Webinar Hacks: 5 Ways to Boost Engagement and Sell More Stuff

Has your webinar attendance leveled off? Are you struggling to keep attendees tuned in all the way to the end of the event? Try these simple hacks today to supercharge your webinar format, engage prospects, and ultimately open the door for more sales.

Hack #1: Upgrade to Video

Times have changed. While PowerPoint slides — especially animated ones — are still a convenient way to deliver webinar content, video is truly your best bet for grabbing and holding onto a webinar attendee’s attention.

In fact, according to statistics recently posted by TalkPoint:

  • 78% of online audiences are already watching video on Facebook Live.
  • 82% of viewers prefer live video to social media posts, and 80% prefer live video to reading a blog.
  • 75% of executives watch videos on business websites at least once a week, and 59% of executives would rather watch a video than read text.

The most engaging webinars deliver content in a combination of ways, with video being the key ingredient … along with a healthy dose of entertainment and humor sprinkled in.

Hack #2: Vary the Pace

Studies have shown that viewers will stick with a live-streamed event approximately 42 minutes, whereas with an on-demand video, they will often bail out after only 5 minutes. With those statistics, odds are good that the majority of your webinar attendees will keep your live-streamed webinar window open on-screen … but how closely will they pay attention?

Esther Snippe of Speakerhub recently suggested that webinar hosts should adjust the pace, rhythm and flow of content delivery by switching things up every 7 to 10 minutes to recapture an audience’s attention.

Given that, the ideal webinar content delivery recipe should be a mixture of:

  • Live streaming video (to allow attendees to actually see the speaker)
  • Pre-recorded cutaway video (to show real-life examples or to illustrate a key point with humor)
  • Animated slides (to show progression, a component build, or a transition)
  • Whiteboards (to show calculations or tallies, brainstorming ideas, or audience-generated input)
  • Still slides (to show checklists, data-driven charts, screenshots, before-and-after photos, cartoons, etc.)
Hack #3: Switch to a Social Media Platform

If you’ve been using a closed hosting platform like GoToWebinar or Zoom, you may be surprised to learn that hosting your webinar on a free platform like YouTube Live or Facebook Live yields some unexpected benefits.

Specifically:

  • Added Exposure: Live streaming events tend to get promoted higher in the news feed than pre-recorded events or static-image posts.
  • Better Reach: It’s easier for webinar attendees to like, share and comment on your event right there within the social media platform.
  • Post-Webinar SEO Perks: Lastly, webinar videos that were live-streamed via social media enjoy instant SEO benefits that webinars hosted on closed platforms (like GoToWebinar) don’t. According to Paul Richards of HuddleCamHD, “Every live viewer on your stream equals a video view once the video is published. Even more important is that every minute watched adds to the overall watch time for your recorded video. Audience retention and watch time is now one of the most important YouTube algorithm analytics in video ranking.”
Hack #4: Add More Opportunities for Interaction Throughout

Webinar attendees are more likely to stay tuned all the way through from beginning to end if they feel like their presence is known and valued.

To get the engagement started on a positive note, invite webinar participants to tune in 15-20 minutes early to introduce themselves. (Be sure you have a moderator who is ready to interact with early-arrival attendees by commenting, liking and reacting with emojis.)

In addition, periodically check in with your webinar audience during the event itself through live polling or trivia games. One particularly engaging strategy is to allow attendees to choose how the webinar should proceed by asking them to vote halfway through the event — for example, “Shall we dive deeper into subject X or would you prefer that we move on to subject Y?” (Note that Facebook Live recently added gamification tools to make this type of thing easier.)

And to ensure that attendees hang around until the very end, consider offering a live giveaway as a reward for attendees who garner the highest number of hashtag and event shares.

Hack #5: Supercharge Your Follow-up Strategy

If you’ve been putting on webinars for a while now, you no doubt send at least one follow-up email campaign after the live webinar — one that features both a thank-you to attendees and a playback URL. But there’s so much more you could be doing, both to cultivate that new prospect relationship and to make your sales pitch irresistible.

Depending on your budget and how aggressively you wish to pursue business prospects, you might deploy retargeted ads via Facebook and Google.

Another option is to turn that simple playback-URL email into a powerful conversion vehicle. The follow-up email below (from Marie Forleo’s The Copy Cure webinar) is a nice example of the possibilities.

In just this one email, Marie includes:

  • A humorous animated gif
  • The playback URL
  • A high-five acknowledgement to the attendee
  • A testimonial from an attendee
  • Two suggestions for moving forward post-webinar
  • A strong “you” oriented sales pitch
  • A heartfelt thank-you and best wishes
“That Was Great! What’s Next?”

In the end, whatever webinar format you choose is secondary to the perceived VALUE of the content you offer. Your webinars should provide the expert information attendees are hungry for — and leave them wanting more. So go deep and dig into the details. Give your webinar attendees the tools they need to succeed, and cheer them on toward their goals! By doing so, you will gain their trust and, ultimately, a whole new group of brand ambassadors.

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