In general webinars have an attendance rate of 44%1. This is good information for a couple of reasons. Number 1 when you are calculating your ROI on ad spend keep in mind that less than half of the people you pay for will make it to the webinar. Number 2 this number doesn’t happen by accident. I’ve done my own experiments and can conclude if you do no pre-event engagement with your registrants you will have a much lower attendance rate. My personal experience is in the 28% range.
What is pre-engagement activity?
Basically it is anything you can do to help keep the folks you worked hard to convert to actually show up for the webinar. These things include;
- Regular marketing emails
- Offer an incentive to show up for and stay on the webinar
- Provide homework for attendees pre-event
- Asking for referrals
Regular emails – 59% of your registrants pull the trigger 7 days or less before your webinar1. That translates to giving you permission to email often in the last couple 7 days. If you’re plan is to send out a reminder email once in that 7 days then more than half of your audience is going to get exactly 1 reminder email during their time in your event marketing machine. My personal sequence in the last 7 days is Day 7, Day 5, Day 3, Day 2, Day 1. Worried about aggravating a registrant? If all you are doing is promoting yourself for those 7 days you should be worried but if you are providing value-added content with a reminder and people unsubscribe were they truly a qualified prospect in the first place?
Incentives – Yes, paying them to show up. Didn’t you most likely pay them to register in the first place? Why is paying them to show up different, except for the fact they are getting the benefit this time instead of Google or LinkedIn. One key differentiator here, pay them to show up AND to stay through the webinar. If your content is compelling and your pitch is CTA laden then the ROI will be there. Incentives can be anything from a Starbuck’s gift card to a discount on the product you are offering. Content is awesome too! If you have a really good piece of gated content that provides tangible and measurable value it will create incentive.
Homework – I attended a training the other day where the company sent the entire workbook for the training in a pdf a week prior to the event. Along with the workbook were 3 assignments, including a quick review of the table of contents and doing a couple of the exercises. I did what they asked and I was hooked. My time is worth something to me if you get me to spend some of it on your assignments I am more likely to show up for the webinar. I’m invested. Not to mention I wanted to see what they were going to do with the work I completed. Oh, by the way, emphasize you are going to call on people to provide their answers from the homework.
Spread the word – some great email reminder content is self-serving. Ask your attendees to share the registration page with others. Why? Obvious answer 1 is it helps you get more registrants. The less obvious answer is social pressure. If someone finds your content compelling enough to share it with a friend and the friend registers now there is pressure for you to show up, right? I’d feel bad if I suggested registering to a friend and then after the webinar they asked what I thought of it and I didn’t even attend. Hint: Another place for a little incentive. Post on social, refer a friend, etc and get this thing for free.
Doing these four things regularly throughout your post registration cycle will increase the attendance rate and more importantly engagement with your registrants throughout the campaign. Don’t be shy about sharing on social media today. Things like, “Homework assignment 1 for our XYZ webinar should be arriving in your inbox today!” It reminds registrants to look out for it but even more so creates a fear of missing out for non-registrants. “Wait!? What could they be doing on this webinar that there is homework?”
It’s ok to feel overwhelmed at this point. You might be thinking you barely have time to put an outline together for your webinar let alone do all of the pre-event engagement work. That’s normal. Feel free to reach out to me if I can help.
Next up… Creating a webinar that drives action