is live and then once you're ready to go into the actual webinar content all you have to do is play webinar. Once the pre-recorded webinar is done you hop back on with the live chat and answer any questions the viewers may have.
Should you start with an Automated or Live Webinar first?
In my educated opinion, I believe you should start with a live webinar. I teach my clients to start with a live webinar. Do them once a month, twice a month, or every week or however the time permits in your life.
Once you have a live webinar that is converting the way that you want it to then you can quickly turn that into a pre-recorded webinar and host it as an automated webinar.
I definitely want my students to start with live webinars, however, in order to scale your business you will eventually need to transition to automated webinars
Now let’s move onto discussing the pros and cons of live webinars and automated webinars. Without further ado let’s get to it!
Pros of Live Webinars
Content & Engagement
When the attendees show up to the live webinar (not the replay of a live webinar) the conversion rate is much higher than a pre-recorded webinar.
The content is usually better because you have live attendees on the live with you and they are commenting and asking questions. You are able to answer them right there on the spot or you can hold their questions to the end, whichever is easier for you.
Engagement and interaction are so much better because you can call out the attendees’ first name in the welcoming introduction as well as when you are asking for engagement in the chatbox. Name-calling is a trigger word it makes them feel good to hear their own name called. Doing this personalizes the entire experience of being on a webinar with you.
Feedback & Email List Building
You get real-time feedback to know exactly can you can make this live webinar better. Could they hear me you okay? Were you talking too fast? Was your speech clear and easy to understand?
Another major pro for live webinars is the fact that people will automatically be added to your email list! Since you're picking a particular day to present your live webinar you are going to promote several days prior to the event date.
Lastly, they're fun! Even if you get nervous just try to do one! They are a lot of fun and you can get a lot of insight which is totally worth it!
Cons of Live Webinars
Time & Timing
The very first con that comes to mind when I think about live webinars is the time. Live webinars take up your time and it takes up the attendees’ time. You have to find a time that is the most popular for people to show up yet it also has to work within your schedule because you actually have to be there to present.
Time zones! Even thinking about this obstacle gives me a headache. The best time for you may not be the best time for your audience especially if you have a business where international people may hop on your webinar. If you're doing a webinar at 4:00 PM CT and is it 2:00 AM for someone who wants to attend your webinar they may opt-out of attending.
You really have to be crystal clear on who your ideal client is when choosing a time to host your webinar. If your ICA is still working in their 9-5 then a live webinar at 11 AM isn’t going to work well. Chances are they won’t show up!
Your show up rate is lower so the number of attendees that show up live is not as high as an automated webinar. It is harder to get people to attend live because of the timing issue.
Technology & Fear
The next con of having a live webinar is technology! Tech issues come with the territory of having an online business but they are still things that you have to take into consideration with weighing the pros and cons. Since the webinar is in realtime anything could go wrong. This can range from background noise, unexpected interruptions, internet connection, software not working correctly, etc.
Another con with live webinars is fear. Fear of messing up, fear of presenting to people in realtime, fear of sounding silly or forgetting something that is important to your presentation. The list can really go on and on. For some people, this may be the biggest con of all! This also may be the reason you are procrastinating and not getting started. Advice from me - just do it! Fear is always going to present when you are doing something new. Push past that fear and do it anyway.
Pros of Automated Webinars
They're scalable! You can scale your business and leverage your time. This fact in itself is the best part of having an automated webinar.
Another pro is since it's pre-recorded there's less or little or no tech issues at all! Since it's all recorded all you have to do is push play! I suppose something could happen but the chances are very slim.
They are easier to get started! You don’t have the pressure of being live, answering questions in realtime, or forgetting something! With automated webinars, you can edit the video or simply just start over until you get it exactly how you want it!
With an automated webinar, it's on-demand and it's pretty much available anytime. With this being said you’ll have the ability to add people on to your email list automatically and continuously without you having to actually do anything! This is a huge pro!
The show-up rate for automated webinars is better compared to live webinars because it's pre-recorded. This is assuming you're doing it as an on-demand webinar and the attendees get to pick and choose what day and time works best for them.
Cons of Automated Webinars
Since it's pre-recorded the conversion is less, even though there's more in attendance. This is because of that loss of instant engagement and interaction. Let me expand on this.
The value and the experience for the attendees on the webinar are decreased because of that interaction that's just isn't there. You're not calling out names and interacting with the chatbox. You're not speaking to them directly so it's pretty much they're just sitting there watching you knowing they can pause the video at any time and watch it at their leisure. It lacks a sense of urgency and this decreases their chance of actually taking action on your offer.
Those are the pros and cons of live webinars and automated webinars. My biggest suggestion is to start out with a live webinar and turn it into an automated webinar later. Especially when you are first starting out because you are able to get instant feedback. You will be able to revise your presentation so you will have the best possible recorded webinar. You’ll also have the ability to make adjustments to ensure that it converts really well and brings in the registrations you're looking for.
You can go through the pro and con list over and over and research until you know everything but the one thing that is going to move the needle in your business above all else it for you to just begin!