Trying to boost webinar attendance will always feel like a battlefield. People get hundreds of emails and encounter social media promotions every day. That means getting their attention and encouraging them to attend your webinar will be a little harder. Especially now that webinars and virtual events are flourishing as more and more people are prompted to meet virtually rather than in person.
So, the question remains: how do you increase webinar attendance?
Here are nine core strategies you need to follow:
1. Define your specific audience and objectives for the webinar
Generally, the narrower the objective for a webinar, the more likely it is to succeed. It is critical for you to be disciplined about matching your webinar programs, and even your managed webinar service, to your objectives and focus on topics and marketing plans that will get the attention of your target audience (potential buyers for your offerings) will greatly increase the odds of success.
2. Create a topic that will serve as a draw to your target market
It is human nature that we all want to talk about what we want to talk about, not necessarily what others want to hear. If you want to increase webinar attendance, you have to find a topic for your next webinar that talks about the issues that the target market cares about and reflect that in your audience recruitment efforts. (Think WIFM – “what is in it for me” from your prospect’s point of view.) That usually means a webinar on a top pain point or big benefit for your target audience. The “Must-See Webinar” philosophy goes like this: make the event educational, newsworthy, topical, and compelling where possible. Here is a list of 11 ideas for winning webinar topics:
- What You Need to Know About [top prospect problem]
- How to Take Control of [your environment]
- Sneak Peek at [product name]
- How to Make Your [business activity] up to 500% more effective
- 7 Secrets of Winning [business activities]
- The 10 Most Common Mistakes Most [prospect job title] Make and How to Avoid Them
- The [book/report/white paper title] Webinar
- The Truth About [solution category]
- Maximum [top prospect benefit]: Practical Strategies for Results
- New Breakthroughs in [big prospect problem]
- How to Evaluate and Choose a [product category]
3. Create a compelling webinar invitation
A new invitation for an old or underperforming webinar can turn an event that may be on the border of retirement into one of your best events. One way to capitalize on testing with little effort is to try out two new subject lines in your email invite – one against another – to a small portion of your list, then roll out the one that performs the best to the entire list. You can also study or consider some of the best webinar invite emails and apply common strategies that will help increase webinar attendance.
4. Develop a wide media plan
Many webinar promoters think of the media plan as the marketing plan. But those who have read past posts, know this is just one of the primary sections of the plan. Casting a wide net for your prospective attendees will maximize the chances of a big webinar, but ensure your topic is narrow.
5. Enlarge your email list and marketing reach by inviting a bigger population – use other people’s lists where possible
Email marketing offers a fast, cheap, and effective way to reach prospects, clients or influencers. Start with your own internal email list, also known as your in-house file. Also, consider a partner list of your target audience where someone respected from the partner company signs that invitation (all for free). Also, list rentals of say 5,000 to 10,000 names, especially when you negotiate for discounted rental rates for the first time list renters, can often significantly add to your registrant totals with little additional effort. Use social media marketing outlets to get the word out will also help to increase registrations.
6. Reach your core, target audience multiple times
It is simple math – inviting the same population multiple times – will increase attendance, but be sure to avoid saturating your own list.
7. Sharpen your webinar marketing to become more benefits-oriented
Test five lines of features versus five lines of benefits in the middle of the direct mail invitation. Typically, just by changing the five lines to be more benefit-oriented will see a lift in response. Review your entire invitation or audience recruitment effort and change features to benefits where possible.
8. Send them right to a simple registration form
Provide links directly to the webinar registration form and make sure the webinar is the only offer on your marketing space. Above all, remember that sending them to your home page will drive home page traffic, not webinar attendance.
9. Remind registrants (with attendee information and links) the morning of the event
Consider the use of an auto-responder which sends a confirmation to the registrant immediately along with one email 24 hours ahead of the event and another email two hours before the event. This sequence can significantly increase your attendance rate.
Finally, don’t forget to deliver on the “Big Promise” of your event. Webinars often fail to achieve their objective because they don’t try to make an impact on the topic and marketing or because the content fails to match the level of effective marketing. Those webinars that both make and deliver on their “big promise” have the potential to be blockbuster events with both reach and impact and could lead to repeat attendance at your next event.
There are many, many other ways to drive webinar registration, attendance and as a result, company sales. These are a few proven steps that can have an immediate impact on your results. Try them for your next event and experience the difference.