The Not-So-Secret Tactic to Growing Your Email Audience Really Quickly
By Liz Willits August 11, 2016
Jeopardy time: A virtual event so popular that it garners almost unheard-of visitor-to-lead and lead-to-customer conversion rates.
Correct response: “What is a webinar?”
I can confidently say that webinars may be one of the best content marketing tactics out there. I know this from the number of success stories inundating the internet – webinar landing pages converting 51 percent of visitors into leads, stunning 20 percent conversion rates of webinar attendees to paying customers and the sheer number of companies promoting themselves with webinars (62 percent of B2B companies alone).
I’ve also seen it for myself while promoting webinars at AWeber. Emails with above-average open rates and click-through rates. Goal-surpassing numbers of qualified leads – thousands from just a few webinars. And attendee survey feedback like the following:
“I am new to internet marketing, let alone AWeber. I am certain that from my initial experience with you company I will be a customer for a long time.”
The above stats and feedback aren’t the exception to the norm – responses only attainable to huge companies through the brute force of a large network and above-average budget. They are attainable for every company – from the business with five customers to the business with millions of dollars of revenue. They are attainable for you.
In this post, I’ll show you how you can use webinars to grow a large list of engaged email subscribers. And I’ll share the tactics AWeber and other leading companies use to attract thousands of webinar registrants and leads.
How to drive webinar-lovin’ traffic to your landing page
Once they’re imported into your email marketing software, webinar registrants are the perfect email subscribers. They open emails, click on CTAs, and engage with your content, which makes webinars a great list-building opportunity. That is, if you know how to promote your webinar and convince enough people to register.
When it comes to promoting your webinar and growing your list, it’s all about driving traffic to your webinar registration landing page. Here are five ways to do just that:
1. Two are better than one. Partner up.
Partnering with another company in your industry is one of the most effective tactics for getting more webinar registrants. With the right partner, you can double (or even triple!) the audience you’d be able to attract by yourself.
Most of the webinars we host at AWeber involve another company, a topic that relates to both our products, a webinar presenter from each company, and combined promotion from both companies. We also often partner with influencers (industry thought leaders with large audiences).
Partnerships like these work because they are beneficial for everyone involved – the two companies and their audiences. Both companies get access to each other’s audience, since they promote the webinar to their individual audiences, and the webinar attendees get access to the expertise of both companies.
When searching for a webinar partnership opportunity like this, find companies or influencers whose audience are within your target audience. This will help you attract webinar registrants that’ll be more likely to become customers.
Additionally, partner with someone whose audience is similar in size to yours. For a partnership with joint and equal promotion from both companies, it’s important that you’re able to bring a similar number of registrants to the webinar as your partner so that you’re partner will find value in the relationship and continue to work with you. It’s also important that your partner can bring a similar number of registrants so that you don’t waste your time promoting a webinar with no benefit to your own company.
If you’re not sure where to find a partner with an audience that meshes well with your business and product, try searching Google using industry keywords. For example, if you’re a fitness coach, search Google with the keywords “fitness tools.” A search like this could help you find a company that sells a fitness product valuable to your audience and whose audience would appreciate your services. Or, to find an influencer, search with the keywords “fitness trainer” or “fitness coach” to find an expert who could speak to your audience about fitness.
When finding partnerships, make sure to locate a company or person that can educate or help your audience without replacing your own services. You don’t want your audience to choose a partner over you. Your audience should get value from your partner while still maintaining a relationship with your own company.
Once you’ve found a partner, it’s time to promote your webinar. One of the most powerful ways to leverage a webinar partnership is for each company to email webinar invitations to their own subscribers. Check out the two emails below that were used to promote our partner webinar with MailCharts.
This email to MailCharts’ subscribers begins with a question that immediately engages the email subscriber.
This webinar invite email to AWeber subscribers highlights that the webinar has limited spots. Limited seating is a reality of all webinars since webinar software set limits on concurrent attendees, but you can use this to your benefit with the scarcity principle.
The scarcity principle means that “opportunities seem more valuable to us when their availability is limited,” according to the national best-selling book Influence. Using scarcity will encourage your email readers to act (register) quickly before it’s too late.
2. Repurpose your current website traffic like a hipster.
You’ve probably heard of sign up form lead magnets, which help turn your website traffic into subscribers. At it’s core, a webinar is a type of lead magnet, and you can use it on your website (just like you would an ebook) to convert your traffic to leads.
To do this, publish a website sign up form that promotes your webinar. We placed the AddThis slide-in form below on blog posts pertaining to email content, the topic of the webinar. By sharing the webinar form on relevant blog posts, we promoted to an audience who had already shown interest in the webinar topic and were more likely to register.
3. Convert your social fans into fanatics (AKA email subscribers).
Your current social audience is another audience to whom you can promote your webinar. Since one of the advantages of webinars is their timeliness, it’s a good practice to mention the date of your webinar in your social promotion. I also recommend using a relevant and illustrative image since social statuses with images tend to perform better.
When promoting your webinar on Twitter, include the handle of your webinar partner (if they have one) so that you increase the likelihood of your partner retweeting the tweet and increasing the reach. Because the lifespan of a tweet is approximately 24 minutes, it’s best to regularly tweet in the weeks leading up to your webinar. You can tweet a few times each week or even every day. Make sure to phrase your tweets in different ways so you can attract more people with each tweet.
We partnered with AddThis for a list-building webinar. They regularly and frequently promoted the webinar on Twitter, which had a huge impact on our webinar registration count. Check out one of the tweets below.
Your Facebook webinar promotion should differ from how you promote on Twitter. On Facebook, with the leniency of a larger character count, you can describe your webinar in more detail. Incite your audience’s curiosity by sharing hints about the webinar content and take advantage of the scarcity principle by using phrases such as “one-time webinar,” “limited spots” and “don’t miss this.”
In this Facebook status, Sprout Social emphasizes the expertise of the webinar speaker to encourage followers to attend. They establish their speaker’s authority by mentioning that she is a best-selling author.
4. First dates don’t need to be awkward. Attract a new audience with social ads.
While organic (unpaid) social media promotion is effective, the major audience it reaches is your social followers, and while your social fans are awesome, they are limited. Not only that, but they may also already be customers (or at the very least, they probably like you).
To reach an entirely new audience, try out social media ads. While Google ads and other digital advertising can be pricey and complicated, social media advertising, when done right, is affordable and simple. With a budget of five dollars a day, you can launch a Facebook ad that promotes your webinar to a very specific group of people. If you’d like help getting started with Facebook advertising, read 7 Steps to Create and Measure Winning Facebook Ads.
With Facebook ads, it’s crucial to use eye-catching images and copy that quickly resonates with your readers. In this Facebook ad below, which promoted a webinar with AWeber and MailCharts, we touched upon two benefits in our copy to get viewers to click: saving time and learning how to write effective email content. We included an image that illustrated a pain point that the webinar would resolve: an image depicting a person struggling to write.
5. Friends in powerful places: Ask influencers to share your webinar.
We’ve all seen television ads where a company hired a celebrity to represent their product. Example A, this video advertisement with Michael Phelps and Under Armour.
Companies use advertisements like these so often because they are effective. When someone you admire advocates a product or service, you’re more likely to buy it. This is actually a form of social proof called celebrity social proof.
Celebrity social proof is a powerful marketing tactic for webinar promotion. If a celebrity in your industry tweets about your webinar, their followers will learn about your webinar. And because we know social proof works, they’ll be likely to register.
But how can you make this happen when influencers aren’t exactly knocking on your door asking how they can promote you? Start small and build relationships. Don’t seek out the the most famous people you can find at first because you’ll be frustrated when you realize how difficult or impossible it is to obtain their help. Find influencers who fit within your company’s niche.
After you’ve found some influencers who’d be likely to partner with you and who fit your industry, start building a relationship. Share their content on your own social channels, reach out to them about exchanging guest blog posts, ask them to speak at one of your webinars.
These small exchanges add up and deepen a professional relationship. I’ve seen them work firsthand with partnerships at AWeber, but I’ve also seen it work for others, even for small businesses with a limited network. In fact, a friend of mine working at a small business managed to get the endorsement of a famous professional athlete. Influencer relationships can work for you too.
It’s showtime, people.
You may be thinking at this point, “This is all great information and I get it, but I’m not good with speeches, and I don’t have anything to say. Webinars just aren’t for me.”
If this is how you feel, don’t believe it for a moment. You. Can. Do. It. Once you host a webinar, you’ll be surprised to find that webinars are easier than you thought, and it’s nothing like speaking to an in-person crowd. You’ll also feel super accomplished and your new email subscribers are the reward for all your effort.
Have you already hosted a webinar? How did you promote it? Share your tactics in the comments section below.