Successful and engaging educational webinars are a great added benefit to any society membership. Webinars are more than educational presentations; they are an opportunity for members to meet, real-time, with like-minded experts working in the field.
There is a commonly known statistic that half of all registrants actually show up for educational webinars. With this statistic in mind, how can your society increase webinar attendance? Here are some tips that have worked for Malachite.
Increase the benefits
Who doesn’t love ‘free’? When members choose to join a society they do so based on the member benefits. Providing free registration for education webinars as a member benefit is a sure way to increase webinar attendance.
Understand Your Participants
Knowing your audience allows you to offer relevant webinar presentation topics. Webinars topics and presentations should resonate with the membership. The most well attended webinars are those which are practical, relevant, and most importantly, include new and developing topics for those working in a particular field.
Continuing Education Units (CEU) refers to education that assists health care professionals in maintaining competence and learning about new and developing areas of their field. Offering CEU credits will encourage members to participate in the society’s webinars. Each educational webinar should have a set of learning objectives that provide a clear agenda so your webinar participants can know what to expect.
Time and Timing is Key
Keep webinar length at 60 or less. This not only allows for participants to easily schedule the webinars into their day, but also keeps participation and attention high. Know what day of the week will increase webinar attendance – and what time of day. A short e-survey can help you design an online educational program that fits with your members’ needs.
Include a Live Q&A Period
Interactive, live question and answer periods are a great way to increase audience participation and engagement. This changes a webinar from a presentation into a real-time, engaging online discussion. For webinars 60 minutes or less, consider a 15 minute interactive Q&A period.
Schedule Your Webinars
Considering hosting a webinar series – a year’s worth of educational webinars organized in advance. Scheduling your webinars this way allows participants to adapt their work schedules for future webinars and encourages members to register well in advance of the events.
Promote Your Webinars
Now that your client’s have webinars scheduled, it’s time to get the word out. Name and promote the entire webinar series on a regular basis (e.g., “Industry Trend Series” or “Leadership Series”). Early and repeated promotion of your webinars via email, social media channels and the society’s website will encourage registration. As a best practice, consider your first announcement four weeks in advance of a scheduled webinar. Counting down to the individual webinar is also an effective strategy for building registrations — try using phrases like, “one week away” and “last chance” to persuade members to register for webinar. It is important to remember that lessening the frequency and increasing the content is the most effective way to promote your webinars.
Follow-Up Survey Your Participants
If you want your participants to feel valued, send a brief survey following webinars; their feedback can be a valuable in assessing the effectiveness of your webinars. It is also a great opportunity to ask them for feedback on their preferences for future webinar topics, formats, and convenient schedule times.
Keep a Log
Maintaining a webinar participation log not only allows you to ensure that all participants receive their CEU credit hours and webinar evaluation surveys; it also will help you benchmark webinar attendance year-to-year and provide you the opportunity to measure the long-term effectiveness of the webinar program for the client.
Submitted by Eva-Marie Sweet, Malachite’s Innovations and Trends Committee.