You’ve put together a webinar presentation packed full of valuable, quality content for your leads, but your job is far from over. Now you have to get people to register and show up. No matter how good your content is, boosting webinar attendance can be a challenge.
Even if you’re able to secure a lot of registrations, you may find that your actual attendance is not as high as you’d expect or like. Busy registrants often forget or get distracted by other communications or commitments, leading to high percentages of no-shows.
There are a number of things you can do to help increase webinar attendance. Here are four tips to attract more registrants and get them to actually sign on for your event.
Developing an extensive promotion plan for your webinar and implementing it early is certainly critical. According to GoToWebinar, you’ll see an average of 12% more registrations by starting your promotion at least four weeks before the live webinar. But you can’t assume that’s because people register as soon as they get the first or second email invitation.
GoToWebinar’s research also found that 59% of registrants sign up in the week before the webinar, and 17% of those sign up less than 24 hours in advance. That means your promotion strategy should include reminders and “last chance” email invitations, even as far as the day of the event.
Offering a digital gift card to attendees after the webinar is always an effective way to encourage people to register and follow through. It also gives you the flexibility to qualify and approve rewards after the event, so you can keep an eye out for people trying to game the system.
But also consider other ways of using incentives that not only attract attendees, but also enhance the overall webinar experience. For example, make it a lunch-and-learn by sending a digital DoorDash, Uber Eats, or Grubhub reward to registrants shortly before the event starts, so they can order a meal to enjoy during the presentation. Or send a Starbucks or Dunkin’ reward before a morning webinar to allow attendees to get coffee.
Does it work? Just ask the team at social media management platform Socedo, where registrations doubled and webinar attendance jumped 30% when they started automatically sending registrants a digital gift card for coffee. Adam Hutchinson, the marketing manager who implemented the program, said that even beyond the numbers, the rewards were a big hit. “It gave us something fun to talk about at the beginning of the webinar! More importantly, several attendees emailed me directly to thank me for their morning coffee,” he said. “That’s a very positive experience and well worth the cost of a coffee gift card.”
It’s of course key to have presenters for your webinar who know what they’re talking about. But you also need to make sure they can keep everyone interested while getting your message across. Two-thirds of webinar attendees say the most important thing for presenters is to be passionate and engaging, according to webinar services provider Redback Connect. Its research also shows that attendees cite a presenter who is “too salesy and not educational enough” or “talks too much about themselves and isn’t engaging at all” among their top reasons for leaving an online event early. Make sure new presenters practice in front of other people, have their webcam turned on, and focus on the value that the webinar can provide for attendees.
Also consider formats beyond the traditional webinar with a single presenter. Redback Connect found that more attendees prefer events with multiple speakers — either a moderator and presenter (chosen by 27%) or a panel discussion (21%) — over a single speaker (19%).
More and more attendees say they prefer to be able to watch content whenever they want. In fact, On24’s 2021 Webinar Benchmarks Report shows that 43% of all attendees watch only on-demand webinars. Making the recording available in your follow-up emails and even as a resource on your website extends your viewership and lets you get the most out of your carefully created presentation.
You’ve done so much work to increase webinar attendance, so don’t let it go to waste. Encourage continued engagement in post-event communications. Capitalize on the goodwill you created during the webinar experience to enhance the connection with attendees. For instance, you could send a follow-up email that recalls the delightful reward they received: “Thanks for attending the webinar. How was your coffee?” Then, include a call to action that offers some added value, such as a free trial, an e-book download, or a link to an on-demand webinar.
With these tips and thoughtful follow-up for your online events program, you can increase the number of registrants, boost actual webinar attendance, and turn that success into more leads and conversions.
Ready to see what digital rewards can do for your webinars, but not sure what structure is right for you? Check out our cheat sheet to compare instant rewards, sweepstakes, and points programs.