It is one of a content creator’s worst fears …
What if you decide to host a webinar, take the time to create an incredibly useful presentation, sign in on the day of the event, and no one shows up?
Maybe you’re already using webinars to grow your mailing list, build authority, and connect with your audience. Or perhaps you’re just starting to consider adding them to your marketing mix.
Either way, you probably have one huge question — how do you get people to sign up? What’s the best way to get a good crowd?
Promoting a webinar does take some work, but there’s no magic or wizardry here. It simply requires solid, steady effort during your promotion period.
Here are thirteen ideas for attracting more people to your webinars, summits, and other virtual events:
- Blogs and websites You should always use your own blog as the very first place to talk about your webinar. Don’t rely on your webinar service’s automatically-generated pages to spell out all the details — some services limit the amount of space you can use for speaker biographies, bullet points, images, etc., so it’s a good idea to create a blog post or website page to help you promote your event. Explain the hook, describe the benefits of attending, and link to the sign-up page.
- Email: Send notifications about your event to your email list. Follow-ups and reminders are highly recommended — sometimes subscribers need to hear the message more than once. And as with all email marketing campaigns, the secret is to make sure your emails are more than just sales pitches. Tell stories and use testimonials to make your broadcasts interesting (even for the people who aren’t interested in your event).
- Social networking: Promote your event extensively on social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. Don’t be afraid to post more than once about your event — you’ll get in front of a different cross-section of people each time you talk about it. If your social platform has groups where promotion of webinars and events is allowed (be sure to read the fine print to be certain) consider promoting your webinar to those groups. Just make sure you’re a trusted member of the group before you started promoting — don’t just butt in and start promoting right away.
- Forums: If you’re a member of Yahoo or Google Groups, membership site forums, or other online communities, you can promote your event in those groups, too. As always, make sure to always double-check the rules of your community about self-promotion. Some groups have strict rules about when and if you’re allowed to try to use that particular group to attract sign-ups for your events.
- Podcasts: If you host your own podcast, make sure to mention the date and time of your webinar to your listening audience. And if you have friends and colleagues who have podcasts who might be willing to promote for you, make sure to leverage that, as well.
- Videos: If video is something you do well, you can use short promotional videos to get the word out about your webinar. Emphasize your “hook” and point out the benefits of attending. You can even give a short “sneak peek” of your content in order to show people how valuable the event will be.
- Visual Aids: We’re definitely in the age of visual marketing, and visual aids can help you get the word out about your event. Consider creating badges, infographics, and other images that will catch your audience’s attention and entice them to click through to your sign-up page. Put your images on Pinterest, Facebook, and other visual platforms (and include links back to your sign-up page wherever possible).
- Flyers: Consider using old-fashioned paper flyers to promote your webinar — especially if your audience is local. Think high-traffic areas like malls, grocery stores, recreation centers, co-working spaces, and other places that offer a bulletin board for flyers and business cards.
- Partners and affiliates:Reach out to your affiliates and strategic partners to help you advertise your webinar. If you’ll be presenting a (paid) offer at the end of the event, make sure your affiliates get credit for the sale by tracking their affiliate code with their referrals.
- Event listings: Many local newspapers, magazines, websites and blogs offer free event calendars. Explore the possibilities of getting your webinar listed on these calendars, particularly if you know a particular calendar is frequented by your target audience.
- Offer a webinar as a thank-you gift: If you’re asking your mailing list or social networking followers to do something for you (fill out a survey, spread the word about a sale, and so forth) you can offer a free webinar to them as a thank-you gift. It’s a great way to express your gratitude (and it allows you to connect with your audience on a deeper level, too).
- Use during product launches: You can take advantage of the buzz you receive during product launches to invite folks to your webinars and events. You can even use webinars as a way to segment your list for an upcoming launch. If someone signs up for a webinar on a particular topic, you can bet they will likely be receptive to receiving future promotional emails about a product or service on the same topic. Use that to your advantage during the launch process.
- Ask your guest to help out: If you’ve invited a guest speaker to co-teach a webinar with you, it’s okay to (politely) ask them to help you promote. But don’t go overboard, though. I’ve recently seen some folks who mandate that guest speakers promote their events extensively (even if the instructors are donating their teaching time). This is good recipe for losing your guest speakers. So use your head – you can politely ask, but treat their extra promotion as a special bonus. It’s great if you can get it, but don’t count on it or demand it.
Need even more webinar growth tips and tricks?
Copyblogger’s Chief Digital Officer Chris Garrett and I recently taught a session called “Creating High-Value Webinars” that is only available to our Authority members.
Our advice during that session? Do anything you can think of (as long as it’s not illegal or even remotely spammy) in order to put virtual butts in seats for your webinars and online events.
Work hard, promote well, and reap the rewards.
You can get instant access to “Creating High-Value Webinars,” as well as a whole host of other content that will make you a much smarter content marketer — including an amazing session with Chris Garrett and Lewis Howes, a self-made webinar superstar — by signing up for Authority today.
Do you have other creative ways to attract sign-ups for your webinars? Share them with us in the comments …
About the Author: Beth Hayden is a blogging coach and Pinterest marketing convert. You can follow her pins at @bethhayden. To learn how to market effectively with Pinterest, download her free report, "5 Stupid Mistakes to Avoid if You Want to Make Money with Pinterest."