Getting in front of a highly targeted, enthusiastic group of people HUNGRY for your offer is an amazing way to sell anything.
And you don’t even have to be in the same physical location as them!
Online video events — summits, workshops, webinars, masterclasses, Q&A streams, you name it — are a fantastic leveraged tool for sales and marketing.
…But it’s not the easiest to pull off. I would argue that it’s harder than your typical sales call or an in-person 1:1 process.
Still, the rewards of being able to sell your offer at scale are oh so worth it!
That’s why I’m bringing you this article — so you can knock it out of the park with your first, or next, live video event.
So if you’re planning to throw a webinar, a workshop, or a masterclass any time soon, you should absolutely read this week’s post to learn how to get as many attendees to show up, and give you their undivided attention, as possible!
“Summer, why are you focusing specifically on people showing up? Why not the actual sales part?”
For starters, I believe you already have a solid offer people want, and you are reasonably good at selling it.
But more importantly, if there’s one thing entrepreneurs everywhere are struggling with when it comes to live video events… it’s attendance.
And yet, maximum attendance is what makes or breaks your event, and it should be your number one goal.
The more people register, the more people will show up. And the more people show up, the more people will buy — both live at the event AND afterwards.
So let’s focus on putting as many real butts as possible in those virtual seats!
Today, I will show you a whopping 10 hacks you can leverage to maximize attendance for your online video event, so your message reaches as many potential customers as possible.
Read on, and you will learn:
- The #1 bulletproof incentive that ALWAYS gets people to show up LIVE to your event, no matter what it’s about
- Why you’d want to make registration easy as pie for your email subscribers… but make your social media followers work for it
- How to engineer a last-minute spike of motivated attendees for your live event
- One outrageous (but easy and VERY effective) hack that can skyrocket your live attendance
And many, many more hacks for you to check out, learn, and implement. We have a lot of bases to cover, so let’s swan dive right in!
Stage I. Assembling an elite “guest list” of ideal customers
Okay now, let’s start at the beginning. As I’ve said earlier, the more people register for your webinar / masterclass / workshop etc., the more will show up on the big day.
That means, our first hurdle to overcome is this:
How can you promote your online video event, so that you drive as many registrations, from your ideal customers, as possible?
Let’s find out!
1. “Plant the seed” for your event topic beforehand
Dr. Robert Cialdini, one of the foremost marketing minds on the planet, coined the term “pre-suasion.” Pre-suasion refers to all the things you do before you promote something that can help prime your target customer to say yes.
(Original image credit: AZquotes.com)
Here’s how you can apply this thinking to your live video event:
1-2 weeks before you announce your webinar / workshop etc., treat your audience to some content on a related topic.
E.g. if you sell a coaching program for freelance web designers teaching them how to start a one-person agency, you can make your “seed” content on email or social media (or both!) about…
- How to land their first client, even with no experience
- Why some freelancers comfortably charge 100X more than others — and get it
- Which high-value added services they could offer to clients
“Planting the seed” in this way will help you amplify the demand and desire for your live event — even before your audience knows it will happen!
2. Implement one-click registration for email subscribers
Your email subscribers are THE most profitable segment of your audience, period.
The more of them show up to your online video event, the more revenue you stand to generate. That means, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to register!
…And there’s nothing easier than letting them do it in one click.
(“All that effort for just one feature?” I know, it’s a big ask. But consider this: if you want to make live events a key part of your sales and marketing, one-click registration can be a massive revenue and growth multiplier.)
3. Leverage social media Stories for promotion
Stories are bite-sized content with a set expiration date — usually 24 hours.
Almost every popular social media site has Story-type features these days. I’m told this is what “innovation” looks like.
Well-deserved snark aside, though, Stories are super handy for engaging directly with your highest-engagement followers. Don’t neglect them.
Every day in the week or so leading up to your event, try to post Stories about it to your audience. What you share is up to you: results from past clients or customers, sneak peeks of your webinar slides, surprising insights on your event topic, or even a page of your messy presentation notes.
Pro tip: if you’re not using Stories right now, I recommend a little “warmup” period first. Try posting them daily for 30 days first, so your most active followers get a taste for them.
4. Make registration *harder* for your followers
Yep, you read that right!
You want butts in seats, sure… but not just any ol’ butts. (Um, that came out wrong. Whatever, I’ll just roll with it!)
That’s why it made sense to make the registration process as easy as possible for your email subscribers — because they drive so much more revenue.
But for social media followers, neither their level of engagement nor profit potential are a given. That’s why your priority should be QUALIFYING them beforehand.
In your promotional posts, don’t simply share your registration link or tell them to click your “link in bio” to sign up for the event.
Instead, ask people to “raise their hand” somehow. That could mean commenting with a specific word on your post, reacting with a specific emoji to your Story, or DMing you with a specific word. (Always ask for a specific word / emoji reaction: this will make it easier for people to take action.)
Then, reply with your registration link to anybody who followed your call to action. Easy!
(NOTE: this is a mockup screenshot, because tracking down specific posts and saving them on Insta is a certifiable nightmare. Still, it should give you the accurate idea of how this kind of CTA would work.)
5. Don’t overthink your event landing page
I know what you might be thinking. “Summer, are you seriously just telling me to wing it on my event registration page? Really? After all these elaborate hacks? Isn’t my landing page critically important?”
That’s a great question. And the answer is:
If you’re hosting a paid event, then you absolutely should invest in making your registration page as persuasive and optimized as it can be — because then it would be your sales page!
But if you’re putting on a free webinar / masterclass / workshop etc.? Just use whatever pre-made solution you have access to!
You want anything that loads fast, that you can customize quickly, and that you can change on the fly without breaking the whole thing. Everything else is optional.
Even something like Zoom’s default webinar registration page will do, as homely as it is. Heck, you could even do a Google Form if you absolutely had to. (But please don’t.)
Stage II. Influencing prospects to show up live (in droves)
Getting tons of ideal customers registered for your live video event is amazing — but it’s only half the battle.
No matter how many names and email addresses you’ve hoarded in preparation for the big day, you still gotta make them show up!
So let’s take a look at the most effective ways to do just that…
6. Demand immediate action on your thank-you page
The moment right after registration is when your attendees are most motivated to do what you ask. Don’t waste it!
Immediately after someone signs up for your event, do this on your thank-you page:
- Ask them to add it to their calendar (use special links to make it painless)
- Tell them to look for a confirmation email with all the access details, plus to look out for a reminder email on the big day
- (optional) Offer to send them an sms reminder — position it as a way to guarantee they won’t miss it
- (optional) Ask them to follow you on social media if they haven’t already
These small post-conversion actions will make your audience emotionally invested in your upcoming event, and make it more likely that they show up live.
7. Set expectations + repeat reminders in your confirmation email
Immediately after registration, send your attendees a confirmation email with information about your event and how to join it.
But beyond just repeating key info, this email can be an opportunity for you to set expectations and amplify desire ahead of the event. To that end, you want to:
- Repeat the core promise of your event, so your attendees remember how valuable it will be for them
- Tease specific results they’ll be able to create after attending the event and learning from you
- Differentiate your event from the pack; e.g. if you’re hosting a practical workshop or masterclass rather than a simple webinar, make sure your audience understands what makes it special.
Remember how we talked about “pre-suasion” back in hack #1? A powerful confirmation email is yet another example of that — because it primes your audience to show up to the event and make the most of it.
8. Poke last-minute stragglers on the big day
Even the hungriest, most engaged people in your audience can miss the memo about your live video event. It’s perfectly natural — happens to the best of us!
*moment of silence for all the awesome webinars I ever missed because of short-notice business trips, kids stuff, an my dog picking the objectively worst moment to throw up*
But oftentimes, if someone forgot about your event, or decided in advance they wouldn’t be able to make it…
…it only takes one soft nudge to change their mind.
That’s why I recommend sending out last-minute calls to register and attend via email, as well as on your socials (on top of any reminders you’ll be sending out to registered attendees).
When done right, this can give your attendance numbers a hefty boost!
9. Consider implementing the “no replays” rule
OK, now this… might be controversial. (<= And that… may be an understatement.)
Replays are the gold standard of online video events.
They are more inclusive and accessible than live video… They ensure that even the no-shows could learn from you and hear your pitch… They have zero downsides — except one.
Replays give your attendees a bulletproof excuse not to show up live.
So if maximizing live attendance is really important to you… you might want to institute a “no replays” rule, and make it a prominent part of your event positioning and marketing.
Look, I’m not going to pretend that this would be the right move for everyone. But I have seen marketers (e.g. Ramit Sethi) host live events with no replays for years on end with tremendous success. As divisive as it is, this tactic has merit. And it could be right for you.
(Like I said, it’s a bold strategy and it’s not for everyone — but it can be a fantastic way to boost live numbers.)
10. Offer an exclusive bonus just for live attendees
OK, if hack #9 seems way too radical for you, good news! There is another way to boost attendance numbers for your online video event, and it practically never fails.
Here’s how it works:
Create a valuable bonus to give away during the event, and make it exclusive for people who show up live.
This could be an ebook, a cheat sheet, a collection of templates, a rolodex of top-notch contacts, an extended free trial of your software… anything. As long as your exclusive live bonus is: a) valuable, as in “you could charge real money for this” and b) directly relevant to the topic of the event — it will work.
Let me give you a few examples here:
- Doing a masterclass on pitching to literary agents? Your live bonus could be a collection of teardowns for real book proposals, or customizable outreach scripts.
- Hosting a marketing webinar for gym owners? You could give away a “funnel in a box” type of resource: templates for landing pages, thank-you pages, autoresponders etc.
- Teaching a vegan gluten-free baking workshop? Your bonus could be a shopping guide that helps your audience find all the best versions of hard-to-obtain ingredients.
Here’s a real example of an entrepreneur using an exclusive live bonus to promote her event:
(As you can see, you don’t even need to be super detailed on the exact content of the bonus… just its value.)
Honestly, if you implement only one strategy out of this entire list… make it this one. This could take your attendance numbers into the stratosphere all by itself.
(That’s right, I saved the best for last! You’re welcome *wink*)
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