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.


A Brief History of Marketing

February 25, 2013

I was made aware of the new infographic “The Evolution of Marketing Automation” by Jaclyn from BlueGlass, the company that worked on it for Marketo. It provides you an interesting look back through time showing some key moments in marketing history and, of course, it ends with the advent of marketing automation.

Although interesting, I am not sure the infographic format is the best way to visualize this information. First, there is a lot of text, a lot of data, and you have to scroll through infinity to reach the end. My recommendation would be for them to transform this into a nice SlideShare presentation.

Also, the infographic seems to focus more on the evolution of marketing channels rather than the evolution of marketing automation per se. It completely ignores the rise of Fax machines, for example, which were used for B2B outbound marketing until email came along (and also until the Junk Fax Prevention Act was passed in 2005). Other important marketing channels like direct mail, and the once-popular online banner ads of the 90’s are strangely not mentioned.

So for someone who is publishing content with the title of evolution of marketing automation, they are surely missing out on a LOT of stuff that happened before in marketing history. Sure, I get it that they want to focus on the ‘old’ broadcast systems to contrast with the ‘new’ marketing tools (email, social media, marketing automation), but by leaving them out makes the “Evolution of Marketing Automation” topic a bit of a mismatch with the content.

Maybe a good source of comparison is another infographic titled “The History of Marketing“, published by HubSpot about a year ago. HubSpot’s version is also brief (the point of any infographic, sure) but doesn’t overlook key events in marketing history. Another marketing automation vendor, Eloqua, also published an infographic about the same time as HubSpot titled “A History of Disruptive Innovations in Marketing” which focused mostly on the technology advances. Heck, even the simplistic “History of Marketing Channels” infographic from Visual Loop published back in 2010 had more meat.

Maybe I am being too picky. What do you think?

P.S.: for those interested in more information about the evolution of marketing and marketing through history, check out the following links:


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!


Measuring Marketing Effectiveness

April 19, 2012

Mathematical calculator buttons with ruler by  Horia Varlan @ FlickrIf before marketers had the challenging job of gathering data to analyze campaign effectiveness, now the opposite might be true. Email marketing, marketing automation, web analytics, CRM, and the myriad of software now permeating marketing organizations gives us more data than we can process in a timely fashion.

A recent survey by CMO.com shows that fewer than 20% of marketing respondents have full confidence in what should be fundamental abilities, including measuring overall campaign effectiveness, how to allocate budget with ROI in mind, and communicating performance up to c-level executives.

“The lack of confidence results from a perception that there is simply too much data and too many channels out there, making it difficult to capture and measure all relevant data.” – CMO.com

Understanding Marketing Analytics

A recent post on the Marketing Automation Software Guide Blog titled “Marketing Analytics vs. Website Analytics”  does a good job at separating two commonly mistaken data sets. On one hand you have page views, click paths, bounce rates, and all the nice stats Google Analytics gives you for free. But, as the article argues, “in marketing analytics systems, data is integrated in a way that enables you to see a direct relationship between channels“. And this is key to understanding how to measure marketing effectiveness.

Unless you can step back from the data deluge, it will be difficult to assess exactly what to do.

“There are literally hundreds of marketing metrics to choose from, and almost all of them measure something of value. The problem is that most of them relate very little to the metrics that concern a CFO, CEO and board member.”

Another consideration involves who you are reporting to. When analyzing results from your marketing efforts you have different stakeholders asking different kinds of questions. The quote above is from a Marketo whitepaper, The Definitive Guide to Marketing Metrics and Analytics, which I have reviewed before. And it is spot on. Different questions require different data sets.

So your first question shouldn’t be “what do I measure?” but, instead, “what question am I answering?“. Do you agree?


When Inbound Marketing Goes Wrong

February 9, 2012

The fact that Inbound Marketing is taking over traditional marketing methods is not news. It seems that every eBook, blog post, and webinar is now touting content marketing and inbound marketing as the go-to strategies for the new marketers. Marketing is evolving, there is no denying that.

But for those out there in the trenches, trying to follow all the advice and get their marketing engines running it is not that simple. Sometimes, despite your best efforts you can’t seem to move the marketing needle enough.

Why Your Inbound Program Isn’t Working

Marketo‘s new whitepaper, “Amplify Your Impact: How to Multiply the Effects of Your Inbound Marketing Program“, takes a different route from others out there. I was pleasantly surprised when they decided to attack the core of the problem by saying “It can be common for organizations that implement an inbound marketing strategy to see an early lift. However, while early results are strong, the leads can dwindle to a trickle“. That’s not your typical Inbound Marketing whitepaper!

The reasons, according to Marketo, are many:

  1. Your aim is too wide
  2. Some prospects may find you, but many don’t know you exist
  3. Others may know your exist, but don’t understand what you do
  4. You aren’t reaching the decision makers
  5. Sometimes you can’t break through the noise
  6. Sometimes there isn’t any noise
  7. Inbound marketing has a diminishing return

Content developed for inbound marketing should be more focused on your prospects’ problems and concerns than on your product or solution – Marketo

For each problem listed above, you can find good examples that might reflect exactly what you are facing at your company. In some cases, a few tweaks may get you back on track but in other cases you should re-evaluate your strategy. They also list a few things other companies are doing that you should think about, such as:

  • Have a staff dedicated to inbound programs
  • Combine inbound AND outbound programs
  • Ensure you have nurturing programs too

The Right Marketing Program Mix

“Increased output is not directly linked to a greater number of leads or customers or higher profit. You need to strategically determine where to spend your time – especially if you have a limited amount of resources”

The quote above, from Marketo, is the key for your inbound marketing troubles. The combination of the right programs based on their effectiveness for your particular situation is what will generate the best results. And, according to Marketo, outbound programs have their place in your marketing arsenal. They explain that while inbound marketing supports your newly created content by sharing it on social channels, making it faster and easier for your content to be found, outbound marketing (paid sponsorships, banner ads, etc.)can help you further spread the word about the content and multiply the number of new views you generate (and thus the number of shares, likes, etc.).

The mixing of both Inbound and Outbound Marketing programs helps with:

  • Brand recognition
  • Making prospects speak your language
  • Capture your target

The last part of the paper touts the benefits of marketing automation (expected, since Marketo is one of the players in this space) to help with your nurturing campaigns. As Marketo puts it:

“The leads you’ve generated via inbound marketing are often still conducting research and evaluating their solution options. That’s where lead nurturing comes in — you need to invest in the process of building relationships with qualified prospects, with the goal of earning their business when they are ready to buy. Marketing automation helps you deliver relevant information over time to keep leads interested, engaged, and educated until they’ve made that decision”

Besides, marketing automation also helps to:

  • Raise open and click rates
  • Enables A/B testing beyond landing pages
  • Creates new landing pages easily
  • Shorten sales cycle
  • Lets sale show when their prospects are engaging online
  • Automates repetitive tasks
  • Delivers sophisticated reporting and analytics

The free whitepaper is worth a read. The part where they talk about inbound marketing campaigns gone wrong can give you some interesting food for thought and help you rethink how your own campaigns are being setup.

 


Marketing Events You Can’t Miss

July 21, 2011

It seems Marketo has a nicer way of presenting Marketing Conferences. I did a post back in February listing upcoming marketing events but I have to agree a nice graphic is so much better!

Check out below.

Must Attend Marketing Events by Marketo


A Tough Road for Marketing Automation

June 20, 2011

Marketing Automation is a hot topic. News about multi-million dollar investments in the space has sparked not only interest from marketers but a multitude of competitors crowding an already jammed market. Is like driving down the highway only to see the traffic stopping right after you take the next curve. As the traffic is slowly moves, some cars faster than others, many drivers start wondering if they should take the next exit.

What’s Ahead for Marketing Automation Vendors

Continue reading my thoughts on what’s ahead for marketing automation vendors on a recently published article at the Marketing Automation Times website.


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