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:

Click to enlarge

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

Click to enlarge

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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How to Include Webinars in Your Content Plan

May 21, 2012

If the myriad of webinar platforms out there with new entrants every year is not an indication that webinars are hot marketing tactic, then take a look at the following chart from MarketingSherpa:

MarketingSherpa B2B inbound tactics chart

Webinars, together with virtual events were ranked top three marketing tactics to have their budgets increased in 2011. The same result was voiced by Focus Research, pointing to webinars as one of the most valuable tools for B2B marketers.


Supporting this sentiment, MarketingSherpa puts Webinars again at top three most effective lead generation tactics.

MarketingSherpa Effective Lead Generation Tactics

All Webinars Are Not the Same

Problem is, knowing that webinars are a good tool to have in your marketing arsenal is not enough. To get the most out of it, make sure to include it as part of your content planning efforts and use the best type of webinar to the best type of persona. For example, consider the following types of webinars and how they can be used:

What: Product demo
Focus: Product features and functions
Typical Audience: Prospects that are evaluating solutions, technical buyers, training of new employees or business partners

What: New product release walkthrough
Focus: Key features of the new release, benefits of upgrading
Typical Audience: Current customers on previous release, sales team, business partners

What: Customer training
Focus: Step-by-step product walkthrough, business scenarios, best practices
Typical Audience: New customers, existing customers with new users

What: Case Study
Focus: One or more customers of your product tell their story of how it helped them overcome a problem that others in their industry also face
Typical Audience: Early stage prospects, current customers of another product (cross-sell) or different version (up-sell)

What: Educational (non-product)
Focus: Topic relevant to your prospective buyer
Typical Audience: Suspects, early stage prospects

And these are just a few examples. You can also host partner webinars where you host training sessions for business partners, you could do employee training webinars that talk to new employees about policies and procedures or guide them on how the company works, and you could have sales training webinars where tips are shared or new products are showcased.

Mapping Webinars to Your Content Plan

Webinars are a great channel to include in your content marketing plan. If you plan on creating a eBook or Whitepaper, a webinar is a great way to promote the highlights of what the whitepaper or eBook is about. New product coming out? Get a webinar in addition to the typical press release. Going to a trade show? Host a webinar the week prior to the show and give tips on how to make the most out of the show. Just came from a trade show? Host a webinar to share all the great stuff you learned during the show.

The longer webinars (more than 30 mins) can later be chopped down into easily digestible segments and posted on your Youtube channel. For the product demo webinars, you can also select specific segments of the recording and place them throughout the website to give emphasis to certain features of the product.

Customer testimonial webinars are great to include in your website and you can select key moments of a series of testimonials and stitch them together and publish as a Testimonial Reel.

Not all webinars are created the same, but each type can enhance your content plan and provide one more channel for your customers, prospects, partners, and even employees.


The Challenges in Adoption of Marketing Technology

May 3, 2011

A recent webinar hosted by Neolane, “Crack the Code – Getting C-Suite Buy-In for Your Marketing Tech Purchases” had a very interesting presentation by Suresh Vital from Forrester Research.
Based on a recent report on Marketing Technology Adoption for 2011, the findings of their research shed some light on the challenges we face when it comes to marketing technology.

The Goal of Marketing Software

The need for marketing software comes from the necessity to better understand customer behavior across multiple channels. Companies need to be able to track and measure customer interactions from a reliable source and that has driven a lot of the recent interest in Marketing Automation and Customer Intelligence technologies. The goal is to make use of cross channel marketing strategies to target the customer at the right moment and influence purchase decisions.

Not a new trend, but rather a need that has ben greatly amplified by the prevalence of social media channels which in turn is making companies look for technology solutions. Without solid customer data, cross channel strategies become increasingly difficult to implement.

Marketers as Technologists

According to Forrester’s research, data driven marketers are divided about technology investments. 53% of Customer Intelligence professionals (those who own the customer data and are responsible for customer analytics) consider themselves as technology leaders while 47% said they were technology followers.

While personalities play a role, I think corporate policies and the marketing leadership play a big role in shaping up how marketing technology is brought into the company.

Mobile technologies were also a clear trend for 2011, having the majority of marketers saying they are planning on using or increasing the use of mobile marketing technology. Improving customer experience across channels was also top of mind.

Technology and the Marketing Budget

Technology accounts for 10 to 14% of the marketing budget, according to the research. Marketers are starting to play a strong role in defining the needs and in the selection process when it comes to purchasing marketing technology. This is a shift from the traditional back-seat marketers take for software purchases, typically letting the IT department decide.

27% of marketers say they are the final decision makers

Adoption Problems with Marketing Technology

A surprising finding was that the most important criteria for selection of marketing technology is cost, quickly followed by functional alignment.

82% of respondents say cost is number one factor in deciding marketing technology

This means marketers are settling for solutions that are more economical as long as they match most of their needs. Those solutions that praise themselves for being the all encompassing [fill in the blank] for marketing may be surprised to find out that they are losing deals to lesser competitors simply because of pricing, but that’s not all they should focus on.

As part of the adoption issues, the research found out that the top three barriers for using marketing technology are:

  • 49% Cost
  • 47% Uncertain ROI
  • 40% No Budget

This makes sense. With markeeting budgets still being threatened due to economic uncertainty, marketers are pressed to justify their purchases and show ROI. New tools on the block (social media monitoring and others are the likely candidates) may have a tough time showing solid ROI, therefore their purchases being delayed. Vendors should therefore really work with their customers and prospects in trying to justify the purchase. Marketers also need to work on their justifications and their business cases to make senior management understand why a technology can help the company especially when Facebook, Twitter, and other channels are still a mystery for most corporate executives.


Making the Most of Your Webinars

February 7, 2011

A recent report from On24, “Webcast Benchmarks and Best Practices for Lead Generation“,  has some interesting numbers when it comes to how webinars are being used and their effectiveness at lead generation. Take for instance the following:

  • The average webcasts captures 441 registrants
  • Attendee participation is usually 50-60% of registrations
  • 15-30% of registrants are sales-qualified opportunities

The numbers above should be enough for you to go back to your own metrics and see how you compare. Sure, depending on your industry the numbers might be skewed but at least you have a benchmark and something to show (or not!) senior management when your results are being questioned.

The report goes a bit further and also tells us that 52% of all registrations occur within 10 days before a scheduled webinar and 15% registering on the day of the webcast. In my experience this is accurate, and sometimes during the day (or the day before) of the event tends to bring an increasing number of new registrations. We are all procrastinators it seems when it comes to registering for online events.

What’s the ROI of webcasting?

According to the survey webcasts have a $22.60 cost per registrant for those with an average of 441 registrants and $39 per participant if the average is 256 participants. I personally think these numbers are high, but it depends heavily on the webinar platform you’re using. On24 is not the lowest priced one on the market (Adobe Connect, WebEx, and GoToWebinar all charge less for webinars), but this should be easy enough for you to calculate for your specific situation. Oh, but note that the cost involves “audience generation programs, to produce and promote a webcast”, so you have to add your email marketing costs (again, different platforms will charge differently) and any additional method you typically use to get people to register and attend.

I encourage you to download the FREE report from On24 and check out some additional nuggets that can help you evaluation your own webcasting program.


More Free Marketing Training

September 23, 2009

Who doesn’t like free stuff? I sure do, especially when it comes to marketing. That’s why I’m eager to check out two resources:

MarketingProfs Digital Marketing World

The folks at MarketingProfs held an online trade show that had a great speaker lineup and relevant topics for those in the online world, being very focused on tactics for lead generation, social media, and email marketing among other topics. The event was on September 16 but I was travelling and missed it. No worries because the whole thing is archived online for you to watch at any time! Access is free and open until December, so you do have some time but don’t wait too long.

The link for the MarketingProfs Digital Marketing World online event is: http://www.marketingprofs.com/events/9/conference

Meeting of the Minds Webcast Series

Marketing NPV is one of those great little secrets of the web, because not many people know of them. An advisory firm that focuses on linking marketing to financials, they have great stuff when it comes to marketing ROI and on marketing measurement. That’s why I think their new webcast series has great promise. The Meeting of the Minds is a free series of webinars featuring some of the great minds in academia such as Don Schultz, Gary Lilien, Dave Reibstein, Paul Farris, Tim Ambler, and others.

Although the topics seem to be more on the strategic side (big picture view), they will surely generate some interesting insight. Worth checking out and registering for those that are aligned with your interests.

The link for Meeting of the Minds Webcast Series is:

http://marketingnpv.com/node/614

I’ll watch them and post my review. Please do the same!

And enjoy… free is always good 🙂


Because You Can’t Beat Free Marketing Training

June 23, 2009

This is the second post finalizing the review of the Inbound Marketing University program from HubSpot. Here I talk about the final 5 classes. If you haven’t done already, check out the review of the first 5 presentations.

Class: Advanced SEO Tactics: On Beyond Keyword Research (GF401)
Professor: Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz

SEOmoz is one of the best places for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) information, and the presentation was full of nice tidbits about SEO. As I mentioned at my review of the basic SEO course presented, this is such a broad topic that 1 hour is not enough to cover everything, but Rand Fishkin did a great job presenting relevant information on how to get ranked higher on Google, including:

  • Link building
  • Keyword usage
  • Unique content creation
  • Domain diversity

As Fishkin explained each SEO concept, he made clear that they all need to work together. It doesn’t matter if you have great keywords if you lack the other elements.

SEO Tactics: He did a great job at distilling tactics into byte sized advice that we can all use for link building, content creation, and domain names. If you want to get some good insights on effective SEO, check out his presentation and the free articles they have on the SEOmoz website.

Veredict: This is a must watch class for those interested in SEO even if you’ve been doing it for a while. Rand’s presentation is engaging and full of great information.

Class: Calls to Action and Landing Page Best Practices (CV101)
Professor: Jeanne Hopkins, MECLABS, Marketing Experiments

If you are not familiar with MarketingExperiments, than you should immediately bookmark their website: http://www.marketingexperiments.com. They always have great content based on lots of testing they’ve done and publish their results frequently.

Since I’ve seen their reports and webinars in the past, the presentation about calls to action and landing pages was more of a refresher. Having said that, Jeanne’s presentation is a great starting point for those that have not seen their reports and want great actionable items for improving their landing pages.

The best take away from the presentation is their conversion formula: C = 4m+3v+2(i-f)-2a. Rather than being a formula that you need to solve, it is supposed to give you insights on how to create a landing page with higher probability of converting visitors. To get more insight into the formula and how it works, after watching the presentation, check out some of their website design case studies.

Veredict: Those new to Marketing Experiments are in for a treat. If you are familiar with them, not much new material.

Class: Inbound Lead Nurturing (CV201)
Professor: Brian Carroll, MECLABS, InTouch

The Lead Nurturing presentation followed the same format I had seen before from previous webinars presented by Brian Carroll, presenting the case for why would you want to “nurture” your leads. While the decision on whether to nurture or pass leads directly to sales will vary based on your own industry and experience, the concept is a powerful one.

Even if you decide not to engage in full lead nurturing as the presentation described, the concepts discussed during the webinar are worth bringing up to your sales managers to that everyone is on the same page. These include:

  • Definition of a lead
  • When should leads be passed to sales
  • When should leads be sent back to marketing
  • How should leads be followed up, and by whom
  • How should leads be qualified and what are the different qualification levels
  • What are the marketing messages that need to be developed for each type of lead
  • How should you track and manage your leads and what tools will you use

Veredict: Nothing new, but good solid concepts that marketers need to bring up to the sales management and come with an action plan.

Successful Email Marketing (CV301)
Professor: Eric Groves, Constant Contact

This presentation should have been titled Email Marketing 101. So if you need to get up to speed on why you should do email marketing, and the basics behind that, you will find out by watching this class, otherwise just skip it.

Veredict: Email marketing basics with a good intro for the novice, but lacking specific tips for the experienced email marketer. Other resources that will give you more insights into doing effective email marketing are MarketingSherpa and Marketing Experiments.

Class: Analyzing Inbound Marketing (AZ401)
Professor: Marshall Sponder, Monster.com, Web Analytics Association for Social Media

In this class Marshall takes you through a tour of web analytics and how to track and measure your efforts related to social media, web, and more. Besides giving you an overview of how web analytics work, he dives into some specific examples of how to understand the data you are getting from the analytics tool.

Veredict: Great introduction to web analytics and good tips on different types of analyzes makes this presentation worth watching with a notepad to take notes.

Conclusion

While I didn’t expect outstanding material from a free course, some of the classes were really great and worth watching again. The Inbound Marketing University calls itself a “marketing retraining program”  and I guess that if you really have not been involved with online marketing up until now, it could be a great eye opener. For those that have been around online marketing for a while is a good refresher but nothing spectacular. I still suggest checking it out because nothing can beat free training.


Inbound Marketing Training for Free

June 21, 2009

Last week I attended the Inbound Marketing University, a free online program put together by HubSpot featuring talented well known professionals on blogging, SEO, social media, lead nurturing, email marketing, landing pages, and viral marketing.

Free Marketing Training from IMU

Free Marketing Training from IMU

After watching the classes, my take on the University is:

Positives:

  • Online archives from each class including slides available on-demand helps a lot when you have busy schedules like mine, and also allows watching at your own pace (i.e. fast forward the boring parts)
  • Quality instructors that have proven experience and really know the subject helped validate the quality of the program
  • Quick and to the point presentations (60 mins each) allowed you to get instant factual and actionable information

Negatives:

  • In general the content was focused on the basics, which is ok for a newbie but I was expecting some more “meat” and a combination of basics with advanced tips and techniques for those that want to take their marketing to the next level (the SEO classes were the exception, having a basic and an advanced class)
  • Too broad topics delivered with too narrow a focus. While corporate blogging, for instance, is a broad topic, the presentation focused on only certain aspects of corporate blogging, leaving a lot of stuff untold.

During the next couple days I’ll post specific review about each class so you can decide which ones to take and which ones to skip based on your experience level.

Review of the first 5 classes:

Class: How to Blog Effectively for Business (GF101)
Professors: Ann Handley & Mack Collier, MarketingProfs

This was a basic introduction to blogging, so for those already familiar with what blogging is, there wasn’t much new content. From a corporate blogging perspective, I like that they brought up what I consider the two main issues in corporate blogging:

  • Do you have the time?
  • Do you have the people?

Often times we get directives from the top echelon asking us to setup a corporate blog for the CEO, a blog for every manager, and to churn content every day. Unless you have the staff available to create new content quickly, you will be stuck.

What was missing from the presentation was:

  • Rules and policies for company blog writers on disclosing company trade secrets, talking about products that are yet to be released, copyright laws, and abiding to the company’s employee handbook
  • How to blog with shareholders in mind (current and prospective)
  • Blogging about the competition (dos and don’ts)
  • Blog copywriting tips

Veredict: Unless you are new to blogging, skip the class and check out the resources below, plus do a quick Google search and you’ll find tons of more information.

For those interested in corporate blogging, tips for corporate blogs and some rules and policies, check out the following links:

Class: SEO Crash Course to Get Found (GF102)
Professor: Lee Odden, TopRank Online Marketing

Not only Lee Odden provided a quick basic overview of what SEO is and why it is important but he also went into some details on how to make the most out of Search Engine Optimization. What I liked best was the tips on tools you can use and where to find additional resources. SEO is such a complex subject that you can barely scratch the surface in one hour so knowing where to go for more information is invaluable. The links he suggested are:

Keyword Tools:

Additional SEO Resources Mr. Odden recommends:

Veredict: If you have never done any SEO in your life, his presentation is excellent. Otherwise, skip it and go straight for the Advanced SEO class (to be reviewed in my next post).

Class: Social Media and Building Community (GF201)
Professor: Chris Brogan, New Marketing Labs

Chris Brogan’s presentation was more of a theoretical overview of community building than tools for doing that. This presentation was a great disappointment for me, since I have read so much great stuff from his blog and was expecting a bit more depth in his presentation.

Veredict: If you are new to social networks, community building, etc. the presentation will probably give you some good pointers so you avoid common blunders when building your own community.

For more information about getting your company to successfully build an online community, I recommend the following for further reading:

Class: Successful Business Uses for Facebook and LinkedIn (GF202)

Professor: Elyse Tager, Silicon Valley American Marketing Association

Elyse makes some great points about using social media for your business, such as:

  • It’s free, but… : although you may not have a line item in your budget on how much you need to spend on Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and other social media sites (they are all free), you do have to spend time (sometimes a LOT of time) working the social media space, which does translate into costs.
  • Commitment: you will have to commit to spending time developing your social media strategy; it doesn’t work overnight and require backing from your company willing to let you spend time doing it.
  • Set goals: this is important for any social media platform that your company is trying to use. Setup what your goals are for each platform (create connections, increase brand awareness, etc.) and measure it religiously.

Veredict: If you are new to using LinkedIn and Facebook for your business, Elyse’s presentation is a great starting point. For those that already use social media sites personally and just want to take it to the next level and include their business in the social media space, the presentation is a starting point, but it only tells you some of the basics.

Class: Viral Marketing and World Wide Raves (GF301)
Professor: David Meerman Scott, author of New Rules of Marketing & PR and World Wide Rave

David is a great speaker and has engaging stories, making his presentation one of the best of the series. He is also able to bring ideas implemented by Fortune 500 companies down to the level of small businesses, which is the best way to get actionable items that you can implement in your own business.

Some key insights from his presentation are:

  • Create buyer personas: what types of people are you trying to reach and what are their needs?
  • Earn attention: create something great and distribute it online to generate buzz
  • Nobody cares about your products: they care about solving their problems
  • Lose control: trying to control all your content will work against your attempts to get your ideas heard. Free content will get you farther.
  • New measurements: how you measure your success is now related to how your ideas are being spread (blogs, twitter, etc.)
  • Put down roots: and participate in the communities where your target audience is involved
  • Point the world to your virtual doorstep:  make sure you have an online presence that integrates with your other efforts in generating buzz

Veredict: this is a great class for those that want to learn more about viral marketing or that are trying to convince their companies to do it. For more great stuff on viral marketing, David Meerman Scott’s blog (www.webinknow) is a great starting point.

Next: Review of the final 5 classes:

Advanced SEO Tactics: On Beyond Keyword Research (GF401)

  • Calls to Action and Landing Page Best Practices (CV101)
  • Inbound Lead Nurturing (CV201)
  • Successful Email Marketing (CV301)
  • Analyzing Inbound Marketing (AZ401)

You can check out the presentation slides at: http://www.slideshare.net/HubSpot/presentations

The online recordings for the classes are at: http://www.inboundmarketing.com


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