5 Webinar Hosting Tips to Draw in an Audience
Hosting webinars is a great strategy for boosting the profile of your company, moving prospects through your funnel, or generally engaging your target audience. The best webinars are usually educational, well-presented, and interesting. A lot of work goes into developing the content and overall presentation. Of course, once you’ve spent all that time assembling the webinar, it would be nice to have an audience show up! How to do that? We’ve recently talked about how you can market a webinar, so here are five additional suggestions for making sure the right people show up.
#1. Choose the right topic
It all starts with the topic. The only way to get people to even begin to show interest is if you’ve chosen something that resonates. No one wants to sign up for a 40-minute snoozefest, so they need a compelling reason to join. If we backtrack this a step, this means you need to have a very good grasp of who your target audience is and what is important to them. As a company, you need to find that sweet spot where audience interest and your company goals meet. Here are tips for choosing an engaging topic:
- Identify a key problem among your target audience. How can you address it in a way that is useful and engaging?
- Look for a topic that is broad enough to attract a wide audience, but narrow enough that you can give them actionable takeaways.
- The topic should be easy enough to digest, but complex enough to warrant a 30-minute webinar.
- Look at reviews on the topic, for example, books on Amazon. These often reveal the sorts of questions or problems people have.
- Survey your target audience. What do they identify as hot topics?
- Could a Q&A style webinar be a good fit? Sometimes you might have an audience with a broad range of questions on a topic. An example is the AMAs (Ask Me Anything) sessions you see on Twitter or Reddit.
Once you have selected your topic, it’s important to devise an eye-catching title. This could be as simple as highlighting the key problem you will address, for example, “how to re-engage inactive email subscribers.” A tip here is to do keyword research and ensure your title contains a keyword phrase that is frequently searched by your audience.
#2. Have actionable insights
If you want people to sign up for your webinar, and hang around once they’re there, you need to address the “what’s in it for me?” question. Why should someone give up part of their day to attend? People need something they can take away from the webinar, even if you hope as a company is that they will sign up for something with you. For example, in our upcoming webinar "How to Get the Most Out of Your Event Marketing Leads" on March 28th, we'll be sharing how to align with your sales team before/during/after your event, and how to put your event follow-up plan in motion before your event. On top of takeaways from webinar content, you might offer something special to your audience just for attending. Here are some examples:
- Registration code for your upcoming event
- Complimentary consultations
- Discount vouchers
- Free trials
- Discount codes
The bottom-line message here is to create a webinar that is value-driven.
#3. Have clear goals
Before even beginning your webinar outreach, make sure to define clear objectives. Established goals help you measure the overall success of your webinar. It also helps you to craft your content and presentation so that you can deliver great, value-driven webinars. At a basic level, have goals for the:
- number of registrations
- number of attendees
- number of minutes watched
- actions that you’d like attendees to take
Smart Insights gives some useful data on B2B webinar benchmarks. For example, you can see that most B2B webinars have less than 100 viewers. There is also usually a big difference between the number that registers and the number that show up. An average is somewhere around 36% of registrants actually attending. Looking at this sort of data can help you to understand what a “realistic” goal for both registrations and attendance. What does this have to do with drawing in an audience? Having defined goals helps to ensure you’re steering your overall presentation in the right direction.
#4. Make it easy to register
People shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to register for your webinar. In fact, if there are too many steps, they may abandon their registration mid-way through. Conventional wisdom says that the fewer the form fields, the better for encouraging people to sign up. Is this always the case? No, actually the jury is out on this one, as you can see in this Venture Harbor article which highlights five different tests. Context and audience expectation play a big role in whether they go for the longer or shorter forms. It is important to understand what information your sales and marketing teams need to follow up and continue to nurture the leads from your webinar. Besides form length, look at even more fundamental factors, such as the functionality of the page you are using to gather sign-ups. Anything glitchy or slow to load may be quickly clicked away from. If the page is difficult to follow or doesn’t give enough relevant information, it may be abandoned. Whenever you’re putting together a landing page for a webinar, construct it carefully to appeal quickly to your target audience. Include the “5 W’s”, who (is presenting), what (is it about), when (is the webinar), where (is it accessed through), and why (should people attend).
#5. Set automatic reminders
Have you ever signed up for a webinar, then completely forgotten about it? Us too. This is why it’s important to help registrants by setting up automatic reminders. You should always send a confirmation email once they register, acknowledging that you have received their registration. This is a good opportunity to remind them of the date and time, and request that they add it to their calendar (especially if this has not been automatic already). It helps to build anticipation if you can send one or two value-add emails in between registration and the webinar. For example, you might send them relevant resources that can help them with the topic at hand. And finally, send them a couple of reminder emails. Sending one the day before and one an hour before the webinar is due to start is a good strategy. People get distracted by last-minute things at work or home, so giving them a gentle nudge can help your attendance numbers.
Webinar hosting is a great way to boost the profile of your product and drive quality leads for your business. The success of your webinar is all in the preparation. Define your audience first and understand what will draw them to your presentation. Above all, the aim should always be to deliver unique value to your audience. Make their attendance worthwhile. It’s also ideal if you’re able to keep them there through to the end! This suggests that you have done a great job in selecting interesting content, presenting well, and keeping people engaged.