Webinar Signups Soar After Key Design and Delivery Changes

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Tina Logan, digital product manager on the audience development team for SIIA member Northstar Travel Media, was asked by another department if her team could help them decrease the number of webinar marketing emails they were sending and increase registration. They took the project on.

"First we took a look at the creative and gave it a bit of a reboot," Logan said on a Connectiv Digital Media Committee call last week. (It can be heard here.) "So [on the landing page] we brought the topic, the webinar date and time, and the call-to-action button above the fold because a lot of times your topic is really going to drive people with your interests. And then we just reiterated the call to action below the fold."

They also decided to test subject lines. Logan likes the tool http://coschedule.com/headline-analyzer. "If you haven't used it, try it," she said. "We wanted to segment—we were sending to everyone at once, so we wanted to see who was actually performing, where the engagement was coming from. On our first email we decided to send to just the engaged audience from the main M&C brand and nobody else."

The result on their first promotion was a 25% increase over their initial conversion promotion. They were hitting their core audience and doing well, so they decided to email them one more time. A simple text version went out to anyone who hadn't clicked through on the first mailing. It did almost as well as the initial HTML one. "We did a creative A/B test with the HTML and text versions—whichever won we sent that out," Logan said.

The text email actually outperformed the HTML in the test, although overall numbers ended up favoring the HTML slightly. At this point, Logan had sent out two emails and reached their average number of registrants. So they decided to reach out to sister brands, and that accounted for another 10% of the total audience. Finally, they went back to their disengaged group—those who had not opened much in the previous few months, and that accounted for another 11% of signups.

"In the end, our number of registrants was 31% above average, and we only sent two emails vs. four," said Logan. "Plus we now know who our engaged audience is and can try to reach out to them to re-establish brand loyalty. So it wasn't much; we just tweaked a couple things and now we have a new process in place for all webinars going forward."

Part of that process will be a new communications program to the disengaged group. "Maybe we can find two or three new things more relevant to those people," she said.

Ken Molay, author of The Webinar Blog, agrees with that last idea. "I was struck by how infrequently I hear of organizations actually surveying their target audiences to discover preferences," he wrote. "Instead, I get requests for studies of public attitudes or results from vendors about large-scale patterns across all types of events, industries, and audience segments. If you rely only on data from a webinar vendor about viewing habits in general, you lose any insight into the needs and preferences of your own unique audiences."

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…