Call to Action: Events

ID-100179293Events can be a powerful first step for most trainers, consultants, and professional coaches.  They literally put trainers, consultants, and professionals coaches on the podium to illustrate what they do and how they help clients.

Events can serve as a great call to action.  Dedicated invitations can be created and delivered via email or postal mail but small promotional ads can also be leveraged on websites, information driven emails, or social media. The one major downside to an event as a call to action is that it’s date/time specific.  Potential buyers can’t get the call to action on demand and must set time aside on their calendar. The major up side is that the trainer, consultant, or coach actually gets to interact with the potential buyer.

Events come in two forms – live and via the web. Both offer pros and cons.

Live Delivery

Live delivery is often more engaging because there is a personal connection.  Potential clients are in the room with the trainer, consultant, or coach which offers a more powerful bond and puts a face to an otherwise faceless communication.

– But –

The down side with live events is there are more logistics and tend to be more expensive than online events.  Rooms need booked, directions need provided, and most importantly, people need to show up.  Getting people to agree to physically come to a location increases friction for converting the call to action so the event must offer clear value.

Web Delivery

Web delivery via a webinar is the ultimate in event convenience.  Potential buyers can attend the event in front of their computer.  This opens up vast amounts of potential buyers as there are no geographic/travel restrictions on attendees. Online events also tend to be far cheaper, only requiring a webinar service.

– But –

Webinars are not as interactive as live events.  Presentations need to stay focused and concise.  For most trainers, consultants, and coaches a half hour is the max length they can keep the audience engaged for which limits the content that can be delivered.  Potential buyers will be more challenging to connect with because they remain a faceless entity behind a computer screen.  The reverse is also true.  It’s challenging to connect or get feedback from buyers on a webinar.


Weigh the pros and cons on which thpe of event is most suitable for your call to action.  There is less risk with a webinar, requiring less money and less friction to convert but the presentation’s impact tends to decrease. Live events offer powerful connections but with more friction to convert and more promotional dollars invested.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles, /

Call to Action for Trainers, Consultants, and Professional Coaches

Every online marketing campaign should have clear calls to action.  But commonly trainers, consultants, and professional coaches will say, “I’m not sure I have a good call to action.”  That’s a big problem, it’s like giving people directions without picking a destination.  You’ll get somewhere but probably not strategically toward a sale. There are five common calls to action that most trainers, consultant, and professional coaches have or can create fairly easily.

  • Events
  • Whitepaper/Report Downloads
  • Trial Training Session / Free Initial Consult
  • Contest
  • Easy to Purchase Product/Service

When providing this list we’ll often hear, “But what about my suite of products and services?”  Calls to action should be fairly simple.  Most trainers, consultants, and professional coaches have sophisticated programs that require analysis to find what solution properly fits a potential client.  That level of interaction is almost impossible for a call to action without an advanced web application.

These five types of call to action are feasible for most firms and provide a good first step with potential buyers.  In coming posts we’ll analyze each type and in which cases they are best suited.

An Online Marketing Strategy that Works for YOUR Business

There is no shortage of email, social, and online marketing to sample from.  It’s a common occurrence for us to get a forward saying, “Can we do something like this?”  While there is nothing wrong with getting inspiration from other marketing campaigns; trainers, consultants, and professional coaches need to assess whether the marketing strategy works for their business.

Recently I had a client forward one of Seth Godin’s emails to me and say, “Let’s make our emails just like Seth’s emails.” The email sample was very simple with a short bit of content and a handful of social options.

No disrespect to Mr. Godin, he offers great content and I’m sure he has a clearly defined plan for his emails being the way they are, but this client wasn’t Seth Godin.  Seth Godin’s campaign was built around short content driven by name recognition and a library of well-established books and concepts.  This client was fairly new to his market and offering in depth consulting relationships.  The focus of the email campaign and audience size was much different.

So we said, “We can do something along the lines of what Seth Godin did but there is not any direct lead generating mechanisms on the email.  Are you comfortable if leads go away for an extended period until you’ve built up a following in the way Seth Godin has?”  The consultant adamantly replied, “Well no, I need leads to keep coming in.”

What we ended up with was short tactics and insights like Seth Godin’s email but coupled with a single call to action that would change based on the content.  It’s great to be inspired by other marketing strategies but pay attention to the details.  What works for one business won’t work for all businesses.

Reasonable Next Steps in Online Marketing

Successful online marketing is part art, part science, and a big part common sense. However, when we work on our online marketing campaigns everything makes sense to us. We clearly see the value proposition and truly believe in the product, service, or offer being made. That zeal can blind us to common sense. The most common unreasonable expectation that crops up is how an audience will react to our call to action. Make sure that the call to action is suitable for what’s been communicated to the audience.

I recently had a conversation with a client who was frustrated by a lack of interest in a two day business event they run. We revued the email marketing metrics and my client stated, “See, we had 25 people click to the registration page and not one signed up. What’s going on? Our other offers consistently generate leads but marketing is not getting interest in this event.” So questions arose but 3 key questions told the tale.

How many people were ideal for the event?
About 20 was a good balance to make it a profitable event but small enough for personal interaction.

How many did they typically have register?
The events had averaged 10 people so they were operating at half the desired number.

If marketing was not filling seats how were people being registered?
On average 5 of the attendees came from personal invitations from the sales staff. The other half called in and after getting some more information about the event they would register.

So where did the call-ins come from? The assumption was that it was word of mouth or referrals but upon analyzing the dates it appeared that the call-ins were most prevalent when email communications were sent. The issue wasn’t that the emails weren’t working. It was that the audience was taking an unexpected next step by calling in.

Now correcting this situation can go down a lot of avenues. Was the landing page lacking enough information to convert interested parties? Was the sign up process unclear or cumbersome? Was the sign up process working technically? These are all valid questions but as is often the case the common sense questions are usually the most valuable.

The 2-day event this trainer was running was a $1500/person event. The email communications were largely being sent to prospects that were new to the list or only asked for basic information. The chances of converting an unengaged contact for a $1500 purchase on any online communication are slim to nil. However, the event might be of interest to them and they might want to call and ask questions. Some of the people that call to get information about the event will then decide they do want to attend, but they need that personal interaction. A promotional email just isn’t going to do it because it doesn’t intrinsically carry the necessary credibility for a purchase that size.

Any commitment over about $50 will meet with resistance unless the audience is already familiar with you or your company. My client’s future emails were sure to highlight their phone number so that interested prospects had a viable next step without having to commit to spending $1500. If you find that your conversions are performing well below expectations, it’s a good idea to review the call to action and make sure it’s a reasonable next step.

Is Your Call to Action Luring Visitors In?

A good call to action is a Siren Song.  Your target audience shouldn’t be able to resist its lure.  However, many times websites calls to action are a dud.  They ask for a lot and provide little in return.  Make sure that your call to action is appealing to your website target so that conversions are consistently generated.

The first hurdle to making a good call to action is knowing your audience.  If you make “gut calls”, then you don’t know your audience.  Instead do some testing on calls to action.  Create landing pages for as many as three calls to action.  Make the layout and language as similar as possible.  Then send it to test audiences that fit your target profile.  That will illustrate what calls to action are appealing and which draw little interest.

The second step is to test and track layout and content.  Some changes will vastly change visitor’s perception of an offer.  For testing purposes it’s best to make small changes and see how that affects the metrics.  After the first test is complete, make another small change and see if that improves conversion.  This can be a tedious process but it ensures gradual improvement rather than guesses that may or may not help the call to action.  A layout and content that clearly communicates the call to action and the benefit to the visitor is the critical to ensure that visitors take advantage of an appealing offer.

Just remember that unlike a siren song we want to serve our visitors needs, not dupe them into dooming themselves.  Make sure that your call to action is sustainable for your business and you can deliver on the promise the call to action makes.