All businesses, no matter how big or small, face different marketing challenges. Multi-location businesses specifically face obstacles at every stage, from lead capture to the point of final conversion. The webinar on “Marketing Challenges Every Multi-Location Business Needs to Overcome” emphasized not only on the what these challenges are, but also provided solutions to tackle each problem with ease. If you missed it, you can watch the webinar here

Marketing Challenges Every Multi-Location Business Needs to Overcome

View the Recording

In the past few years, webinars have become a very important source of not just knowledge sharing and handling customer queries, but lead generation as well. In fact, webinars are the number 1 source of lead generation for businesses, with 51% of marketers generating new leads through webinars according to “2012 Tech Marketing Planning Guidance (Forrester)”(*as quoted in ON24 and CMI’s Webinar).

Webinar Goals Percentage

But, are your webinars really generating the number of leads and amount of participation they are capable of? For this you need to make sure that your whole process right from generating leads for the webinar, to sending invites to your existing database, right up to attendance is leak-proof.

Now, hosting a webinar in itself is not a problem. There are multitude of awesome tools available for that (we have been using GoToWebinar). The real challenge is getting people to register for the webinar and getting a good percentage of them to show up. This can be achieved with a great webinar topic, good promotion and a combination of tools to optimize and streamline the process for lead generation and lead engagement. Here are 7 tips that would help you increase webinar registrations and attendance:

1. A custom webinar landing page – better conversions:

You typically put a lot of your time and energy putting together a webinar deck, and it would really be a downer if attendees don’t show up for it.

According to an ON24’s research, only 42% of your registrants would typically turn up for the webinar.

So, the foremost thing is to ensure that the webinar gets good number of registrations. Going by ON24’s numbers, for every 100 attendees, only 42 will show up, and the number would generally be lower, depending on your promotion methods, the topic, headline etc. So, you need a lot of registrations.

The first step to ensure better conversions – your webinar landing page!

Before the “link-up” between LeadSquared, and GoToWebinar, we were using GoToWebinar’s default landing pages. There were a few problems that we faced with that approach:

i) Limited customization options. You do have an option to put up your logo, a custom image and choose from a few themes, but that’s that. There are no other customization options available.

ii) We did not know the conversion rate of the webinar landing page.

iii) Stemming from the above two problems was the inability to A/B test webinar landing pages. There wasn’t enough freedom to test the different elements of the landing page, and the conversion rates were not known, so there was no question of A/B testing.

Now however, as LeadSquared landing pages directly integrate with GoToWebinar, we have all the customization options that we want. We did not know what our conversion rates were when we were using GoToWebinar landing pages; however, let’s compare the conversion rates against the standard landing page conversion rate of 7 – 10%.

Right now, our standard webinar landing page conversion rate ranges between 45 – 47%, which is pretty decent. 

Webinar_Landing_Page

2. Inviting registrations – how and when?

One question to ask is where are the most qualified webinar registrations coming from. This would determine the promotional channels for the webinar.  If it is a knowledge sharing webinar (which would be the case mostly), you would invite everyone in your sales funnel, including your customers. So, a webinar invitation email is very important, in addition to popularizing the webinar on channels like your website, blog and social media channels. You can see the importance of email as a webinar source in the following statistics by ON24’s webinar benchmark report as well. This would help push your lead down the sales funnel.

Webinar Registration Best Tools

So, your webinar email must be drafted well. To send out the email, you would need an email tool. We use LeadSquared to send webinar invites, because we get a proper email report within the system.

Now, the question is when should you send the invitation email. According to ON24’s webinar statistics research, 64% of the webinar sign-ups happen on the week of the live webinar, and 36% happen over one week before the webinar. So, you should send the initial invitation email on the week before the webinar, and reiterate in the reminder email. The same report states that you can increase your attendee size by 36% by starting the webinar promotion over seven days before the date.

Increase Webinar Registrations by Sending Invites at the right time

3. New leads through webinars – Empower your sales team for prompt response

You would mostly invite your existing leads/prospects through email. However, as we are discussing webinars as a lead generation source, let’s talk about the unique leads that would come in when you promote the webinar on your website, through ads, and social media etc. One challenge we used to face before LeadSquared had GoToWebinar integration was bringing the unique/new leads into the LeadSquared system manually from GoToWebinar system. This step even though took some extra time and effort on our part, was crucial, because webinar leads are generally qualified leads, and our sales team needs to connect with them as soon as possible.

Now, as there is an integration between the two, the leads are directly stored in LeadSquared, and all their activity is tracked as well, including the website pages they visited, the emails they opened etc. This helps our sales team pursue the most qualified leads.

Tip: For unique registrations, our blog has proven to be a great source. As soon as we create the webinar, we put it as a CTA on the website topbar. This gets us many unique leads in every session.

Website TopBar

 4. Get them involved – Ensure pre-webinar engagement after registration

To ensure that more people turn up for your webinar, you have to try to get them involved beforehand. Now, most webinar tools would let you create surveys, but these surveys would be shared after the webinar is over, in the follow-up emails etc. What if you want to conduct a survey to find out what would be of most interest to your attendees in your webinar topic?

We have started doing this ever since we got the freedom to. In one of the first webinars after the transition, we asked the attendees if they wanted to get their landing pages evaluated during the webinar. Many people expressed interest, and shared the URLs of the landing pages they wanted to evaluate. Needless to say, all the people who had shared their landing page URLs for us to evaluate, turned up for the webinar.

You need freedom to share a survey in the post-submission landing page, or the post-submission confirmation email. You can choose to do both as well, because some people would take the survey right away, but the ones who want to do it later would have no way to find it if you don’t send it in the email.

5. Emphasize – Go beyond reminder emails

To ensure more registrations, you have to make sure that you send reminder emails to people. GoToWebinar does send reminders to people who have registered for the webinar, so that is one less thing you need to worry about. But, what about the people who missed your initial webinar invite. You should invite them once more. What we do while sending reminder emails is suppress the list of people who have already registered for the webinar and send the invite to everyone else.

As said before, according to ON24’s research, most webinar registrants (64%) would register on the week of the webinar. If you send one final email within one day ( a day before or the same day) of the webinar, your registrations can increase by 37%. And, the closer to the webinar date they register on, higher is the probability of them attending it, as it would be fresh in their memory.

6. The webinar and post-webinar engagement

As I have said before, holding the webinar in itself would not be a hard thing as most webinar tools take care of this impeccably. You just have to prepare good content, make the session an interactive one, and be prepared for things that might go wrong during the session.

After the webinar is over, you can create a custom survey to find out how helpful was the webinar to the attendees. Most webinar tools allow you to create this survey.

7. Advanced attendee information

Now, because we have an integrated system, we are able to directly pull the webinar attendance information into LeadSquared. This makes it easy for our sales team to pursue the more qualified leads, based on whether or not they attended a particular webinar.

Advanced Lead Information like Webinar attended

Okay, so this next one isn’t a way to increase webinar registrations or attendance, but it would help you get more leads from your archived webinar session.

8. Cash in on the archived session

You would want to send the webinar recording to everyone who registered (whether they attended or not). According to research 25% of the registrants view the replay/archived version of the webinar.

Also, this webinar recording must be somewhere on your website. It would act as a very good call to action. Just put it in the resources section behind a form. We get many new leads through this.

So, this is how you can streamline the whole webinar exercise to make sure that you get more number of sign-ups and better attendance in your webinar. What has been your experience of running webinars?

Data Source: ON24 Webinar Benchmark Report 2014

Infographics created using Easel.ly

A wide range of questions were asked at the webinar on ‘How to be a Smarter Education Marketer’ conducted by Nilesh Patel, CEO of LeadSquared. Those of you who missed the webinar, here’s a summary of some of the questions asked during that session. You could also listen to the webinar recording on ‘How to be a Smarter Education Marketer’ here.

Smarter Education

Webinar FAQs:

Question 1

What do you think is the best way of promoting online educational services? Is it Facebook ads, AdWords, paid webinars or anything else?

I think you need to try all the education marketing options available to you, one by one. Each of them has a cost to it. It takes a certain bandwidth to do all of that. Let me give you an example. We started doing webinars a long ago. We also did some ground events in Bangalore. We didn’t generate a lot of interest from our ground events. They were not turning into sales for us so we stopped that. Similarly, the important thing here is to measure whatever you are trying so that you are able to conclude if a particular promotional activity is actually helping you drive sales or positive interest.

Question 2

I want to conduct an overseas education survey, but as we know, nobody wants to fill the survey form easily. What can be done to get genuine survey answers from students?

A good way to get answers from surveys is to give them something (some piece of information) in exchange for their response. Now that has to be tangible. Since you said, they are not genuine survey answers, a good way to start would be to potentially think of starting a telephonic survey. Here’s what you need to do.

Let’s say you have a season that starts in August. You can spend some money, like Rs 5000 – 20000 in collecting leads from overseas education consultants and then do a telephonic survey with those leads. While speaking to those leads, you tell them that if they answer 5 questions from your survey, you will send them some offers. This may be a free counselling session or anything else that is relevant and of value to them. You could also  ask your counsellor to send them an email with the survey (presuming that the student would be willing to listen to the counsellor since he/she has already connected with the counsellor).

Question 3

When to decide that the lead has become obsolete and should now be left on its own?

I’m a sales person so I won’t give up until the lead says no. But I think, given the lead volume you have, and if you have fresh leads coming in, you may decide to ignore a lead because it doesn’t fit your ideal customer profile or the profile of the client you want to serve. So what is the ideal customer profile for an overseas education business? Here are a couple of factors that could help you identify that:

  • The student must have the finances required to study abroad
  • The student must have sufficient grades or marks to qualify for that college/university

When you evaluate all of these factors, you will be able to figure out if they fit or don’t fit the customer profile. If they don’t fit one or more factors, then you obviously don’t follow up with them. On the other hand, if they fit, but are already tied up with a consultant, then continue to connect with them and see if there is an option/opportunity to pull them back. However, if the lead becomes unresponsive, even after months of trying, you can ignore it.

Question 4

How about understanding external factors affecting leads? Factors like, other colleges are better than the ones we represent (i.e. competition).

There are wide choices of colleges and there are enough students to fill those choices. Let’s say, if you are only representing certain types of colleges out there, in that case, you have to position only them. There could be other consultants having different colleges or better courses and programs. However, you have to highlight what is good from what you are offering and how it can help the career of the student. I’d suggest you try these things.

If the location of where your college is situated has a tourism appeal or a travel appeal, you can use that to your advantage. That’s something a business would find out as it evolves. It’s about the product that you are offering which is bound to attract a type of student. So, you have to basically get better at identifying those students.

Question 5

What to do when there is a lead who is impatient to listen to all the information?

If the customer doesn’t want to listen to you, then you should listen to them. Hear them out and see if they really want to take your advice. If they don’t want to take your advice, I suggest you move on to the next student.

Question 6

In the education industry, what first hand information should be given to a prospective student?

You see, in the education industry, students go abroad or take a particular course to do something with their lives. First and foremost, you need to make sure that the students know about the services of your business, even before they become a lead. Students would ideally look at your business in terms of how you have helped other students. Testimonials are a great way to get this going. After that, once they come in, you should help them identify what courses or programs will help them in their career. As a counsellor, I would help them identify what choices are available to them which will make a better career for them or open bigger opportunities.

Question 7

Please throw light on costing between inbound and outbound marketing in education business.

Both of them have their own costs. When you say outbound, I’m presuming you mean leads coming in, and then you call them. In that case, you obviously have to decide if your business can afford to do an outbound call for every lead coming in. If your ticket size is small, meaning you make a few thousand rupees from a particular lead, outbound calls don’t really make sense from a business standpoint.

As far as inbound goes, it has multiple channels. This includes, content strategy, paid ads, organic strategy, and so on. You would need to do a mix of all of that to figure out and then proportionally push the lead and allocate the budget. In inbound, the biggest cost would be writing a blog (if it is content strategy). If you write high quality or good content, which is going to be picked up by Google and others, it is going to drive traffic.

Plus, you need people who can turn that content around into a PPT or PDF or a video format and re-purpose that for lead generation. For example, if you have good content in your blog, pick that up and make a SlideShare presentation.

Question 8

What could be the best mode of advertisement to cater to the niche target audience, especially for creating awareness about an emerging profession?

It’s almost like you are introducing a new product or a new concept which people are not aware of. The way to go about doing that is associating that product with a branded product in that category. For example, if you are competing against product A and positioning a new product B, you could write a post about why B is better than A, what are the differences between A and B, and so on. Then, somebody who is searching for A will basically find B.

You could also run ads. In this case, you can run ads on the keywords of A but show B. When they land on your landing page, you basically explain the product. Talk about why B is better than A, using a video or a documentary.

Question 9

If my company provides online as well as offline courses, how do I decide which course to roll out for free, and which one to charge? Also, suggest ways to determine the amount to be charged for a course.

Ideally, when you offer something for free, you would want to collect leads so you can sell them a paid course in future. Hence, the free offer should be of value in the eyes of the visitor, so that they are willing to exchange their information. If they get some value out of that free stuff, there is a high likelihood that you will get them enrolled onto your paid program as well. It’s like a trailer of a movie. The trailer encourages the visitor to see the movie.

Coming to how much you should charge for the course – I think in the online world, if you are selling something (a course in this case), there are multiple ways to do that. You can do price A/B testing. Initially, you could price it for 10,000. A couple of days later, you could price it at 15,000. Over a period of time, you change the pricing. If you find that the demand hasn’t gone down, then there is a price elasticity in the market. This means that you can charge more for the same course and demand is stable. Thus, if you are able to increase the price and the demand remains the same, then maybe there are people out there who can pay more so you can go further.

Question 10

According to you investing in third-party data for education leads is not a good idea right? Kindly elaborate and justify.

If you are referring to buying third-party data, (and this is my personal experience and I have heard this from other customers as well), 50% of the data coming in is junk. People just sell the same data again and again to a hundred people and that data is of no good value. In fact, I have seen the data myself. One of my customers bought data and I looked at it. It had XXX rated words in the email addresses. That comprised more that 10% of the data. The poor quality words in those email addresses reflect the poor quality of data, and the buyer ends up paying for junk leads.

If you have such data, there is a free service which LeadSquared offers, called EmailValidator. If you are buying emails from various sources, it allows you to validate those email addresses.  You can validate each one any number of times and also validate up to 500 email records at a time. Contact us if you need that free service.

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