Are Webinars Dead?

One of the best methods for driving sales (especially for high-ticket items) is the use of live webinars.

Not only do they allow you to demonstrate your products or services, present your engaging content, they also help facilitate trust with your attendees.

For the longest time, marketers were using teleconferences to sell their products and services before webinars changed the game.

shutterstock_65009236When I first started using webinars almost a decade ago, it was very easy to get registrants and webinar show up rates of close to 80% weren’t uncommon.

But that was then and this now.

Things have changed dramatically and with cheap alternatives and autowebinar software scripts selling like hot-cakes, almost everyone and their grandma is running a webinar.

Your prospect only has so much time in the day and with plenty of webinars to choose from, you’re just another voice shouting in the crowd for their attention.

Once you get past the struggle of getting their attention and then getting them to register, you are now left with the difficult task of getting them to actually show up.

A decent show up rate to a webinar these days is roughly 20%. If you are getting a show-up rate higher then this, you are doing great.

Does this mean that webinars are dead?


But the game has changed and marketers who start creating a more sophisticated webinar funnel will definitely see way more success then those who don’t.

I’m referring to the:

1. Post-Webinar sequence (traffic, ads, pitch page, self-liquidating offer, post webinar emails, etc.)

2. Webinar sequence (presentation, content, story-telling and close)

3. Post-Webinar sequence (replay, follow-up emails, close emails, retargeting, etc.)

4. Automated-Webinar sequence (technology, script, etc.)

There are a lot more moving pieces to a successful webinar then there were years ago.

Your audience is more sophisticated now and by incorporating more of the crucial pieces to the entire sequence, it’s still quite possible to make six-figures on a single live webinar.

What’s your opinion on webinars? Over-used? Over-hyped? Too many?

Share your comments.

Are You Hurting Your Own Progress?

One of the biggest challenges we face as marketers is managing the most time consuming aspect of running our online business – the email inbox.

Managing this little sucker can save you countless number of hours and allow you to do things in your business that actually move it forward.

One of the recommendations that I have made in the past is to unsubscribe from email lists that don’t add value (i.e. why are you on a ecommerce list if you don’t do anything in ecommerce?).

I pruned the number of lists that I was on years ago and that has saved me at least 45 minutes a day now.

But here is the biggest mistake I have made in the past managing emails and I’m curious to know if you did or still do the same thing.

Whenever I received an email from a marketer I knew provided good information, I would tuck it away in a separate folder with the intention of going back and reading it.

If I received an email from a marketer who provided little value, I would quickly skim it and see if could get out any value.

So I was wasting my limited time reading emails that provide little value and skipping emails that did by moving them into a saved folder with the intention of reading them some day.

Did I ever go back and read the saved emails?


Emails that could have helped me in building my online business faster.

Time got in the way or sometimes I just forgot about those emails.

Basically I jeopardized my own online learning by never reading the quality emails.

Since mid-2015, I have changed the way I prioritize my email reading now and always start with the emails from quality marketers rather then saving them for a later time.

It’s time you do the same.

Comments? Scroll all the way down to comment.

Gauher Chaudhry

ReviewTrust Platform Puts Small Business Sites On Level Playing Field As Big Competitors

As the internet changes and evolves, do you ever ask yourself why certain sites succeed while others fail?

Obviously, sites in business that get sales prevail while sites with lack of sales fail.

Of course that’s a broad over-simplification but here’s a revealing fact to the initial question:

Website reviews and testimonials are driving top sales online because of this one thing…


trustYes, sites with trust are succeeding at much higher rates than sites that lack important credibility factors. 

So you could say, trust plus good reviews brings sales but let me back that up with a good example you can easily relate to.

From early on, has crystallized a measurable trust mechanism for their site visitors. A system where people can gauge purchase decisions, based on real buyer feedback of previous customers and their opinions.

When Amazon delivered this platform, it became the standard of the internet as a legitimate trustworthy product review system.

Again, trust plus good reviews brings sales and many happy customers too. While Amazon for sure knows what they’re doing to create unparalleled success, we can all take a lesson from them.

Looking further, they pioneered their platform into a dynamic system that drives a constant flow of new incoming product reviews.

But here’s the real secret behind this that makes it tick…

They delivered a powerful psychological “brain hack” that transfers-over to site visitors extremely well in qualifying credibility that went viral.

What is it?

Social Proof.

Yes, social proof in the form of reviews and testimonials is what has made Amazon soar in credibility when they began growing and amassing product testimonials and reviews.

This review delivery system is responsible for building an unstoppable online business model that can boost any online business.

However, to have this level of sophistication powering reviews has only been available to high-level sites leaving millions of smaller sites in the dust with much less credibility reach.

Let me clarify that I’m not talking about random, unofficial, or unverified reviews which no one pays attention to these days.

In this post I’m referring to verified reviews and testimonials that breed real trust on the same level as the huge sites that attract big sales by showing them.

And that’s why I wanted to share this important information here with my readers.

Because what I want to tell you about is how small business sites can now start to benefit from a new upper-echelon powered testimonial platform. And it’s one that works on the same line of the big leagues – but with a twist.

In fact, there hasn’t been anything else like it available with such ground-level access which is why I feel this is great news for small business websites.

Developed by a credible online marketer and good friend, Brad Callen, ReviewTrust was created to bridge this gap in the marketplace.

So how does it work?

What Brad Callen’s team was able to do was boil it down to one, single strip of code you add to your site. Once implemented, ReviewTrust will start to auto-gather testimonials and populate your site with trust and credibility as sales come in.

Now here’s the twist… Each of your customers will receive a follow-up gift incentive that you designate and this has been shown to spark reviews based on your product’s acceptance and likability.

This extra buyer-incentive really drives customers to respond and the platform takes over from there.  You never have to lift a finger to contact people to beg for reviews ever.

They just flow in and your site grows with social proof in the form of, verified product testimonials.

Auto-building your business with credibility like this is an attractive feature harnessing the power of real review trust from your customers.

It for sure raises the credibility bar as it’s the kind that can vastly improve sales conversions for products and services alike.

They tested 4 businesses in 4 niches to track the effectiveness of this new software platform and the results were nothing less than astounding.

I was impressed to see how they did this and were able to hit as high as 156.4% sales increase in their top conversion statistics.

From each site they tested they were able to jump-start conversion rates where there were less sales and boost the conversion rates on sites that were already getting sales.

Another impressive point is they didn’t change or add any sales copy, redo any site designing or even add any new traffic to get the results.

I think the reason this works so well is because it passes along a level of credibility that buyer-radar is always looking for.

People want credible verification now more than ever before they decide to buy products online, which is why social proof in product reviews is so important.

And this is where ReviewTrust offers a break-through solution allowing you to collect and display real verified testimonials on a much higher level than ever before now accessible to small online businesses.

If you want to get more information, click here to check out ReviewTrust.


Gauher Chaudhry

10 Effective Membership Retention Strategies

Since running a number of membership sites in the past and presently, I want to share with you the most effective membership retention strategies that work time and time again for retaining members.

membership-685021_1280Knowing firsthand how important attracting new members is, retaining them in your member community is the next most important valuable skill you can learn as a membership admin.

So let’s go through each one and these are in no specific order.

Here are ten of my favorites.

Each one is just as important as the next, just consider applying as many as you can.

1. Members Only Facebook Group

This is an idea we are seeing more and more. Let’s say you offer a product and want to build your own tribe. One way is to start a Facebook Group. It’s free to set up and you can create your own FB Group rules. Invite your members to join as a bonus to the membership they have just joined.

Once you have members at Facebook, you can keep in touch with them and get them involved with related topics. Members can interact with each other and you can continually send updates as well as new special offers for members only.

Another thing is most people are already members of Facebook, so it’s very popular and easy to join groups there.

2. Members Only Private Forum

A members only private forum is where you create your own site on your own server. It’s software based so you house your membership community yourself.

In this format, you have full control of your members. Here’s a fact that falls in favor of having a proprietary membership site over a Facebook Group,  and that is, there are some people who do not like participating on Facebook in a membership setting.

They prefer a more private and exclusive setting for member interaction. However, all the same benefits for the members that keep them coming back applies and even more.

There are things like drip feeding content and locked content settings that helps you can keep member’s interested. And you can do things like that much easier using dedicated forum software.

The reality is that most members find it easy to leave a membership site, but harder to leave a community.

3. Member Monthly Webinars

This is a great retention strategy and probably my favorite. Monthly webinars for members-only create one of the most exclusive benefits of keeping members on board.

And here’s why.

They get insider information from you and they expect it each month and it ties in great for having a membership site, so make sure not to leave this one out.

4. Expert Interviews

Here’s something I found that draws a lot of member attention.

I find experts to interview and offer the recordings to my members. You could actually sell these interviews but instead give them to your members as they’ll know the value they carry. And when you give them member-access, it will keep them wanting more.

5. Email Recaps

Not enough membership sites take advantage of this one, but they should.

The reason is because their members will be responsive to it. Using email recaps is a great way to round up interest from your members. Let’s say you just had a member event and you want to get some feedback from members.

An email recap will alert those that missed it and remind those that saw it but are glad to be reminded. And you’ll see a nice flurry of member visits back at the member site on that topic. I find this works effectively every time. Try it.

6. Event Discounts

Having events for your members will always perk them up. Be sure to prepare some nice perks for them from time to time. A great idea that never fails is event discounts. When you can allow members to save them money on something related to their topic that has high-value, they really will appreciate it.

You could arrange a product discount with another vendor exclusively available only at your event. This will go a long way at keeping your members happy.

7. Future Content Teasers

You know what cliff-hangers are in movie trailers, right? It’s when you are watching the highlights and then just as you are drawn-in the most, they stop it there and tell you when and where to expect to see the rest of the show coming soon.

Well, in the membership site world you can do exactly the same with your content and it will have the exact same effect. Announce what you have coming then leave a cliff-hanger at the end of your announcement. This will ensure your members want to see the rest soon as it’s available and you can use this strategy as future content teasers.

8. Quick Start Videos

If you want to keep your members motivated to learn what you are teaching them, you must remember that there are various levels of members at any one time in your membership site. Some are newbies, some are intermediate and some are advanced.

By using quick start videos you can be sure that you have covered all levels of your members. This way, no one feels left behind in getting started on a new task they want to get under their belts. These are easily digestible videos that kick-start learning and really help keep the member interest level high.

9. Mastermind Groups

Forming mastermind groups within your membership site offers a real boost to members. When you form these special groups, the members begin to communicate between themselves helping each other out and offering solutions and trade off their experiences, etc.

This creates a deeper level of loyalty to the membership site overall because they feel so much more a part of it. You as the administrator can moderate and oversell the mastermind groups as much as you see fit, but having them in your membership site will for sure make for an effective retention strategy.

10. Case Studies

If you want to boost or attract a level of extra member interest, adding occasional case studies on topic will surely be draw them in. Every day, new paid products being offered are packaged case studies. When you offer these for members-only your membership site interest will soar.

I hope you took some notes and will use some of these 10 effective membership strategies I just laid out for you. When you do, I’m sure you agree they’ll help keep your membership site going long-term and evergreen.



Try These Creative Tactics From Proven Sales Funnels

As I wrote in a previous post, one of the best steps you can take to ensure your paid traffic converts is to study and analyze the marketing funnels of competitors.

Their ads, their landing pages, the copy in their emails — all of these represent data points you can use to optimize your own conversions and make money in that market.

I’ll take that advice a step further today and delve into the sales funnels of various companies across multiple industries.

This will uncover some ideas you might not have considered but could be applied directly to your own funnels.

Of course, this exercise is no substitute for a full analysis of your own competitors — it’s up to you to find what messages resonate in your own market.

Still, it always helps to see what other successful businesses are doing. Here are five great ideas I found by analyzing the sales funnels of successful companies.


Kaplan: Segmenting Informational, Navigational and Transactional Queries on Google’s SERPs Page

For-profit school Kaplan University is in one of the most competitive and profitable evergreen markets out there: Education. Having a tight sales funnel is crucial for Kaplan and its primary competitors.

Because the school has sufficient name recognition, it can get creative with its organic traffic.

If you search “Kaplan University” by name, the school owns the first organic result and the first paid result in Google:

Swipe These Creative Tactics From Proven Sales Funnels

The URLs look the same, but the landing pages are different. The paid results actually deliver users straight to a landing page with a three-step opt-in form designed to get them in touch with a representative.

The organic results take users to Kaplan’s home page and the site’s main subpages.

The difference gets right at the heart of user intent, or what a user fundamentally wants when typing in a keyword.

Most marketers break user intent into three categories:

  • Informational (“Tell me more about Kaplan”)
  • Navigational (“I want to go to Kaplan’s homepage”)
  • Transactional (“I want to sign up for classes”)

Searching for “Kaplan University” could indicate any of those three intents; there is no way of knowing. So, what Kaplan had to do for this keyword was target each intent.

The strength of the school’s brand and its other SEO work ensures that it ranks No. 1 for its own name and at the top of the Google SERPs for relevant keywords such as “online colleges.”

That leaves room for experimentation within the crowded set of paid results, where Kaplan can speak directly to users with a transactional intent behind their searches.

Notice the direct appeals in the paid search results’ copy: “Try our classes,” “Find the program for you,” “Transfer your credits.” That action orientation speaks to users with transactional intent.

Then, those users would ideally click through to what is a pretty simple landing page:

Swipe These Creative Tactics From Proven Sales Funnels

The copy reminds visitors of the three-week trial period — as the ad copy featured — and the only actions a user can really take are to fill out the form, get on the phone, or bounce. I would be curious to know how well this converts.

The takeaway: If you have built up brand recognition and people search for your business by name, consider experimenting with segmented user intentions right on Google’s SERPs page.

Let the “Tell Me More” users move into the top of your funnel via the organic results, but speak to your warmer leads with actionable copy and an optimized landing page in a paid search result.


Sendy’s Unsubscribe Page

Sendy’s self-hosted newsletter software creates a competitive offer for price-conscious customers — the company is very upfront about its service being 100x cheaper than competitors such as MailChimp or Campaign Monitor.

This positioning also lets Sendy get away with a bit more cheekiness than others might.

Case in point: When you unsubscribe from a newsletter sent out via Sendy, the publisher can set up the following unsubscribe page:

Swipe These Creative Tactics From Proven Sales Funnels

The first time I saw this, I actually laughed.

That CTA is so ridiculous that it doesn’t even feel pushy.

And that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? Most of us would be left with one of two options here: Either re-subscribe, or get a nice laugh out of the otherwise dull task of unsubscribing from a newsletter you don’t read.

That second outcome still provides a benefit to the sender.

If your last experience with a brand’s sales funnel is humor, you’re likely to leave that relationship on a high note, and perhaps with an elevated perception of the sender.

Later, if you circle back into that company’s orbit, you’re going to bring that elevated brand perception with you into that relationship.

Sendy has set its customers up with a nice win-win here.

The takeaway: Swipe this idea for your own email unsubscribes if (and only if) you feel your brand can get away with this kind of playfulness.


Uber’s Promotions to Existing Customers

On-demand ride service Uber gets a lot of flak.

Taxi drivers have held organized protests against the company.

It’s been shut out of some markets.

It’s got doubters out there who simply wish to “remain unconverted.”

But none of that filters into the company’s touch points with existing customers. In fact, when you look at the promotional email local Uber teams sent out to customers the first weekend of May, everything is literally flowers and sunshine.

Here is the CTA from the promo for Chicago customers:

Swipe These Creative Tactics From Proven Sales Funnels

This email offer is deceptively enticing. At first blush, there is no real benefit to the customer — they don’t get free rides themselves for sharing the code.

But then you return to Uber’s external realities: How many of those customers have “I prefer to remain unconverted” friends who insist on hailing a taxi?

That friend gets a promo code, for sure.

For the less cynical Uber evangelists, the metaphor of planting flowers and watching them bloom might resonate with a desire to simply help other people.

Those Chicago customers were enjoying a sunny 72-degree day when that email went out. It’s easy to tap into someone’s philanthropic nature on such a nice day.

The takeaway: The bottom of the sales funnel isn’t the moment the prospect converts to a customer. The funnel still has a wide base upon which you should build up trust and loyalty among existing customers.

Reach out to them, and appeal to their better natures. If you’re lucky enough to have a core of evangelist customers, give them a reason to evangelize.


AdRoll Gets Incredibly Meta With a Retargeting Campaign

Retargeting platform AdRoll blogged in 2013 about its own success with a Facebook retargeting campaign that saw a 45% increase in conversions and a lot of positive press for the company.

“For many prospective advertisers, the most important thing for them to know is that our platform works for companies just like theirs,” AdRoll’s Tom Pitt wrote.

“Because we work with many tremendously innovative companies, we decided to test a retargeting campaign that highlighted some of those companies and their experience using our product.”

The first ads the company used in this retargeting campaign featured testimonials, which converted at a pretty low rate but brought in high-quality traffic when they did convert.

Shortly thereafter, the company tried an experimental ad on Facebook’s network. Here is one of its promoted posts:

Swipe These Creative Tactics From Proven Sales Funnels

The sidebar ads themselves featured a headline that just read “We’re Retargeting You.”

Such great stuff here. People began screenshotting the ads and Tweeting them out to AdRoll just to say, basically, “Thanks for the laugh.”

More importantly, Pitt said those ads converted 45% better than the control, and soon Facebook retargeting campaigns emerged as a key driver of AdRoll traffic.

The takeaway: Don’t copy this campaign wholesale. People will recognize it.

But do feel free to knock down that fourth wall if you have a savvy audience that would appreciate being in on the joke. If done well, you can get your message out and build up some goodwill in the process.


Retargeting, Take 2: Caviar

Caviar, a mobile service that lets you order delivery food from nearby restaurants, came up in my research for this post, but nothing in particular stood out about the company’s sales funnel.

At least not initially.

Two days later, I was reading some news when I saw this ad:

Swipe These Creative Tactics From Proven Sales Funnels

As with the AdRoll example above, this is an excellent way to be blatant about the retargeting message while keeping the message itself on point.

This also demonstrates how you don’t need to be too meta or tongue-in-cheek with a clever retargeting message.

Now, if only Caviar could retarget me with an image of a specific dish I had previously clicked on.

The takeaway: Retargeting has proved so effective in recent years for the same reason as the Kaplan example earlier — it can get right at the heart of user intent.

Consider what AdRoll CMO Adam Berke told VentureBeat in December: “When you combine this hyper-valuable data set with advanced media buying technology, algorithmic bidding, dynamic creative, and reach across publishers and channels, you end up with an extremely important marketing channel that is now viewed to be as crucial as search engine marketing.”


Gauher Chaudhry