December 26, 2017 Jack Wildt
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After all the work you put into webinars, is your webinar promotion letting you down? Do you announce your events with complete email marketing campaigns, or do you just send out a few emails when you have the chance?
As marketers, we’ve had it drilled into us over and over that if our content is useful, our audience will want it. But great content is only half the battle. Your customers and leads have busy lives, and there are a lot of vendors vying for their attention. A lot of your webinar promotion emails won’t even be opened because the recipient is too busy at the moment, or the subject line doesn’t appeal to them. Other recipients will scan the email and move on. And even when you earn a registration, it doesn’t mean you’ll get an attendee. If you don’t follow up, or your webinar doesn’t stick in their head, they might not even remember signing up.
If you want your email marketing to boost attendance, you need to make sure your audiences get the right message at the right moment. To do that, you need to put as much effort into your email campaign as you put into your webinars.
How to promote a webinar: Email marketing best practices
The most important thing is to plan ahead. If you set attendance goals (and you should), then your webinar promotion email campaign is part of the actual webinar, and demands the same amount of planning and attention as any other part.
One month out from the webinar, sit down to create a schedule for your email marketing campaign, working backward from the webinar to the beginning of the month. Our general rule of thumb is three weeks of webinar marketing emails, including the week of the webinar.
Remember, the goal isn’t to drown them in emails — all you’ll do is burn your contact list. In fact, one of the biggest advantages of planning multi-week email marketing campaigns is that you can give customers a few opportunities to register without pestering them excessively. We recommend sending no more than one invite per webinar per week.
Vary your webinar marketing emails
Studying email best practices is great, but there’s a danger in over-optimizing your emails. You want to surprise your customers to pique their interest, and you can’t do that if you use the same fancy HTML template for every webinar promotion. Try weaving in a text-only email (from the presenter if possible). Try a few different subject line strategies. Try asking a question, or sharing a surprising statistic. Try titillating the audience with an email that hints at a “secret” you’ll reveal in your webinar, then share an email that spells everything out. And A/B test your emails if possible. It will give you more data to work with in future webinar marketing campaigns.
Don’t be afraid to double up your webinar promotion emails
If you’re only running one webinar a month, it makes sense to give each event its own email campaign. But what happens if you’re running two webinars every week? If you’re doing three weeks of promotion with one email per week, you could end up sending certain leads six separate emails — and that doesn’t even count follow-up emails after the event. From your audience’s perspective, that’s going to get really old, really fast.
If you’re running multiple concurrent events, experiment with combining them in one email. It will make it much easier for customers to sort through all your announcements, and find the information that’s most valuable to them. If you want a good example, check out our recently launched monthly webinar marketing email, promoting everything we have coming up for that month.
Segment your webinar promotions
Doubling up is great for situations when you have a lot of valuable content designed for a similar audience, but that’s not always the case. You might have multiple target buyers with very different interests and concerns. Rather than trying to shoehorn everyone into your email marketing campaign, try segmenting your audience.
We’re experts on this, not because of our webinar experience, but because of our customer base. Our clients come from across all industries, with use cases ranging from meetings, to marketing webinars, to training and certification, to thought leadership. As a result, we’ve heavily segmented our webinar promotion. We invite everyone to our monthly webinar best practices series, but also run multiple customer spotlight webinars each month that target specific verticals. The best practice emails are sent to everyone by default, so when the need arises we simply carve out the vertical for the next spotlight and have two different email streams.
Have fun with your webinar marketing
Remember, an email marketing campaign is still a marketing campaign, and good marketing is fun! Your audience has a sense of humor — they’d rather read a pitch with a good joke or a funny image in it. They’ll be more likely to attend a webinar if they know the presenter is also a good entertainer.
Don’t be afraid to make your webinar promotion light-hearted, or even a little goofy where it’s appropriate. Make puns, tell inside industry jokes, be a little irreverent if it makes sense for your audience and topic. Don’t just tell them it’s important to attend — make them want to attend.