How to Increase Webinar Attendance by 30% Using Messenger

Overview: This week on Digital Conversations our guest is MKJ, CEO of Messenger Funnels. She walks through the best way to get your prospects excited to attend your webinar using facebook messenger by being relevant, focusing on the customer and providing value in a conversational way.

Guest: Mary Kathryn Johnson (MKJ)– Nicknamed #ChatBotMom, as an Author, Entrepreneur and Mom, Mary Kathryn Johnson has created online success since 2003. A fall while pregnant with her second son landed her with two broken legs, her first book, and her first business. Mary is now using that 17 years of roller coaster family and business success to help entrepreneurs disrupt their low-converting marketing funnels for the conversational engagement powerhouse of Messenger Funnels.

Listening Platforms:

Billy: Alright everybody, welcome to the show today. Today I am really lucky to have Mary Kathryn Johnson as my guest. Also known as MKJ. Mary, how are you doing today? 

MKJ: I am fantastic Billy. How are you?

Billy:  I’m doing good. It’s Friday so you know the weekend is almost here. Even with covid we still have a weekend.

MKJ: We do? I don’t know what that means.  It means nothing to me what the day of the week is anymore.

Billy: I think we’ve all had that during this lockdown where at some point we’re like is it Wednesday or is it Friday. i’m not sure, I don’t know but we’ll get through this.  Before we get into it we’re going to have you talk about how do we get people to actually attend webinars. Many businesses are using webinars, they put a lot of effort into putting them together but you gotta get people there whether it’s a live webinar or Evergreen. That’s what we’ll dive into once we get into this but before we do that just tell us about yourself and everything you’re into. Because you’re doing a lot of different things.

MKJ:  I’m one of those crazy people that can’t imagine retirement. I really cannot even think about what that might mean. Because every day I get to wake up,  it’s another day to actually talk to interesting people like yourself who are doing extraordinary things. That’s really how I want to spend my life talking to interesting people. I’m figuring out how to actually get paid to do that to talk to interesting people doing extraordinary things.

I’m doing that so it’s really fun but what I do is I have an agency called Messenger Funnels and that is built around not just Facebook Messenger but the Messenger of your sales funnel. That’s how that name plays out. The Messenger of your sales funnel adventure for your prospects and that’s what we do, build out those kinds of adventures for clients. I also have a bot Academy which is a training program for other people to do that too. So I get to really talk to interesting people all day doing really extraordinary things. 

Billy: Awesome so one more thing before we get into the webinars. If I’m going to look you up on your social profiles, your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and I’m trying to figure out who Mary is, what is one thing I probably would not figure out? 

MKJ: Well one thing you’re gonna figure out definitely is I have the nickname of chatbot mom. So that might give you an idea of my age. We won’t talk about that now but we will ’cause I’m totally proud of the fact that I’ve lived on this planet almost 57 years and been able to enjoy every day of it. But most of the people I talked to are much younger than me. Let’s just put it that way. The thing you probably wouldn’t know about me is this one little piece of information. I’ve put this out in a few places on social media but people don’t really know it very well.

Two things: I can wiggle my ears and I do so quite often if you offer me Gelato and the second thing is I’ve been married almost 37 years now to an amazing man. Of course I was a child bride, of course I was. I’ve been married to the same man and it’s been an amazing adventure and he and I one of the best things we love to do together is hike. We are in very near the Sierra Nevada mountains in Northern California near Yosemite and near South Lake Tahoe. We’re up in the mountains probably half of the weekends of the year summer, winter doesn’t matter because it’s just gorgeous. That’s my church.

Billy: Awesome. My wife and I love to go hiking as well. We live just here on the Wasatch front so after work when it’s nice you can just drive up and just hike in the mountains. We go at least once once or twice a week and we love it .

MKJ: Isn’t it wonderful?

Billy: It is. You’ve got to get out of the office, out of the house and just be a nature. It’s a great way to just balance yourself.  Let’s get into webinars. When we first engaged you told me that you’ve got some techniques to get people white hot to attend webinars. I know with our clients they’re always looking to get more people into their webinars. I know everybody that does it is. How do you start out thinking about getting people to attend a webinar for one of your clients? Where is your mind at? 

MKJ: Good question, so let’s kind of start with this the traditional standard way. We’ve got somebody who goes and let’s say runs a Facebook ad. Then they go to a registration page and they register with their email and then they get reminded via email to show up. They probably are reminded at least 10 times before the  webinar starts right, because it’s email. Out of that maybe if we’re lucky 25-30%, if we’re really lucky, open those messages.

Actually attending it’s probably more like 15 to 20 and then they show up and again if we’re looking at a typical 45 minute, hour long webinar maybe 20% if we’re lucky, finish and possibly see the pitch. And then we’ve got to send them to a sales page and out of those 20%, what a standard might be 10% buy. If we’re lucky maybe 20%. I have some that are getting as high as 30% actual purchase from the people who are attending the webinars. So, that’s awesome. But that whole structure, you keep decreasing the pool of people that you get to talk to at each of those levels. 

So the first thing we’re going to look at in seeing if that’s going to work is, what’s the conversion of this whole process? Well, the conversion is to get them to show up for most of us right? Getting them to show up. That’s the conversion. So what are we doing in the middle? Right now most people are using email to do that middle stuff.

Trying to get them warmed up but they have a huge list, a huge email list and a very small percentage of that are even interested. Let alone white hot. So if you’re having a 20% open rate, there’s 80% of those people that you actually got to take action on a registration page, that are not even seeing anything you’ve got to say. Then out of that strategy that’s that middle part.

So out of the strategy then we look at the lead generation. That’s the last thing we look at. So conversion first, messy middle, I call it the messy middle because that’s where you do all the testing and the tweaking. Which copy works best and then the actual lead generation, that’s last. That’s kind of the overall strategy. And the majority of my time for my clients is spent in that messy middle.

Billy: Okay, well let’s let’s dive into the messy middle then. So somebody’s registered, I mean I do it at least once a week. I registered for a webinar that I’m probably not going to attend and I’m just like I’ll watch the recording afterward when they all send that out. So how do you take somebody like me that’s just kind of interested. I want to see what you have but I’m not interested enough to really commit. Or somebody that actually is interested but is just going to forget. What are you doing to get them there?

MKJ: Yeah I get that because I’m exactly the same.  I know what you’re going to do when I get on the webinar and are you just going to try and sell me something. So I don’t want to be on the webinar itself just to watch you try to sell me something. If I’m really interested in the topic and I think you’re actually going to impart any kind of value before you get to the pitch then I’ll watch the replay. I’m right there with you. Because I work more in Messenger bots than anything else, I have a few tricks up my sleeve that we can use in Messenger.

As opposed to some of the other chatbots that might be website focused. We can have an actual back and forth conversation with people even Messenger using either Many Chat or Chat Fuel. Those are the two programs I use most often. So when they come in and they register, first off let’s start there. So we already know that the conversion is going to be the same. We’re going to try and get them to attend a webinar. That’s our entire focus for this bot for this communication channel. So that’s our focus. However they come in let’s say there’s a place that you can play with. 

So number one if you’re going to do the standard clickfunnels page or leadpages page or whatever you’re going to use for that registration. You’re still going to get an email that’s cool. That’s fine, if you want to keep that 20% communicating with you through email. Messenger has an 80- 100% open rate and 40 to 60% clickthrough rate. So those other 80% that don’t communicate an email they might be waiting for you in Messenger. So you’re going to have your regular registration page to have them go through and give your email if that’s what you want to stick with.

Then on the thank you page you can say something like, most people have some kind of a worksheet they’re going to give away for the webinar. Or they’re going to have some other communication they’re going to give them before they attend if it’s live right. So there’s a live webinar versus an Evergreen. If it’s Evergreen and you’re going to do it just in time kind of thing but that’s a little bit of a different story. I have a very specific strategy for that that warms people up but let’s just say you’re doing a live webinar first, to start with. 

You’re going to live because right now live webinars are really hot in this particular climate. You need to actually have them wait until you’re going to live, so you’re going to try and give them some kind of content to keep them active until then. If you’re going to do the regular registration page with email on that on that thank you page, you can have a button that says, in your copy you’re gonna say, “okay, check your email for the registration information right for the attending information or you can say or click this button and get all the information you need right now in Messenger”.

They click the Messenger button, Messenger opens now you have a flow already built out that nurtures them and provides interactive engaging content in a conversational style that that allows them to consume this information when they want in the form they want. This gets them hot for what you want them to have to show up. That’s kind of a run through of what that looks like really quickly.

 So they go in and you say on the thank you page click Messenger. They’re like oh that’s interesting okay I’ll click that and Messenger pops up. You can give them your worksheet or whatever it might be say okay we’re going to talk about XYZ on this webinar. on this training, most people don’t call the webinar anymore right, now we’re going to talk about XYZ in this live workshop and here’s the worksheet that we’re going to use. Of course most of the worksheets not filled out because you want them to attend and actually fill it out as you teach them.

So keep this worksheet handy and we’ll be talking about it. So would you like to hear more about some of these, I’m just spitballing here right, some of these topics that we’re going to talk about. Would you like to hear more about how Nancy used this first technique to actually do XYZ? They’re going to go yeah that’s interesting and they’re going to click yes. And you’re going to get here’s what Nancy did and you give a conversation you start with uh let’s say if I’m doing an online course and I’m going to teach people I’m teaching people how to start an ECommerce store and you’re going to say.

So here’s how Nancy used our sourcing techniques for finding products for her new store so that she was able to grow her ecommerce business $200,000 within 10 months. And does that sound interesting to you and I’m going to heck yeah. I’m gonna click that and then I’m going to continue dripping and having this conversation back and forth about that topic. Then you’re going to say great so that’s how Nancy did it this, it’s going to be great right?

I’m going to dive into that in my training on Wednesday I can’t wait to see you. Are you ready for this? I’m going to go, yeah. So how much more engaged am I? How much more am I anticipating what you’re going to tell me when I’ve already had a conversation and given you value before you even got to the webinar. And that’s just the first day.

Billy: That’s only day one?

MKJ: It’s only day one. That’s only right after they registered. Now I’ve given them content they’ve been able to consume it in less than 10 minutes. We’re talking a few minutes of just back and forth clicking buttons and consuming things. They’ve been able to consume it in a short period of time and now they’re like I really want to do that, that’s exactly what I’m here to do. 

Billy: That that makes sense now that you’ve laid that out how that would would increase attendance. If I’ve already seen a little bit of value and I get to choose which piece I want to see I’m probably going to give more consideration to actually showing up. So what’s the next step then after that.? 

MKJ: So part of that whole process in the beginning besides just giving that content is also segmenting people. So you brought up a really good point because with that let’s say if this is an E Commerce training and I’m going to teach people how to how to grow their ecommerce store one of the things I might want to know in the beginning before I even start this is, are you a newbie? Have you ever started an E Commerce store before, or not or do you have a store. You really just want to scale it right so those are the kinds of questions I can ask in the very beginning.

And then I can send different tracks of information I can customize my information and speak as if I know who I’m talking to. So you’ve already told me in the past that you already have a store that you’re struggling to scale it, so I can adjust my copy to speak exactly to who you are rather than just in general. 

If you’re going to use any kind of chatbot, especially a Messenger chatbot for your business and for your webinar, use the power that it has, which is relevance. You can be completely relevant to your audience, to the specifics of your audience, not just general to people who want to start E eCommerce business. But to really where they are in that process. 

That’s first, then each day you might drip and in Messenger I need to talk about the rules a little bit because Facebook has changed the rules and we’re not supposed to push messages out after 24 hours after the person has interacted with our bot. But there are four tags that you can use and one of them is a confirmed event tag. 

I think a webinar is a confirmed event and  that everyone agreed with that so I can send messages up until that event happens. Outside of that 24 hours outside of someone engaging with it. So I can send another message and another message until we actually get to the actual event. And then I can send up to three messages after that and still following the rules of Facebook. Because I can send a replay message after the webinar done right. We do a standard hey here’s the replay. Just in case you weren’t able to watch the whole thing. There’s the first message usually at our couple of hours after the actual event.

Then I can send another event 23 hours later. Which is typically the next day and so there’s two messages within 24 hours. And then we also have what’s called a one time notification for Facebook. If i get peoples permission explicitly to send them information. They confirm that they want this information then I have one more chance outside of 24 hours.

We have three follow-up messages we can send but really the middle part is giving some of that value. At the same time as you are asking again relevant or segmenting questions. To find out as much as you can about this person. Because the more you know your ideal person who needs exactly. What you have and is ready to buy the more data you have on that person. The more you can find more people like that. 

Rather than just general Facebook ads you and if you have email lists. Where you know that they are brand new never started a business. They don’t they have disposable income because of whatever and they own a home. I don’t know exactly what data you need but all that as much data. As you can find and then now you have that email address of that person. Now you have a custom audience you can create in Facebook. That you want for ads a look-alike audiences from those people because you know they purchased.

So the more information you have the more detailed targeting you can get to actually get the right people on your webinar. Which again will make for a more white hot person. Ready to buy what you’ve got especially once they go through this conversation. And they get value from you.

Billy: Let me make sure, I’m just trying to recap everything becuase cause you’ve dumped a lot on us here. So we get them in a to register for webinar on XYZ companies web page. I click the button to say hey let’s send the info over Messenger. When that happens and I continue this conversation in Messenger. What you’re doing then is from that point until the point of the event happening. Using the tags and the rules within Facebook. Sending updates sending more information, keeping it top of mind. So we don’t forget about what’s going on in the value that is possible with this specific webinar. 

MKJ: Correct and there are two things I need to say about that that will make you even more relevant and even more successful if you use this tool. 

Number one everything that you send is not about you or your product it’s about the prospect. So this is conversational marketing this is not traditional marketing. It’s not about how amazing I am an amazing my product is and how incredible it is and what amazing results it gets. It’s about you as the prospect of what you need, what your pain is, what you’re looking for. Who you are, where you are in your life and then I start bringing into pieces of how I understand that as the influencer or the expert. I understand because I’ve been where you are I understand beacause here’s a student or a client who’s already done the same thing. I keep those messages short don’t just take your email and break it up into chunks and deliver it in a bot. Please don’t do that.

Keep it short I call it face tweet. I call it as if Facebook and Twitter had a baby because I just I used to be a Twitter gal. 140 characters. I got my message out  to the point and I wasn’t one of these Facebook gals that would just talk about my lunch and my kids and that just wasn’t my gig until Messenger came along. Then it made sense because I could speak like I’m on Twitter but I’m on Facebook.

So keep it short 160 characters or less in each text block use typing delays and don’t tell too much. Ask more questions or lead your telling. Same thing like this is kind of how we experience life. Some of those leading questions or leading statements. It’s still telling someone something but you’re leading them there by getting them to agree. If you’re shaking your head yes. And this is a beautiful platform to actually give those micro commitments those mini yeses.

Every single button is a micro commitment the more they engage in your conversation. That’s how they get white hot because they’re used to engaging and they’re agreeing with what you say. Make sure you give them an opt-out. If it really isn’t resonating with them make sure you give them an unsubscribe option. You say, yes or no if they click no you actually say. Oh my goodness i really don’t want to bother you with information that you’re not interested in. If you want to unsubscribe just type stop anytime and you’ll never hear from me again. About any any kind of E-commerce success you have. 

Billy: That’ll make sense. We both work in bot so the great thing about bots as opposed to forms. And email is that you can tailor the information in the direction of the experience to to each individual person. If you take the time to build your chatbots the right way make it all about them. How you can help them and provide value to whatever problem. They’re trying to solve and keep it short. I couldn’t agree more with you. You have got to keep these things short. We’ve had clients really like you know they their large companies they have complex  sales cycles.

And then who gets which leads man it would make your head spin to hear these guys say, we’ve got this algorithm that determines this. So your bots never going to be able to replicate that. They’re like yeah we need to put 50 choices in the bottom. I usually say we can distill this down to three or four buttons. Let’s think through this because we can try the 50 choices. We’ve had clients say yep we’re going to do it. And they’ve never done 50 but a lot. The conversion people who see that in there like the question may be short. Less than 160 characters but you give people that many options. They’re like yeah I’m done with this. You know completely. So what kind of attendance rates are you seeing with this strategy?

MKJ: Definitely, okay there’s something we have to talk about before that. Well first off doing let me just say this for this particular strategy. That’s really general starting an email and then going over. We typically get a 30% increase in attendance. Everyone will take that any day twice on Sunday.

We didn’t really get a chance to talk very much about the actual Evergreen webinars. I gotta tell you really quickly how that works. Because what you do now you don’t have the time frame of having to invite them to a webinar at later date. So what we’ve done is taken. Can you can use the same strategies if you want. I tend to use for my clients more of an organic strategy. Where I actually have them on their Facebook pages or on their social accounts doing regular weekly live basic training.

So let’s take the Eccomerce situation again so I’m going to teach an e-commerce how to start an eCommerce store one of the things I might do is let’s say, I’m going to talk every Tuesday right and go on live let’s say on my Facebook page every Tuesday going to do that. This Tuesday I’m going to talk about the five biggest business mistakes I’ve made and how you can avoid them. To get this ready ahead of time to lead to my Evergreen webinars because that’s a top of funnel concept right on top of funnel pain that people might be experiencing with thinking about starting a business. That’s going to lead to how I can help you start a business specifically in ecommerce. 

So I would create a one page PDF that lists those five pain points those five mistakes. And the quick solution of how I would solve it. If I were to start over but when I go alive on Facebook. I’m going to say OK I’m going to talk about the five huge business mistakes I made. One of them actually almost caused me to go bankrupt. I really want to make sure you avoid those. So I’m going to tell you how to avoid them.

But hear me right now you don’t have to worry about taking notes. I got you covered because when you comment on this post. I’m going to deliver you I’m going to give you the PDF version of everything. I’m going to talk about in Facebook Messenger. Because there’s a tool that allows you to connect a comment someone makes on your Facebook to your chat bot. So that’s not going to live. But don’t worry stay focused with me right here. Engage with me right here because I’ll give you all the details in Messenger. That gets them set up for okay I’m going to get something in Messenger. I’m going to listen I’m going to comment and there I start my bot.

Then they go through a comment they message pops up they give him the PDF. I give him say a minute to consume that one page. Then the bot pops back up again. And says hey if you like that maybe you’ll like this other thing. And I just offer them last week’s PDF in the bot. The bot knows that they’ve gotten it or not yet. Because they know if they’ve consumed it because I’ve tagged in the bot. If they haven’t gotten it I offer it to them if they have then I go. Say in the meantime how would you like to learn how Nancy made $100,000 selling peanuts. Selling headbands in 10 months and they’re going to go. Yeah I want to know how that worked. 

Then I’m going to start the whole nurturing process again but i’m not going to drip it overtime I’m going to just ask a few relevant questions. I’m going to ask the same question are you a newbie or do you have a store that you want to scale. Then I’m going to give them that information and that nurture them through. And then I’m going to say how would you like to see how they did it and how I showed them how to do it would you like to see that? And they’re going to go yeah.

Then I’m going to take that webinar that one hour long webinar and I’m going to break it up because most people do a standard 3 secrets plus a pitch kind of video kind of web. I’m going to break that up into video one or secret one secret to secret three in the pitch and I’m going to deliver that conversationally. Well here’s the first secret where I talk about XYZ. I’m gonna say click the button below and watch it and then that will show them that video I’d know how long the video is I can program the bot to know in 8 minutes after that video is done pop back up and ask him a question about video one.

So what did you think of that one aren’t you excited to hear about how I talk about XYZ in video 2. And then they can say yes or no. I didn’t see all of the deal one let’s say they got distracted in those eight minutes. Then they can choose to go back and watch video one. Or they can choose to actually watch video two and nurture them. And drip that same webinar through the chat bot. So that by the time they get done to the pitch they’ve seen all that content but they’ve also interacted with it. 

How many times have we heard people talk about children learning. When you actually do the kinesthetic part of learning solidifies it more. Well we’re not asking him go to jumping jacks when they watched the video. But were actually asking them to use their finger and click a button to actually continue through that process. So that when we talked earlier about what percentage of people actually finish webinars. We’ve actually been able to get people who start that first video 67% of them finish the pitch and actually see the author.

Billy: Wow that’s amazing. 

MKJ: So think about if you had let’s say if you get only 20% to actually finish your webinar and actually stay on. Think about increasing that to 67% of the people who started your webinar actually finished to see your pitch and now just add your conversion rate to that because now you just have more people seeing your pitch.

Billy: The more people you can get down to the bottom of the funnel the better. 

MKJ: The way I look at it more as the less people leak out of my bucket right the less hot people. I would rather have a small list of white hot people who absolutely love and want what I have to offer. Rather than a huge list of lukewarm who really could care less what I’m saying. I agree with you it’s better to have that list of these are my people that that actually want what I’m selling

Billy: Awesome. Thank you so much Mary. Well is there anything else you want to add before we wrap it up because I would I would hate to have you not share any knowledge because this is going great.

MKJ: These are the the the high level concepts. Play with it, find your voice and just put yourself in your prospect shoes. Not what you want to tell them but what they experience that you understand and have a solution for and if you do that and keep that top of mind change your mindset to that kind of conversational design and conversational marketing. You are like 90% ahead of most other people trying to market their stuff.

Billy: I believe that so alright Mary where can people get ahold of you to learn more and then continue the conversation?

MKJ:  I’d love to do that because my goal in life is to talk to interesting people doing extraordinary things. So if you want to find any online you can find me at or ’cause I teach this and I also do it as an agency and Messenger funnels on social. Reach out I’d love to have a chat with you guys!

Billy: you know where to find Mary. Thank you again Mary and we’ll chat later!

MKJ: Thanks a lot billy, this has been so fun.