A recent article on CEO Blog Nation cited seven common mistakes startups make when holding live events. These were lack of advertising, targeting the wrong audience, picking the wrong location, poor presentation, failure to engage, misunderstanding your aim and follow up faux pas. I see these 7 common mistakes in on line events as well, such as webinars and teleseminars. You need to learn to avoid each one for a successful on line event.

Lack of advertising.

It’s not unusual for me to get a call from an entrepreneur who needs assistance with their webinar or other online event. Here is a typical conversation:

Karen: “When is the event?”

Entrepreneur: “Two weeks from today.”

Karen: “Great. What have you already done to promote it?”

Entrepreneur: “Nothing.”

For a one time, free event, for example a 45 minute teleseminar, if you already have a large list of enthusiastic followers, one month might be enough time to get a half dozen people to attend. However, you would need to start immediately. That means you already have all promotional emails, blog posts, social media posts etc. written, set up and ready to hit send.

Ideally, all your events should be scheduled a year in advance when you do your yearly marketing calendar. How soon you start the actual event promotion depends on many factors such as the size and cost of the event as well as your reputation. I recommend you consult a marketing professional in your yearly plan stage to create an optimum promotional schedule.

Targeting the wrong audience.

Your marketing may be timely but if you are targeting the wrong audience it will be a waste of time. First you must KNOW your target audience and where they are hanging out on line. If you have a marketing team, make sure all members know who your target audience is as well. This includes everyone from your copywriter to your social media manager.

Choosing the wrong location.

Are you thinking, “But it’s on the web so this doesn’t apply!” Right? What I’m referring to in relation to webinars is choosing the right delivery platform. There are many different services you can use for teleseminars and/or webinars and the reason is one size does not fit all. Consider these basics:

· Will I offer call in only or internet access?

· How many lines will I need? Can I easily increase this number?

· Ease of use. This includes ease for you and for your attendees.

· Do I need to show slides? Videos? Live video of speakers?

· Cost? This varies greatly.

There are many other parameters to consider based on your needs. Do your homework. Use google, forums, referrals from your colleagues or consult a professional experienced in webinar production.

Poor presentation.

Most online events are available via the internet and include some type of presentation. This may be live video feed or a slide presentation. Remember that anything your audience sees should reflect your brand. Slides and videos should be well designed, professional and brand specific.

Many online events suffer from failure to engage. You need to connect with your audience. This can be more difficult in an on line event than in person. Use the tools available such as breaks for live Q & A or a chat room. I recommend having a moderator on line with you to manage the questions and/or chat room so you are not distracted from your presentation.

Misunderstanding your aim can cause your event not to achieve the goals you set for it.

Yes, you must be clear on your goals for the event. But, if you are working with a virtual team such as an online business manager, marketing assistant, virtual assistant, graphic designer etc, they must know your goals as well. Make sure everyone is clear on your objective, brand message and USP (unique selling proposition).

The mistake I see time and time again is follow up faux pas.

You’ve delivered the perfect webinar and received great response during the presentation. Maybe you even promptly delivered a recording to participants. Then……nothing.

You need to follow up with participants through email, social media or even a phone call for those hot prospects. Your webinar has them excited and interested in what you have to offer but you have to follow up to close the deal.

An online event takes a great deal of planning and work to pull off successfully. A webinar can be a profitable business builder to establish yourself as an expert in your niche or close a deal on your latest service or product.

When you are planning your next event, make sure you have addressed these common mistakes so you don’t fall victim.