A B2B company came to our agency seeking help in driving higher lead volume for their business. Historically, the company had been hosting webinars. The webinars were well attended and were a reliable leads driver for the business.
Things were going great.
So, what in the world could we offer them that their current webinar program wasn’t already achieving?
Well…, how about a 550% increase in annual leads volume?
Intrigued? Read on!
Love thought leadership? Love educating others? Then webinars may be the perfect lead generation platform for your brand.
As with the new client mentioned above, webinars are often a strong marketing option for B2B marketers. With all the available plug-and-play webinar technology options today, webinars are easy to produce. As they are exclusively online, there are no geographic restrictions, helping you to extend your reach. Assuming your brand is a thought leader in your space, webinars allow you to demonstrate your expertise in depth. In addition, given the presentation format of most webinars, it’s a unique opportunity for you to let your personality shine, helping you to differentiate your brand.
It’s no wonder that 73% of B2B marketers and sales leaders say a webinar is the best way to generate high quality leads (GoToWebinar).
It’s one thing to do webinars and get good results.
It’s quite another, though, to crank up the volume and totally crush it with your webinar registration volume.
So, how did we increase webinar registrations by 550% for our client? Let’s walk through a few of the key factors that unleashed the higher volumes…
Optimize Your Cadence
OK, so this is incredibly low-hanging fruit. But all too often, we see companies running their webinars without any type of optimized cadence. The webinar schedule is sometimes totally random. Instead, plan ahead and test to see how many webinars you can pack into a single year while continually generating a strong attendee turnout.
For our client mentioned above, we quickly determined that they were not conducting webinars frequently enough. We immediately ramped up their schedule to host monthly webinars. This alone increased the number of events by 4X. Talk about low-hanging fruit!
Of course, it’s not always going to be the case that the more webinars you host, the higher your average attendance. Database fatigue is very real.
So, it’s important to monitor and measure your performance, and if you start noticing that your audience is dropping off and losing interest, you should pull back and introduce a less frequent cadence. For some companies, a weekly webinar may be the optimum choice. For others, it might be monthly. For others, perhaps it’s something else. The point is, if you are conducting webinars without any thought as to the cadence, you’re most likely missing out on leads.
One of the biggest mistakes companies make with their webinars is filling too much of the time with fluff and non-essentials. Instead of taking 10 minutes to introduce yourself, your company, and your guest, try limiting such time to 30 or 60 seconds, and jumping right into the meat of the webinar. Your attendees will thank you a million times over.
If you want your audience to love your webinars, and to look forward to the next one, and to tell their colleagues about them, then make your content as substantive as possible. If they are thinking there was no better way to spend the time then on your webinar that day, then you’re doing something right.
After all, your webinars should not be all about you. They should be all about what’s in it for attendees. (If you skip this step, forget about increasing your webinar attendance by 550%. Sorry, just ain’t gonna happen.)
Create Compelling Webinar Titles
No matter how awesome your webinar content is, you want to give it a title that intrigues your audience.
Don’t be boring! Start with a compelling title that makes them want to click through to your landing page and circle the date in their calendars. You can quickly assess topic quality through applications like BuzzSumo, and the popularity of keywords (and related phrases) through Google Ads, Ahrefs, Moz, or any number of other keyword tools.
Brainstorm at least 10 or 20 potential titles. Don’t just go with whatever enters your mind when you start. It’s through the process of exploration that you uncover hidden gems.
1 + 1 = 3
With webinars, you can certainly try going it alone. However, by partnering with others, you’ll enhance and add healthy variety to your content. You’ll also extend your reach and get in front of new audiences continually, as your partners or guests will of course be promoting the webinars, as well. If your brand’s Twitter following is 10,000, and your partner’s or guest’s is 10,000, you’ll double your reach. Same with email. Same with their blog. Your next guest has 50,000 followers? All the better.
Including partners and guests wasn’t the only tactic that lead to a 63% increase in attendance per webinar for the client mentioned above, but it certainly was a contributing factor, with guests included on the majority of the webinars we promoted for them.
In order to help your partners or featured guests get the word out, provide them with promotional messaging, sample social posts, and associated graphics. Make it super easy for them to be loud and proud! Set expectations upfront as to the type and volume of promotions they should be conducting. Too often, companies partner on a webinar without any discussion about the promotional plans or expectations from both sides. Having clear expectations will definitely help you to hit higher registration numbers.
Ensuring Audience Alignment
Want to be absolutely sure your audience will love your webinars? Consider sending registrants a survey ahead of time to help shape the content covered. By hearing directly from registrants themselves, you can help to set expectations, recalibrate the content based on the specific audience’s interests, and ensure a better experience for everyone.
Build in 1-on-1 Time
Be sure to include a Q&A session at the end of each webinar. Receiving direct feedback from your target audience in real-time is invaluable, as it provides you with a window into their minds. What are their top challenges? What’s keeping them up at night? What would move the needle for them? Etc.
An engaged audience is more likely to feel positively about your event, retain more information, and engage with you again in the future. With Q&A sessions being the most popular form of audience engagement (appearing in a whopping 82%), and 40% of webinars taking advantage of some type of engagement feature, it’d be a mistake not to capitalize on the opportunity while on the webinar together (2017 Webinar Benchmarks Report, GoToWebinar).
Test Different Times AND Timeframes
Think afternoon is a better time to host your webinars? Or around lunchtime? Survey your audience, and also be sure to test a few different times of day. You may be surprised what you learn.
Think shorter webinars are better than longer ones? Not necessarily. In fact, according to GoToWebinar, 60-minute webinars often attract 2.1x more registrations than 30-minute webinars, and 90-minute webinars often attract 4.6x as many. Again, test different timeframes, and monitor not only sign-ups, but drop-offs during the actual webinars themselves as well.
Drive Engagement Deeper
To deepen audience engagement during your webinars, issue polls and surveys. Give them a voice, and include their responses in the discussion. This not only enhances the webinar content, but it brings a fresh spin to the information and makes it all very tangible for attendees. It’s also one more way for you to gain further insights into your audience.
Promote the Heck Out of Your Webinars
No matter how awesome your webinar is, you need to promote it if you hope to maximize attendance.
- Landing Page: Your landing page is the face of your webinar, and without something worthwhile, your potential registrations will fall through the cracks. Make it visual and aesthetically appealing. No one wants to read a page that’s just full of text. Remember, you don’t need to stuff your landing page with details. Instead, focus on what’s in it for attendees and make the value scream off the page. Keep the language entertaining. The more that you can evoke an emotive response on the landing page, the more likely they’ll register.
- Get Caffeinated and Promote, Promote, Promote: Once your landing page is rock solid, promote, promote, promote!
- Timing: Start your promotions at least four or five weeks ahead of the webinar. Remember, about one in four registrants signs up more than 15 days before an event, and another quarter the day of (2017 Webinar Benchmarks Report). Although you may not see a huge influx of registrations a month prior to the event, you’ll be priming their thoughts making it more likely that they’ll sign up closer to the webinar date itself.
- Email: A no-brainer. Email your database weekly leading up to the webinar, or you may find a different email cadence that drives better results specifically for your brand.
- Social Media: Another no-brainer. Post in all relevant social media accounts. And we don’t mean just one or two or three times. The chances of someone actually seeing a given post is low, so keep getting the word out repeatedly.
- Expand Your Reach: Start with your existing database, but always, always, always include a process to expand your reach. This may include finding new prospects in LinkedIn, or reaching out to influencers to help you get the word out. If appropriate, you can also add it to industry calendars.
- Don’t Be Shy: Don’t be shy about emailing, nor about posting about the webinar on social media. Haven’t tried Lead Forms in LinkedIn? Test ‘em out on your next webinar. Too many companies are hesitant about the extent of their promotions, but if you want high attendance, you’ll want to be out there letting them know, again and again and again.
- Blog: Create a blog post (separate from the landing page) that provides a teaser of the content to come in the webinar. If you have a featured guest for the webinar, you can do a quick interview of the person on complementary topics or info to the webinar itself. Or scratch the surface of a key topic, and then go into depth in the webinar itself.
- Ads: Include ads for your webinar throughout your blog. Include popups, banners, and/or scroll-boxes in and around your site in promotion of the webinar. If you’re into giving your site visitors one last opportunity to register just as they are thinking of leaving your site, use exit-intent technology and hit them with a screen takeover or popup as their cursor breaks the plane of the browser window.
- Social Advertising: Test social advertising, such as through LinkedIn or Facebook.
- Email Signature: Add a promotion to your email signature for each upcoming webinar.
- Newsletter: Include promotions in your company newsletter.
- Word of Mouth: Throughout the month your team members are already talking with prospects, clients, partners, etc. Everyone should be acting as your promotional army. Get the word out. Sometimes, face to face conversations (or phone conversions) can be the most persuasive in getting new individuals to attend.
Dangle a Bonus in Front of Them
Want to drive registrations even higher? Offer a book, whitepaper, research report, or other download to registrants.
Have a course that goes into more depth? Offer free access.
Or better yet, offer something personalized for each attendee. For example, a quick assessment or critique, etc. Of course, you’ll need to determine if the time involved makes sense for your business, but by offering value that goes way beyond the webinar itself, you’ll attract folks who, although interested in the topic, may have otherwise skipped the webinar.
Add Some ABM Magic
A webinar is a good opportunity to reach out to targeted accounts, whether new or part of an existing Account-Based Marketing (ABM) process, to offer them new, additional value.
If you’re a B2B marketer and you’re not employing ABM, you’re missing a great opportunity for precision-targeted marketing to your most prized prospects. If you’re already all in on ABM, webinars can be a key part of your mix.
As you can see, increasing webinar registrations for our client by 550% included many different strategies, tactics, and considerations. There’s no silver bullet. You need to make your webinar content awesome, but you also need to do an awesome job at aligning with audience interests, promoting your webinar, and compelling them to register.
If your webinar registration levels have hit a plateau and you can’t seem to drive results to the next level, try the recommendations listed above and you may just get 550% more people showing up!