Driving Registration: The Key to Successful Webinars

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Driving Registration: The Key to Successful Webinars
Driving Registration: The Key to Successful Webinars

You've got a great topic. Your speaker is energetic and engaging. Your presentation is knock-it-out-of-the-park gorgeous. Now you just need one thing: an audience.

Driving registration is the biggest obstacle to webinar success. After all, any webinar's target audience is made up of people with busy schedules, who need a compelling reason to carve out a spare hour in the middle of the day. Getting more people to sign up for your webinar is achievable, but it requires catching them at a moment when they're receptive and hitting them with a message that resonates.

Sounds doable, right? Of course it is. And here are some tips to get you started:

#1: One Line, One Chance
As marketers, we have to be really effective at capturing somebody's imagination in a single line. When it comes to webinars, you have two chances to do that:

  • Webinar title: The best webinar titles solve problems and address pain-points, letting the prospect know they're getting useful, valuable advice.
  • Email subject line: Great email subject lines either promise change or titillate the reader — or, even better, both. Most importantly, the best email subject lines are short, so they won't get cut off in the recipient's inbox.

#2: Get Your Body in Shape
The body of your promotional email needs to be lean and mean: 1–2 paragraphs, a few hard-hitting bullets and a clear call to action. Many email clients, including Gmail and Outlook, let the recipient preview the opening line before they even open the email. You want to get heads nodding with your very first sentence. The rest of the body copy should be clear and compelling, and the bullets need to tease the webinar content so people can't wait to hear more.

#3: Promote from Different Angles
Sending the same message in the same format with the same subject line over and over is not an effective way to grab attention or drive registration. If you want to catch people in a moment of receptivity with a message that resonates, you'll have to try different things. Vary your language and try pitching your webinar from different angles. Since not everyone responds to the same formats, send both HTML and plaintext emails. Send emails on different days of the week at different times of day to have the best chance of catching them at the right moment.

#4: Get Personal
As marketers, we already have a lot of information about people in our CRM and marketing automation software. Why not put that data to work? Look at previous campaign responders and create custom emails that present your webinar as a next logical step in their communication with your company. You can also leverage information about contacts' titles or roles to create custom messages for various segments in your database.

#5: Get Social
Today, social media only represents a small portion of webinar registration, but that percentage will improve as we get better at social media marketing and as our social footprints grow. Social media can be an important tool for promoting our events; we just have to get more creative with it. Keep in mind that promotion on social media is not once-and-done proposition. You have to promote over multiple days, using different messages every time, to get attention.

#6: Consistent Creative
You have less than 20 seconds to catch someone's attention with an email. But even if you do catch it, your job isn't quite done. A lot of companies, even ones with large and experienced marketing organizations, often send out gorgeous HTML emails that lead to generic registration forms. When the form doesn't match the email, it can confuse the recipient — and a confused recipient is much less likely to fill out your form or show up for your webinar.

All the components of your campaign, from email to registration form to confirmation page, should share a common look and feel. That means the logo, colors and imagery should be consistent from piece to piece and that the language should hit on common themes.

#7: Start Early and Finish Strong
Most webinars are promoted for only 7–14 days. However, ON24 benchmark data shows that over 26 percent of registration occurs more than two weeks before the event. Promotion cycles that don't start until the week before or week of an event leave a lot of registrants on the table. If you only send two emails to promote your webinar, make sure that one of them drops the day of or the day before the event. If you send three emails, send the first one two or three weeks before the event.

Remember that the art of registration is reaching your audience at a moment of receptivity with a message that resonates. So get creative, think about your target audience and explore all the available possibilities for communicating your message. With that in mind, you'll build a promotional strategy that will drive more webinar registration and help you deliver more successful events. If you want more great tips, check out ON24's on-demand webinar, "Keys to Driving Webinar Registration and Attendance."

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