As a marketing channel, webinars continue to expand and explode, but more and more people are finding that webinars are just not working for them. Even if webinars were working well in the past, lots of folks are finding that are finding that some of their numbers are now going down.
Does this mean that the webinar model is dying out, or are we just doing them wrong?
I don’t believe that webinars are dead, but we have to evolve just as we do with all other types of marketing. As people’s attention span continues to get more limited and new content styles are competing for that limited attention, we have to adapt to make webinars work.
What’s the number one place that webinars are suffering right now? The show up rate.
Registrations are easy to get, and our conversion rates are as high as they’ve ever been, but actually getting people to show up on a live webinar after they have registered is proving to be increasingly difficult.
What can we do about this?
How do we still make webinars a really profitable channel?
Well… I, for one, have had to change my stance on something.
For the longest time when I made an offer on a webinar I would use the tactic of offering a bonus for attendees who buy before we close out of the webinar. Sometimes we would then offer limited bonuses in a follow-up sequence after the webinar, but the truth is this strategy is not working as well as it once did.
Conversion rates remain good. We’re still getting tons of sales, we’re still seeing a really high revenue per attendee (which is great), but what about that massive percentage of people who don’t show up?
As the attendance rate declines, the importance of addressing non-attendees becomes more critical than ever before.
We can send non-attendees to the replay, but if they see that the offer has expired they are much less likely to buy.
And to address this, we could simply make the bonuses available during the followup, even though on the webinar we created urgency by telling them bonuses ended when the webinar did… but is that how we actually want to do business? Do we want to be the people who make empty promises in the name of a few more conversions?
No judgement on you if that’s your style — but that’s never felt right to me. I’ve always wanted to be a man of my word. If I say bonuses are ending, they’re ending. Period.
So, I’ve found that the best way to deal with the low show up rate problem is to be smarter with offers and extend the length of time that the offer is available.
Here’s my new strategy: give attendees a four-day period to take advantage of the bonuses.
Simple, right? And you might have already been doing that. Kudos to you!
The funny thing is, I’ve tested it before. For a long time, every time I would test it, I’d find that the overall conversions were still higher when I only offered bonuses during the webinar.
That’s all changed now.
The webinar itself doesn’t really change much. The content is still the same. We’re still delivering the same amount of value, and we’re still structuring it in a way that our offer is worked in throughout the training avoiding the big, long sales pitch at the end.
We are helping people regardless of whether they buy anything from us.
The difference is in how we deal with the offer and the follow-up.
Now the offer looks like this: tell them about the bonuses, and give them a specific date and time that the offer is going to end. For example, let attendees know that the offer ends on Monday, the 7th at midnight EST. Be very specific! Then craft a targeted follow-up sequence towards registrants that did not attend the webinar.
Along with that change, we’re going to have to be far smarter when it comes to our follow-up sequences.
We’re going to market to those who attended but didn’t buy differently than those who didn’t attend.
Folks who don’t buy will get a sequence designed to get them to review the replay, but it will end with a recap of the offer. These folks saw some of what we had to offer, now we’ve got one more shot at getting their business before they move on to our regular nurture sequences.
And the folks who didn’t attend will be re-directed to the replay. At the end of the sequence, we’re doing some testing revolving around sending them to the next live webinar, but the jury is still out as to whether that’s the most effective strategy.
Alright, so going back to everyone’s favorite question about any marketing channel: Are webinars dead?
Webinars are stronger than they’ve ever been. We just have to change the way that we deal with our offers and how we create urgency.