Make a Blockbuster: 8 Tips to Promote Your Webinar

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Events Marketing

Promote Your WEbinarWhat if you gave a party and no one came? Likewise, why go to all of the triple-digit trouble of planning, creating and hosting a webinar … only to have just a few people show up?

Promoting your webinar – so that people learn about it and are inspired to register to attend it – is just as important as creating it to begin with.

Make a promotion plan

Start by developing a simple outline that details how many attendees you hope to get and the channels you intend to use to reach them. Then you can turn your attention to the creative assets you’ll use to let them know about the fabulous opportunity you’re offering with this event.

Make sure you start your planning at least a month in advance, so you can devote at least three weeks to these promotional efforts. This gives you time to build and test your promotional assets so you can send a flight of emails, do an ad campaign, update your website, and promote your event via social media.

You have your business objectives for this webinar thought through and written down in a creative brief, yes? Make sure your strategy aligns with those business objectives. Keep track of the number of attendees each promotional channel is responsible for generating so you can ramp up your efforts in any channels that aren’t pulling their weight – or quietly kill those that under-perform and put that budget into channels that do produce (or try something new and promising).

Here are eight tips to promote your webinar and get the attendance you need to achieve your goals.

1. Create your landing page

The landing page is where the people who want to attend your webinar have the opportunity to sign up for it. It’s the first crucial step to convert tire-kickers who seem interested in your webinar into actual attendees. Your email and other promotional efforts should point to a landing page that’s designed to make it very easy for visitors to convert. Your promotional efforts made a promise intriguing enough to get people to view this page; now this page has to deliver. It should clearly state what the webinar is about, promote the speakers (use headshots to make it more personal), make the date and time of the event obvious, include a simple registration form, and clearly underscore the benefits this webinar will deliver to attendees.

2. Send your first email

Email is the backbone of most webinar promotion campaigns. In fact, it’s likely that email will produce between 70% and 100% of your signups. So, put a lot of thought into this, and give it the muscle to make it happen. Minimally, you should send a flight of three emails: the first three weeks out; the second two weeks later (one week out); and one day prior to your event – or early the day of. Try to incorporate a slightly different message and subject line in each email and make sure that your email uses a strong call-to-action to drive recipients to your webinar landing page. The final one could be a “last chance” email.

3. Promote the event on your website

websiteYour website is the front door of your company and brand, so make sure you promote the webinar through banners, links, and pop-ups. You could put something on your home page; you could also look to another highly trafficked page on your site, if the keywords for that page and the keywords for the webinar are the same. Many websites now have resource centers where visitors can register for both upcoming and on-demand events. If you do, make sure there’s a prominent link to this resource center on your home page, or any other pages that make sense.

4. Share the event via social media

You can begin sharing the webinar via social media immediately as soon as that first email goes out. Share regularly on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and Facebook in the three weeks leading up to the event. Create your event hashtag early in the process and include it in your social sharing from the start. Make sure to encourage your speakers and employees to share the webinar information as well. You should also create an event in Google+. Google+ is a great tool for webinars because it allows organizers to promote events to people in their circles and will actually create an event on followers’ calendars.

5. Publish blog posts that promote your webinar

Consider creating one to two blog posts leading up to the event. Don’t make the content about the webinar. The topics of these posts should relate closely to the webinar topic, but they should stand on their own with meaningful content. Use some version of “learn more about (this topic) in our upcoming webinar” as the call to action, and link directly to the webinar landing page.

6. Have the sales team promote your webinar

Sales Team promotionDon’t forget that you’ve got a team of live people talking to potential attendees every day: Your sales team can help promote the event as well, and they might welcome having a new focal point and something to offer as a pretext for a call or an email touchpoint.

Help them be successful: Do a little promo cheat sheet (or email) that lets them know what the webinar is about and who it is for). Make a version of your email into a template that they can send, give them a few talking points or an actual script, and provide social messages for them to use. If it’s appropriate in your company culture, ask sales to add a line to their email signatures that promotes your event, including a link to register.

7. Send reminders to help ensure that people attend

Signing up for an event and actually attending it are two very different things, and you need to market them differently.

Create a campaign for the people who signed up to help them stay motivated to attend the event. Sending a reminder email between one and 24 hours before the event is one proven way to do this (make it interesting!) but you can also use other tactics like automated voicemail.

8. Measure and optimize your campaigns

Remember that you set a promotional objective to generate a certain number of registrants and attendees for your webinar. You’ll want to measure results for both against your expectations, and against each other.

The different marketing campaigns you run to promote the event are a big part of whether or not you’ll meet that objective. Pay close attention to the number of registrants you’re generating prior to your milestone dates (three weeks, one week, one day). If you’re not on track to meeting your target, make sure that you optimize things like email subject lines, landing page forms, calls-to-action, and your other promotional channels.

ON24’s research shows that 42% of webinar registrants register a week or more out, but 30% register in the week prior, and 28% register the day of. (Don’t skip that last-day, last-chance email).

webinar promotional cycle
Image Source: On24 Webinar Benchmarks Report

Use as many different promotional channels as you can, and link them to your registration page so people can get there in one click. Use trackable URLs for each channel, so as registration progresses you can determine which channels deliver the most (or best) registrants. Consider offering prizes or incentives. For example, if one of the speakers has written a book, offer a free copy to the first five people who sign up for the webinar. Include “invite a friend” links to the webinar on all emails, blog posts, and social media announcements of the webinar.webinars

And remember: when you confirm someone’s attendance, be sure to include instructions for how to join the web and audio as well as any special instructions for taking part. Having all this information well ahead of time helps assure them that this event is well-organized, will be well-run, and will be a good use of their time.

Ready to get started? Be sure to check out this guide for more information on hosting perfect online and in-person events.