In our first post in this blog series on how to create a successful webinar, we covered all the essentials on how to increase webinar registrations. In this article we will be looking at the next critical step for creating successful webinars, how to increase webinar attendances.
We will also reveal what the top webinar experts recommend and what they are doing in their own businesses to boost the number of registrations to their webcasts.
Don't expect your registrants to simply turn up to your webinar at the designated date and time once they sign up. This simply doesn't happen in the real world. There are far too many distractions and life interruptions for that to happen. Instead you will have to take your registrants by the hand and guide them through the webinar process.
According to a 2013 On24 Benchmark report on webinars only twenty-five percent of registrants turn up to a live event. That means that if you have a target number of attendees that you would like to attend your live webinar, then you need to ensure you get at least 4 times that number to register.
So it's critically important to lay a strong foundation by implementing all the strategies we discussed in our previous post on how to increase webinar registrations. By boosting your webinar registrations you will boost your attendances.
The subject of of our discussion today, are the tactics and strategies to get registrants to actually attend. If you have not yet read the first step to creating a successful webinar we recommend that you do that before moving forwarding.
The Next Step is To Increase Webinar Attendances
Lets take a quick look first at some of the more simple and quick tasks you can do to get more registrants to show up for your webinar.
1. Choose the Best Day & Time For Your Target Audience
This sort of stuff can really make a difference, yet most webinar organisers make the assumption that they can host the webinar at a certain time and day based on their own world experience i.e based on a hunch.
However, depending on your audience's time zone and whether they work or run their own businesses, a poll by WhatCount suggests that the preferred days for the webinar are Wednesday or Thursday and a time around early afternoon EST.
That being said however, you may need to experiment with different times and days and make adjustments according to the results you get, particularly if your market is in a different time zone. You could add an additional field in your webinar registration form to give registrants the opportunity to tell you a day and time that best suits them and use that information to guide you on the best day and time.
2. Your Thank You for Registering Page
We discussed this in our last blog post but I'll briefly cover it here because it is important.
Immediately after someone registers you should have the page automatically redirected to your Thank You for Registering page.
This will be the first opportunity you get to:
i. Confirm their registration and details of the date and time of the webinar,
ii. Re-assure them that they have made the right decision,
iii. Express your excitement in what you will be sharing with them on the webinar,
iv. re-iterate why they registered and the key benefits of what they will get from attending.
Make it easy for your registrants to add the webinar details to their diary. It surprises me how many webinar administrators still don't to this. But this little trick could help you to get a few more people showing up to your live event. For more on this, check out our previous post on how to get more webinar registrations.
Many of the top webinar services give you the ability to add a button so registrants can immediately add the webinar details to their calendar. Take advantage of this feature. Most webinar services will also allow you to set up the Thank You for Registering page that automatically opens up once registrants' complete the registration page, so don't omit this step as it will help you in the process of building trust with your audience.
The Thank You page is your first opportunity to provide additional value, perhaps some free training. Maybe you have some old videos that are on topic that you can re-use that you know your target audience will find helpful.
Whatever format you decide on, it is recommended that you add some value here in order to start the process of getting your registrants to know you and getting them excited about what you will be sharing with them. Why not also add some social share buttons on this page to give excited registrants the ability to share details of your webinar with their friends and colleagues.
3. Exploit Your Best Online Real Estate - Your Website's Homepage
If you have an existing website or blog then you already have targeted visitors that you can immediately invite to attend your webinar. Of course, if you have built up a customer email list too, then you definitely want to leverage that list by inviting your list to your webinar.
When creating your webinar invite on your Homepage, use a catchy but short, benefits driven headline with a button to register for the webinar, somewhere that visitors to your site can easily see and get further information if your offer appeals to their interest.
The Webinar Jam service makes it easy to set up a Register for the Webinar button. The service gives you the ability to add a button to your website or blog for visitors to click to register. When a visitor clicks to register, a light box appears with further details about your webinar and a form to complete to register for your event. You can see it in action here.
Ok, so you might be thinking that this is not exactly a strategy to get more of your registrants to attend your event after they signed up. Well, strictly speaking you would be right.
However, this strategy and the next that I'll be touching on is about feeding more prospects into your webinar funnel. The goal is to boost registration number in order to boost the number of attendees, for as we mentioned above only about 25% or registrants will actually show up.
4. Promote Your Webinar on Social Media & Through Paid Advertising
If you have a social media following, then make sure to share details of your event with your fans who are most likely to be your best customers.
Paid Advertising can be a daunting beast and potentially expensive if you are not careful. The best advice is to focus on the long-tail keywords that best fit your topic of discussion. While long tail keywords have far less search volume, you will find you get a better conversion rate and at a lower cost per click.
5. Blog About Your Webinar
If you use a blogging platform then it makes sense to produce a number of blog posts that touches on the subject matter that you will be discussing in your webinar presentation.
Good practice would be to write about the challenges and problems that are commonly experienced by your target market. This then gives you the opportunity to introduce the fact that you will be doing a webinar to address those common issues and produce some solutions and work around that will help them to overcome the stated problem(s).
6. When Should You Begin Promoting Your Webinar?
Opinion seems to differ on this. Some would say that two to three weeks before the webinar date gives you time to get webinar registrations. Others however argue for a shorter period of 5 to 7 days on the basis that anything longer than this and registrants tend to forget that they registered or even forgot the reason why they registered in the first place.
There is something to be said about having a shorter promotional calendar. It allows you to concentrate all your energy and effort over a shorter period and it is also easier to keep people excited and interested over a shorter period than over a longer period, which should then translate into higher attendances.
I recommend that you keep it short and hit your promotion hard over that period to drive traffic, interest and excitement. You have to think about this from your prospect's position. Many who register do so because they are either excited, very interested or both. That's an emotional state that rarely lasts. People lose interest quickly especially if they can't recall the excitement that got them to register in the first place.
So keep promotions short but work it hard, which means you need to come up with a game plan and execute it to a tight timescale.
7. Email Autoresponder Reminders
We touched on this in our first blog post on running a successful webinar. Your first email in your auto responder series will be the confirmation email.
You should include all the points that we recommend above in relation to the Thank You for registering page. And if you are providing further free content then you'll want to add a link in the email so registrants can access that information.
Send as many reminders as you can, and increase their frequency the closer you get to the webinar day. If you are providing additional value and not simply sending the same email, you will get away with sending emails more frequently without being annoying.
If on the other hand your emails are broadly containing the same information, then try sending an email 5 days before the event, then 3 days before the event and a further email the day before.
On the day of the webinar, if the time of the event is in the evening you can send 3 email reminders confirming that the webinar will be starting in x number of hours. I would send an email on the morning of the event, then 1 hour before and then approximately 20 minutes before the start time to say that the webinar is starting. This will get attendees to log in early, which will help you to kick the webinar off on time.
When you send your email reminders, don't just confirm the date and time of the webinar. Use the recommendations in this blog post to get your registrants excited. Provide them with teaser content or some other free content that they will thank you for. Ultimately, your goal is to keep your webinar in front of mind of your registrants and to remind them why they registered.
What Do The Experts Do To Increase Webinar Attendances
On the basis that you did your research - as recommended in step 1 on how to increase webinar registrations - i.e. by coming up with a hot topic that your target audience hungrily wants to learn about. Your next objective once visitors have registered for your event is to continue to communicate with them, remind, communicate some more, remind again, then again, and to continue building momentum and excitement with your registrants until the day of the webinar.
So how do we do that exactly and what do the experts recommend?
Get Your Attendees Excited!
Generally speaking, if you want someone to attend your webinar you need to get them motivated and excited. Get registrants emotionally charged and excited at what they will get out of attending your webinar.
This is another reason why it is important to pick your webinar topic of discussion carefully.
If the subject matter of your webinar doesn't resonate with your market and you are not offering an opportunity for registrants to grab valuable, actionable content they can easily use to solve a big problem or challenge, they are not going to feel very excited or motivated about attending. The result is you will achieve a lower attendance rate.
On the other hand when you hit your audience with the right content, it is a much easier task to get them to attend.
Jeremiah Desmarais recommends the following:
"After people register, use an education and nurturing process to help them get to know you a little bit.
After they sign up, you can show them a video to personally connect with them, thank them, and acknowledge them. And then reinforce all the bullet points that got them to register in the first place to avoid any buyer’s remorse or registrant’s remorse. Let them know that you understand they’re busy and that they are taking the time out of their busy schedules to attend your webinar."
Alex Mandossian has a slightly different approach to getting people to attend webinars after they register, but the objective is chiefly the same as Desmarais, which is to personally connect with registrants, get them to know you better and build trust.
He boils his Thank You page down to 4 things:
i. Irresistible title which acts like a magnet to attract them
ii. Make unique promises which are a re-iteration of the bullet promises that got them to register.
iii. An ethical bribe i.e. what they will get if they attend. This could be a valuable report, free software, etc
iv. Use of action cards in a short video that continues to sell his registrants on attending the webinar - these are flashcards that you hold up to give people something else to look at besides your face.
Stack the Value
Pam Hendrickson and Brendon Burchard both recommend that you add value to the thank you page, for example by providing some free training that is aligned to the webinar topic of discussion. You could even use some teaser content, which is what Anik Singal and Jason Fladlien recommend further below.
Brendon Burchard says to "stay in touch with your registrants after they register. Immediately after the sign up they see a thank you page. This needs to be awesome, reminding them of the benefits; you can also give away a free gift that reinforces what they will be getting on the webinar."
He goes on to say:
"Send registrants some extra stuff to get them excited about attending. You could send them a short video related to the webinar. That could be an old Youtube video. Say that "I know you guys are excited about the upcoming webinar" and "I just wanted to give you a little taste" then link to an older related video. The purpose is to keep them in conversation. In the final couple of email reminders re-iterate the details and what they are going to get. You could even mention that your also going to reveal something that you haven't taught before."
Anik Singal suggests that "the day before or the morning of the webinar, send registrants a pdf telling them what to expect and tease them with the one main strategy that you're going to give away. Tell them that you're going to make an offer and say something like "This isn't for everybody, but the few of you it is for, it will change your life". When you pitch your offer correctly, some people will even get excited to see your pitch, so you can use this as bait to get them to come to the webinar - and these attendees will be your best leads."
Jason Fladlien advises that you send registrants email follow-ups. "Send a few emails with interesting, unique, weird things that they might not have heard of before. Tease them with some material and let them know they they'll find out the rest on the webinar."
And on the subject of when you should promote your webinar, Pam Hendrickson's recommendation:
"Send out an invitation 5-7 days before the webinar then a reminder a few days later telling them of your excitement in seeing them on the webinar and what they can expect to get from the webinar. Give them some free content - can be a video, audio, pdf or partially filled in cheat sheet that they can use to take notes in the webinar."
Interestingly, Iman Aghay cautions not to promote your webinar more than 7 days before. "Forteen days is too long as people who register will forget why they registered and you will get a lower turn out", which is aligned with our own thoughts.
Jeremiah Desmarais strongly recommends you immediately send a confirmation email through your auto responder that highlights the main points of your webinar.
On the second day after they register Desmarais suggests that you share a success story of someone who applied the strategies that you will teach on the webinar. He goes on to say:
"You can also use the last minute surprise technique the day before the webinar to tell registrants of something new that you will be teaching, something else that is of benefit to your target audience. And to make it even more valuable, you can say that you have to be on live as it won't' be included in the recording. That little trick should increase the number of people that show up to the live event."
Brendan Burchard has a similar approach, "the last email that goes out before the webinar could say, “The webinar is today. I’m going to make an important announcement and give away some special bonuses to the people who are actually on the webinar. Sorry, this doesn’t apply to people who watch the replay; the special announcement and bonuses will not be in the replay. But, if you can’t make it, that’s okay; there will still be a replay.” That will make people go, “I want to hear that special thing. I have to be on live.”
Use Contests, Prizes and Rewards to Incentivize Webinar Attendance
This is a strategy that Bill McIntosh uses, he recommends telling your registrants "when you attend the weibnar you'll qualify to win an iPad" or to use some other prize.
"Give them something that's really valuable but that doesn't interfere with your sales process such as a free copy of your product, as people may hold off from buying your product until you announce the results of the contest. You can also make clear that to qualify they need to stay to the end of the webinar, which is a great strategy to get attendees to remain until the end."
So there you have it, lots different tactics and approaches you can use to engage and motivate to boost webinar attendances and these are by no means the only strategies.
Use a strategy that fits best with your style. The point is to get you to understand that the primary objective at this second step in the webinar process is to build trust, engagement and excitement so as many registrants as possible turn up to your next live event.
I hope you found this article helpful. If you did, click the like button above and or Google+ to share with your friends and colleagues.
Click here for more tips and strategies to create a successful webinar.