The pre-recorded webinar: hype or hope?

by oscarb 30 replies

Note-- beginning of rant:


Are you using pre-recorded webinars for marketing?

How are they working for you?

I have not used them for marketing but I've been on the viewer side and so far I don't like what I've experienced.

Have you noticed that if you're late for one of these pre-recorded webinars, you have no access to that webinar. Doesn't matter whether you're 10 seconds or 20 minutes late. You get a message that says: "webinar will begin in 9 hours" or something.

By contrast, when the webinar is live, you can at least continue from the point at which you've entered. And you know there's a real human being on the other end.

I know the hype, the pitch, around pre-recorded webinars having all sorts of fabulous advantages.

Leveraging your time, seems to be the major one.

I'm not buying it.

Listen, if you really give a damn about your list, about your customers, you need to be present for them. That means no smoke and mirrors. It means representing yourself as a real human being who is responsive and available.
I know, I know, we don't have enough time to "scale" if we're so busy interacting.

Pre-recorded webinars, my friends, are all about smoke and mirrors.

I know you have customers in multiple time zones and it's a hassle to set up
webinars that fit into peoples' schedules.

I get that.

Maybe you use both live and pre-recorded. OK, if your testing shows a better conversion rate on pre-recorded webinars, it might be hard to give them up.

Still, I think you should.

Look, I'm a rational guy and I'm not close-minded. If any of you think I'm wrong or mistaken, I can probably be convinced otherwise.

But so far, I'm not impressed with pre-recorded "phantom" webinars.

Pre-recorded webinars are just the latest in a long history of marketers using
smoke and mirrors and illusion to trick customers or subscribers to a list into thinking that a real person is actually interacting with them.

Marketing is evolving, however. (Thank God). Customers will see through the illusion fast.

I've noticed some of the top marketers using this technology. Power to them. They're big enough that they barely notice when 500-700 opt-ins opt out because prospects figure out they've been duped by technology.

For most of us in the lower tiers of Web marketing, however, that's not the case at all.

We now return you to your previously scheduled programming.....

-----End of Rant----
#main internet marketing discussion forum #hope #hype #prerecorded #webinar
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  • Profile picture of the author Jamie Charles
    I am leaning towards liking the prerecorded ones much more.

    This past week I was watching a live webinar by a fairly big name in the IM niche, and it was brutal to watch with the amount of glitches and dead air.

    If you can make a well produced 30 minute presentation filled with great content, I don't see why it matters if it is live or not.

    I'm sure this thread will get a number of different view points!
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    • Profile picture of the author oscarb
      Yeah, I can see that. Assuming the pre-recorded webinar's limited to 30 minutes. I also get turned off by the webinar promos that tell you nothing about how much time you need to invest in the webinar. So it ends up being 2-3 hours, then usually a sales pitch. But hey, list subscribers, we're suckers for a good pitch anyway. Besides, our time isn't worth as much as the guy/gal putting on the webinar.
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  • We use pre-recorded webinars because they work, when they don't work anylonger we will use the next thing. Yes, some are pissed off but people are pissed off for all kinds of things, I met a guy who is pissed because people are rich. Who cares, the only thing is does it work or not, and it works.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marian Berghes
    The answer is to test it for yourself...NEVER and I mean NEVER assume that because YOU personally don't like something that means that your subscribers won't like it as well.

    We are in a game of numbers and data, look at them and make a decision...but don't rule something out just because it might piss off some people, or yourself.
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  • Profile picture of the author oscarb
    Good points. Yeah, I've heard a lot of prospects complain about long video sales letters but I've also heard (not based on my own research) that often testing shows they convert better than shorter videos...

    So good point to remember: there's often a discrepancy between what we say and what we do.
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    • Profile picture of the author Michael Shook
      I don't mind the recordings much. A lot of times I prefer them, especially if I can fast forward through all the MLM "click the yes button if you're ready to rumble stuff".

      Hard to say though about starting your relationship with a customer on a less than truthful basis. If your webinar is really a recording, but you are telling people it is live or using the webinar promo hype to get them online because there are only so many spots, or that kind of stuff, and it is not true - that says quite a bit about the kind of person you are.

      Not saying anyone (especially in this thread) does that, but I am more than willing to bet somebody, somewhere does.
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      • Profile picture of the author oscarb
        Some marketers whom I respect use pre-recorded webinars, so I'm not knocking them in all instances. For example, I just watched a 37 minute pre-recorded webinar that was mostly content and I learned some things. I just think it's easy to assume that automating business is always better.
        Testing is crucial, of course but numbers don't always tell you the whole picture. What bothers me is the insinuation, for example, that it's OK to set up your pre-recorded webinar in such a way that you make the viewer think you're actually on the webinar even when you are not. To the extent that this type of deception is condoned, I believe it moves marketers in a bad direction.
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        • Profile picture of the author billdotd
          I've been struggling with this issue for a few weeks - right after I opted out of a list when I figured out the "limited" and "live" webinar I was on was just a perpetual replay. It's been a while since I've been so angry about getting duped (and the fact that I had first signed onto that list due to a video lamenting the ethics in IM did not help).

          Certainly pre-recorded webinars can be a useful tool, but I think transparency will be critical. If its recorded just say so. My guess is many people will vote with their "unsubscribe" link if they feel duped - I did.
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  • Profile picture of the author julesw
    I guess you noticed the evergreen business system launch today, looks like it overcomes the issue mentioned above re. people arriving late, you can set it to play from the point they arrive so they actually do miss what they have missed.

    My concern is surely anyone in the IM niche will realise it's recorded, the same way you just know when a site is on OP. The look and feel (even with customisation) and the names of the domains you can host it (if you choose to host it off site) will give it away. In other niches though think it looks really interesting.
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  • Profile picture of the author inhwanie
    recorded or live, people have different preferences and it's not that big of a deal. The trouble comes when recorded ones pretend to be live which makes people angry.
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    • You got the point of pre-recorded webinars TOTALLY wrong I'm afraid: the idea is not to "cheat" your customers telling them it's a real-time webinar. The idea is to tell them it's an event, regardless of whether it's live or recorded.

      When someone chooses to sign up to your event at his desired date and time, he's in the right frame of mind to absorb your marketing message because he CHOSE his best suitable date/time according to his own schedule, and thus you've got his FULL ATTENTION!

      That's the strong point of pre-recorded webinars: in stead of forcing your customers to watch your video at your desired time, they do so at theirs, and that's why sales conversions are typically higher.

      Again, I must stress: this is not about "cheating" your prospects. It's about making a (pre-recorded) event out of your sales video, and make it play at your prospect's best suitable date/time... it works, and there's nothing unethical about it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Andy Fletcher
    OK, if your testing shows a better conversion rate on pre-recorded webinars, it might be hard to give them up.

    Still, I think you should.
    So we should give it up even if it's producing better results?
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    • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
      From the attendee's point of view, I would have thought one of the tangible benefits of a webinar is the interactive element - particularly if one is attending in order to learn something specific.

      Without that element, it's essentially a video sales letter in fancy dress.

      I can certainly see the marketing benefits and I'm sure the pre-recorded webinar model will remain effective while the novelty value still holds. But to me, this has got "fad" written all over it; at least in its current format.


      Frank
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      • Originally Posted by Frank Donovan View Post

        From the attendee's point of view, I would have thought one of the tangible benefits of a webinar is the interactive element - particularly if one is attending in order to learn something specific.
        Depending on what automated webinar solution you use, you can embed an actual live chat into your webinars so you, as the webinar host, address in real time all the incoming questions coming through the chat in real time while the video presentation is running on autopilot for you.

        It's good for the marketer and it's good for the attendees so... it's a win/win situation.

        I cant speak for other solutions, but the Evergreen Business System (Evergreen Business System - The Best Webinar Software On The Internet!) does have the live chat feature built-in.
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        • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
          Originally Posted by Anonymous Affiliate View Post

          Depending on what automated webinar solution you use, you can embed an actual live chat into your webinars so you, as the webinar host, address in real time all the incoming questions coming through the chat in real time while the video presentation is running on autopilot for you.
          I see, thanks. That would certainly be a benefit.
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          I've just put Richard Branson's number on speed-dial. I call it my "Get-Rich-Quick" scheme.

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  • Profile picture of the author billdotd
    Just saw my first webinar reminder with the line: "Also note that this is 100% live."

    We'll probably be seeing more of those.
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  • Profile picture of the author kakaboo
    I once went to a webinar which was advertised as "live" but it was actually pre-corded and it turned me off pretty much... and worst of all the webinar was done by a pretty reputable and respected IM guru (name starting with M and L)

    +They would then act like do you have any questions nearing the end of the webinar... but all the questions were questions he conjured up himself that were used to reduce the amount of fear people had from purchasing his product rather than real questions by real people
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    • Originally Posted by kakaboo View Post

      I once went to a webinar which was advertised as "live" but it was actually pre-corded and it turned me off pretty much...
      Let me quote myself from another thread:
      You see? that's precisely what you do NOT want to do. You don't want to stage a pre-recorded webinar as if it was live. That's what might get you in troubles. Like I said before, it's about announcing your webinar as a scheduled event, not as a live event. Big difference there.

      If you do that, no one will complain, your prospects will benefit from your presentation, and your conversions will improve
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      • Profile picture of the author theemperor
        I think a hybrid would be best - 45 minutes of high-quality, mistake-free pre-recorded then 15 minutes of live at the end to answer questions, plus with some questions being answered through.

        For scaling up / freeing up time, the marketer could hire an expert or previous customer to answer the questions.

        If I am watching a Microsoft webinar I don't expect Bill Gates to answer my questions, for example.
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  • Profile picture of the author EugeneA
    Time is money.
    I see nothing wrong with a pre recorded vids, as long as the owner isn't trying to pass it off as live. If it gives good info and does not attempt to fool the viewers, then I have no problem.
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    • Originally Posted by EugeneA View Post

      Time is money.
      I see nothing wrong with a pre recorded vids, as long as the owner isn't trying to pass it off as live. If it gives good info and does not attempt to fool the viewers, then I have no problem.
      My feelings exactly. Don't try to stage it as a LIVE webinar, and you'll be OK.
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  • Profile picture of the author oscarb
    I've actually been influenced enough via this thread and from conversations with marketers to alter my objection to prerecorded webinars.

    I don't think they are necessarily deceptive anymore.

    John Thornhill actually helped me see the benefits of them, though of course, he is promoting Mike Filsaime's latest product.

    In a certain sense, automation is part and parcel of Web marketing and I'd be hypocritical to lash out against prerecorded webinars yet have no problem using autoresponders or other forms of automation.

    It's been a great discussion though, so thanks for that.
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    • Originally Posted by oscarb View Post

      In a certain sense, automation is part and parcel of Web marketing and I'd be hypocritical to lash out against prerecorded webinars yet have no problem using autoresponders or other forms of automation.
      The truth is that an automated webinar is no different than your Aweber autoresponder: you pre-schedule content that looks like if it was directly addressed to your prospect, whereas in fact it's simply an automated system that was configured weeks ago.

      I don't understand why some people think that writing "Hello {first_name}, how are you today?" is any different than "Join our webinar next Wednesday". In both cases, the content has been pre-created and pre-scheduled in advanced so the content is delivered on autopilot. There's nothing unethical about it, and it helps you automating your business so... why not?
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      • Profile picture of the author EugeneA
        Originally Posted by Anonymous Affiliate View Post

        The truth is that an automated webinar is no different than your Aweber autoresponder: you pre-schedule content that looks like if it was directly addressed to your prospect, whereas in fact it's simply an automated system that was configured weeks ago.

        I don't understand why some people think that writing "Hello {first_name}, how are you today?" is any different than "Join our webinar next Wednesday". In both cases, the system has been pre-created and pre-scheduled in advanced so the content is delivered on autopilot. There's nothing unethical about it, and it helps you automating your business so... why not?
        Good way to look at it.

        So pre-recorded webinars could simply be referred to as videos?

        Calling them Webinars when they are actually videos is where the trouble comes in.
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        • Originally Posted by EugeneA View Post

          Good way to look at it.

          So pre-recorded webinars could simply be referred to as videos?

          Calling them Webinars when they are actually videos is where the trouble comes in.
          In my opinion, the problem comes when you call them LIVE Webinars. As long as you don't do that (which I certainly don't recommend you to do), there should be no problem. At the end of the day, it's nothing but a pre-recorded video presentation explaining what your product or service is about. The only thing these automated webinar services do is to format those video presentations in a different way, so your prospects can select themselves WHEN it's more suitable for them to attend the presentation, that's all.
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  • Profile picture of the author wfstin
    I see no reason to do both, offer the live webinar for people who bother to show up and then email out the prerecorded one for those who couldn't make it.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheVA
    I'm looking for someone who can fully set up either Stealth Webinar or Evergreen Business Systems for me 100%.

    I need the control panel settings set (Length of video, time to show offer, autoresponder settings, etc) as well as custom graphics made for
    either system.

    If you can do this can you please PM me, I would be willing to pay you for your help but I'm only looking for people that have successfully done it in the past.

    V.
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  • Profile picture of the author MarketingChad
    I definitely think the stigma is that most people like the Q&A aspect of webinars. That being said....maybe a mixture of the two might be beneficial. Play a pre-recorded presentation and then be there at the end to answer any questions.

    But as with anything, the only way to know for sure what works best is to test, test again, adn then test some more.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alan Petersen
    Merriam-Webster definition of "webinar"...



    It's now being marketed as "pre-recorded" webinar - laughable.

    Like used car salesmen now sell "previously owned" cars as to obfuscate the fact they're selling a used car.

    A "pre-recorded" webinar is in reality just an online presentation. Nothing wrong with them. Very effective. But they never were a real webinar.

    The providers of these type of software warn not to lie to your people by pretending it's a real webinar but then they add features like fake attendees which drop in and out to trick folks into thinking it's live. They don't say it's deceiving, it's "sneaky". :rolleyes:

    Webinars are hot but most folks can't afford or don't want to pay the high fees webinar companies like Webex or GoToMeeting charge.

    Solution... lets coin a new term and dress up a PowerPoint presentation and call it a pre-recorded webinar stripping out what makes a webinar a powerfull tool. Live interaction.

    The *******ization of the term webinar is all it is.
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