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True Life: I Had an Epic Webinar Fail

How can you get more engagement from your webinars? Learn the tips, tricks and tactics that make webinars work at Webinar World 2019.

True life: I’ve had an epic webinar fail — and I want to tell you about it so you don’t have the same! I was at a previous employer, fresh out of school and was tasked to jump-start a webinar program to announce our new product release to our partners, customers and prospects. I’m pretty sure we made our software purchasing decision based on the fact we used their other product for one-off meetings, it was cheap, and partially because it had the word “webinar” in it. That means it’s supposed to work for webinars, right? Wrong.

We were a small startup and I was co-hosting the webinar with my CEO. No pressure at all. After hours spent creating content, practicing the product demo, and promoting and driving hundreds of registrations, I felt confident I was going to knock it out of the park. What could go wrong? Well… apparently a lot.

It started okay, I suppose. I had just gotten over the initial presenter jitters when about 5 minutes in, the sound completely cut out. My chat message box was inundated with ‘I can’t hear you’ and ‘No sound!’ and then I saw about half of my attendees drop off. I didn’t know what to do! After about another 5 minutes, I couldn’t figure out how to fix the technical issue and I didn’t have a support number to call. We ultimately had to cancel the webinar and reschedule. It still makes me cringe when I think about the time wasted, especially my CEO’s time, and the poor experience delivered for our attendees.

So where did I go wrong? I didn’t have a backup plan for technical issues, and I assumed that the software would just work. A lot of products out there are disguised as webinar platform solutions when they’re really just a glorified meeting tool. After having an epic webinar fail, I realized that I probably shouldn’t use the same product for my weekly team meetings that I use for my lead generation webinars. With a basic meeting tool, it’s hard to receive the reliability and support, engagement statistics, customization features, lead prioritization, and handoff to sales like you would receive with a webinar platform.

As the Customer Marketing Manager at ON24, I’m fortunate enough to chat with all of our amazing customers daily, and I often hear stories similar to mine, though usually not as cringeworthy! Many of our customers have experienced what’s it’s like to try to squeeze a robust webinar out of a weak meeting tool. If you too are tired of epic webinar fails, check out what’s it’s like to break free from bad webinars.