Webinar DefinitionOne of the big trends in internet marketing over the past 12-18 months has been the use of webinars.

If you haven’t (yet) participated in a webinar or aren’t quite sure of what they are then basically they are like online seminars.

Sort of traditional conference calls but with video attached so people can attend from anywhere in the World and view live footage of the presenter’s computer screen.

All done, of course, courtesy of the internet.

Marketers are using these because webinars generally produce much higher sales conversion rates than other promotion techniques such as pre-recorded sales videos or written sales copy.

This is probably because webinars provide a way of creating live, interactive events conducted over the internet.

So, if you’ve got a product to sell it definitely makes sense to invite your subscribers (or another marketer’s subscribers) to spend an hour with you on a webinar. You can provide some free training to help people out and then move on to outlining the benefits of your product and let people know how they can buy it.

Plus, if people can’t make the exact time of the webinar then just record it and send them a link to the replay.

I personally really like this idea and think it’s a great thing to do as everyone seems to benefit (including the customers).

However, there are some problems with webinars…

Two big ones are that doing multiple webinars can take up a lot of time for the marketer and secondly sales conversion rates can inexplicably vary from webinar to webinar.

To help solve these issues a new form of marketing has sprung up: The Automated Webinar!

This has become increasingly popular in the last few months and you might yourself have received an invitation to one of them.

Automated WebinarsTypically, you’ll get e-mailed a link which, when you click through to it, looks something like the image to the right.

So even though this webinar is recorded you still have to select a specific time to watch a replay.

I should point out that this (in my book at least) is not disingenuous as they are rarely billed as “live events”: Instead they are just “webinars”.

Basically, they are a hybrid form of pre-recorded sales video and live webinar.

So, what’s the point of this post you might ask?

Two things:

1) Simply to highlight the recent trend in automated webinars and open it for discussion (would love to hear your views below! :-))

2) To give you my “gripe” about automated webinars.

Call me overly-irritable (“Rob you are so overly-irritable” – I hear you cry!) but I just find this really quite annoying. I know full well these webinars are recorded but yet still I have to book a specific time to watch them!

The technology exists to replay on demand (simple, right?) but the marketing is dictating that this should not happen.

And I wonder how long they will remain effective.

Perhaps people are only watching them right now because they think they are live. If so, will this marketing tactic become less effective when people figure it out? Or are they just like exit pop-ups on webpages – nobody really likes them but basically they just work.

Personally, I think their effectiveness as a sales tactic will decline but they’ll probably still continue to work better than regular sales videos.

Like I said I am not criticising automated webinars or the marketers who put them on, in anyway whatsoever.

And I really think webinars are a great thing for the marketers and the customers.

I’m purely, stating my personal view as a (slightly) impartial consumer.

Think I’ve said enough.

What do you think about automated webinars? Please leave a comment below and let me know…