The Science Behind Webinar Conversion

#webinarweek

Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes

Throughout this series of #WebinarWeek articles we have discussed the basics of webinars, the marketing benefits of webinars, the means of engaging webinar audiences and more. All of these come together in practice to serve the ultimate goal of conversion. Webinars are a fantastic tool to convert leads, but be under no illusion, webinars are very much a long game and you won’t necessarily see sales results off the back of your first webinar; it often takes a series of 4 to 5 webinars for your target market to be truly taken in by your brand and want to begin serious discussions around your product.

Fortunately, webinars have been seeing higher and higher attendance rates over the last few years. Unfortunately however, many marketers and businesses persist in failing to grasp the fundamental science (and it is a science!) behind what makes a successful webinar, as a result, they are often unable to convert their participant numbers into sales or to even attract sufficient registrants to begin with.

Webinar attendance rates have only been going up on average over recent years.

The ingredients for a successful webinar are fairly simple and straightforward when it comes down to it: ensure that your content is timely and engaging, encourage participation, focus your content on educating rather than selling and make your webinar readily available post-event. By doing these things you will maximise the conversion rates of your webinars considerably. We will be going in to these and others in detail in this article and will outline how you can put these principles in to practice in your webinar projects.

1. Urgency and Timing

You need to ensure that people come to your event in the first place. One of the most reliable methods of achieving strong attendance numbers is to present a time-sensitive offering as people will feel a greater need to attend if they believe that they will be ‘missing out’ if they don’t. With webinars this can be done in a number of ways, for example you could tailor the topic to be relevant to an upcoming industry event, tie this in with a promise to deliver insightful analysis in to that event which will then equip the attendees to better formulate their organisations’ responses to that event.

Persuade your target audience that your webinar is a must-see event that must be attended live in order to get the maximum value from it!

Alternatively, if you’re specifically looking to push a sale at the end of the webinar and are not interested in lead generation then there are things you can do to really push attendance. As an example, promoting an exclusive deal or timed discount on your product can drive the sense of urgency for the audience to attend the webinar.

Another option is to explicitly state in the lead-up that you will not be providing a post-event recording. This will prove controversial to some attendees and it’s not something that we ourselves usually do; however emphasizing the one-time only nature of an event is a reliable method building intrigue and increasing attendance, it will also raise the likelihood of on-the-day sales taking place, so this is an interesting option to consider should sales be your immediate priority.

2. Social Proof

People are more inclined to do something if they see others doing it. This is a social theory that has been prevalent in advertising for decades and it’s one that you can put into action in your own webinars. For example, at the start of your webinar you can reassure your audience that they are about to receive some quality content by including a short testimonial video featuring interviews with your previous webinar clients.

In addition, as part of your pre-webinar promotion cycle it is absolutely worth highlighting any prominent industry brands that have already registered to participate. If a recipient of your marketing materials is able to see in them that some of their biggest competitors are attending your webinar, they’ll be sure to attend so as to not allow their competition to gain any form of advantage over them.

3. Be Natural

We’ve written about this previously in our blog post ‘5 Ways to Engage Your Webinar Audience but it’s so vital to webinar conversion rates that we want to cover it again here.

We cannot overstate the importance of ensuring a natural, conversational tone throughout your webinar, there is the very real danger in webinars that should your audience get even the slightest impression that they are being read a script then they will begin to tune out, start checking their emails and likely end up dropping out of the session altogether.

Delivering a natural-sounding webinar is essential to holding your audience’s attention. Veer too far in to scripted territory and you will lose participants.

The easiest way of getting around this is to use a panel-discussion format for your webinar which will ensure that conversation flows in a way that is more enjoyable and easier for listeners to consume.

However if this is not possible then there are things that you can do to liven up your webinar presentation.

When speaking remember to intonate your speech by placing emphasis on specific words in sentences and frequently changing up your tone, this will help to hold your listeners’ attention whereas speaking in a monotone voice whilst reading from a piece of paper will have the opposite effect. On this note we would also recommend writing out bullet points which outline what you wish to cover rather than reading from a long script word-for-word.

In addition, consider delivering your speech whilst standing up or walking around the room if possible. Whilst your attendees won’t be able to see you they will be able to hear a noticeable difference in your voice.

4. Engage

The most successful webinars are the ones in which the participants truly feel like they are participating and having a direct impact on the proceedings. Your listeners haven’t come to your webinar to be talked at they’ve come to talk with you, giving the audience the tools and capability to have a discussion is paramount to their engagement with your content.

At the end of the day, you want to build relationships with these listeners that will go beyond the 50 minute webinar and hopefully gain them as a customer. While you have all these potential customers in a virtual ‘room’ with you it is absolutely worth taking the time to engage with them, get to know their needs and ask of them what your company can do for them. By doing this you’ll be sending a clear signal saying that you care and you want to help your audience succeed, not just take money from them.

5. Influential Speakers

Companies across all industries crave the celebrity endorsement when marketing their products. It’s an old classic when drawing in potential customers and the star-factor certainly has an impact on webinar registrant numbers also.

Now we’re not recommending that you enlist whoever is trending in reality TV at any given time to moderate your event! However you need to consider the name recognition factor of your speakers. This means seeking out speakers who are influential in their field, speakers who work in well-known organisation or those with recognisably important job titles such as ‘Vice President of A’ or ‘Global Head of B’.

Even if they haven’t necessarily heard of your own organisation, if your audience can see that you have been able to assemble a panel of four or five leading voices in their industry then they will be drawn to your event. So take the time to find and woo influential voices for your webinar and don’t be intimidated by the task, you’ll be surprised just how many industry leaders like to participate in discussion events!

6. Post Webinar Strategy

The story doesn’t end when the webinar event draws to a close. There is still value that can be extracted from that content and plenty of opportunities to push for more conversions once the webinar itself is in the can.

Be sure to publish a write-up of the event on your company’s blog page and share it across your social media networks. If you have a YouTube channel, post excerpts of key talking points from the webinar, you could even offer the webinar in audio form as a downloadable podcast.

Of course you’ll want to make the webinar recording available to all those who registered to attend as soon as possible, within 48 hours ideally whilst it is still fresh in their minds. Just because a registrant didn’t convert into an attendee it doesn’t mean that they are no longer interested, life likely just got in the way and they will appreciate you giving them the content that they registered for in a timely manner.

That draws to a close our #WebinarWeek series! We hope that the content here has been of value to you whether you’re a complete newbie to the world of webinars or if you’re simply looking for a different perspective on the format. If you missed any of our #WebinarWeek previous posts you can view them all here, you can also see write-ups of webinars which we have facilitated along with links to the sessions themselves elsewhere on this blog.

Thomas Bannister
Intern

Marcus Evans
101 Finsbury Pavement,
London, EC2A 1RS

webinars@marcusevansuk.com

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