By Jake Meador | 19 Jun 2020
Anyone who has hosted webinars for any length of time knows that attendance rates often disappoint.
You put in the work to create an exceptional webinar. You promote it across your various channels. You get a ton of signups. And then when it comes time to go live your audience is less than half of what you had hoped for based on the number of signups you got.
If this happened to you, the first thing you need to know is that you’re not alone.
The exact number varies from study to study, but most agree that the average webinar attendance rate is below 50%.
One study puts it at 44%.
Another study says that it is actually 46%.
In either case, the point is that less than half the people who sign up for your webinar actually end up attending.
What can be done? Some people think email is the solution. So the webinar host might send a reminder email six hours before the webinar and then another an hour before. And this makes some amount of sense. After all, email is a huge signup driver for webinars.
According to one study, which we already linked above, email accounts for 57% of all webinar signups.
But whenever you’re making marketing choices, you need to consider the type of communication you’re sending and what channel best suits that particular type of communication.
It’s not surprising that email drives webinar sign-ups. Emails are longer forms of communication, so they lend themselves to selling, and our technology makes it very easy to sign up for a webinar from an email.
But is email the best medium for reminding people of something they’ve already signed up?
Answer: Probably not!
Reminder emails are easy to delete—think about your own email use. How often do you click emails that are just reminder alerts. Often all that these emails do is briefly draw a person’s attention to something before they promptly forget it again as soon as the email is gone. This makes sense: Often they’ll have 25 other emails sitting in their inbox that need to be addressed. In cluttered inboxes, simple messages, like event reminders, are easily lost.
So what works well for reminders? Text messaging. And don’t just take our word for it. One marketer reports seeing attendance improvements of over 300% thanks to text message reminder messages.
If you’re struggling with sagging attendance at your webinars, texting is almost certainly going to be the best solution to your problem.
Different marketing channels have different strengths. Email is great for generating webinar signups. But it’s a crummy tool for reminding people of events. SMS works far better for that use. So don’t make the mistake of thinking of your various marketing channels as being competitors with one another. Because each has different strengths, each can be used as one part of your marketing toolkit. Thinking this way about your marketing channel will give you more options with your marketing and greater success on your various projects.