Webinars are proof that the internet is a pretty incredible thing. These web seminars (hence the word webinar—get it?) let attendees from all over the world sit in on an online class and gain valuable information, whether they’re learning for personal or professional development. They’re also valuable for the business leaders who teach them, giving them a way to demonstrate their expertise in their field and a reliable method of generating leads.
There’s just one big challenge: Not everyone who signs up for a webinar is actually going to attend. This could be for any number of reasons, so it’s not necessarily a reflection of the webinar’s value itself. But this can still be frustrating for anyone who has ever taken the time (and invested the resources) to put together a webinar.
That’s why part of your planning process should include strategizing how you can get more of your signups to follow through and attend. If you’re getting ready to hold your first webinar, or if you’ve held webinars in the past only to end up disappointed with the turnout, here’s what you should keep in mind.
Understanding the Average Webinar Attendance Rates
Let’s start by taking a look at the actual problem: Low show-up rates. It’s not just a you problem. Many people who hold webinars find that they have trouble getting people to show up, even after those people have registered. Yes, you read that right—people will register for a webinar and then won’t follow through on showing up for it.
About half the people who register for webinars actually show up, maybe even less than that. According to Webinar Care, the average attendance rate for a webinar is 40-50% of those registered. In fact, if you have more than 50 people showing up for your webinar, you’re doing better than most in the industry, as Webinar Care reports that 78% of webinars have 50 people or fewer in attendance.
This can be even more disheartening when you think about the fact that not everyone in attendance will actually convert to a customer. Only about 40% of audiences end up converting, so if you have 50 people in attendance, that means you could end up with only 20 new customers. And hey, 20 new customers is always great, but not when you were expecting 100 registrants.
The Impact of Low Attendance on Course Creators
None of this is meant to be discouraging, of course. Webinars are a great method of generating leads and increasing brand awareness. This is merely meant to be an important reality check for anyone who is planning to hold a webinar. Those low attendance numbers could have a negative effect. You’ve invested money and time into not only creating the webinar but also promoting it. Plus, you’ve taken time out of your day to lead the webinar, and that’s valuable time you could spend engaged in other marketing strategies. If you’re going to put these resources into a webinar, you want for it to be a success!
How Till Agency Has Beat Industry Webinar Attendance Rates
Remember how we looked at some of those industry statistics surrounding webinars? One thing we do pride ourselves on here at Till is that we’re sometimes able to outdo the average. For a recent webinar we helped a client run, the client offered registrants the option of giving their phone number when they were signing up so they could get a text message reminder. The average show-up for that client’s three webinars was 54%, with one as high as 79%.
Top Reasons People Miss Webinars
People usually sign up for webinars with the best of intentions. They’re genuinely interested. It’s not that they don’t show up because they’re flaky or rude (at least, not always). Gaining an understanding of why they missed the webinar will help you plan better so that you can help them avoid those obstacles and follow through on attending in the future.
There’s never going to be a good time that works for your entire audience, and unfortunately, many people might have to skip out on a webinar if the timing is bad. Most webinars target people who are trying to maximize a side hustle, but the webinar is scheduled in the middle of the 9-to-5 workday, when potential attendees are busy with their full-time jobs. Even if they have some flexibility during the day, it’s possible something important came up for their full-time job (hello, surprise client meeting!) that had to take priority.
The same brilliant technology that gives us the power to hold webinars in the first place can sometimes be…well, a little unreliable for some people. Even if you as the webinar leader go to great lengths to avoid technical difficulties, you don’t have any control over what your audience is doing. They could have a tech glitch, such as an internet service outage or an unstable connection, or they could simply be unsure of how to use whatever platform you’re hosting the webinar on.
Lack of Interest or Forgetfulness
Finally, the failure to show up could just be about a lack of interest or forgetfulness. Even if somebody is interested enough to register, they might not have the motivation to follow through on attending when there are other things demanding their attention on that day at that time. They could even simply forget, especially if they registered far in advance. This is why it’s so important to provide reminders for your registrants and re-emphasize the relevance and the importance of your webinar’s subject matter!
Proven Strategies to Boost Your Webinar Show Up Rates
Given these reasons that people often miss webinars, now you just have to focus on resolving these issues ahead of the time they actually arise. This comes down to picking the right time, promoting and reminding effectively, providing incentive for live attendance, and avoiding any technical glitches.
Here’s how you can do it:
Picking the Right Time
We said it before but we’ll say it again: There’s no perfect time that works for everybody. But you can definitely find the time that’s the most convenient for the most people. Conduct an analysis of your target audience’s schedule, potentially even putting out a survey to see what feedback you get. If you host webinars frequently, you can also test different times throughout the day to see what’s most successful.
Effective Promotion and Reminder Tactics
Even though all of us like to assure ourselves that we shouldn’t take it personally when registrants don’t show up to webinars, that doesn’t mean we can’t be better about promoting the event (and reminding registrants about it). There are, after all, a lot of factors to webinar show-up that are within our control.
Creating a sense of scarcity by limiting the number of participants, or even offering bonuses to people who show up, will make your audience understand what a great opportunity this is for them.
You can also send personalized email content for better engagement, personal DMs to remind registrants of the date/time, and posts on social media counting down to the event. One method that works especially well is using the add-to-calendar feature that automatically sends an invitation upon registration, especially because you can use this feature to send out an automated reminder five minutes before your webinar’s start time.
SMS or Messenger reminders aren’t always possible, but if you can send them, go for it! SMS or Messenger reminders are the most immediate and the most likely to be seen, even more so than emails or social media DMs.
Providing Incentives for Live Attendance
The valuable information you’re sharing during the webinar probably seems like it should be incentive enough, but you might find that some registrants are counting on being able to go back and watch your content at a later time. You can overcome this obstacle by offering exclusive content for live participants or a Q&A session with experts. Even a discount on a future webinar or some other kind of bonus could up the enthusiasm level.
Ensuring a Smooth Technological Experience
Last but not least, don’t let technology mess things up for you. Avoid tech glitches by choosing a reliable webinar platform (we recommend Zoom, Vimeo, WebinarFuel, or Crowdcast), conducting a test run before the actual webinar, and even offering a short guide or tutorial for any participants who are unfamiliar with the platform—just so you can ensure they don’t run into any problems on their end.
Getting registrants to show up isn’t foolproof, but strategic planning, marketing, and accommodating can go a long way—and that’s important, because nobody wants to be investing so many resources into creating a webinar only to have it flop. It’s bad for business and it’s bad for your brand!
Instead, be smart, because webinars are a great opportunity. They’re something valuable you can offer to an audience you know is interested in what you do. By learning more and more about your audience, and adapting to their needs and their constraints, you can create a course that gets close to full attendance every time.
So, we have to ask…is there a strategy you have found to be particularly successful? Be sure to share it with us! We’ve love to hear what you’re doing to overcome the challenges that go along with holding a webinar. You can also stay in the loop about other smart marketing strategies by subscribing to our newsletter [and receive 100 social media hooks for free as a ‘thank you’].