This was done in the online investing and trading vertical, but the strategy is the same for every industry.
Webinars are popular sales tools these days, but for many online entrepreneurs who understand the value of email marketing and autoresponders, they present a problem. You want prospects sent by your marketing partners to sign up for your webinar, but you also want them to become subscribers of your email newsletter. Sure, you can ask them to subscribe to your email list during the webinar, but few will do it, even with a great e-book or free report as a “carrot.”
Many email marketing services, like the one we use, Aweber, do not allow uploads of email lists. Getting a spreadsheet after the webinar with a list of registrants is nice, but what can you do with them? Occasionally, you may be able to talk your service into allowing you to upload a list, but they will still require the user to double opt-in. I’ve personally found the success rate when doing so to be very low – in the neighborhood of 10-15% will click your opt-in confirmation link. There’s often just too much time that passes between when they signed up for the webinar and when you finally get the registration list in Excel after the webinar ends. That strong connection has weakened with time, and if there were multiple speakers at the online event and the attendees are getting multiple follow-up emails, yours may be lost pile of other messages they are receiving.
Even if you are the only presenter and you have paid or traded for marketing that event, it’s important to accomplish both tasks at the same time. Actually, I would encourage you to accomplish three things at the same time with every webinar registration:
1. Sign them up for the webinar with your webinar service provider
2. Sign them up for your email newsletter, and
3. Monetize that sign up immediately
Here’s how we do each step:
1. Sign them up for the webinar
We use GoToWebinar by Citrix for our webinars. Their system is rock-solid and it’s easy to export registrant and attendee reports after the webinar, but as I previously explained, that’s problematic for us. Every webinar platform has their positives and negatives (the chat function in GoToWebinar leaves a lot to be desired) but for us it works well.
We use an independent plugin called Webinar Optin that allows us to create our own registration pages on our own site and add the registrant to our Aweber email list at the same time. The plugin actually takes the information from an Aweber opt-in form and sends that information (usually name and email) to GoToWebinar in the background to register them for the webinar you designate.
Another benefit of using the optin plugin is that you can actually just designate one name field or even just an email field alone as required to register. Hardcore opt-in marketers will argue that the more information you ask for (even a single name field) will result in lower conversions. For those folks, an email is all they want to ask for and all they need for their email newsletter. This plugin will simply put a “dash” in the first and last name fields for GoToWebinar.
You’ll go from this:
Which do you think gets better conversion? Not only is the form now on your own site with your own branding, but you control how much information you want them to provide to register.
2. Get the user to double opt-in to your newsletter
If you don’t use double opt-in with your email newsletter, this step is unnecessary, but I recommend you always use double opt-in. Your list may be smaller but it will perform many times better than a single opt-in list. Most email newsletter services charge for more emails, so I’ll take a list of 5,000 double opt-in subscribers over 10,000 single opt-ins every time. That list of 5,000 double opt-ins will almost always kick the pants off the list of 10,000 in terms of performance.
Here’s the trick to get the subscriber to confirm their subscription to your newsletter.
a. Create a separate list in Aweber just for subscribers who join your email list while signing up for a webinar using the Webinar Optin plugin.
b. Turn off the confirmation message that GoToWebinar sends to the registrants.
c. Include text on the sign up form that only those who register and confirm will receive the webinar recording
d. Inform the registrant on your “thank you” page that they need to confirm their RSVP in order to get the webinar login link.
e. Make the subject line of your confirmation email is, “Confirm your RSVP to the Webinar”
f. Include language in the body of the email that clicking the confirmation link confirms their webinar registration and subscribes them to your newsletter
We have found this results in 80-90% optin and confirmation rate for the email newsletter. Our normal confirmation rate for our standard email newsletter subscription path is about 40%.
You can start to see why we love doing webinars as a way to get email newsletter subscribers. If you really want to play hardball, you can remove the registrations from GoToWebinar that do not confirm their RSVP before the first reminder email goes out. We don’t go that far though, and actually everyone that signs up ends up getting the webinar login link when the first reminder email goes out. But that’s OK with us. If they haven’t confirmed their email address by then, they likely aren’t going to bother attending the webinar anyway or have used a 3rd or 4th tier email that they never check.
Note: We’ve been testing a newer webinar platform called Meeting Burner that has Aweber support built in (no plugin needed to register for the webinar and subscribe to your email list simultaneously). However, they don’t offer the option for turning off the automatic confirmation email, and that is likely to reduce the confirmation rate to the newsletter. That subscriber opt-in path is very important to us so, for now, it’s a deal breaker for us and we haven’t switched over yet, though we love some of the other features they offer that GoToWebinar does not.
3. Monetize that sign up immediately
Webinar sign ups are a great time to show After Offers on your thank you page. The user has taken action to get information about your topic – let’s show them a few offers that are complementary to your own website and ask them if they’d like more information.
They get pointed to other resources that are of interest and you get paid every time they say “yes!” to one or more offers. You can put After Offers on both the “thank you” page and the confirmation page the user is directed to when they click the link in the confirmation email. We find that while more users choose offers the first time they see the offers, they often select others on the confirmation page (the rotation will likely show them different offers the second time around) or decide to select offers the second time they see them after they chose not to on the thank you page.
Not having After Offers in both places leaves money on the table! (Don’t worry, our duplicate-checking function will keep the same lead from going to an offer twice.)
You can easily set up custom “thank you” and confirmation pages in Aweber for your webinar list (and most other email list providers offer this as well). From there it’s a simple matter of “cut and paste” to add your AfterOffers code to those pages. (Haven’t joined yet? Get started!)
Here is a PDF outlining how to set custom thank you and confirmation pages in Aweber. That PDF also demonstrates how to forward subscriber data to your After Offers form. Other emails services have similar methods.
“Thank you” page example:
Confirmation page example:
Doing all three steps in the same path will give you more webinar attendees, more email newsletter subscribers and bigger checks each month from AfterOffers.com!
You’ll find yourself scheduling more webinars. Everyone wins.