Webinars and webcasts can be very effective for lead generation and moving prospects along in the sales funnel. A lot of planning (and money) goes into these types of virtual events. Careful consideration is given to the content, speaker, delivery, lighting, webinar platform, engagement widgets, etc… However, no matter how much you plan, review, and revise your webinar content, it all means nothing if nobody is there to listen. So how do you guarantee not only an audience but a large enough audience to make the webinar or webcast meet your ROI goals?
Luckily, at Worktank we know a thing or two about webinars and webcasts. Here is our list of 7 tried and true ways to guarantee attendance at your next webcast:
1. Pick the Right Webinar Topic
This is the most important step in the whole process. If your topic stinks, no matter how much you try, it will be really hard to get people to attend your webinar. Ideally, you want to select a topic that is broad enough to attract a large audience. At the same time though, you don’t want to select a topic that is too broad or too basic that you can’t provide attendees with any actionable advice. Instead, select an overarching theme, then hone in on a particular aspect of that theme. For example, a marketing company might choose an overall theme of social media marketing, then focus specifically on best practices for creating Facebook ads.
Selecting the right topic for your webinar or webcast starts with knowing your audience. What are their worries, struggles, fears? Ask your sales team what questions they are frequently asked. Review any customer data you collect to determine who they are, what their habits are, and any other commonalities. Ask current customers what topics they are interested in. After you have completed your research use it to brainstorm a list of possible topics. Then send the list to a coworker to get their ideas. Once you have a nice list, start eliminating topics that are too narrow or too broad until you have a winner.
2. Choose the Right Time for Your Webinar
Almost as important as picking the right topic, the time you choose to hold your webinar can make or break you. Obviously, you won’t want to host your webinar during the weekend, but which weekday is best? Data shows that Mondays and Fridays are the worst days for webinar attendance. This makes sense as typically those days are for playing catch-up or putting out any last minute emergencies. Wednesdays or Thursdays are often regarded as the best days for webinars. However, it is important to know your audience. If your industry norm has odd work weeks, a Monday, Friday, or even Saturday webinar might actually work best for you. Also, be sure to steer clear of any major events that might be occurring in your industry. For instance, you might not want to schedule your webinar the same day as a huge industry trade show.
Once you have nailed down the day for your webinar, you need to choose the right time to have it. Afternoon webinars seem to have more traction, however, this too will depend on your audience. Do you have a local, national, or even global audience? What time zone(s) do they live in? What are their schedules like? All of this information could have a huge impact on the timing of your webinar. If you have no clue what time works best, don’t be afraid to ask. Include a field on your registration form asking which time slots work best and schedule the webinar based on the feedback you receive.
3. Set Webinar Registration & Attendee Goals
Without having a goal in place, it is hard to measure success. Start with your webinar attendee goal first and work backward, keeping in mind that webinars typically have an attendance rate of 25%. So if your goal is to have 1,000 attendees you know you will need to collect 4,000 registrants. As you start promoting your webinar, be sure you are tracking your performance on a regular basis. We suggest measuring your performance on a weekly basis. This way if you fall behind on your goals and have low initial registration numbers, you still have time to ramp up your marketing efforts and fix the problem before it is too late.
4. Give Registrants an Incentive to Attend
If you are serious about hitting the attendee goals you set, make sure you are giving your registrants enough incentive to attend. Think of things that will get people excited and talking about your webinar or webcast. Excited people turn into excited registrants, who then turn into excited attendees. How do you get people excited though? Well, the biggest way is to give away free stuff. Maybe it is something as simple as a free individual consultation for all attendees. Or perhaps it is free tickets to an event, gift cards, or discount on a product that correlates to the webinar. Knowing your target audience will help you decide how big you need to go with your giveaway.
Another idea that gives incentive to attend while also promoting your webinar or webcast is to hold a contest. Ask them to tweet something related to the webinar or share the webinar on their Linkedin page. Announce that a winner will be selected at the beginning of the webinar. Anyone who wants a shot at winning will be sure to attend. (Note: If you choose to host a contest, be sure to have your legal team in on the planning.)
5. Design an Effective Landing Page
Your landing page should look professional, answer any questions a viewer might have, and offer them a simple way to register for your webinar. Answer the basic who, what, when, where, and why in easy to read bullet points. Be clear and honest in your messaging. Don’t make promises you can’t deliver. At the same time, highlight the value of your webinar. What are you giving them that they can’t get elsewhere?
When people sign-up via the landing page, make sure you are sending a thank you email and registration confirmation. This is expected these days, but you’d be surprised how many companies overlook this detail. The confirmation lets them know that their form submission worked, and allows you to remind them about your webinar. We recommend including an easy way to add the webinar to their calendar. Remember, people often sign up weeks in advance, and often need reminding that they signed up for your event (more on this below).
6. Promote Your Webinar
Ok, this might seem obvious, but there is more to it than just promoting your webinar. You will want to promote your webinar effectively, utilizing as many different platforms and sources as possible to maximize your reach. This often requires a combination of social marketing, email marketing, content marketing, and even paid marketing.
In addition to your efforts, make sure your speakers are promoting the webinar on their end , particularly if you are utilizing a guest speaker. Make sure they are leveraging their own personal connections, social accounts, and email lists.
7. Send Out Email Reminders
Remember when we mentioned that people typically sign up for webinars weeks in advance and often forget that they even signed up for your webinar? Everyone these days is busy, they don’t have time to remember about a webinar they signed up for a month ago. This is where email reminders come into play. Your first reminders should be two weeks and one week in advance of your webinar. These reminders should not only keep the webinar’s date & time fresh in the registrant’s mind, but also rebuild the webinar’s value that was established on the registration landing page.
That’s right, not only will people forget when your webinar is but why they even signed up in the first place.
Finally, send out two final reminder emails, because let’s face it, things come up and people forget. These should go out the day before and the day of the webinar. This gives people time to rearrange their to-do list so they can attend. It might seem like overkill, but trust me the higher-ups will thank you when you have a “full house” during your webinar.
Follow these 7 steps, and your webinar or webcast is sure to be a success. However, sometimes this is easier said than done. If you find yourself needing assistance getting your webinar or webcast off to a good start, we are here to help. We have experience helping customers like Microsoft, Deloitte, and Kraft Foods, launch successful webinars that meet their ROI goals. Learn more about our webinar and webcasting services, contact us or give us a call at 1.877.975.8265 to get the conversation started.