The hardest, but also most important part of organising a webinar is recruiting relevant participants. This requires a good promotion strategy. The question is how to implement this strategy successfully and what results to expect.
Tip: Converting registered participants to participants who actually attend the webinar is an art in itself. Read here how this works.
Choosing a promotion strategy
The first step in choosing a promotion strategy is target group research. Try to find out who is in the target group and on which channels they are, usually several. It is therefore advisable to always use a promotional mix in order to reach as large a share of the target group as possible.
ON24 has carried out European research into the most effective promotional channels for recruiting webinar participants. The results are shown in the image below.
The graph above shows the optimal mix of promotion channels, which ensures the greatest reach among the target group. This broad mix of promotion channels is divided into two parts. The top 4 that should make up 80% of the strategy consists of promotion via email, the website and intermediaries. The remaining 20% should go to promotion via partners, banners, search engine marketing (SEM) and social media. It is remarkable that social media is in last place in the top 8 most effective promotion channels. The main reason for this is that many organizations do not have enough experience with promotion on social media and are not familiar with its best practices. However, the expectation is that the influence of this channel will strongly increase over time.
In the table below, the various promotion channels are linked in order of success to the corresponding reach of the target group(s).
Promotion planning is also very important. Research shows that starting promotion on time results in considerably more participants. There is more time to send out different email invitations. ON24 advises to start at least 3 weeks in advance, Webattract uses 2.5 to 3 weeks.
The timeline above shows when participants register. Remarkably, most registrations take place in the week of the webinar, with 29% registering on the day itself. Still, 17% register more than 3 weeks in advance. In short, choose a strategy whereby the webinar is promoted from about 3 weeks in advance, with an extra effort shortly before the broadcast in the form of, for example, a final email invitation.
Exceptions to the rule are webinars that are given at fixed intervals, for example every first Monday of the month. Here it is sufficient to start promoting 5-7 days in advance.
Finally, for 50% to 150% extra viewers, the on-demand webinar should be promoted afterwards. This is the last part of the promotion strategy. Promotion can include emails, on the website and social media, as long as this is relevant for the organisation and the target group.
Tip:There is still plenty of experimentation with promotional tools. Think about:
- Mentioning the upcoming webinar in the email signature;
- Using ‘old fashioned’ print media, such as an advertisement in a relevant trade magazine or newspaper;
- Mentioning an upcoming webinar during a live webinar (with an opportunity for participants to sign up directly for the upcoming webinar).
- Create a short recruiting video clip online about the webinar, including a sign-up link.