Best Practices for Webinar Landing Pages

January 27, 2014

Webinars are a great way to generate leads in the B2B world because not only of the fact that you will have a captive audience for the duration of most of the presentation, it also yields a ton of content possibilities. But what good is all the work in putting together a nice webinar if your registration rates suck? The problem could be with your webinar registration or landing page.

It might sound trivial, after all webinars are routine for many B2B marketing organizations, but if you take a look at most webinar registration pages, some of them lack good design and basic optimization techniques.

Let’s take a look at some examples:

HubSpot:

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For all the good content that HubSpot puts out there, the registration page for their webinars is quite bad. The copy is short, which is what you should aim for, but take a look at the registration form itself. It’s like they decided to embed an iframe of some sort and didn’t bother making it work… it just goes on and on forever. And it asks a lot of questions people may not be willing to disclose at the moment of signing up for a webinar.

Then, the webinar details like duration and presenters are all the way to the bottom. And, if you look closely, you can’t even find the date and time of the webinar. My suggestion is for you to not do it this way.

webinar registration from marketo

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Marketo:
Here’s a nice designed webinar page. Most of Marketo’s webinars follow the same design style with the webinar title at the top, the date and time clearly stated upfront (time is in both PT and ET), a short copy with three bullet points and simple registration form on the right asking just the basics. At the bottom, they show a headshot of presenters with just their title.

SAP:

SAP Webinar

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This is an interesting example of a “webinar series” done badly. The landing page shows a ton of copy, a plethora of options and unless you take the time to carefully read everything you probabaly give up before signing up. Not to mention the registration form asks for way more than you should.

Splunk:

Splunk

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Splunk is using Webex’s webinar registration template, so there’s not much they can do here but it is not bad. Although not very well desgined, it does have good points such as using short copy that is direct and to the point with three bullets. Lists the speakers below and asks for just the basic info for registration.

Rackspace:

rackspace webinar

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This is an example of a bad webinar registration page that has a tremendous amount of copy, each speaker bio is like a book which makes it look like a long list on the right way past the registration form. The good thing here is that the form is pretty simple, so if the email invitation was enticing and you don’t care too much about the landing page, you can just register and get done with it.

GigaOm:

GigaOm Webinar

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This sample webinar page from GigaOm is nicely designed making good use of space, and not trying to do too much. I like that the title of the webinar is big and the first thing on the top and the time and date are right below it, but it would have been better if they had shown the time in EST as well. The speakers are prominently displayed without using too much space and they did a good job with breaking apart sections like “what will be discussed” and “who should attend” which can help entice people to register.

If I were to fix a few things, I would focus first on the weird spacing on the bullets that is pushing everything down and making it look taller than needed.

Takeaways

There is a ton of other examples out there you can check out and look at your company’s own webinar registration pages. Here are what I consider to be best practices. But don’t take my word for it, I encourage you to make your own tweaks and test. Come up with your own set of rules for your webinar landing pages based on what converts the most.

1. Make sure the title of the webinar is prominently displayed on top. You want people to recognize the landing page whether coming from an email clickthru, a social media link or a Skype IM.

2. The date and time should be clearly displayed and preferably with East Coast / West Coast time zones if a US based webinar or other relevant time zones based on your audience.

3. Short copy with bullets to quickly indicate what the webinar is about and why should potential attendees register. If you are trying to explain too much, you are doing it wrong.

4. Speaker names, titles and short bios. Bonus points for adding a headshot.

5. Short registration form, asking only the very minimum. The more you ask, the less likely you will get quality data and it will also decrease registrations.

6. Simple and clean design to emphasize the key aspects of the webinar will help conversions. Don’t overdue it, though.

7. Registration button clearly placed next to the form (typically at the bottom).

8. Makes sure your company logo doesn’t dominate the registration page. You are not selling the company, you are selling the webinar content.

9. Sharing icons for twitter, facebook and linkedin can help people spread the word and share with their network, increasing registration rates. For bonus points, add a ‘suggested tweet’ with hashtags and all for them to promote with just one click.

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The New Rules of Lead Generation: Book Review

April 30, 2013

I was fortunate to receive a copy of “The New Rules of Lead Generation“, by David T. Scott, for review. As I read the book I couldn’t help but notice that the author not only goes straight to the point (which is refreshing), he also shows a good deal of experience illustrating each lead generation tactic with clear examples.

The author, David T. Scott, is the founder and CEO of Marketfish, a data management and lead generation platform. Prior to Marketfish, David served as VP of Marketing for PeopleSoft and Intermec, and also has  Boston Consulting Group and GE in his resume. His solid business background shows that he is not just a “consultant”, “marketing guru” or some “speaker”.

But is this book for you? I hope the following review helps you make up your mind.New Rules of Lead Generation Book

New and Old Rules

First, I’ve got to say that the title left me a bit uncertain. I have read the other David Scott (the one with Meerman in the middle) book “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” and know that he has started a series of “new rules” books and eBooks. So my first impression was that David T. Scott (or his publisher) was trying to jump on the well known “new rules” title created by another author and take advantage of it.

Leaving the issue of the title aside, the book doesn’t focus only on “new” lead generation tactics like social media and online advertising but instead it gives you a more comprehensive roadmap for implementing a lead generation program at your company using both tried-and-true lead gen tactics like direct mail and cold calling and social media advertising, display advertising, and search engine marketing.

The Basics and More

The book starts off talking about basics of lead generation, how to develop your strategy, and gives an overview of each tactic. The first 5 chapters set up the stage and are great for someone new to marketing or that is interested in getting a better understanding of lead generation. The remaining 11 chapters go deep into each tactic.

Planning Your Strategy

According to David, there are 5 steps to a successful lead generation program:

1. Determine and plan your approach
2. Research and discover your target customer
3. Build your assets
4. Execute your test campaign
5. Measure

And he adds a ‘sixth’ step: Repeat!

Sounds simple and trivial, but unless you and your marketing organization are in sync as to what needs to get done to setup your lead gen program, it will be tough to get good (and measureable) results.

One thing I really liked was that he mentions in several places throughout the book the importance of coordinating your lead generation tactis and testing. He says “You are constantly testing and anlyzing your results to see which lead generation tactic works best for you”. This is important, because you don’t want to go ahead and spend money on certain tactics just because your competitor is doing it or because it is being talked about in the media. Testing is important if you want to improve your lead gen results.

Lead Generation Tactics

The 7 lead generation tactics that the author believes are the most successful ones are:

  • SEM
  • Social Media Advertising
  • Display Advertising
  • Email Marketing
  • Cold Calling
  • Direct Mail
  • Trade Shows

There’s one chapter for each of the tactics. Although you won’t get a lot of deep information on the many ways to use a certain tactic, it will get you up to speed on what exactly each one is and how it is used.

Lead Gen Basics

As I said earlier, this book focuses on the basics of lead generation. Having said that, I think the book is missing a couple of important topics. First, the author presents the reader with the AIDA framework, a model that every marketer should know. It would have been better, however, if he also had introduced the reader to the SiriusDecisions demand waterfall model that is becoming prevalent in larger B2B organizations and a key component in any discussion about lead generation tactics.

Another point I think was not stressed enough in the book is the importance of defining what exactly constitutes a lead and how this seemingly simple concept can be the cause for a great divide between sales and marketing, especially because the book is aimed not at the experienced marketer but the beginner.

Finally, is not until chapter 5 that the author talks about the marketing and sales funnel, discussing the concepts of Marketing Qualified Lead, Sales Accepted Lead, Sales Qualified Lead, and Sales Qualified Opportunity. I think that it would have been better to have brought up the funnel earlier in the book to set the stage for how different lead generation tactics should help drive and move leads from one stage to another.

Regardless of these issues, the book is still a good source of information for those starting off in their marketing careers.

For more information about the book, check it out on Amazon and on the book’s website.


Maximizing Marketing Spend with Attribution Models

February 20, 2013

Note: This is a guest post by Ashley Verrill.

Once upon a time, marketers just played the quantities game. Pay for the biggest audience you can afford – whether that’s a billboard, newspaper advertisement, radio or otherwise – and trust that increased sales after the fact resulted from that investment. Well, times have changed. Today’s marketer can target prospects to an increasingly granular degree and measure return on spend to the cent.

But this ability raises another issue. With so many options available, it’s difficult to know where to prioritize your spend. Which channels move your ideal customer down the sales funnel fastest? Which content produces the highest quality lead, and does it matter where we measure this success in the customer journey?

Marketing automation solutions reviewer, Software Advice, created this video guide recently to help guide businesses along this uncertain terrain. Analytics expert Laura Patterson describes step by step how to create an attribution model. This method maps channels and content along your customer journey, then identifies those with the highest rate of success for moving contacts to conversion.

LauraPatterson_Video

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About Ashley Verrill
Ashley Verrill is a market analyst that writes for theSoftware Advice. She has spent the last six years reporting and writing business news and strategy features. Her work has appeared in myriad publications including Inc., Upstart Business Journal, the Austin Business Journal and the North Bay Business Journal. Before joining Software Advice in 2012, she worked in sales management and advertising. She is a University of Texas graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.


Your Content Focus: Narrow vs Wide

February 19, 2013

After getting your first content marketing pieces out there, the question usually revolves around “what’s next?”. Startups who are strapped for cash and resources want to know if they should go wide, trying to reach more industries or segments, or if they should narrow their focus and create additional content materials to go deeper into the segment they have already started to work with. In established companies the question is similar, but it often is a question of where to focus their resources to get the best results.

When asked about the narrow vs wide focus in content marketing, my first question is always “what is your goal?”. Do you want to generate leads to the top of the funnel or do you need to close deals that are being worked on right now? Do you need to test whether your message is on target (based on your buyer personas) or do you need to get prospects through the marketing funnel and further qualify them?

These are simple, but important questions. I’ve seen lengthy discussions arise because the marketing team is not in sync. Some want to go after additional industries so that the message can be spread out and the company name (or product) can become known elsewhere. Others don’t want to “abandon” leads they have already generated and argue for more nurturing campaigns with content that will guide those leads down to eventually close a sale.

So how do you solve this? I believe it is a matter of understanding a few important things before making a decision, such as:

  1. How long is your sales cycle?
  2. Who are the decision makers and all the personas involved?
  3. What content has already been created?
  4. Which content pieces were successful in the past and why?
  5. What is the profile of your ideal customer?

Number 5, although the last one, is typically the first thing your company should know. This sounds obvious but for startups it might take them a while until they figure out who exactly is their ideal customer, which can change from the day they set out to actually sell the product until they close their first few deals.

If you have a relatively short sales cycle, then developing content focused on driving leads down the marketing funnel to help close deals might be the best bet. If, on the other hand, you don’t expect deals to close within the next 6 months, then you can afford to verge off track for a bit and create content for other industries/personas/segments and come back later with additional content for existing leads.

Whatever your decision, make sure you understand what and why you are doing it and have some metrics in place to tell you what is working and why.


How to Build a Lead Scoring Program

June 7, 2012

By Ashley Furness, guest blogger and Software Advice market analyst

Every company wants high leads volume – but not prioritizing those opportunities can leave sales wasting time on leads that will never buy, while the best prospects fall through the cracks.

Fortunately, an effective lead scoring program can address this problem. Below is a two-part video series from Software Advice that outlines tips for creating such a program. In it, VisionEdge Marketing President Laura Patterson demonstrates how to use “fit” and “behavior” metrics to rate your leads. Then, what to do with the scores once they are determined.

To measure fit, she recommends using questions that help decide if the potential buyer is a match the company and its products. This can include queries such as: Is it in the right market? Is it the right kind of company? Is this person the decision maker? Do they have the right kind of problem? Does our product solve that problem?

Behaviors, on the other hand, are observable actions that show where the prospect is in the buying process. To create these metrics, first map out your buying process pipeline – from first contact, for example, to fills out online quote form. Next, decide on metric behaviors for each one of the incremental buying process actions.

Once you have these metrics and create a scale for each, your team can decide what scores trigger marketing or sales action.

This content was provided by Software Advice.


Getting Started Guide for Marketing Automation

June 1, 2012

With all the (deserved) hype surrounding marketing automation, is no wonder that many companies, startups especially, are adding the technology as a key component to their marketing activities. Problem is, sometimes the rush to get the software installed and running ends up trampling the creation of processes, content planning, and other key ingredients that are necessary for a successful marketing automation implementation.

But let’s say you got approval and have purchased the marketing automation software of your dreams. Now what? Before you jump into it head first and spend countless hours setting up all the landing pages, workflows, and start messing with scoring models it’s best to take a step back and make sure you and all your team are in sync. So here’s a quick “getting started” guide that looks at the marketing automation implementation process from a 10,000 foot view and gets you ready to used what will become your most important lead generation engine.

Getting Started with Marketing Automation

Step 1: Sales and Marketing Alignment and Documentation

If you did your marketing automation purchase following best practices, the sales team (or at least sales management) was involved to help make the selection. If not, stop what you are doing and meet with the sales leadership. Make sure that you have documented (yes, written somewhere so that everyone can see) a few important definitions such as:

  • What is a lead (and expand it to include MQL, SQL, SAL and any other relevant lead stages)?
  • What does the sales and marketing funnels look like?
  • How and in which stage will marketing hand leads off to sales?
  • Will leads be saved to the CRM or will they stay in the MA solution until they are qualified?
  • How will marketing get feedback from sales?

Step 2: Buyer Personas

If you don’t have your buyer personas documented yet, now is a good time to get started. Make sure to validate with sales and other relevant departments. The personas will help drive your content marketing efforts and your lead nurturing programs.

Step 3: Content Marketing Audit

Conduct a content marketing audit and have an inventory of your marketing assets. Content drives marketing automation, so the best starting point is to understand what you already have. You can then start leveraging those assets with your marketing automation solution while you and your team craft new content.

Step 4: The Content Marketing Plan

Plug the resulting content inventory into a matrix containing the buyer personas and the sales cycle (different lead stages). The resulting spreadsheet or matrix will show you gaps you have in your content plan and also which content will be used in which stage for which type of buyer. This is the framework you will need for your nurturing campaigns.

Step 5: Scoring Model

Lead scoring is a tool that requires constant refinement and that will become a key element in helping you track your leads through the funnel. Scoring will require involvement of sales, and of understanding what piece of content or which demographical information from your prospect is more relevant when qualifying a lead. You can automate the sending of emails all day long but unless you have a thought-out scoring model you won’t be using the MA system to its full potential. You can go back to that content marketing matrix you created earlier and start plugging scores for the different types of content, or use it to guide conversation with sales on how to score leads.

Step 6: CRM Integration

Sure, during the vendor presentation the integration between CRM and the marketing automation solution was shown as seamless and easy. If you have the standard flavor of Salesforce.com with no customizations or if you are a startup just beginning to make use of the CRM system, then integration won’t be a problem. For other companies where the CRM system has been extensively customized, or if you already had different ways (screens, triggers, etc.) of managing your leads then you need to make sure that the marketing automation software won’t mess things up especially with how your sales team operates (another great reason to involve sales early in the process). Basically, make sure you understand how the integration works and how leads will be synced to the CRM and what the feedback loop looks like.

Step 7: Short-Term and Long-Term Marketing Automation

You can’t wait to get started, and that’s fine, but think ahead and create a short-term versus long-term plan. There are many things you can start doing right now, such as working on the registration pages and ensuring all web-based content is being captured by the MA system, leveraging existing marketing assets and start creating simple nurturing campaigns, and take advantage of events and other marketing programs that are around the corner and get your marketing automation system to support them.

As you get started using marketing automation, don’t forget to go back to the content marketing grid or matrix you created and plan for the future. What types of content do you need to create? What messages make sense based on different buyer stages and personas? Map out more complex nurturing flows based on different types of customers, products, and behaviors. Rinse and repeat.

Where to Go From Here

If implementing Marketing Automation seems like a daunting task, then I hope that this short “getting started” guide has helped to break things into smaller, manageable pieces. There are also a few very good free resources on the internet that you can read as you get started, such as:

Happy automation!


Demand Generation and Lead Management Explained

December 20, 2011

Last week Carlos Hidalgo, CEO of the Annuitas Group, shared on the Software Advice bloga nice video explaining two basic concepts that are often used interchangeably by vendors and even analysts in the Marketing Automation space but should in fact be treated as separate concepts: Demand Generation and Lead Management.

Demand Generation vs. Lead Management

According to Carlos, Demand Generation has two goals:

  1. Filling the funnel
  2. Engaging with prospect throughout the funnel

And Lead management is the process used to ensure there is a link between marketing and sales to prevent leads leaking out, falling out of the funnel.

How About Marketing Automation?

On a second video, Carlos then explains that Marketing Automation will not be the only solution for your demand genreation and lead management, but it can support both processes. It is the technology behind your demand / lead processes.

Marketing Automation basically enables your content to reach your buyer at the right time in the buying cycle.

Nice job, Carlos!


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