12 Amazing Tips to Boost Webinar Registration and Attendance

“How do I drive reg and boost attendance?” is the question every webinerd asks themselves and, quite frankly, us at ON24 as well. Fortunately, we have data on our side. Here are some tips and tricks you can use in your webinar marketing strategy today.

Drive Registration Through Emails

1) Sending Promotions

Start sending your promotional emails two weeks in advance. This provides you with optimal time to capture attendees during the run-up to your event. Typically, you ought to send three to four promotional emails. Make sure each email is different from the other — you don’t want to annoy your recipients!

When it comes to emails, make sure you stagger HTML and Plain Text email sends. HTML can look great, especially during the run-up to a big webinar you have planned, but text emails offer a personal, human touch that you cannot forget. Humanize your text emails as often as possible by addressing the recipient by name, and having the featured speaker sign off (see example below):

Finally, don’t forget to send an “On-the-Fence” email. Send your final promotional email the day of the webinar to people who’ve opened previous emails, but did not register. (Kudos to the speaker if they write these themselves 😉.)

Here are a couple of other tips Chief Webinerd, Mark Bornstein, highlighted in the webinar “Keys to Driving Webinar Registration and Attendance”:

  • Acknowledge interest without being creepy
  • Keep plain text for personal approach
  • Tease out content

2) Personalizing Emails

Personalization means not only adding a human element to your emails, but knowing who your audience is and what types of emails they ought to get. For example, if you have multiple target segments that you want to reach, make slight copy changes so each email is tailored to each respective audience.

Personalization can get complicated quickly, especially if your campaign contains different industries in different timezones for the same virtual event. You’ll need to know how you can address and differentiate between prospects, customers, verticals, funnel stages and more. Check out this blog for more tips.

3) Test, Test, Testing!

Testing emails is the spice of the marketer’s life. Establish a few hypotheses and set up some A/B tests to see how they bear out. For us, we usually test everything from layouts and emojis to subject lines and time of day. Just be sure to focus your tests on one element at a time. That way, you can carry over what works.

Here are a few examples of what we’ll play with:

Different layouts

VS

Emoji vs No Emoji

Note: If you’re using Marketo, you’ll have to generate a code to add an emoji to the subject line. I use Subject Line Assistant 

Different Subject Lines

Social Media Promotions Done Right

Webinerd social media

Social media promotions should start at the same time as your emails. This allows you more space for you to share your event. When promoting to social, don’t forget to shorten URL links to registration pages through services like bit.ly and others.

4) Hashtags

If you’re going to use a hashtag (and you should, especially for a recurring series), just remember to be consistent in its use and incorporate other popular hashtags to reach targeted audiences.

5) Scheduling Posts

Make sure you set your promotional posts to fire at least once a day during the run-up to your event. Also, make sure to incorporate creative images. Each image posted should be consistent (no stock photography!), and designed for the social media site where it’ll be posted. Check out this asset guide checklist for more help or watch this quick webinar to learn more!

Finally, take note of when and where your social media posts are being published. For example, a message posted at 11 a.m. EST does little to help promote an event running at 2 p.m. in Australia.

On-Demand Nurture with webinars

Webinerd on demand

6) CTA for the Next Event

Every content touch is an opportunity to promote your next event. Make use of your webinars to promote your next event with interactive tools like ON24’s CTA widget. You can also promote the next event you want to drive attendees to in your follow up email.

7) Content Centers

Content centers are another great way to provide your website visitors with the opportunity to sign up for your event. Add an upcoming events page or create pre and post webinar blogs that add opportunities for registration.

Speaking of registration, make sure you make it easy for prospects and customers to say “yes.” For example, formless registration provides a seamless, one-click registration experience audiences love. Keeping sales teams abreast of marketing activities can also expand your event’s reach — especially if you arm them with social media and creative assets they can use on their own time.

8) Nurture with Webinars

Finally, a lot of energy goes into producing a successful webinar, so don’t let that hard work go to waste! Create nurture streams for your best evergreen webinars. That way, audiences across the buyer’s journey can get a rich, branded experience. You can even bundle up similar webinars and re-use them in a mini-series or package a set of webinars as a guide or lesson plan.

Converting Registrants to Attendees

Webinerd guests

Registration seems hard, but it can be easy in comparison to driving attendance. As you work to turn your would-be attendees into actual attendees, remember: every audience is different, so once again…test, test test!

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

9) Play around with reminder emails

Reminder emails are your best friend when it comes to driving attendance. Most registrants will forget they’ve signed up for an event and need a little nudge to attend! Just remember to send different reminders to different groups at different times. My favorite times to send reminder emails are five minutes before or after an event starts or exactly when the event starts.

When you send a reminder email, you have two choices: personalized or generic. Personalized emails ought to come from a person involved in the webinar (typically the host). Generic emails should be short in copy and straight to the point: attend.

10) Personalized vs Generic Reminders

For these two emails, I tend to do a 50/50 split the day of your webinar. Send one quick note from the speaker to one half and a generic email to the other. Here’s an example:

VS

11) Incentivize Attendance

Depending on what the goal for your webinar is, you can incentivize attendance with prizes, unique downloads or even locked or privileged information. Just make sure you let people know in advance that anyone who attends will have opportunities to either win prizes (swag) or get exclusive content during the live webinar.

12) Play with your Webinar Dates

At ON24, we typically hold webinars on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. PT (2 p.m. ET). Thursdays are another great time, but when you host an event is really up to your audience. We’ve found that  Fridays are starting to prove successful as well. Play around and find out when your audience likes to tune in.

Don’t forget: audiences can attend your webinars at any time. Make sure your webinars are pushed to on-demand so would-be attendees can tune in when they’d like. We find the best results for on-demand events happen when you make post-event viewing possible within 24 hours of the live broadcast.

And that’s it! Just remember to have fun and experiment with your webinars to hone in on your optimal path to registration and attendance.

How to Manage Webinar Questions in an Event with 1,000+ Attendees

According to our 2020 Webinar Benchmarks Report, 41% of all webinars in 2019 hosted at least 100 attendees. And while that’s a lot of curious professionals and audience interaction, that attendance rate is about to boom in 2020 given the massive shift from physical to digital events in the wake of COVID-19.

As a consequence, webinar practitioners are moving away from the question of “How do I drive more registrations and attendance?” to “How can I manage this influx of attendees and their waves of questions?”

The Attendee Boom

We recently had to figure out how to answer this question ourselves during a recent edition of our Webinar Best Practices Series. The event, focused on how marketers can pivot from physical events to digital, saw registration increase by more than 300% our average monthly goals for the series.

To put this in perspective, ON24’s Webinar Best Practices Series generated about 1,500  registrants on average before the COVID-19 outbreak and we’d normally see about a 25% live attendee conversion rate. The particular webinar being discussed here, How to Bring Physical Events into the Digital World, had 4,682 registrants the day of the live event and a 51% conversion rate with a total of 652 questions. WHEW!

How We Organized for Audience Success

We anticipated a high turn out, but nothing like what we saw.

Our response to this exponential increase in registration was to prepare for an all hands on deck Q&A session during the live airing, consisting of three SDRs and five people from the marketing team.

The questions that came through were categorized in folders as follows:

SDR Folder

    • Any questions showing interest in purchasing or asking for a price quote was added to this folder where SDRs responded by asking if they’d like to speak to a rep and getting their contact info to schedule them right away.

Marketing Folder

    • Between sorting through all of the questions, a team of five would answer as many questions as possible relating to the general product capabilities, marketing best practices and directing said attendee to the resource that could help answer their questions.

Tech Q’s

    • This folder is dedicated to any technical difficulties the audience is having. These were positioned as high-priority and the team would work diligently to alleviate as many tech issues as possible so individuals can enjoy the experience.

Granted, not all questions were answered. After all, there were only eight of us against 653 questions. But to make sure attendees got the answers they sought, our team hosted an office hour follow-up webinar. During this event, our speaker, Mark Bornstein, and two other guests answered FAQs.

In sum, if your webinar program is facing a potential flood of attendees and anticipates a lot of questions, just remember to sit down, catch your breath and organize. Set up a meeting with your sales and marketing peers and create a plan before the event. Good luck!