Get Your Sales Sequence Right (Marketing Your Online Conference Series – Part 1)

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In today’s episode, which is part one of a two-part series, we talk about getting your sales sequence right when you’re marketing an online conference. Drawing on my experience with marketing the 2020 Digital DustSafety Conference that we’re hosting through DustSafetyScience, I explain:

  • Why your sales sequence is important
  • How to improve your sales sequence
  • How to create your sales page
  • The results that we realized after improving our sales sequence

Why Is Your Sales Sequence Important?

Direct selling has high conversion rates. I sent around a hundred direct emails to people who might be interested in the conference and got a 50% conversion rate.

However, after analyzing our online system, such as social media and website capture, I realized that they were not performing very well. Only 0.1 to 0.2% of people who viewed sales page were actually registering for the conference.

Based on this percentage, I would need 500 to a thousand people to visit that sales page to sell one ticket, and we weren’t getting this type of volume. Now, with our new sales sequence, we’re getting 2% to 5% conversion, which is 25 to 50 times better than we were doing with our older sequence.

How To Improve Your Sales Sequence

How do you go about improving your sales sequence?

Step #1: Get something up

In the beginning, I looked at examples from academic conferences and used them to create a sales page. It had objective, scope, and all of the things you typically see at an online academic conference. I thought, “This will work for my audience because that’s the audience I have.”

But it doesn’t work well for any audience. It doesn’t work well even for academic conferences. That’s why attendance at these events is dwindling. But that was all I knew, so that was what I created. The bottom line is that I got it up and now had something to track.

Step #2: Track the numbers

Track the numbers for a set period. I made a sheet with all of the relevant pages (the sales page, the order page, and the thank you page) and recorded all the views. I did this for a seven-week period from the middle of October until the start of December 2019.

Once you have all these page views, analyze the referral information. This includes clicks from your newsletter, social media, or your own website. I was able to identify where 40% of the traffic came from, which was enough to analyze what was happening with my page and improve it overall.

Step #3: Analyze the numbers

Once you have the page views and referral information on one sheet, you can say, “Okay, well, I think that most of our traffic is coming from this source. Maybe we need to test that and put a Bitly link or something in there.” Make a hypothesis about how you can improve the process and then test it.

When I ran this analysis on our site, I found 10 big takeaways, but I’ll mention the top three below.

Takeaway #1: The sales sequence conversion was low

At first glance, this didn’t seem to be the case. We had a seven-week period during which 1,038 people viewed the event page. We had 64 signups, which is a conversion of 6.1%. But when you subtract the people who responded to my direct emails, we were getting a very low conversion rate: somewhere between 0.1 to 0.2%. So, again, you’d need 500 to a thousand people at these lower conversion rates to make one sale.

Takeaway #2: The newsletter was the best source of traffic

The newsletter does especially well because we’ve released it every week now for three years. We use it to build authority. Now that we’re launching an event, we’re getting a lot of people who are going through the sales page because they trust what’s going on in that newsletter.

We had an image ad at the bottom of the newsletter, which was getting between 50 and a hundred people clicking through to check out the conference. The problem was that very few of these people were converting and buying tickets at the end of the day.

Takeaway #3: Overall traffic was not high enough

Even if I magically increased our conversion rate to 5% and we were having a thousand people see the event page every seven weeks, we’d only have a handful of people registering each week. This wasn’t enough to hold the event. Now we’ve had our 150th person register for the event and we would not have got there with the sales page that was converting at 0.1 to 0.2%.

So how do you go about improving your sales sequence now that you know where the problems lie? I used a five-step process.

Step #1: Be open-minded

If you find yourself thinking, “That won’t work for my audience,” nip that in the bud right away or, more importantly, write that down. I was thinking that video and these online marketing-type sales pages wouldn’t work for my audience. Then I realized that these are probably the things I needed to try.

At the end of the day, we found that this approach had a much better result than the sales pages we were using.

Step #2: Find examples you like

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Find something that inspires you and use that as your major template.

Step #3: Create a checklist

Step three is to create a checklist. List things that you like about other people’s pages, such as social proof, videos, and specific structures. This checklist will help you build your own page and serve as a reference point if you want to build another sales page a year from now.

Step #4: Get the right tool

It can be something as simple as a built-in tool or plugin. These tools don’t necessarily have to be resources you pay for, but in a lot of cases, you do get what you pay for. An inexpensive page builder, for example, will help you get a sales page done more quickly and it will look a lot nicer.

Step #4: Ship it

The sales page does not have to be perfect. Get it out into the world.

How to Create Your Sales Page

The sales sequence I built was a simple one. It is a sales page that leads to an order page where you enter your credit card information. When you press ‘Buy,’ it takes the order and sends you to a thank you page.

Here are five tips for creating a sales page that works.

Tip #1: Put a call to action first

At the very top, use a button or a big image that takes them straight to the order page. This is the fast track for people who know they want to buy and don’t need to read through a long-form sales letter or anything. For us, this was an image with ‘Got your ticket?’ and then ‘Register Now.’

Tip #2: Use videos

Videos convert much better. This is probably the number one difference between the original sales page that I created and the new one. We have two videos. I have a welcome video at the top, where I introduce myself and talk briefly about the conference. Then, closer to the bottom, we talk about what you can expect, why we’re running the event, how it’s going to benefit the people who are attending, and what it’s going to look like after you press the purchase button.

Tip #3: Focus on benefits, not features

The first time I wrote a sales page, I mentioned that I had a lot of speakers and a community forum. Now I explained the benefits, such as:

  • Improved understanding of upcoming regulation changes in your industry.
  • Do you have questions about dust hazard analysis, safety, culture and training? Get these answered.
  • There’s no travel, no lodging, no extra cost because it’s online.
  • You are able to communicate with a community.

Tip #4: Use social proof

I grabbed some nice images of speakers who were well-known and had interesting topics. We have eight speakers on the sales page and 40 speakers from around the world.  I included headshots and detailed information to show this is a real event with real people and to highlight that social proof element.

Tip #5: Finalize the program and get it up as soon as possible

The number one question we got was “What’s the program? Who’s going to be presenting?” If you finalize your program early, you can put it on the sales page. We’ve seen a noticeable spike in sales since we put the event program up.

What Are The Results?

What were the results of implementing this new sales sequence? In the last three weeks, we’ve had over a thousand people view the new sales page. 15 to 20% of those are clicking through to the order page and 15 to 25% of those that are clicking through the order page are actually purchasing. Overall, we’re having 2 to 5% of people buying tickets over the last three weeks. The newer sales page is converting much better than the text-based sales page that we started with.

If you have any questions about the sales sequence process, you can drop us an email or leave a comment below. I hope you are finding these episodes and the GradBlogger podcast helpful in building your online business and blog and understanding how to do things like market and sell online, build a business, and track systems in place.

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