Boost Webinar Attendance with SMS Messaging

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On the Internet, you can find a webinar for all sorts of things. Internet marketers use them to sell the latest make money online programs. Fitness experts promote their latest diet or exercise routines. And even big corporations use them to advertise their products to other businesses in order to generate leads.

Webinars have become a standard form of lead generation marketing. The numbers vary by study, but generally agree that over 60% of marketers use webinars. One thing that’s true for all of them is: not everyone that registers will attend. The webinar company ON24, says on average about 40-50% of registrants will actually show up.

There are a number of reasons people sign up, but then don’t attend. Something comes up, they have technical difficulties, or they simply forget. There isn’t much you can do about the first two, but you can send them reminders so they don’t forget.

Virtually all of the webinars I’ve ever registered for sent me multiple emails to remind me as well as to provide the link to attend. Email reminders are standard, but the problem is people aren’t always able to check their email. Just this past week I missed a webinar because I was busy doing something and I didn’t check my email until later that night. There were three email reminders from about 3 hours before to one right before it went live. But I saw them all too late.

SMS reminders = more attendees

Many marketers have started using SMS webinar reminders because email isn’t reliable. Since people have their phone with them all the time, these reminders are more likely to be read in time. For example, I did have my iPhone with me the day of that webinar, so I would have seen the SMS message since it alerts me every time I receive a message (my car will even read text messages to me, but not emails). If I had received an SMS reminder, I would have shortened my trip to get home in time to listen. As it is, my son and I did some extra errands while we were out, but I could have made it home in time if I’d only been sent a reminder.

One webinar company, myownconference.com, claims an SMS reminder can increase the attendance rate by 45%. Another marketer, Greg Hickman, says he increased his attendance rate by 15% when using SMS reminders. Both are great results, for just a little bit of extra planning.

texting while driving

An example

To get a sense of what all those percentages mean, let’s look at an example.  To keep the maths easy, let’s say 1,000 people registered for your webinar. Taking the averages mentioned above, assume 45%, or 450 people, actually attend.

If you sent a SMS reminder message you could expect a bump in attendance of 15% according to Hickman. That would be an additional 67 people (450x.15=67.5. I didn’t include a half person!). So if the increase in the attendance rate was 45% as myownconference.com suggested, that would be another 202 people. Either of those is a definite improvement in attendance on the webinar.

It’s estimated that between 20-40% of people on the webinar will become actual leads. So using the numbers above, if you had 450 people on the webinar, conservatively 90 would be active leads. But if you sent an SMS reminder and you had the extra 67 people show up you’d get another 13 leads. Obviously if you increased the attendance by more than 15% you’d get even more.

The point of all the maths is to show the increase in webinar participants due to SMS reminders really adds up!  Now that you’re sold, you probably want to start using the reminders right away. Before you do, you’ll want to read about the best way to include it on your registration web pages.

Offering the SMS reminder

You probably already have your webinar registration pages all created, or planned. So don’t worry about making any changes. The truth is most people don’t want to give out their mobile number, so asking for it when registering for a webinar could put them off. “What do they need that for?” they’ll wonder. I know I do. Almost categorically I won’t give my mobile out to register for a webinar even if it is with a company I know.

And it isn’t just me, Hickman indicated they saw registrations go down when people were required to enter a mobile number as part of the registration. The solution? Don’t ask for the number. Instead offer SMS reminders as a service after they register.

It works like this. A person finishes registering for your webinar and gets taken to a thank you page confirming their details, the date, and the link for when the webinar starts. On that page you can include an option for them to enter their number in for text reminder the day of the webinar. You can implement it however you want depending on what your web page looks like, but it should be made clear this is an optional service for them.

It’s best to tell them when you’ll be sending the text too. Most recommendations say to send the SMS reminder within the hour before the start of the webinar. But not so close to start that they don’t have time to get to their computer or login on their mobile. In general between 30 to 60 minutes before start works well. But that’s just a guideline. You might want to play around with the times to see what works best for your particular audience.

If you’re using a webinar platform that is mobile friendly, you can even include a direct link in the SMS message. Chances are you’ve already sent them at least one webinar reminder via email that included the links. So if you can’t, or don’t want, people to link from their mobile you can let them know to check their email for the link to the webinar. This is one case where touching base with your audience both by email and SMS at nearly the same time is helpful.

Close-up Of Woman Looking At Video Conference On Digital Tablet

One other recommendation Hickman makes is to send an immediate confirmation about the text reminder. As soon as someone enters their number to get a reminder on the day of the webinar, a quick SMS message confirmation will let them know their registration was completed. And they won’t be surprised when they get a text from you out of nowhere (it will seem to them since they’ve forgotten all about your webinar right?) since they’ll have seen a message from you beforehand.

Increasing webinar attendance can be as simple as sending just one short text. Why not give it a try? Click on the button below to get your free account, or click on the live chat and we’ll answer your questions and get your started right away.

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