In the past couple of years, webinars have really begun to help businesses grow. Here at LeadSquared, we have experimented and tried various things to improve and get the most out of our webinar sessions. Some have already been mentioned in this post from 2014. I’m going to add to that list. Here are 4 webinar best practices that will increase your registrations immediately (and I have proof to back it up)!

Webinar Best Practices: #1 Use responsive landing pages

If you attended our webinar on ‘Responsive Design – Modern’s Marketer’s Holy Grail to Conversion Success‘, you would know why responsive landing pages are important. With the increasing number of people surfing the internet on mobile and tablet devices, it would probably make sense to switch to responsive design.

From the time, we switched to responsive landing pages, our webinar registrations (visitor to lead conversions) have increased. And that in turn has helped increase the number of attendees for our webinars!

webinar best practices

Your visitor should be able to register for your webinar without any difficulty and from any device (desktop, laptop or mobile). The idea is to give the visitor a good user experience. A lot of webinar invite pages that are not responsive or mobile-friendly render badly on mobile devices (I am sure you have come across such pages), and that can leave a bad user experience. So get responsive landing pages and implement these webinar best practices!

From the time we started using responsive landing pages, we have a steady turnout (registration to attendee ratio) of about 30% (remember that sometimes our webinar sessions are on specific industries which may not be relevant to one and all – given that, I think it’s pretty decent)! [More stats below] 

Webinar Best Practices: #2 Get autofill landing pages

Autofill landing pages have really turned around our webinar registrations. So what are they? Autofill landing pages are landing pages that already have the person’s details filled in, making it very convenient for the lead to register for the webinar/event. We use autofill forms when we send out our webinar email invitations. Here’s an example of how it works (our regular webinar attendees will be familiar with this):

webinar best practices

Notice the form and the inputs given in each field, in the first image; if you have a sales and marketing system (like LeadSquared) in place, you would already have those details (lead’s name, number, email id, etc.) in the system. So all you need to do is use those inputs (mentioned in the form above) in your landing page URL, and voila!

Benefit of using autofill forms:

  • A lot of people tend to not register for things after seeing a long form that they need to fill – autofill eliminates this and thus, makes the sign-up process more convenient for the user.
  • It really saves a lot of time. Let’s say you are out and you get a webinar mail on your mobile phone. You click on the registration link and you are redirected to the landing page. If it’s an autofill form, you can register in seconds. If it isn’t and you are caught up with something else, it’s more likely that you’d decide to register later and then forget about it.

Now, the part where I provide proof: So we analyzed 40 webinars, 20 prior to using responsive and autofill landing pages and 20 after we started using responsive and autofill landing pages for webinar registrations. The analysis you will see below, is an average of

  • Landing pages visits
  • Landing page conversion rate
  • Number of webinar registrants
  • Number of attendees
  • Turnout percentage
 Average:
Stats of 40 webinars:
Visits
Conversion Rate
Registered
Attended
Turnout %
Before responsive & autofill320.946.19%125.6537.429.72%
After responsive & autofill319.7555.36%134.1539.6530.36%

The average in case of most, suggests that responsive and autofill landing pages have definitely helped in traffic/visit to lead conversions or webinar registrations. The average webinar landing page conversion rate now stands at 55.36%, that’s an increase of over 19%! I would also like to mention here that a lot of the webinars conducted after we switched to responsive and autofill pages have been on industry-specific topics (like education, real estate, hospitality – where the turnout is generally lower since the topic may not be relevant to everyone), and in spite of that, the overall result has been better. So that’s awesome :)

Webinar Best Practices: #3 Experiment with website top bar

Unlike pop-ups, website top bars don’t really annoy visitors but at the same time, attract their attention (which is what you should aim for). Earlier we used a tool called ‘Hello Bar‘ to promote our webinars on the website. But now LeadSquared has its own Top Bar website widget, making it cost-effective, easier to setup and easier to analyze as you don’t have to keep switching tools for simple analysis and reports.

webinar best practices

In our experience, we have seen that having a top bar on our website helped us generate a good number of unique leads. I can’t say the same for our blog but the company website, yes – it definitely helped. Per webinar, we would get at least 4-5 unique webinar registrations from the top bar. 

Webinar Best Practices: #4 Send webinar recording & FAQ

Here at LeadSquared, we have been organizing webinars for a while (about 2 years). After every webinar session, we share the webinar recording and the a post summarizing the session with everyone who registered for the webinar. Some of our more loyal webinar attendees will be able to back me up on this. So now they know that even if they can’t attend the session for some reason, they will surely get a recording and the deck used, once the session is over (provided they registered for it). This information is passed on by word of mouth, encouraging all those who are interested, to at least register for it, even if they can’t attend the session.

webinar best practices

If your business organizes regular webinars, online events and other engagement activities that involve people signing up or registering for it using landing pages, I’d suggest you implement these webinar best practices soon. It will surely make a difference, and in this case, it will definitely impact your webinar registrations. If you aren’t organizing webinars yet but planning to, this session on Leveraging Webinars for Lead Gen Success might convince you to start sooner than you think.

Have you totally given up on Facebook Ads as a lost cause? Or have you wasted another fortune on them without generating good leads? What are you doing wrong? Keep calm and read on.

The reason why you still see so many Ads on Facebook and why so many companies still invest in them is because they work! You see, despite the advent of other social media platforms (like snapchat and Instagram) and the claim that teens are claiming to abandon Facebook, the usage of Facebook is constantly growing.  There are currently 1.49 billion monthly active users on Facebook (as of June 30, 2015). So, Facebook is well and thriving and is an amazing platform to invest in, so long as you know how to use facebook ads for lead generation.

Poor targeting and not using all the incredible features that Facebook offers are generally the problem with non performing ads. So here I shall try to break it down for you. This won’t be a “click this and then do this” post (for frankly, that you can figure out on your own). Rather, I shall focus on what every option on Facebook does and how exactly it shall affect your ad campaign.

Step #1: Picking the right objective

So, first step –is to go to the create Ads button. It is the green button located in the right corner of your Ads manager page. If you happen to be handling multiple pages, remember to choose the correct account from the dropdown. Once you choose this, you will be directed to the Ads home page, which will look something like this:

The objective page

Now begin the hard choices. You shall have to pick an objective for your campaign depending on the kind of results you want. Let us take an example. Say you are running a travel agency and want to promote a new package that offers special discount to travelling couples and an additional discount for couples who have already travelled with you. It will mean

a) Telling the right people about it

b) Having them sign up for it (conversions!)

This latter objective is the key, for it shows us the ultimate aim of our campaign – increasing website conversions.

How to use facebook ads - Selecting the right objective

In the dialogue box that opens, you paste your website/landing page URL and then create the pixel or use an already created pixel. This pixel is rather important as it allows us to track the conversions. We shall paste the pixel in the page that appears after the visitors fill the form. This shall let us track the number of lead conversions we obtain.

Step # 2: Choose the right audience

Do you think that larger the audience, more would be the conversion rate? Wrong. Think again. Sending Ads to everybody you can will give rise to two kinds of problems

a) Irritating your audience – Not only will they form a negative brand impression, but they might also mark your ads as irrelevant, which would adversely affect your reach

b) Unnecessary loss of money – Random people can see your ad

So choose your audience wisely. The good news is that Facebook lets you do a pretty good job at it.

2a) Targeting based on audience group

Facebook has this cool audience setting that allows you to upload a list of customers who are already in your database. You can decide whether to include or exclude this set of prospects, that is, control whether you want them to see the ad or not.

Let’s consider the same example as above where we have two separate offers– for couples who are travelling (and haven’t used your service before) and for existing customers of the agency who get the additional discount. This means, we have to design two ads for each of them. So, for the first ad, we can choose “exclude custom audience” from the menu as it will then show the ad to users who are not on your database. For the second ad, we can opt for “include custom audience” so that the ad detailing the extra discount is shown only to those who have already used the agency’s services.

Another interesting feature is the option “Look alike audience”. Depending upon the audience list we create, Facebook will look at the similarities between them and the rest of the users and build an audience list accordingly. Just imagine, with this feature, you can not only target the leads already in your system but also those who share a host of commonalities with them!

How to use facebook ads - targeting the right audience

2b) Targeting based on demographics:

Let us set the remaining filters for the audience now. We shall choose to send this ad to everyone in the US, from the age of 25 to 65 (as the package is for couples, this is a reasonable age to target) and of all genders (obviously). The Languages filter is not relevant to us right now so we can skip that and move on.

Now, in “more demographics” we shall choose the relationship status of our leads. From unspecified to its complicated, we can select all (package is for couples remember?) and leave out those leads who are currently single. With each selection you would note that the audience range is affected. The potential reach of the ad you have designed so far is given right beneath the audience definition meter. It is highlighted in the image below:

How to use facebook ads - filtering your targeting audience

2c) Targeting based on Interests and behavior:

Well, you are still not done. You can actually refine your audience list more. You can target those leads according to their interests and behavior as well. These options help in reaching your ads to those who might be genuinely interested in them. So people who are interested in travelling and who are planning a trip are the perfect audience for this package. Choosing these options from the dropdown will help you narrow your list further.

How to use facebook ads - narrowing down your target audience further

2d) Targeting based on connections

Now comes a very interesting filter – targeting people based on their connections. You can choose to send your ads to only those who like your page (for the second ad that applies to repeat customers), or to the friends of those who like your page (for the first ad that is for travelling couples) or completely exclude them. The same list goes for any App and events that you might be conducting.

How to use facebook ads - more focused audience targeting

There you go! You have created a highly targeted (but not too small) range of audience who are the most likely to be interested in your promotion! Now, you can save this selection of audience for future use or just for tracking purposes.

 Step #3:  Budget planning

A successful campaign has wise funds allocation behind it. So let us get down to that.

How to use your facebook ad - budget planning

Facebook being the gentleman it is, shall very nicely ask you how much you want to spend and even recommend choices. We shall choose a lifetime budget of 15,000 bucks for our ad since this package is available for a limited period. A daily budget can be for promoting your regular packages or tours and not for one time offers like what we are considering right now. Following this, we shall also specify the timeline. We don’t want the ads to be run after the package has expired, now would we?!

Right, now comes an important option for the campaign (in the advanced option category). How to pay for it. The most successful lead gen campaigns have reportedly been optimized for website conversions (which is measured in impressions, CPM). On selecting this option, Facebook targets those who are inclined to visit websites because of an ad and take an action (good guy Facebook).

So you can be reasonably sure that those people who see your ad are likely to go to the website and perhaps fill out a form or subscribe to your newsletter or basically be converted into a lead (that is our objective remember?!).  The other options are paying for per click on your ad: Cost per Click and Daily Reach: where it the ad is served maximum once a day to the user. Since we can never be sure if this can result in a conversion, these options are not always ideal.

How to use your facebook ad - optimizing your budget

We shall now schedule the times when our Ads can be seen, based on when they are most likely to browse Facebook. It could be on the way to work, during lunch time or on their way back home or a little later in the night. Their browsing patterns will definitely vary on a weekend, when they might have more time during the day and not limited to lunch hours and lesser time in the evenings due to other plans. These insights can be obtained from the Post Insight page that Facebook offers (snapshot below).

How to use your facebook ads - using the post insights

Using this, we can time when to show our Ads. So our Ad schedule will look something like this:

How to use facebook ads - scheduling your Ads

Step # 4 Creating the Ad

Well, there is nothing left to decide but the actual ad itself. What pictures and videos we can show that will make the most impression on the users and writing out the text that will catch their attention. It is also recommended that the option of more than one image per ad is used. Not because variety is the spice of life and all that, but because this way, we can find out which image performs better and Facebook will automatically start the better performing image to everyone.

The last thing to do is decide where the ad will be displayed,

a) Desktop newsfeed

b) Mobile news feed (never discount your mobile users)

c) The right column of the desktop (right below trending topic)

d) On third party mobile aps.

[ Quick Tip: When paying for impressions (in the budget section), right column ads is not a good option as they might not catch the eye. You will just end up losing money. For mobile news feed ads, make sure your landing pages are responsive.]

Now pay for it. And you are DONE! So, what are you still doing here? Tell us what you think and then go create your own Facebook ad. If it reaches me, I shall give a holler.

“Trying to increase sales simply by driving more traffic to a website with a poor customer conversion rate is like trying to keep a leaky bucket full by adding more water instead of plugging the holes.”

– Bryan Eisenberg, author of Call to Action

Your website is an online representation of your business and surely you wouldn’t want leads to get turned off at the first glance. If traffic to lead conversion is a problem for you, these mistakes might be the culprits:

1. High page load time

If your website pages take ages to load, trust me, most of your traffic would just bounce off.

For instance, if you are an ecommerce business and your product pages take years to load, you probably just lost a sale.

I’ll give you another example. Recently I was comparing two software systems for a marketing report. I took a trial of both. One of them had a really slow page load time. That right there was a big negative for me and I would assume for all marketers.

website conversions

There are a number of elements that can be fixed to reduce the page load time:

  • Choose an appropriate hosting plan
  • Reduce the number of external resources required to fetch data
  • Reduce the number of redirects
  • Reduce image size (tools like Smush It would help)
  • Get rid of broken links (Use BrokenLinkChecker and W3C’s Link Checker to find them)

Also do check out 5 Ways Your Site Speed Kills Conversion (and How to Fix It)

2. Unnavigable structure

A website with too many tabs, a lot of writing, and multiple dropdowns would create a lot of clutter and confusion on the website. This is what you can do to avoid that:

website conversions

  • Don’t have generic navigation labels
  • Place the most important items towards the beginning or the end
  • Have ample white spaces
  • Keep a brief copy
  • Avoid dropdowns if you can
  • Reduce the clutter
  • Use UserTesting to get real users to test your website structure

3. Wrong message and positioning

Bad copy can even make even the most relevant traffic bounce off. Moreover, it’s not just the copy that one should take into consideration; it’s how and where you position it that makes a difference.  Here are a few tips that you could implement straightaway.

  • Copy must strike a chord with your prospects
  • Keep your buyers’ persona in mind while creating the copy
  • Keep the copy updated – Review website copy at least every 6 months if not sooner

website conversions

4. Low credibility

For me, this is a really important factor, especially if it’s a small or medium-sized business. Some sort of customer feedback or verified logo from a credible source would go a long way in establishing credibility for the business.

I personally get excited when I see logos of big brands on certain business websites. It automatically establishes some credibility in my eyes. Good testimonials from customers, especially for those in education, health and wellness, and hospitality businesses, would definitely make a difference in terms of traffic to lead conversion. I read as many reviews/testimonials I can before I invest in such services.

To build credibility on your website, here are a few things you could do:

  • Add customer logos
  • Have customer testimonials in text/video format
  • Provide some kind of money back guarantee
  • Get verified by some authority/independent party

website conversions

5. Poorly mapped conversion paths, wrong offers & CTAs

A CTA would make it or break it, as far as website conversions go. The best way to figure out what’s working and what’s not is to try different things – the color, position on the site, offer, copy, etc. Not just that, if you are offering a specific freebie, make sure the lead gets that specific freebie.

For instance, if you have a real estate website and you are offering a free real estate buying guide in the form of an e-book, make sure you give that once the lead fills the form. If you have an education business and you are offering ‘last 10 years’ kind of question paper, see that the student gets it once he / she fills the form.

website conversions

This is what you need to look at if you think there is a problem with your conversion paths and CTAs:

  • Review your existing conversion paths, CTAs, and Offers
  • Find the problem points, and
  • Map out more logical conversion paths.

There are the most common mistakes marketers make that are probably killing your website conversions. Fix this and a lot can change in terms of website conversions. What conversions mistakes can you admit to have made?

Landing Page vs Home Page

My friend Dhiraj and I landed in “Greens Bar and Restaurant” on a Thursday evening at 7 pm. “Greens” is a one of the rare Garden Resto-Bars in Bangalore, very literal to its name. We sat at our usual places. A waiter put the water glasses down and handed us the menu.

As Dhiraj scanned through the menu, a flyer slipped out. It read “Happy hours on Beer- Flat 50% off (11 am -8 pm)”

Forget the menu, Beer Ordered. Conversion!

The menu is the homepage of the Restaurant and the flyer is the landing page. The offer may have been printed on the Menu (homepage) also, but

  • The chances of it getting lost in other items were more.
  • It is not realistic to reprint the menu each time for a new offer.

They are the top two reasons why landing pages are as popular as they are.

  • Specific offer– No navigation links. No distractions. There is only one action to take, and that is conversion.
  • Flexibility– It is easier and cost effective to create a landing page, rather than remodeling the website for the new offer every time.

We would possibly have ordered beer anyway, but a nice flyer with shiny mugs and a bold offer made the decision much quicker, practically a no-brainer.

That is the beauty of a landing page. It increases the chances of conversion substantially.

Let’s take another example – from education industry.

If you have two courses – an undergraduate and a postgraduate, would you offer both of them on one single page? You shouldn’t.

The target audience for both the courses is different, and so are their priorities and concerns; doesn’t it make sense to have separate landing pages for each too?

What has your experience been in using landing pages against home pages? I would love to hear your opinion.

Ideal customer acquisition process

Are you certain that your customer acquisition process is in the best possible form? If yes, good job, you can stop reading now.

However, if your current system and your people are desperately trying to cope with managing and converting the constant inflow of incoming leads, read on.

Maybe, you are still managing things on an excel sheet; maybe you have invested in a high-end CRM tool and still find it a challenge. Or maybe, you have cobbled together what you have read from multiple places and have your fingers crossed and praying like hell it works. In any case, your customer acquisition process is not the smoothest in the world.

Well, honestly, it is hard to determine whether anybody’s is. You see, there are things that work for some, work great for some and the same things that miraculously fail for others. The trick is to have in place a basic streamlined customer acquisition process that you can tweak regularly depending upon your requirement.

So what constitutes this basic streamlined process? Though the list can go on and on, you need to focus on just these aspects to begin with.

The first of these is lead capture and management

Consider that you are in the Spa business. Thanks to your strategically placed ads, you are generating a number of leads through your landing pages, inbound chat, telephonic calls and even say, through Justdial. Now, the chances are that all these leads are being captured separately (based on their source), then manually collated and then distributed to the various centers across town. This data fragmentation will result in a high amount of lead leakage.

Lead leakage reduces efficacy of your customer acquisition proccess

However, if a system that allows for unified lead capture from multiple sources was used, then the problem can be easily avoided. To further automate the process, the same system can also be programmed  to distribute the leads acquired to various outlets upon lead capture. Not only will this provide complete clarity on each prospect, but will also reduce the turnover time of each lead.

The second is providing lead insights

Because of your marvelously efficient lead capture method, numerous leads are flowing in. Managing the queue is up to you. In the same example as above, say a lead is looking at the pricing page of a facial and spends quite some time there, while another is just randomly surfing through your website. How will you know which one to prioritize? Imagine following up and wasting time on leads who take a lot of time and effort to convince or are least interested in what you have to offer, while a much more promising prospect slips away. Frightening isn’t it? Well,   things like activity tracking, lead scoring and engagement scoring will help you rate the quality of the lead and thus prioritize them.

Role of engagement scoring in customer acquisition

“Why so many?” you ask? Trust me, you need them. Imagine for instance, that the lead downloads a hair spa brochure and then looks at a spa video on your website. The prospect also opens a recent email notification you have sent. This lead is highly engaged with what you have to offer and has a high engagement score. Another prospect who shows no interest in opening your emails and even marks them as spam ranks less here. You can focus on those with a higher score first and increase your chances of turning them into customers. Lesser effort, lesser time, more customers! Yaay!

Then comes lead nurturing

So what happens to those people who don’t seem that ready to invest in you just yet?  Well, they enter a whole process cycle assigned just for them called lead nurturing.

The insights you gathered previously come in handy right now. Based on their past behavior (the kind of spa brochure they have downloaded or the service they have bought) you can send them trigger based emails and SMS about new offers and products so that you stay in their minds and connect with them from time to time to gently make your presence felt. This is even more important in e-commerce businesses, where nurturing can help bring back customers who abandon their cart at the last minute. It means that they are interested in the product, they want to buy – but need  a final push to actually hit the ‘Buy Now’ button. 

If you want to improve your customer acquisition process in the e-commerce business, check out these interesting strategies tailor made for your industry.

Followed by sales management

Imagine this scenario: a very engaged and ‘hot’ lead has been handed over to your sales team. This lead has been browsing the various hair spa brochures and offers pertaining to that. Your sales personnel, lacking all insights into his activity knows only that he is interested in a spa calls him and makes a unspecific sales pitch. This results in the lead losing interest very quickly and declining the offer or requesting more time. Either way, it is an opportunity lost to close a deal. This can be avoided when there is a centralized viewing of data that can improve the decision making skills of your sales team as well. Customer acquisition process not integrated with CRM leads to confusion

If the customer acquisition platform that you have also allows for CRM functions (like setting up reminders, task management, contact management etc.), then the sales personnel can benefit from the lead insights generated and not use two different systems. So, instead of having a separate tool for customer acquisition and CRM, a unified tool that allows for both functions will be a lot more efficient.

And finally – analytics

Wouldn’t you like to know more about your leads from the revenue stand point as well? Imagine analyzing  not just lead behavior but also identifying the best and the worst lead sources. Or having insights into the performance of your sales personnel, like who is bringing in the highest number of deals, how they do it, how much time they take to win a customer etc.  Such in depth marketing and sales insights will give you a clearer picture of where you need to improve.

Planning an ideal customer acquisition proccess

This is where analytics comes in and helps you make wiser, more informed decisions to tweak your process till it works optimally for you. Don’t forget to factor it in along with all the other aspects listed above!

What do you think? Does your customer acquisition process have all these attributes? Do you think more are needed? Leave a comment and let us know!!

Bonus: Also, here is an article on what you should be spending on customer acquisition.

In our last webinar, we talked about what businesses can do to leverage their webinars for lead generation success. Guest panelist Jerry Jose, from BusinessMojos ran the session and talked about the importance of webinars in the marketing process, what role do they play in the marketing funnel, case studies where businesses have benefitted from it, and some webinar marketing best practices.

In case you missed it, you can watch the recording below:

Webinars for Lead Generation

Visit our blog for more webinar recordings and marketing articles.