Will You Accept This Webinar?
On Monday, March 14th, over 7 million people across the nation gathered together to tune in and watch Ben Higgins give out his final rose on the concluding episode of the latest season of The Bachelor. This show, which has been airing since 2002 and just completed its 20th season (the 12th season of the Bachelorette, it’s spin-off show, airs this May), is a phenomenon that consistently captivates audiences of all ages and genders alike as it guides us through the ups and downs of the raw emotion of “love.” Regardless of what you think about the show itself, its ability to maintain a steadily growing audience with basically the same formula (just different characters) on repeat for multiple seasons is something that all marketers can learn from.
How has the show been able to maintain its level of prominence for so long? What does it to do to not only attract, but also consistently retain so many hyper-engaged viewers year after year? And, more importantly, how can we apply it to our webinars and marketing plans?
Every Bachelor and Bachelorette is Familiar
The show’s producers select the next bachelor or bachelorette based on contestants who make it notably far into the previous season. This method for selecting the next “America’s Sweetheart” to date 25 potential romantic interests is a surefire method of beta testing the likability of the next season’s main character. It also establishes an already built-in fan base of people rooting for the success of the next bachelor or bachelorette. Similarly, when selecting the topic for your next webinar or content drop, you should analyze at the Q&A, social conversation, content downloaded, and group chat data from previous webinars to figure out what your viewers want to see from you next. What keeps them coming back for more? A more direct way to do this is including a poll question within the webinar that asks your attendees just that: what topics would you like to see covered in future webinars? The data is there. Be sure to analyze it and you’re guaranteed to see return viewers.
“The Most Dramatic Episode Yet…”
Commercials for The Bachelor very strategically tap into the psychological theory of loss aversion, which states that people have a strong tendency to want to avoid any loss. It seems like every episode of The Bachelor is billed as being the “most dramatic yet,” and while it has become somewhat of a joke among my friends, it’s incredibly hard to not watch the next episode because we’re afraid of missing out on what could actually be the most dramatic or highly-talked about episode to date. Why risk missing out when you can simply tune in week after week? When promoting your next webinar, build in this type of powerful allusion into your promotion strategy. Make sure that your invite list knows that they will be missing out on something very critical if they do not attend. Doing so ensures you tap into the human psyche to make sure that your attendees not only register and actually attend, but that they also pay attention during the event itself.
Watching The Bachelor is a weekly ritual for many across the nation: people gather with their friends for at-home viewing parties, join the conversation on Twitter to share their reactions, read wrap up blog posts the next day, and discuss it in the office the next day. Regardless of what you think of the show itself, the truth is that #BachelorNation (much like many popular TV shows) is strong and a unifying factor for many people. The Bachelor has become a great excuse for many across the nation to come together to laugh, cry, and gossip. Why are your webinars not the same? The first step to achieving this is by turning your webinars into social experiences. You can do this by enabling social sharing of event registration and confirmation pages, social promotion, including a Twitter widget in your console to encourage live tweeting, and including links to blogs and forums for people to take the conversation after the event is over. Create your own webinar hashtag so that everyone can join in on one stream. By doing all or some of the above, you will not only build a strong social footprint for your must-attend event, but also extend reach of your content and activate your fan network.
By selecting topics that your viewers greatly care about, tapping in to their fear of missing out, and encouraging them to connect with others and share their thoughts online, you will develop a strong nation of devotees to your webinar and marketing programs. How are you creating must-see webinars that leave your fans on the edge of their seats? Share your tips in the comments.