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.

Online Marketing: Publish or Perfection?

ID-100149444Trainers, consultants, and professional coaches tend to strive for perfection. On the surface that seems like an asset but it can become the undoing of their online marketing.

The problem with perfectionism is it often becomes fruitless debate or nit picking. Gradual improvement is admirable but requires testing not nit picking.

At a certain point in online marketing timeliness runs up against perfectionism and timeliness should almost always win. There are certainly ways to avoid this conflict with marketing matrices and calendars but sooner or later revisions, improvements, and tweaks will bring you to the brink of a deadline.

And the rule should be to meet the deadline. Inevitably when relaying this message someone says, “But there are exceptions like blatant mistakes, inaccurate information, or poor quality communications/layout that need corrected.” That’s competency not perfectionism. Competency is meeting basic requirements of professional quality and clear messaging.

The best piece of marketing that never gets released is ultimately a waste of time and effort. It’s OK to refine and tweak but don’t hold up your marketing processes debating which image is most striking or what color is most appealing. As long as the communication is of a professional quality it’s better to get it out. Use the time you save debating and spend it on analyzing and testing your results. Then your next campaign can take what you’ve learned and apply it, rather than getting stuck in a cycle of “perfection”.

Image courtesy of  -Marcus- /

Consistency is Key in Online Marketing . . . Repetition, Not Necessarily

Consistency is often the lacking feature in an otherwise solid online marketing campaign.  Strategizing and planning tend to be what trainers, consultants, and professional coaches want to tackle but consistent execution can be elusive.  That said consistency can become repetition which is a sure way to lose audience interest.

Consistency is born from a marketing calendar and a company brand outline.  Following the template and schedule generate consistency.  The content can also help generate cohesiveness through follow on topics or offers that build on one another. Consistency is a proven advantage in that many potential clients will need many touches (for most people it’s 7 or more) before credibility is built up to a point where they will consider calls to action.

Strive for consistency but be wary of message repetition.

A client of ours ran monthly events.  They had a particular topic and a set way of doing their event.  Truthfully, it was a powerful topic and an impressive presentation.  The problem was that the marketing material was just as repetitive.  The description and the bullet points would change some but the title and calls to action were always identical.  What was initially a very successful promotion became tired.  By the 10th time they ran the event the email list and social followers completely tuned it out. Registration was poor and something needed done to rejuvenate their attendance levels.

So the event was revamped.  We didn’t go back to the drawing board, we just modified it: New title, new incentives, new target audience.  The consistency remained in that the landing page, email invitation, and social posts were all recognizable as part of our clients campaign but interest was renewed because the audience perceived it as something different.

Consistency is good but it can lead to a lazy approach which results in repetition.  Have a close eye on metrics and if you see interest has plummeted in a recurring offer or message, it will need to be revamped.

Marketing Over-Strategizing

If there is a number one offender on why consultant’s, trainer’s, and professional coach’s marketing campaigns don’t work it’s over-strategizing. The best plan ever conceived is worthless if it’s never put in place.  Over-strategizing revolves around one central problem, too much thinking and too little action.

Admittedly marketing consultants and contractors contribute to this problem. Talking about a great idea has more appeal than getting in the trenches and putting the plan in place.  This can get even more problematic for true consultant that will outline a plan but don’t fulfill the suggestions.  In these cases, going from plan to implementation is often challenging or never gets enacted.

Over-strategizing comes in 3 forms:


Make a plan and then see it through.  Seeing it through requires a good faith effort on results.  If you put a new campaign together then you’ll likely need at minimum 3 to 6 months to gauge results.  If you keep making changes or running too many tests you’re not establishing a base line to measure effectiveness. Unless a campaign starts and causes a noticeable negative impact, a consistent approach is necessary.

Detail Over-Analysis

A strategic plan needs to identify what, to who, when, and how the marketing campaign will be rolled out.  Once that plan is set and responsibilities are assigned, don’t get bogged down in the details.  Laboring over a particular button color should not delay a launch.  Mark it as something to test once the campaign is established but don’t waste time obsessing over small details until you are ready to test.


Copying other marketing ideas does not make a strategy.  It results in a mish-mash of ideas without the cohesive strategy to tie it all together.  Emulation also tends to lead down a path of starts and restarts.  One month the strategy copies this, the next it copies that.  Taking ideas and incorporating them into your existing strategy is beneficial, reworking what you are doing to emulate someone else, undermines a strategy.

Keep it simple. Set a plan and then put it in place.  For most web, email, and social strategies that will likely be at least 3 months to get data and trends.  Set a fixed time to discuss strategies, then don’t talk about it again and go do tactical execution.

Are You Excited That You Are Boosting Your Own Web Analytics

There is one person who will repetitively visit your website, you.  When consultants, trainers, or professional coaches decide to make online marketing a priority, they often begin checking in on the site to see changes or to inspire ideas.  While that level of engagement is great, it can cause false results on the analytic reports.

The last post was about critically analyzing web analytics and a good example recently came up.  A client was running three separate campaigns to boost site traffic.  The push was set up because they were testing three separate offers to see which call to action created the best conversion. At the end of two weeks the client called and said, “We’ve seen a boost in traffic of 30% this month (roughly 300 more visitors).” While a jump was expected such a marked change so quickly seemed excessive.

So we pulled up the analytics and began reviewing where the traffic came from.  As it turned out, some of the increased traffic was legitimate but about half of it was self-created.  This client had five trainers that were all being asked to provide their input on the calls to action.  As suggestions came in, the trainers would go back to the calls to action pages to review revisions.  Doing this several times resulted in the group creating a false 150 hits.

So why is this important?  The significance of the hits has two primary effects.  The first is that we never want to create false data that guides our decision making.  The campaign did have a good start but it was about a 15% increase.  Making a decision on the calls to action or traffic generating campaigns would not have had true tested data. The second effect is it can skew trends.  At the end of the second two weeks, the increase was just under 25%.  Had we not reviewed the hits it would have appeared as if we had peaked quickly and were now regressing, when in reality we were continuing to see gradual improvement.

For this particular example, the resolution was to implement filters for the IP addresses of the firm’s computers.  But as an illustrative example, it’s a reaffirmation of keeping a close eye on analytics and questioning results that seem overly positive or negative.

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.

Personality Can be Appealing in Your Online Marketing

A level of professionalism in your online marketing’s writing or media is essential.  However, overdoing “professionalism” can make online marketing less effective by making a trainer, professional coach, or consultant overly generic.

I was recently working on an email campaign that included video tactics that a trainer had made.  This trainer was a dynamic personality that clients loved and appealed to prospects.  Video seemed like the perfect medium for his marketing.

The trainer had instructed the editor to make it “professional”. However, when the trainer shot the video, he was buttoned down and not engaging.  Everything that made him dynamic was reduced to a talking head reciting facts.

Upon reviewing the videos, I suggested a re-edit with a little less focus on being professional and more focus on delivering the message as the trainer would if he were speaking live with someone.  Once that version was produced, it was much more engaging and highlighted his expertise by his personal communication style.

While there needs to be a level of professionalism, don’t let that restrict natural strengths.  Strive to find the middle ground that makes your marketing legitimate but also lets some of your personality come through.  Part of an engaging online marketing campaign is connecting with people and that can only be done from one person to another.  Don’t let your personality fade for the sake of being “professional”.

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