Do You Know How Long a Webinar Should Be?

Do you know the right length?Yesterday I attended another factory webinar – this is my new term for formulaic, one-way, markety, hype webinars. Apparently the presenter makes a six figure income and if we pay her a chunk of change, by golly, we could be making six figures too. Sound familiar? I did have a bit of a chuckle, but I love learning new things and seeing how others are attempting to share their expertise through webinars.

In terms of creating an engaging experience, there were several things the presenter did correctly and several things that need improvement. I will talk about this more in a separate post. But for now, I’d like to focus on one important aspect when you are developing your webinar: timing.

I was getting really antsy and multi-tasking because the presenter was going on and on about the upsell. I was waiting for the success stories she had promised, and I was waiting for the Q&A. Would there be any? Would our questions get answered on the spot? What questions did other attendees have? Well, I never got that far. I looked at my watch and this is what I saw:

annoyed face

Respect your audience’s time when planning a webinar.

Annoyed Face. We were already an hour and fifteen minutes into this webinar and it didn’t seem like it was ever going to end! And so I left. I just don’t have that kind of time. Here are my thoughts for you to consider about the right length of your next webinar:

Respect Your Audience

If you’re like me, you’re probably not lounging around a swanky pool in the Caymans. Nope, you’re hustling all day long…and then some. Well, so is your audience! Your participants have taken precious time away from building their own empires to engage with you in a webinar. Set expectations up front about the timing – an hour – and let your audience know what to expect so they can get the most out of your event. Then stick to it! They will really appreciate it. Make sure your webinar fits in the time frame by running at least one dry run.

You Have About 45 Minutes For Your Main Message

For free webinars, you have about 45 minutes to share your expertise and teach something of value to your audience. You don’t want to spend too long on the intro – really 5 to 10 minutes – and then jump right in! Get your participants actively thinking, asking questions, writing on a worksheet, etc. If you’re doing an upsell, I would say 10 minutes max. I was watching the numbers drop in the webinar when the upsell went on too long. Make sure to end the webinar on a strong note by giving your final best practice / tip / how to before ending with live Q&A. Live Q&A is so important to interact with your audience and show you want to connect and build a relationship.

Multi-Session Webinar Courses Get More Time

For webinar courses, you can stretch the time to 90 minutes per session. Keep in mind, you’ll have to have interaction and activities every 15 to 20 minutes. And you may need to allow for a 5 minute bio break. The mind wanders and we multi-task when we stare at a screen for too long without engagement. Adults are creative, innovative and goal-oriented adults, not robots.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is this: When you are giving a free webinar, anything more than an hour is WAY TOO LONG. If you are delivering a multi-session webinar course that people have paid you for, 90 minutes is the maximum for each session. Keep your topic simple and easy to learn so that you avoid going into too much detail and waste that precious 45 minutes. The best way to get your timing right is to practice, practice, practice. With my clients, I always do at least one dry run in addition to spending time reviewing content for clarity and flow.

Good luck!

Corena Bahr is a webinar consultant and producer determined to end the average webinar snoozefest. Through her consulting company, YourWebinarGuru, she teaches how to transform one-way marketing webinars into two-way interactive learning experiences that deliver value, build relationships and add income.