When it comes to promoting your webinar, different rules apply compared to other marketing assets. Why? Because most of the time a webinar has a live date set several weeks or months in advance, whereas other marketing assets are available instantly. This means your promotional strategy needs to be different too.
Research from webinar marketing platform ON24 shows that:
- 29% of webinar registrants register on the day of the webinar
- 37% of webinar registrants register 1 – 7 days before the webinar
- 17% of webinar registrants register 8 – 14 days before the webinar
- 17% of webinar registrants register 15+ days before the webinar
So how can you ensure you get it right? How do you secure a good attendance without burning your email database? Here are some tips:
Email is still the biggest driver of webinar registrants and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. So, you’ve got to make this one of your key focus areas. Just sending one email the week of the webinar won’t cut it. As we saw in the registration stats above, 34% of registrants sign up more than a week before the webinar. Equally, a whopping 29% of registrants register on the day of the webinar.
While these numbers are not only for email promotions, these numbers do point towards the need for a long promotional cycle. With email being the main driver of registrants, this is clearly an area that requires marketers’ attention.
We recommend you send 3 to 4 promotional emails across a 4 to 6 week period. If your promotional period is longer it will lose impact, while a shorter promotional period means you are repeating the same message too often to the same audience. You’ll need to mix it up.
Consider splitting your email promotions when you promote your webinar between dedicated webinar promo emails and other emails such as newsletters, round-up emails etc, which can feature the webinar as one of the (main) items. In your dedicated webinar promo emails, use different angles for your promotions. For example, one email promotes the webinar content, while the next focuses more on the speaker of the webinar.
Social media is the first of your long-tail of other promotional channels behind email. Include webinar promotions in your regular social media schedule, but don’t fall into the trap of just scheduling the same tweet or update multiple times. Mix it up, especially if your promotional cycle is longer - as it is for webinars. Here are some tips to create diversity in your social media updates:
- Ask a question, e.g. “What is the most important factor for… Find out”
- Use stats from the presentation, e.g. “89% of users say… For more info join us.”
- Include an incentive, e.g. “Attendees get a free audit/eBook etc”
- Include a photo, e.g. of the speaker. Photos create more engagement with social updates.
- Cross-promote the speaker’s handle, e.g. “Join our guest speaker @yourSpeakersName in this webinar” to reach a wider audience
- Don’t get to smart with your hashtags. #thisIsOurVeryOwnHashtag won’t be seen or shared by anyone. Focus on popular hashtags in your industry to gain wider exposure.
Also, schedule your social updates during different parts of the day and at weekends when there’s less noise from other social media accounts. You may also want to consider pinning a promotional tweet to the top of your Twitter profile to drive more traffic.
Get a wider social media reach by getting teams within your organisation to update their individual social media accounts. Sales and Marketing are two obvious teams for this, but if your webinar is particularly technical then get the tech teams involved as well.
Write the social media update (perhaps a couple) and distribute them to the team, so all they have to do is copy and paste them. Add a photo, video or promo banner for more impact and engagement. A tweet from the CEO or CTO might reach even further, as they typically have the most followers in an organisation.
Ask colleagues and employees to like and share the social updates from the corporate accounts.
This point may not be relevant for every webinar, but if you know that a financial investment in promoting your webinar is justifiable (usually when you know your average ROI per webinar), then this is a great way to extend your reach.
Promoted tweets, Linkedin updates or Google Ads can add to the overall number of registrants, but make sure you don’t spend the entire profit of a webinar on paid ads. Start small, assess and improve for the next webinar.
Promotional blog posts in the run up to the webinar is a great way to get more traffic. Whether it’s about the topic, the guest speaker, or perhaps even a guest blog by the guest speaker, your options are wide open.
You’ll benefit even more if you have an active subscriber base to your blog via RSS or email updates. Your blog may even be tied into your social media accounts and post auto updates when a new post is published. If so, great. If not, consider doing it.
If your website design allows it, consider adding a promotional banner to the website header. Alternatively, find another promotional space on the home page or another popular page on your website. That could be the sign-in or sign-out page of your customer area.
Include webinars in the resources or insights section of your website. This is usually one of the first places website visitors will look, and when they get used to the fact you regularly add fresh content to this section they’ll make a point of coming back.
You can easily extend your promotional reach (and number of registrants) by running a co-marketing webinar. Team up with a commercial partner, customer or peer to run a webinar together. Share the cost and share in the success. You can each promote webinar to your respective databases (and using the tactics above) and reach a wider audience.
There rarely is a magic wand that produces all the webinar registrants you want in one go. You have to work for it, but with the tips laid out above you will drive more registrants than you’ve had before. Remain consistent and your audience will grow as they get used to seeing your updates. Just because they didn’t attend this webinar, doesn’t mean they won’t attend the next. Good luck and get started!
For the geeks: Why do different promotional rules apply to webinars?
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