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How to grow your webinar audience
Webinars are an amazing medium for connecting with customers, engaging with new prospects and sharing knowledge with your audience. All too often though, webinars are poorly attended webinars sit as a moment in time that passes and is forgotten quickly. We've pulled together this article as a guide to making webinars even more valuable after the event than they are during.
We’ve put together a relatively typical process for hosting a webinar here, which is OK but doesn’t achieve everything that a webinar can. In this article, we are going to look at rewriting this plan to achieve better results with webinars.
This should be the easy part! You know your subject matter inside out. We will cover putting together a compelling and engaging webinar in a future article, but for now, we’ll assume that you have a great lineup and a lot to say.
You will likely have a list of potential invitees already in a CRM, but making sure that list is highly targeted is key to a successful webinar. If you are discussing a niche subject, then target your entire list with invitations then you will only drive down your conversion rate and risk people unsubscribing from your list. Make sure you are targeting people who have shown interest in the topic or adjacent topics. This list exists for the entire lifecycle of the webinar and we will come back to it later on.
It’s tempting to just send a single mass email, but think about your own inbox – we receive dozens of invitations a month to webinars that we never make it to. If you can, go with a personal angle and have the contact owner email the invitee with a customized pre-formatted invitation. If you can’t do that then an email that is segmented to make sure it references their previous interest is a must. If you are sending a mass email with no custom targeting, expect the end result to reflect it! Make sure the email is easy to read and has a clear call to action – and make sure that your webinar software can handle registration with just one click. Sending an email to someone and then making them fill in their details again is a sure fire way to see high drop off rates.
This is your opportunity to grow your invitee list. Make sure that you promote within other comms; if you send a more general newsletter or update to subscribers then adding information about the webinar there is a must – you might find audience members that you didn’t know you had. Even better, you will glean information about their interest if they do register for the event. Finding your audience on social media and talking to them is key. Give them an idea of what to expect and use clips from previous webinars to show them the calibre of guest and conversation. Keep this up as your registrant list grows because it will make the next step easier.
Every webinar has the final hours before the live stream when you will be able to gauge what kind of attendance you will see at the actual event. Make sure you test the broadcasting platform and test again. There is nothing worse than going live and your stream failing. Follow up with everyone who has registered with an email reminder, which vitally should have a clear call to action to Join the Webinar. Again, you want to avoid putting your audience through hoops trying to negotiate their way through forms and login fields. This is when you will know your final Invitee / Registrant ratio.
You’re all ready to go, make sure everyone’s audio is clear and that any slide decks are primed for action. Start on time and don’t waste too much time on admin, most attendees have been to one of these before at this point! If you are taking audience questions, encourage them early and as the webinar goes on. Make sure that you are keep a record of who asks what – you would be surprised how few people do this but it can make for great followup after the event. And make sure that your webinar is set to be recorded – this is a content creation moment.
By this point the webinar is over and a lot of businesses will consider that the close of their entire opportunity window. We consider it the opening of a new one. Make sure to follow up personally with any attendees who engaged with the webinar directly – if possible have the host or their closest contact email them personally thanking them for their contribution, even if the hosts didn’t get around to answering it. It feels like more work but it will stand out in people’s minds if they receive an answer to their question after the hour is up.
Once the webinar is finished, don’t leave it to die in WebEx, upload it to Foyer and embed it on your website so that anyone can watch again on demand. Whilst there is some appeal in gating this with a form, it can have much more value if you don’t but have other ways to understand who your audience is.
Foyer gives you the ability to let viewers ask questions directly through the video – your on-demand audience isn’t expecting an immediate answer, but they are showing a desire to engage and start a conversation. Foyer also offers polls and the ability to ask questions of your audience, along with including supporting materials and calls to action to allow your audience to interact as live with your webinar.
One of the top three reasons that people fail to watch webinars is that they don’t have an hour to give up. Foyer provides you with instant AI transcripts (and offers human quality control too) which can be copy and pasted into your site or embedded for an interactive version. These aren’t just literal transcriptions – we clean up all of the ums, ahs and errs and our editor lets you quickly make them highly readable by adding titles and images from the webinar itself to turn it into more of an article. This has the added benefit of making the webinar into content that search engines can easily understand – instant original content. That transcript also powers instant subtitles, making your content accessible to all.
Create a summary of the conversation (Foyer does this for you automatically) and send it out to everyone who registered. To those who attended it’s a quick reference recap – to those who didn’t it’s a synopsis of what they missed.
Your webinar is a source of highlights and clips that you can quickly share – Foyer gives you an incredibly easy to use editing interface that lets you create clips in seconds. Tell the world what you’ve been talking about and redirect them to watch the webinar on demand.
That original list of invitees has been pared down over the course of this process, but many of your invitees will have not registered simply because they couldn’t make it – send them the summary of the webinar too so that they can see what you discussed and link to the on demand version so that they can watch (or read it) in their own time. Your invitee/registrant/attendee ratio is going to look amazing in no time at all!
Hopefully this article has been food for thought – we’d love to hear what you think. Find us on Twitter at @foyerlabs (our founder Simon is always open for a chat at @simonminton too) or email us at [email protected]