News article

9 data-driven ways to improve your webinars and get more sign-ups

Webinars are a great way for you to cost-effectively, and very efficiently, add value to existing clients, prospects, and professional connections.

However, maximising registrations and attendance can be tricky.

We’ve run webinars at Yardstick (you can watch all of them in our video library) for a few years now. We’ve had some successes and made plenty of mistakes. So, we’ve recently taken a deep dive into the data and can now share some of our key findings, which we hope will help you run better webinars.

A quick reminder – if you already run webinars or you’re considering doing so in the future, our definitive guide will help you get them right.

1. Use tracking links

It’s important to understand which are the most (and least) effective ways of promoting your webinar. The best way of doing that is to use tracking links.

We use Zoom for our webinars which allows us to set up dedicated links for each sign-up source. We know, for example, how many people sign up from our different social channels, whether our initial invite or reminder gets more engagement, and so on.

Other webinar platforms will have similar functionality, so we recommend you use it.

2. Paid advertising on social media isn’t a shortcut to success

In our experience, advertising webinars to a cold audience on social media is expensive and won’t significantly boost sign-ups. This applies to both B2B and B2C webinars.

It had been a while since we tested the theory, though, so we tried again this year by advertising our March and May webinars on Facebook. In March, 781 clicked the advert and four registered. In May, 260 people clicked but no one signed up.

Hardly a resounding success!

Instead, build an audience, warm it up by providing value and demonstrating your expertise, and then hit them with your webinar invite.

3. Send email invites

67% of people who register for our webinars do so after receiving an email invite:

  • 76% of those come from the initial email
  • 24% come from the reminder email.

That teaches us a couple of things.

Firstly, assuming you have sufficiently warmed up your database, and the webinar is relevant to them, the majority of your sign-ups will also come from emailing invites.

That means the size of your database is important. Put simply, the more people who are on it, the more sign-ups you can expect.

So, it’s important to constantly implement ways to increase the size of your audience. Start by rewatching our webinar from February when we explained 15 ways to do just that.

Secondly, it illustrates the importance of sending a reminder, which gives people a second chance to sign up and reminds those who’ve already registered to attend.

4. Advertise your webinar in your own newsletter

As well as sending email invites, we recently started “advertising” the next webinar in our weekly newsletter with images like this:

To be clear, these adverts don’t replace the dedicated invites we mentioned above in point three. But it’s a free advertising opportunity (we’re sending our newsletter anyway) and it’s working well for us.

There’s nothing from stopping you doing the same.

5. Add a P.S. to all routine emails

You, and your team, probably send dozens of emails each week. That’s a great opportunity to promote your webinar.

Write some text, save it as a template (Quick Parts is great for this if you use Outlook, Templates if you use Gmail) and then add it as a postscript (not in the email footer) to any emails you send to people who would benefit from attending the webinar.

6. Post in online groups

We’ve established that advertising your webinar on social media doesn’t lead to huge sign-up numbers. However, adding a link to special interest groups on Facebook and elsewhere can work brilliantly.

For example, we promoted our webinars with Rory Sutherland and Andy Bounds on the LifeTalk Facebook group and it gave our registration numbers a significant boost.

Of course, you need to be careful not to break the rules of the group but, if you can find a way of doing this, we recommend you do it. Just remember to use a trackable link so you can see which groups you should focus on.

7. High-profile guests increase sign-up rates

In April we welcomed Rory Sutherland as a guest, and in June Andy Bounds joined us.

The high-profile nature of both Rory and Andy saw registrant numbers increase by a massive 203% compared to our long-term average.

It’s clear that guests, especially if they have a public profile, lead to more people signing up for your webinar. This can be boosted further if your guests are happy to promote it to their audience.

A high-profile guest is just one carefully targeted and well-written cold email away and can be easier to snag than you might think. And they’re better than an anonymous fund manager no one has heard of whom you’re only inviting because it gets you out of presenting!

8. Accept that not everyone who registers will show up

Research from LiveWebinar shows that, on average, 40-50% of people who register for a webinar actually show up.

At Yardstick, our average attendance rate is 51%.

This used to really bother me – why were people registering but not signing up? Now though, I’m more relaxed because I realise there are benefits to people registering even if they don’t attend the live event.

Firstly, they’ll still be able to watch the recording. Secondly, people who sign up for your webinar might not already be in your audience. For example, during 2023 and 2024, 22% of people who signed up for our webinars weren’t already on our newsletter database. They are now!

Check your mindset and don’t beat yourself up when people fail to attend the live session – but do make sure you share the recording.

9. Promote your next webinar at the end of your current webinar

At the end of each webinar, we always promote our next session. We share a link to it with everyone during the session and add it to the follow-up email when we send the recording out.

So, if you can plan that far ahead, do the same.

We’re here to help

If webinars are on your to-do list in 2024 or 2025, we’re here to help.

If you work with Yardstick on a webinar project, we will:

  • Help you choose the right topic
  • Design the presentation for you
  • Write and build the registration page and email invites
  • Agree and implement a promotional strategy to maximise attendance
  • Run technical sessions with you to ensure everything runs smoothly on the day
  • Edit the recording and send it out to everyone who has registered for your webinar
  • Recommend ways to repurpose the recording so you get the maximum possible benefit from your efforts.

If you’d like to know more, email or call us on 0115 8965 300 and we’ll set up a meeting.

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