By Meghan Zea, Senior Account Executive
Many of our clients attend industry events to network with potential customers, share industry thought leadership via presentations or panels, and showcase newly developed technologies in sprawling exhibit halls. When the pandemic hit, industry events shut down and along with our clients, the Nereus team was tasked with identifying new and creative methods for recreating the experience of a live event. . According to ON24, “webinar viewers in 2020 watched three times more webinar content than they did in 2019.” In our experience, webinars provide an easily accessible opportunity for clients to continue fostering engagement with target audiences, while still allowing clients to share key messages and important updates about their organization and rapidly advancing technologies.
Unfortunately, as the marked shifted towards an increasing number of webinars during the pandemic and subsequent shut down, attendance and engagement began to noticeably decline. So, the question becomes: how can you hook your target audience and keep your webinar attendance high?
After managing multiple webinars during the pandemic (over 20!), I wanted to share my best tips and tricks for success.
1. Develop a compelling abstract and title
The best webinar promotion begins before registration opens – in the form of a catchy title and abstract. Titles and abstracts that are too technically dense, use too many industry buzzwords or fail to touch on specific audience takeaways, can lead to a downturn in webinar registrants. If you don’t think your topic is interesting, no one else will. Make sure that passion shines through in the initial webinar proposal if you want to attract an audience.
2. Promote your webinar widely and often
Sometimes initial registration numbers for webinars are lower than you would like. Knowing how and when to reach your audience is crucial. After promoting the upcoming webinar via company newsletters, social media, your website – do it all again. We typically promote webinars nearly every week through every possible communication channel. If you aren’t seeing results, tap your webinar presenters directly and ask them to leverage their personal LinkedIn channels or their company’s contact database. On the other end, while consistent promotion is important, don’t alienate your audience by overpromoting. If you notice a decline in registrants, sometimes it’s best to hold off for a week and restart promotion later to reignite interest.
3. Host an active Q&A (with a little pre-planning)
The Q&A session during the webinar is one of the most meaningful segments as it allows your client an opportunity to hear directly from attendees. At times, Q&As have a slow start as audience members become more comfortable and submit questions. One way to kickstart the conversation is to come up with a list of audience seed questions. These questions allow you to control the messaging from the get-go and serve to encourage audiences to submit questions.
4. Consider interactive post-webinar networking opportunities
While webinars help fill the industry event void, the networking aspect can be challenging to recreate. To address this issue, we have worked with clients to host live Q&As after the webinar has aired. These less formal, more interactive Q&A sessions provide an opportunity to recreate the casual conversation that may pop up after a live presentation at a conference. Additionally, themes that come up during the live Q&A can be repurposed into future webinar topics.
5. Go global
Another exciting part of webinars is that they allow you to reach audiences regardless of time or location. Some webinar platforms like BrightTALK allow you to replay a pre-recorded webinar and host a live Q&A. We often use this to reach audiences in regions outside of the US – particularly APAC. If available, leveraging native speakers is preferred and can lead to a more interactive Q&A session among a subset of potential customers.
Webinars are an excellent tool that allow companies to reach customers with no limitation on location. We anticipate that webinars will be here to stay and with a few changes to your approach, you can continue to host well attended, engaging webinars.