Have you ever stumbled across an incredible webinar course and immediately signed up… only to completely space when the clock struck webinar time?
We’ve all been there. Between work, life and other commitments, it’s hard to keep track of every digital event that comes your way.
In fact, this happens more often than most of us realize. On average, only 40-50% of registrants actually attend a webinar they signed up for.
So when the tables are turned, and you’re the one running the webinar, what can you do to increase your attendee rate and make sure people remember to attend?
Well, most webinar gurus will tell you to send registrants a reminder email or two – and they’re not wrong. People are busy leading their own lives, and most of them aren’t going to stop and remind themselves that they have your content to watch.
You need to be the one to remind them. And email reminders do just that, as well as warm up your attendees by getting them excited for the content they’re about to watch.
But, most Webinar experts also forget one important thing…
Emails don’t always have the best open rates.
While it varies per industry, the average email open rate is a low 20%. That means 80% of your email list won’t even click on what you send them. And, many of them that do open your email, won’t do so for hours after you hit “send.”
This becomes a big deal when you’re down to the wire and want to send a last minute reminder. While emails are definitely an important part of your marketing plan, they should not be the only tool you rely on to convert registrants into attendees.
SMS, on the other hand, has an open rate of a whopping 98%.
Just let that sink in for a second.
If you send a text to your list of 100 people, only TWO people will not open it, compared to 80 for email. Not to mention, the conversion rates differ drastically. According to Gartner, texts have a response rate of around 45% while emails are only 6%.
If we continue with our math problem from above, you’ll see that if 45% of the 98 people who opened your text respond, you’ll have 44 people. Alternatively, the email will only see a 1.2 person response (let’s hope that .2 of a person is just figurative).
Even better? On average, those texts are opened within three minutes of being sent. That is incredibly powerful when you want to remind attendees that your webinar will start in just minutes.
Tips for sending SMS reminders
Before you go blasting your list with texts straight to their cell, read through these tips to make sure your message will convert. (Of course, these are people who have entered their number to receive texts from you.)
1) Use their name: A touch of personalization goes a long way. In fact, Dale Carnegie once said, “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” By adding a registrant’s name to the beginning of a text, you’re more likely to grab their attention.
2) Send your SMS 15 minutes before your webinar begins: Your SMS shouldn’t be your only way of reminding registrants, but it should be your final reminder. Fifteen minutes before you go live is a sweet spot. This ensures your registrants open it in time to get to a computer, but they don’t have time to forget that your webinar is about to start.
3) Include your link: WebinarJam and EverWebinar can be viewed on a computer, tablet or phone. If you’re okay with your attendees watching your webinar straight from their mobile device, pop a direct link into your text. If you’d rather they participate from a computer, remind them to check their email for the link.
4) Keep it short and simple: No one wants to receive a huge paragraph of text (unless it’s a magical love note — and your reminder definitely isn’t). We only allow for 110 characters of text within the WebinarJam and EverWebinar platforms. Try to keep your reminder as brief as possible; this isn’t a time to get too creative.
NOTE: If you choose to include your link in the message, use a shortener like bit.ly first so it doesn’t chew up your character count.
5) Make sure they know who it’s from: The last thing you want your registrants to think is “who dis?” Add some context to your message and your recipients will thank you for it (i.e., Hi David, Andrea here! Can’t wait to see you at the webinar in 15 minutes — check your email for the link).
6) Add A Call To Action (CTA): Prompt your registrants’ next move by encouraging them to click on the link in your text or to check their email for the link. Keep your CTA as clear and concise as possible.
7) Be Conversational: While short and simple is the name of the game, robotic isn’t. Make sure to add a touch of personality (an exclamation point, an emoji, a witty phrase, etc), rather than coming off as an automated computer message.
8) Test your message first: Before you launch your SMS out to the world, send a test SMS to your phone first to make sure everything is showing up exactly the way you want it to. The last thing you need is to send out 100 messages with a glaring typo 15 minutes before showtime.
A word of caution
Before you look at all the stats above and say “WOW! I should only use SMS,” remember that texts are short and to the point. Contrast that with emails where you can include paragraphs of rich information, as well as hype people up with images, links and buttons — you can see that SMS messages shouldn’t be a replacement for your email reminders, but a supplement to help get even more people in the door.
WebinarJam and EverWebinar directly integrate with Twilio. Read about how to set up SMS for your webinar here.