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, while adding value to your business by giving it a prominent global presence.
However, only 40-50% of those who registered actually attend a webinar, and if you don’t have anyone viewing your webinars, you can’t reap the benefits.
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How webinars can capture high-quality sales leads
One of the benefits of webinars is their potential to capture high-quality sales leads by addressing a large number of attendees all at the same time. To take advantage of this latent source, you must pay attention to your webinar sales funnel and ensure every stage is as strong as possible. Your marketing efforts must guide your audience through the following process:
- Traffic: Generating awareness of your webinar
- Webinar registration: Getting participants to sign up and share their information through an appealing landing page and a clear CTA
- Webinar attendance: Hosting a webinar that provides a solution or tells the story of your product or services
- Follow up: Sending emails to underline your value proposition and explain USP
- Purchase: Your lead becoming a client
Without nailing the first step, however, it’s impossible to guide a lead through the funnel, so webinar promotion is paramount. With just five to 15% of engaged audiences converting, it’s vital you stack the odds in your favor from the start.
Here are 12 ways to improve your webinar participation.
1. Promote your event online
How to market a webinar online depends on where your audience can be found, but social media channels that you’ve already built a following in can offer great opportunities. You’re less likely to oversaturate your audience on these platforms than by sending out large quantities of emails, so you can post webinar advertisements fairly regularly. Use a scheduling tool to evenly space your reminders and create a dedicated hashtag for use to consistently promote your event.
2. 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.
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.
3. Be informative on your landing page
If you want to build your webinar participation, there’s no better place to start than 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.
4. Use your blog to promote your webinar topic
There are several ways to promote your webinar through your blog and they should all include internal linking to the webinar’s landing page and CTAs to drive more sign-ups. Blogs entirely dedicated to the webinar can give more in-depth information on the topics, the speakers and any products and services associated with it than you’ve included in the landing page. They should also be written in a less formal style. On top of this, you can mention your webinar in other blogs that aren’t entirely centered around it, as long as it’s relevant to the overall topic.
5. Consider inviting an expert
Expert speakers are an effective way to increase webinar attendance and inviting the right thought leader should appeal to your audience. Cash in on their credentials by advertising the fact they'll be contributing to your webinar and don’t be afraid to promote their expertise. If you’re hosting multiple guests, announce each one separately in the run up to your event to help create a buzz around your webinar marketing.
6. Get your speakers to promote your webinar
Your speakers won’t want to be addressing a small audience either, so it’s within their interests to help with webinar promotion. They’ll have access to a different audience and should be prepared to leverage any personal connections, social media accounts and email lists to encourage sign-ups.
7. Send an email to confirm your attendees' registration
While you might get lots of sign-ups to your webinar, not all of them will attend, so you can increase the chances they will with a follow-up message. Include a CTA in your email with the words, 'Add this webinar to your calendar’ to impel your audience to take action. If it’s in their calendar, there’s less chance they’ll be double booked or simply forget to join the webinar when it comes around.
Even if they don’t end up participating in your webinar, the sign-up is a lead, as they have shown an interest in your business and provided their information. Presenting a positive experience through emails is important - whether they attend or not.
8. Send reminder emails to your audience
There’s a fine line when promoting your webinar between reminding your audience it’s happening and annoying them by filling up their inbox. Decide how often to send out reminder emails, making sure to increase the frequency as the date gets closer. It’s acceptable to send one the day before and the day of the webinar, but emailing every day for weeks before may be considered excessive.
Countdown timers can be an effective tool for your webinar promo, adding a sense of urgency and anticipation to your email reminders. Keep your timer at the top of your emails, but don’t make it too big, as this will be just enough influence for the scarcity principle to kick in and encourage your audience that they’ll get FOMO if they don’t attend.
9. 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.
This can encourage participants to view your webinars, and presenting to them in such a unique way will lead them to come back for more.
10. Engage with attendees
According to various sources, a person’s average attention span in 2020 was around 8 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:
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 also 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?”
11. 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’ll 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 your audience gets to hear a different voice and engage with different personalities. Collaborations such as this can make your webinars more appealing to those who 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.
12. Follow up
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’s no need to ignore those who registered but failed to attend either. You have their contact details, so 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’re 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’ll find out the information you need to deliver better webinars and increase the likelihood of attendees returning. By using these twelve tips, you can improve the number of your attendees and help them engage on a personal level with you and your brand.