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Eight Techniques for Increasing Webinar Registrations

  |  June 25, 2008   |  Comments

How can you get the average business person to dedicate an hour of her busy workday to sit through your Webinar?

When Webinars were first introduced a few years ago, they were a novelty. As a result, registration rates were high.

Now that they're more common place, you have to work hard to get the average business person to dedicate an hour of her workday to sit through yours. It's important to maximize every touch point in the Webinar marketing process.

We've talked about Webinar marketing cycles and some other guidelines in past columns, so today I'll run down a quick list of additional techniques for boosting your registration rates.

Give Your Webinar a Sexy Title

It always amazes me how little time is dedicated to naming Webinars (or live conferences and events, for that matter). The programming staff often just slaps on a "working title" that somehow becomes the real title over time.

Believe me, this is a mistake. The right Webinar title can immediately elevate your Webinar from "ho-hum" to "must attend."

How do you create a sexy Webinar title that stands out in the inbox?

First, find out the hot-button issues in your industry and the keywords that people use when they look for a company like yours. Definitely talk to your salespeople about what their clients are talking about most these days.

Then, bring in a copywriter to craft 10 to 20 titles using these key phrases. Be sure the Webinar titles run no longer than 30 characters, so there's room in your e-mail invitation's subject line for additional words, like "Webcast" or "you're invited."

Also, think about your title graphically. Can you create a cool logo for it to put on top of your e-mail as a template and to use as a banner when you advertise?

Although Webinars have a short shelf life, they can also have a long tail as a key part of your lead-generation efforts. So it pays to create a compelling brand for each Webinar event.

Format Webinar Invites for Maximum Eye Appeal

I've seen a number of eye-tracking heat maps for Webinar invitations, and they all show basically the same thing: people pay the most attention to the first two horizontal lines of your first paragraph, which you would expect. Then, in the main copy area, readers seem to focus on the left side of the page, taking note of the first few subheads between paragraphs and beginning words of any bullet points.

It's important, then, to frontload your copy, putting the most important keywords at the beginning of a paragraph or bullet point. Also, make sure those subheads highlight your audience's hot-button issues.

It's a new way of writing, but it could be worth the effort. As I've talked about in past columns, when I frontload subject lines with keywords, response rates soar. Now it could be just as important to train yourself to write keywords in the beginning of sentences.

Another place that people focus is on photographs of people. If you have headshots of your speakers, put them in. And write compelling captions for those photos to encourage registrations.

Make It Easy to Register

This should be a no-brainer, but it isn't, given the horribly dense Webinar landing pages I've seen.

First of all, the landing page should be a one-click operation. You don't want the reader to go from the e-mail to a landing page that describes the Webinar further yet another page to get to the registration form.

The better approach is to have just one landing page set up as two-column format. On the left column, which could take up two thirds of the screen, put the descriptive copy about the Webinar. On the narrower right column, put in a brief registration form. That way, the reader will see both on the initial screen, above the fold.

Also, while this is counterintuitive, I've recently seen tests that show that B2B (define) prospects prefer more detailed copy on Webinar landing pages. That means you can go into a little more depth about what the Webinar will cover on your landing page and add a speaker's bio on the bottom -- just as long as your registration form is up top in the right column with a big "Sign Up Now" button above it.

Consider a personalized landing page (PURL), with the reply form prepopulated with your prospect's contact information. In a recent test, more than 75 percent of Webinar registrations came from PURL recipients.

Give Your Webinar More Credibility by Partnering With a Publisher

This tip comes from my go-to person on Webinar marketing, Amy Bills from Bull Dog Solutions. She says, "If you do external media buying, working with a publisher on a sponsored Webinar can be a good way to get access to their communities as well as to validate your message. You'll also get some editorial guidance on topics that are most likely to generate interest in the community."

The partner publication will not only give you access to their list but also often handle the invitations and run banner ads.

Offer an On-demand Recording of the Presentation to Everyone Who Registers

Only 33 percent to 50 percent of the people who register for your Webinar will actually attend. So be sure to offer an on-demand recording of your event to everyone who registers. That way, people can view your content at a time that works best for them.

Send Out Press Releases About Your Event to Get It Listed on Search Engines

Remember, there are prospects actively looking for a solution like yours -- and most conduct their research online. So be sure your event shows up in search engine listings by submitting your press releases to publications and posting them on your Web site as early in the process as possible.

Call Your Best Prospects the Before the Webinar

You may not be able to do this for every event, but if your prospects are higher up the organizational chart -- at the VP level or above -- this could be worth the time and investment.

Not only will you remind these senior executives to attend, you can begin a dialogue that can move the relationship forward. Obviously, if they've signed up for your Webinar, they have an interest in your topic; capitalize on that window of opportunity by making a more personal contact.

Say Thank You

After a Webinar, your prospects are in the perfect mood to learn more from you. So be sure to add links to more offers in your e-mail. I've seen studies that show nearly 40 percent of thank-you recipients who visited a special thank-you page took advantage of another offer.

What's working in your Webinar marketing promotions? Share your techniques with Karen for a future column.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Gedney

Karen Gedney, an award-winning creative director and copywriter, shared her insights as a ClickZ Experts contributor from 2000 through 2009. She was known for her successful track record of achieving high e-mail response rates for Fortune 1000 companies and leading organizations. She died Nov. 16, 2010.

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