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.