Driving Webinar Registration Best Practices Guide

White Paper

Driving Registration Is A Challenge

Driving webinar registration and attendance is a major struggle for most companies. While webinars are a powerful tool for communicating with customers, prospects, and employees across multiple time zones and geographies, they are only as good as your ability to get people to attend them. Today, there has never been more competition for the time and attention of target audiences. We regularly poll groups about their top webinar challenges, and the #1 answer, every time, is driving registration.

There are three reasons that generating webinar registration is so difficult:

  1. WEBINARS ARE EVERYWHERE. Countless organizations use webinars to exhibit thought leadership, engage customers and prospects, and collect new leads. As a result, your target audience has many webinars to choose from — often at the same time as yours.
  2. PEOPLE ARE BUSIER THAN EVER. In this era of downsized workforces and 24/7 communications, everyone is working longer and harder than ever. Asking someone to give up an hour in the middle of a workday when they are already under enormous time pressure requires a very compelling value proposition.
  3. MOMENTS OF RECEPTIVITY ARE ELUSIVE. Often, registration is simply a matter of timing. If someone is having a bad day or is intently focused on a big presentation later that day, they may delete your webinar invitation even if the topic is relevant to them. On a different day, they may be very receptive to your message. To increase registration, marketers must optimize invitation delivery to maximize its likelihood of arriving during a moment of receptivity.

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Start Early, Finish Strong

Many organizations begin promoting their webinars less than a week before a scheduled event. However, ON24 benchmark data shows you can increase your registration a hefty 42% by promoting it more than seven days in advance. To avoid overwhelming a prospect’s inbox, we recommend emailing the first invitation 14 days ahead of the webinar, a second invitation seven days in advance, and a third invitation either the day before or the day of the event.

Leverage the Best Tools

While effective webinar promotion calls for using your full arsenal of marketing tools, 8 out of 10 registrations come from four sources: email, your website, an email from the sales department, and third-party promotions. Of these, email is by far the biggest driver of registrations, often generating 60–80% of webinar registrations. That’s why it is essential to take advantage of best practices in your email promotions.

Email Best Practices

When to Send

According to ON24 webinar benchmarks, your prospects and customers are most receptive to opening and responding to webinar invitation emails on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Target these days for your email promotions. Monday and Thursdays can also be effective days depending on your business model. Note that this mostly applies to B2B marketing. B2C marketers may have more success sending emails on weekends.

When to Schedule

Schedule your webinar to accommodate both east and west coasts, and you will increase attendance. ON24 benchmark data shows 11am PST/2pm EST to be optimal. At this time, you avoid both the lunch hour and commuting hours while maximizing the likelihood of catching people in the office.

Send A Last Minute Promotion

Day-before and day-of email drops are very effective. Approximately 26% of webinar registrations occur on the day of the webinar, primarily driven by emails delivered that day. Experiment with day-before and day-of drops to see which is more effective for your events.

Promote From Different Angles

Rather than simply re-sending the same email multiple times, try using different formats and messaging. For instance, the 7-day email might be a traditional-looking invite, while a more personalized email could be sent on the day of or day before the event. By varying your approach, you maximize your opportunity to catch your target audience in a moment of receptivity.

Get Sales on Board

Ask the sales team to send a personalized email to prospects or customers they think would benefit from the webinar. This kind of personal touch has a very high conversion rate. Provide the sales team with messaging they can use to lighten their workload and increase participation.

Remind Registrants to Attend

Two hours before your webinar begins, send out a reminder email to everyone who has already registered for the event. Like the landing page, the email reminder should include embedded social media links and a click-to-add-event calendaring tool. This simple step can sharply increase attendance.

Effective Promotional Content

With all the effort put into the webinar presentation, often very little thought is given to the promotional copy — but compelling promotional copy is key to getting people to register and attend your webinar. Keep the following points in mind when writing your promotional copy:

  • KEEP IT SHORT. Limit your copy to one medium-sized paragraph or two short ones and a handful of bullets describing the webinar’s value proposition.
  • MAKE YOUR FIRST LINE COMPELLING. Hook your audience with a powerful first sentence. By the end of that sentence, most people will have made the decision to delete or keep reading.
  • AVOID PITCHING. Promotional copy that reads like a heavy-handed sales pitch will be deleted. Stay focused on your target audience’s pain points and how you will help address them.
  • HIGHLIGHT THE VALUE PROPOSITION. Communicate very clearly and succinctly what attendees will get out of your webinar.
  • DON’T OVER-PROMISE. When your webinar fails to deliver on promotional promises, audiences will not only drop off the event, they won’t register for your next one.
  • SPEAK THE RIGHT LANGUAGE. Know your audience and use the jargon and terminology that will resonate with them.
  • LOOK PROFESSIONAL. The initial impression someone gets when they open your email invitation often determines whether they will read the content. The more professional-looking the email, the more likely it is to be read and generate registrations.
  • MINIMIZE REQUIRED REGISTRATION DATA. The more personal information you request in the registration process, the fewer people will complete the form. Ask only for basic information — name, company, title, company size, and email address. Use your webinar technology’s analytic features to gather any additional intelligence.

Create an Effective Landing Page

Great landing pages help increase registration and attendance. Besides clearly presenting all the critical what/where/when information, the best landing pages optimize for engagement:

  • SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS. Embed links to social media on your landing page to encourage registrants to share your event to their social network. Pre-populate tweets or Facebook posts with something like, “I just signed up to attend [name of webinar],” along with a link for others to do the same. Their professional networks are likely to include people who would benefit from your presentation, and you will increase your exposure to new potential customers.
  • CALENDARING TOOL. Include a calendaring tool so registrants can add your event to their business calendars. This is an easy yet powerful way to boost attendance, as participants are unlikely to double-book over an event that’s already in their calendar.
  • VIDEO. A short teaser video gives audiences a taste of what they can expect from the event. We’ve found that adding a video to webinar landing pages can increase registration by up to 17%.

Develop a Robust On Demand Strategy

In today’s always-connected world, webinars don’t just exist as a single moment in time. They continue to live and breathe even when the live event has ended. As a result, there is a significant opportunity to continue driving attendance and generating leads long after the event is over.

ON24’s benchmark data shows that 30% of webinar registrants view events on demand. Many of these are people who registered for the live event but later had a scheduling conflict, dropped off the call to attend to a more pressing matter, or simply forgot. Providing them with an on-demand option will give you more chances to reach those people.

To increase webinar attendance, create an effective on-demand strategy that follow this advice:

  • ARCHIVE QUICKLY. Ensure your event is archived as quickly as possible after it concludes, ideally within 48 hours.
  • ANNOUNCE THE LINK. Send an email to all initial registrants thanking them for registering and sharing the link to the archived event.
  • SHARE THE LINK WITH SALES. Send the archive link to your sales team along with a short description of the webinar and its value proposition. Ask salespeople to personally share the link with any prospects who might find the webinar relevant.
  • BUILD WEBINAR CHANNELS. Syndicate your content by creating webinar channels listing all of your on-demand events. Embed these channels on your website, on partner sites, and in social media so audiences can access your content easily.
  • NEVER STOP PROMOTING. Let loose the full power of your marketing mix to continue driving attendance long after your event is concluded. Marketing tools such as search, website, and social media often become more important during on-demand promotion.
  • STAGGER PROMOTIONS. To avoid oversaturation, stagger promotions of your archived events over time. Re-purposing a great webinar at the right time can be highly effective, but allow business relevance to dictate what you promote and when you promote it.
  • LEAD WITH DATA. Use polling data or other results from your live webinar as a tool to promote the event after it becomes available on demand. Interesting or provocative poll results or questions can be a great way to entice new viewers.

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