Tim Bourquin wrote a thought-provoking column talking about his company’s use of both live and recorded webinars. Tim is very open and detailed in his description of how they use webinars to boost awareness and revenue and it’s worth reading as a business use case. But he also brings up two major problems he is running into:
- People are signing up for live webinars just to get the link to the recording. They never plan to attend the live session.
- There is no sense of urgency driving people to watch recordings. The indefinite availability lowers the priority of ever watching the content.
Tim has asked his readers for commentary and solution approaches and he was kind enough to ask for my advice as well.
You may wonder if item #1 is actually a problem. “Who cares whether they watch your content in the live session? You have their name for your lead list and you have their money.” That’s a short-sighted view of the situation. There are many reasons you want your registrants to really attend. First, a webinar with a good-sized audience generates more interaction and feedback, which stimulates greater involvement in your message. Second, names captured during a registration process are not leads… They are merely contacts. If you don’t know the difference, you should do some study on the subject. Third, your content should have a purpose. It advances your goals and makes your attendees more receptive to an idea or action you want them to pursue. If they don’t see the content, you lose that.
If we stipulate that having people see your content is desirable, how can we help it occur? Here are a few ideas. Finding the ones that are appropriate for your audience and your goals is an exercise left for the reader:
- Advertise extra content in the live session that will not be made available in the recording. This might be extra (or all the) Q&A time with the expert presenter. Or it could be a case study or group exercise. Make attending the live session have perceived value up front. It’s perfectly fine to tell people that you are doing this to encourage a large and lively live session.
- Use a giveaway. Some companies like to offer all attendees a special goodie such as a white paper or software download. You can advertise that this is only available to live attendees. Or you can always go to the live drawing approach for an unrelated but desirable toy such as an MP3 player, Kindle, or so on. I don’t like these as a way to pull in registrants, but I do like it as a way to get registrants to attend! You can advertise the drawing AFTER people have signed up, giving them notification in their login instruction email.
How about encouraging people to go ahead and view on-demand content? Are there ways to bump up the perceived priority of watching the recording? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Let people know that the recordings are only available for a limited time. This is my LEAST favorite approach. The whole value of recordings is that they can keep working for you over time.
- Give people a time-limited password. “This password expires at the end of the week/month/geological era.” It is easy in most systems to change a recording’s password.
- Use the advertiser’s trick of “The first 50 people to view this recording get something.” You don’t tell your audience when the 50 limit has already been reached or how many people have viewed already. You can then play the game either way… Stop giving the freebie after the first 50 or keep giving the freebie to everybody. Don’t stiff the first 50 though… That’s dishonest and illegal.
With these concepts as starting points, I’m sure you can come up with other variations. Good luck, Tim!