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Seven-Step Process for Maximizing Webinar Registration, Attendance and Yield.
By Scott Hornstein
Monday, 12th March 2012
 
Webinars serve a dual purpose:  to educate or impart specific value; to further the customer conversation, and, as a by-product, generate high-quality leads.  

To achieve all this, we've got to generate high-quality registrants, convert as many as possible to attendees and identify high priority leads for sales' follow-up.  Here's how to do it in 7 steps (without a lot of romance):

Step 1:  Do your homework.  Be clear  - this step counts the most and will have the greatest effect on results - more that pretty creative or even killer content. 

Key concerns are:
  • Who is your audience / who stands to gain the most from the webinar (excluding competitors)?
  • How do you reach them – what is the most effective combination of database and media?
  • What is the right message to get them to register and attend (must answer the customer's question:  what's in it for me?)?
  • Database – How can you tiier the audience?  What lists, what combination of attributes may produce the highest quality registrants.
  • Develop a calendar of promotions – how should the media and message be integrated and synchronized for greatest effect?
Step 2:  Implement the multi-media registration generation plan in two waves:
  • Wave 1, by messaging broadly.  Website, social media, banners, etc.  All messages should include a registration vehicle / call to action.  These should be live 4 weeks before the event.
  • Wave 2, targeted and personalized media, email, direct mail, etc.  Consider interlocking flights, such as direct mail, then email, each time cleaning the list of registrants. Here's a hint to gain even greater success: Invest in phone follow-up to tier one, per the ranking you did in Step 1.  To be most effective, a call should follow a personalized communication within 24 to 72 hours after receipt.
Step 3:  Offer multiple ways to register:  web, email, inbound, chat, etc..  Drive all response to a landing page which reiterates the value of attending and has an easy registration form.  It's OK to gather a little information, such as name, company, title and email, but not much else (you have not yet earned the right to screen and quality.

The page should also promote referral – is there anyone else who may benefit from attendance?  Make sure there is a phone number prominently displayed – the number one reason people go to the page but do not register is because they had a question and couldn't get it easily answered.

Step 4:  Confirm registrations instantly.  Say thank you.  Remind them of the value they will receive by attending.

Step 5:  Drive attendance. Remind registrants three times, always with value. The first may be to deliver pre-webinar materials.  The second might be brief bios of the speakers.    An hour before should reiterate sign-in procedures and codes.  Always ask for referrals.  Always let them know how they can get questions answered.

Step 6:  Involve the attendees during the webinar. Polls are good, and can give you some insight into where they are in the buy cycle.  Offer attendees something extra, something they have to say yes to, something that will start the next conversation.  Give yourself a value-added rationale to the follow-up, seed the next conversation.   

Step 7:  Follow-up quickly. 
  • First say thank you, nothing more.  It's amazing how many corporations do not take advantage of the opportunity to just say thanks.  Give links to relevant content, ask for satisfaction or comments, fulfill the offer for those who said yes. But most importantly, say thank you. 
  • Then, uncover opportunity.  Follow-up.  Bring the value to them.  Two things will help rank these attendees for sales follow-up.  Bring forward the tiering from Step 1. 
If they were tier one before, they're tier one now. Who responded to your special offer?  Those that registered, attended, and raised their hand are clearly ready to continue the conversation.

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Seven Steps to Webinar Success

1. Do your homework 
2. Media:  broad to personalized
3. Gain the registration
4. Confirmation
5. Drive attendance
6. Qualify
7. Uncover opportunity

Scott Hornstein is an author, lecturer and consultant, with over 30 years experience in all phases of marketing, research and implementation. He is president of the consultancy Hornstein Associates. His latest book, Opt-In Marketing:  Increase Sales Exponentially with Consensual Marketing, was just published by McGraw-Hill.  Scott can be reached at scott@hornsteinassociates.com or 203.938.8715.

www.hornsteinassociates.com


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