Blog Business Tools

7 Proven Engagement Boosters for Webinars, Workshops, and Virtual Events

By Chris Foti, Director of Operations


After Tiffany shared our favorite 7 tools to run a webinar or workshop last week…

You MIGHT be wondering, “okay, now I’ve got the tech all setup… How do I make sure people SHOW UP and ENGAGE at my event?” 

Because just getting people registered for your webinar isn’t enough – you’ve gotta make sure they SHOW UP too. 

In our experience running hundreds of webinars, workshops and virtual events… We’ve tested a lot of different strategies to increase engagement…

And we’ve nailed down 7 proven engagement boosters that mean MORE people at your webinar or workshop and MORE sales!


#1 – The Other 50% of Your Success

Only HALF of the success of your event comes from successful execution of your webinar itself.  

The Other 50% of the winning formula is all about focusing on what gets people TO your event and then KEEPS them in your purchase flow.

Your event, whether it is a sales webinar, a workshop or a bootcamp, has three distinct phases.  

  • Sign up / Show up
  • Event
  • Follow up / Clean up

In other words, crafting the perfect offer and nailing the presentation doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t get people registered, doesn’t succeed if you don’t get people to the event and falls short if you don’t have a solid plan in place for following up and closing sales after the workshop.

We have an entire framework built specifically for following up with potential buyers after the webinar that works so well we teach it to all of our ASK Business Coaching students. 

You can also level up your follow up campaign by segmenting your emails and tailoring to specific buckets of people based on the actions they have taken in your funnel up until that point. Did they register, but not show up? Did they attend, but leave halfway through? Did they stick around for the whole presentation but not purchase? And so on…

Also consider what happens before the event in your registration sign-up funnel…

Is there an opportunity right there after the initial opt in to increase your show up percentage?

One simple example is with a calendar reminder. By adding your event directly on someone’s calendar at the time of sign up, you are blocking the time and activating calendar reminders. 

That tiny micro-commitment automatically leaves a place for you in their day.


#2: Text Messaging 

Another technique that we use as a significant part of our show-up phase is SMS Messaging.  Text messages tend to have a higher open rate than email because:

  • The messages are shorter and more likely to be read
  • There is less “noise” in a SMS inbox than in an email inbox
  • It is a more personal form of communication

During our sign-up phase, we provide an opportunity for registrants to join our SMS list. The best practice we have used to increase SMS sign-ups are:

  • Using a short video on a dedicated page in the funnel, after sign-up, asking registrants to join the special list where they will get additional content sometimes both before and after the event.
  • Delivering on the VIP promise, by providing exclusive content to the registrants that join the list. This content can include items such as:
    • Personal Notes
    • An exclusive checklist
    • An asset that is complementary to your training

We see attendance boosts of 15-20% or more when we add in SMS reminders.

Other considerations that may work for your business, instead of or in addition to email and text messaging, are applications such as WhatsApp, Messenger, and Telegram.  The messaging application that is best for your business is going to be the one where your audience is already.


#3: Customer Driven Content

Now that you have people coming to your event, what content will you be providing? 

That answer doesn’t come from me… or you… it comes from your market. Using a Deep Dive Survey you can find out the Single Most Important Question that your market wants answered.

In fact, you could say that the Deep Dive Survey is at the very core of our company’s success and a step that we always take to ensure that we are providing the very best content to address the market’s needs.

This is another foundational skill that we teach to all of our ASK Business Coaching members.


#4: Multi-Modalities

If you look back at the recent history of digital content marketing and training, there has been a noticeable evolution.

Many of us are still able to remember the “traveling show” of Zig Ziglar, where the main method of audience connection was speaking from stage, in city after city. 

Then came the tele-seminars where you could connect with people from all over without having to travel. That modality of teaching phased out as new technology allowed us to share visual slide presentations via WebEx and Go To Webinar. And that evolved to allow us to stream crisp video via web cams and even have our audience use their own cameras to give us more real-time feedback and opportunity for engagement.

So what is working best now? Well, ALL of them.

As the technology evolves, the market begins to expect more from each presentation they attend. We have found that using multiple-modalities:

  • Increases participant engagement
  • Meets the needs of diverse learning styles
  • Maintains attention longer than using a single mode

The model that we use at ASK Method Company and teach our Business Coaching students to use is called “Smile, Screen, Sketch”  

  • Smile – This is the face to camera mode where you are looking your participants “in the eye” and talking directly to them, with a “smile”. 
  • Screen – Here you are sharing your screen and showing slides, or real-time demonstrations and walkthroughs.
  • Sketch – In this mode, you are illustrating a concept using an iPad, essentially replicating the in-person experience of using a whiteboard or pad of paper on an easel.


#5: Tech 

A few days ago, we provided details on the tech that we use to deliver our live events.  But one tool that we use that is specific to the “Smile, Screen, Sketch” model is the drawing app, Notability for the iPad.

In fact, this is such a compelling teaching device, that we have people ask what we are using on nearly every webinar and workshop.

It’s a great way to bring a dynamic element into your live event and break up the teaching pattern with some spontaneity.


#6: Interactive Engagement Techniques

The “Smile, Screen, Sketch” mode captures attention, but is still a monologue model. To actually have interaction, there needs to be an opportunity to dialogue. Depending on the length of your event and the resources that you have available to help you monitor interaction, you can use some or all of these techniques to accompany the “Smile, Screen, Sketch” model

  • Zoom Chat – This does not require any additional technology for you or your participants and the chat can be downloaded for your future reference.  
  • Zoom Q & A – This is another function that is native to Zoom Webinars.  If you want to prevent your participants from engaging in distracting conversations in the chat, the Q&A function within Zoom Webinars might be ideal. This function allows participants to ask questions that are only visible to the designated Hosts and Co-Hosts.
  • Hashtags / Responses – Having participants follow a specific format to ask questions or post comments is a great way to 1) Organize the responses and 2) Get your participants to take micro-actions and make micro-commitments throughout your event.  Examples: Use [Question] to ask a question; Post your biggest #Takeaway; If you are still here with me comment “I’m In” 
  • FB Groups (courses and bootcamps) – For longer events, you can use pop-up Facebook Groups for interaction and engagement.  These Mini-Groups are created just for the event and are archived shortly after the event ends. 

By directing all communication to the event-specific FB group, you gain the extra benefits of the group dynamic where:

  • Participant input adds additional value
  • Comments and Questions can be searched and organized by topic
  • Engagement breeds engagement – you will notice that when your group begins to get active the engagement percentage grows exponentially
  • The conversation can continue beyond the live sessions


#7: Structure

After delivering hundreds of webinars, workshops and virtual events, we have been able to turn these practices and more into a proven and repeatable process in our business that has grown our company from nothing to over $10 Million per year in a relatively short amount of time.

In addition to the best practices listed above, we have created a 9-Part Webinar Framework that we teach in our Webinar Bootcamp and Business Coaching program.  This checklist has stood the test of time and technology. In fact, we use the same core framework for the newer style of Workshops with great effectiveness.

If you’d be interested in getting your hands on this 9-Part Webinar Checklist and training the next time we make it available, simply click the button below to add your name to the Notification list.