Who you market to, and how, is the most important element in the webinar process, whether it be free or paid webinars.
You have 2 main marketing options (1) email, and (2) social media.
Obviously, to market via email you need a list of prospects – with email addresses. You can build it yourself or there are hundreds of list brokers around with a variety of lists you can rent or buy. But make sure if you buy your list that it has been selected very carefully so that you are hitting your target audience. Also rented or purchased lists need to be a minimum of 25,000 contacts.
The other main marketing channel is social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and others … and this can be done without the use of an email list. It includes creating awareness by posting in specific industry groups, blogs, and forums. Now, this takes some work to find the appropriate venues within each site – but once you have them, you can use them for all future webinar promotions. Most of these sites also have paid advertising models (similar to Google’s pay-per-click) which you should take a look at also.
My experience has been that marketing paid events through social media has had very limited success. However, if you’re delivering free webinars (say for lead generation) then social media is definitely a marketing medium you need to explore.
I’ll share with you some basic stats that I have experienced with email marketing for free webinars.
If I am using a list of 25,000 contacts, then I will usually get an open rate of 5%. Then from that 5%, I will get a click-through rate to my registration page of approximately 8% and finally, I will end up with around 100 registrants at the end of the day. Now only about 50% of those that register will actually show up and attend the webinar. But all registrants are still a valid lead for me. So figure you will get about a half a percent of registrants from your list. If you have built your list yourself then your list probably can be smaller with a larger percentage of registrants.