Webinars are a great tool if you can encourage participation, but how do you boost engagement?
Webinars are a great way to engage with existing customers and build-up business contacts. They can accelerate training and give insights to employees and clients, whilst adding value to your business by giving it prominent global presence.
However, according to research by ON24, only 42% of those who register for your webinar will actually turn up to attend, and if you don’t have anyone viewing your webinars, you can’t reap the benefits.
After getting over the hurdle of picking an interesting the topic and designing an engaging webinar, the last thing you want is no-one turning up to watch it. But how can you entice people to attend your webinar?
Read on to find out the six best ways to improve webinar participation.
Engage with attendees
According to research, a person’s average attention span in 2015 was 8.25 seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000. So if you want to engage with attendees, you’ll have to act fast. Cynthia Clay, CEO of NetSpeed Learning Solutions said: "Build rapport with your audience by engaging them through specific questions that require responses in chat.”
You can do this by submitting a number of questions throughout or at the end of your webinar, but remember to keep them specific. Instead of simply saying, “Are there any questions?” make it more open-ended by asking, “What is your opinion on this?” Not only does this encourage the attendee to think about what is being said in the webinar, it adds more value to your webinar.
If you want to connect to each attendee individually, you can act as if you are having a private conversation. Jan Kaneta, webinar coordinator for The Alternative Board said you can do this by using the word "you." For example, say, "How would you address this situation?" instead of, "Can anyone tell me how they would address this situation?”
Do a Q&A session
If your attendees aren’t giving you much feedback or interaction, it’s probably because they have tuned out from your webinar. This doesn’t mean your webinar topic is uninteresting; as noted before, people don’t have huge attention spans. But if you think your audience doesn’t understand your topic fully, or you want to grab their attention, hosting a Q&A session is an easy solution.
If your audience knows there will be Q&A at the end of your webinar, it gives them something to look forward to. People want their questions answered, and if they know they will get a chance to speak, they will be encouraged to listen to your presentation and submit questions throughout the session.
You can also round up a panel of experts within your topic to host the Q&A so you audience gets to hear a different voice and engage with different personalities. Collaborations such as this can make your webinars more appealing to those you are thinking about not attending. If you want more feedback on your webinar, setting up a short poll to get feedback or gain information about your attendees is a great way to do this. Instead of advertising this as an information-gathering tool about your audience, present the poll as a chance for them to help you, and improve your webinars in the future.
Choose the right time
If you don’t know what time is best to host your webinars, ask your audience. Are they flexible? Do they work nine-to-five jobs? Which time zones do they live in? You can ask these questions in your registration form and schedule your webinars accordingly.
Research suggests that the best days to present your webinars are either a Wednesday or Thursday, as these days seem to have the most attendees. Other studies suggest the best time for a typical one-hour webinar is between 11am and 2pm, which has an attendance rate of 39%. However, this can vary depending on where your audience is based, and it’s best to do your own research to find out when you can get the best attendee ratings.
Be informative on your landing page
If you want to build your webinar participation, there is no better place to start then capturing people’s attention right from the outset by creating a great landing page. This is the first place potential attendees will see what you have to offer in your webinar, so it needs to be perfect.
Start off with a good headline. According to Copyblogger, around 80% of people will read your headline, but only 20% will read everything else. This doesn’t mean ignore the body text of your page though, as this is where you can increase the number of attendees.
Apart from including the obvious who, what, when, where and why, think about the positioning of things. Where will you place your registration form? How many required fields will you have? Will you be offering an incentive? All these things need to be considered carefully before executing your landing page.
Become a storyteller
Combining your main points into a story is much more memorable and entertaining than just listing them. By sharing examples and case studies with your audience, it makes your webinar come to life, and conveys your personality, encouraging your audience to identify with you.
Vasiliy Makritskiy, CEO of Docs.Zone says: “Stop boring everyone with just numbers. Everyone has stats they want to share. Just get a little creative in how you share them.” This can encourage participants to view your webinars and this unique way of teaching will lead them to come back for more.
Once your webinar has finished, you don’t want people to simply leave and forget about it. It’s a good idea to ensure they come back again by following up with your webinar attendees within 24 hours after the presentation, as the information is still fresh in their minds. You can send out a thank you email for those who did attend, with any additional information you think is necessary.
There is no need to ignore those who registered but failed to attend either. You have their contact details, so why not send them an email invitation to view a recording of the webinar and encourage them to register for upcoming sessions you have scheduled.
Following up is also a great opportunity to get feedback from your audience and boost participant numbers for the future. If your attendees feel valued and important, they are more likely to engage with you frequently.
Boosting your webinar participation can be tricky, as it’s difficult to grasp what your audience wants. But by investing time on researching your audience and asking them questions, you will find out the information you need to deliver better webinars, and increase the likelihood of attendees returning. By using these six simple tips you can improve the number of your attendees and help them engage on a personal level with you and your brand.
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