Webinar marketing can be much messier behind the scenes than it appears. You likely have a tale (or two) of what really happened behind the scenes. True stories— the cat jumped on your keyboard during the live event, sending an incoherent chat message to all attendees. Or the time you lost power and facilitated your webinar from a public restroom, crossing your fingers no one would flush. Sh*t happens. But as marketers, we figure it out, do what needs to be done, and the show goes on. When marketers run into webinar promotion problems, this is what we do.
Webinar Marketing Problem #1: You Started Marketing Too Late
Your to-do list is never-ending. You’ve got a pile of urgent promotional requests, your webinar is just two weeks away, and your boss is asking about registration metrics. What do you do?
First, keep your cool, this one is recoverable. However you must get your promotions up and running— and quickly.
One of the fastest and most efficient ways to generate your webinar promotions is to leverage a tool like Contentware. It uses AI and your event landing page to create an entire marketing campaign – in minutes. Another option is to clone prior webinar marketing materials. For example, you can copy the landing page, emails, and social media posts from previous webinar promotions. Once you collect previous webinar marketing material, make appropriate copy updates for this new webinar.
You’ll also need to be aggressive in your webinar promotion cadence, starting with an email invitation to your database ASAP. You should send a second email the following week. Even if your webinar is within the next few days of sending the second email, you should still send it. Unfortunately, you may have to compromise on copy and use the same copy for both emails. Make sure you’re changing up the subject line and the opening line for the second send. Due to time constraints, shoot for good enough to be great, rather than perfection. The important thing is to get your webinar promotions out the door.
Be aggressive with social media, too. Schedule posts every 2-3 days on LinkedIn and Facebook. For Twitter, you should schedule posts for several times a day. Again, a variation on a theme is acceptable to start. Think about adding a sense of registration urgency to boost your efforts. After all, the live webinar date is near!
What if no one registers or your numbers are well below your goal? That brings us to the second problem.
Webinar Marketing Problem #2: No One is Registering
Despite your best efforts, your webinar promotions aren’t getting the response you expected. As a consequence, registration numbers are trending well below your target. You can blame the topic, the timing, the speakers, but none of that matters— you’re facing a miss on a scorecard metric. What do you do?
You have several webinar marketing options to turn slow webinar registration numbers around.
Check Your Metrics
Let’s start with the obvious— before you panic, check your email metrics. Did your email go out? This sounds simple, but we’ve seen messages get stuck in scheduling and never actually deploy. Similarly, message thresholds might have been reached, pausing your email temporarily. Next, look at deliverability. Is a particular domain getting blocked? If you have a large number of email addresses going to a specific domain, try staggering your deployment. With emails “dripping” in as opposed to sending them all at once, firewalls are less likely to be triggered. Lastly, look at the other metrics to see where the miss might be. For instance, if your open rate is low, change up your subject line. Or, if people are opening but not clicking through, your message isn’t resonating with your target recipient.
Adjust Webinar Copy
If your click to open ratio is low on your email promotions, spice up your voice and add more excitement to your copy. If you’ve got a fair amount of energy in your copy already, try changing the order of webinar benefits/bullets. You can also try shortening your copy to highlight the value of the content, or running A/B tests on your email subject lines to boost open rates. If what you’ve been running isn’t performing, continuing to run the same thing will most likely yield similar results. It’s time to change your webinar marketing strategy up. Read our post about email marketing best practices for webinars.
Increase Social Media Promotions
Next, amp up your social media promotions. Be sure you are tagging speakers and speaker companies in your posts. Tagging and cross-promotions will encourage them to at least “like” or even “share” your post, giving you more exposure. Remember to use appropriate hashtags for each network. On LinkedIn and Twitter, using several relevant hashtags will broaden your exposure and get your message seen by a larger audience. Read our guide on using social media to promote your webinars.
Use Paid Promotions
Another cause of lackluster results could be that your webinar promotions are constantly reaching the same people. In essence, you are marketing to your navel. Expanding your audience by running paid social media promotions may be just what your webinar marketing needs.
Unlike organic social media marketing, where your followers primarily see your posts, paid promotions allow you to target a much wider audience. You can target individuals based on new contacts by title, company, industry, and company size, to name a few of the popular selections. Paid ad formats on Twitter and LinkedIn are similar, including sponsored posts, carousel images, and video ads. Follow best practices as recommended for LinkedIn, single image options are the most accessible to your audience. According to Twitter, using three or more ad formats increases campaign awareness by 20%, so don’t be afraid to incorporate the other options into your mix as well.
Your budget doesn’t have to be huge to be successful, as you can set daily limits and pay by impression or by clicks. If you need help justifying running paid promotions for a free event— remember, it’s not just a free event. Your webinar is a lead gen tactic, a low-anxiety introduction to your brand, and minimal commitment for the prospective attendee. Budgeting a few bucks to ensure your webinar promotion success is money well spent.
Webinar Marketing Problem #3: Your Competitor is Presenting the Same Topic
You’ve been planning your webinar for months. The content is set, speakers aligned, and you’re about to begin your promotions when unexpectedly, you get an email from your competitor promoting the same topic a week before your webinar. We hate when that happens…what’s a marketer to do?
Relax. There’s no trademark on a topic, and crossover happens. In fact, it’s so common, you should just EXPECT that your competitors, professional associations, and community groups are running the same topics as you. But we get it…want your brand to stand out among the rest. This could lead you to considering to change your webinar topic.
Should you change your topic? Our advice: no. Unless there’s an easy adjustment to your angle, a complete pivot probably isn’t in your best interests. A pivot represents a lot of wasted preparation time. Look at it another way, it’s confirmation that your topic relevant in your industry.
Keep in mind that your list and your competitor’s list probably aren’t identical. While some contacts may be the same, you each will have unique names and brand loyalists. So, while initially alarming, it’s okay if your competitor is doing a similar topic— you both can successfully co-exist.
But, if you’re concerned, the good news is, you have your competitor’s promotion. You know exactly what they are doing. This is a great opportunity to make your webinar promotions better. How?
Offer an Incentive
It’s human nature to ask the WIIFM— what’s in it for me? Offer an incentive such as a virtual draw for a gift card, an eBook, template, checklist, or framework (something helpful and valuable to your audience) for all attendees. An incentive can boost the perceived value of your webinar.
Promote an Exclusive Feature
If your webinar won’t be recorded, or the recording will be turned off the last five minutes to give attendees exclusive tips, then promote that! The idea is to create an emotional differentiator by creating FOMO (fear of missing out), so any crossover audience members choose you over the competitor.
Run Paid Promotions
Get a jump-start on registrations and begin your paid social media promotions sooner rather than later. By opening up your audience universe, you are enabling a stronger registration number, despite whatever your competitor is doing.
Promote Your Speaker Differentiators
While the webinar topic may be the same, your speakers probably aren’t. Thus, leverage your speaker credentials, why they are experts on the subject, and something interesting about them. If your speakers shine above the competitors, it’s a no-brainer to choose your webinar over theirs.
Webinar Marketing Problem #4: Your Speaker Cancelled
For whatever reason, your speaker cancels right before your event. Believe it or not, we’ve had speakers cancel less than 24 hours before an event! Here again, keep your cool; you can navigate a resolution.
When a webinar speaker cancels, try to understand why they are withdrawing. If due to a family emergency or personal situation, there’s not a lot you can do. Express empathy, and gently ask your speaker if they can recommend a replacement, or politely ask if you may use their slides and give their presentation on their behalf. More often than not, your speaker is willing to help however they can, plus appreciates your assistance and understanding.
If your speaker is reneging due to work commitments or doesn’t have time to prepare, then offer to create the presentation deck for them. You can also suggest a talk track only/no deck to keep prep time to a minimum.
Last, if your speaker cancels and is unavailable to discuss options, your best course of action is to find a comparable subject matter expert in your company to take your speaker’s place. During the live event, simply announce the original speaker had a last-minute emergency and introduce the replacement. Your presentation will still be excellent and of value to attendees!
Webinar Marketing Problem #5: You Lost Power Before or During a Live Webinar
At the start of this article, the bathroom location we mentioned was due to a power outage minutes before the live webinar began. That event started 4-5 minutes late as the moderator lost power in his home, frantically drove to a nearby coffee house, and hosted the webinar live from the men’s room. Hey— you do what you have to do!
Or, on another occasion, a loud thunderclap completely drowned out one of our speakers as he was speaking, immediately followed by his camera going dark—he had lost power. Fortunately, the other speakers quickly picked up on what was happening and carried on without hesitation.
Loss of video or audio— while these scenarios seem horrible, life happens. Your webinar moderator should always be prepared to jump in. It’s important to keep the audience in the loop of what’s happening, help transition the conversation, and get the webinar back on track. If your webinar ends a bit early, no big deal. Send the presentation slides post-event so attendees have all visuals, and offer an email address to ask questions about the content that wasn’t presented live. We’re all human, and attendees are usually very forgiving.
Should you lose power and your event goes completely down, simply send an email to all registrants, explain the situation, and either offer a link to a pre-recorded version or let them know of the rescheduled date for your webinar. And just to keep it real, consider offering a free flashlight to all attendees of your take-two event.
As webinar marketers, we earn our stripes. With each event, we get smarter, wiser, and more comfortable handling whatever comes our way. When webinar promotion problems happen, we adjust quickly and adeptly, because this is who we are and what we do.
Want more tips on how to market your webinar effectively? Download our free guide, The Ultimate Guide to Webinar Promotions.