The $1,743 Reason My Webinar Failed
I’ve been doing successful webinars for the past 4 years but recently I had a webinar that was a complete failure. The kind of failure that cost me $1,734 in advertising with zero sales. But I’m not giving up on this webinar. Instead, all August long I’ll be showing you what went wrong and how I’m going to fix it.
You’re about to get a behind the scenes look with real numbers, broken into 4 parts. Make sure to check in every Thursday to see if we can take this failure and turn it into a success. That way you can avoid having a webinar as bad as this one.
Part 1: The Webinar That Failed
I’ve hosted well over 100 live webinars. Sharing valuable content with tens of thousand of students over the years. But after all these years it finally happened… I failed.
The worst part? I didn’t see this coming, at all. The early signs pointed to success, that my team and I were headed in the right direction. Every piece of the webinar looked great from the registration page to the Facebook ads.
We had Facebook and YouTube feeding us leads and ended up with 363 registrants ready to hear all about membership sites.
I was ready to show them how to create a profitable membership site. I then gave more value than I ever have, two hours of actionable content. What could have gone wrong?
Well, something went very wrong. My average EPR (earning per registrant) on my other webinars is $32.41. But this webinar… got $0!
It’s hard to admit because I’ve never had worse results than this. This webinar by all means and definitions was a COMPLETE FAILURE.
Does that mean I’m giving up on this webinar? Absolutely not. My team and I are going to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it going forward.
This blog post will share what went wrong, why we think it went wrong, and our plan to turn this into a profitable webinar.
To get a better Idea of what went wrong let’s start with the numbers. Because if you can’t measure something, you can’t fix it!
For this webinar, I’m focusing on three KPIs (key performance indicators). I’ve already covered the EPR, but we’re also looking to improve the attendance rate and conversion rate.
Our average attendance rate for webinars is 29% but this webinar only had 17%. That means before I even began my training, things were already a little “off”.
But here’s the thing, that still doesn’t account for getting zero purchases with 61 attendees! The real problem is deeper than a below average attendance rate. I have a few hypotheses on what led to these results and I will be sharing them later.
In the past, we averaged conversion rates of around 3%. That’s pretty good, but this webinar netted us 0%! Which shouldn’t surprise you with the zero purchases from attendees.
This conversion rate was so low, I thought that the order page was broken or the website was down. But it wasn’t… I think it’s on me because I didn’t convey how amazing membership site businesses are. I didn’t sell this amazing business model properly during the live training.
Just so you can see where we’re starting from I’ve laid out the results of this webinar side by side with our average webinar performance. Nowhere to go but up, right?
Now let’s dive into the details of the webinar itself so you can get an idea of what the audience experienced and what I offered them.
I format my webinars to a structure that has always worked until now. That’s because using the same structure each time eliminates random factors and allows me to compare webinar performances.
My typical webinar format looks like this:
- Live Q&A
The introduction sets up expectations and warms the audience up to the main presentation. I like to get people excited about the topic and become comfortable with me.
After that, I dive into the training. In this case, it was 90 minutes of intensive training about building profitable membership sites. Normally I only do about an hour of training but this time I did 30 more minutes more. This may have been a mistake, more on that next week.
The offer comes right after the training. The idea is that I just gave them value, I built authority, and I showed what they’ll gain. The audience should be warmed up and ready to buy. I always throw in a bonus for people giving me their attention and to get them to take action now instead of later (or never).
Here’s what I offered my attendees, a one-time payment of $1,497 for the full membership site masters course. That’s a 50% discount AND I threw in a few other bonuses including access to our software products and SOPs. It was a lot of value.
Last we have the Q&A. With this interaction, I know attendees have a clear understanding of what we covered and feel listened to. This is also the section where you can get an idea of how clear your training was.
Besides the format, there are lots of moving parts that work together to produce a successful webinar including:
- Ad Targeting
- Email Marketing
- Page Design
These parts are the rest of the sales funnel that everyone goes through with my webinars.
It starts with attracting people to attend by using ads. In this case, we had good results with YouTube advertising.
Then there’s the powerhouse that is email marketing. I use this tool for inviting our internal lists to attend and later to promote the webinar offer.
Lastly, there’s the design and content on the landing pages. Both for registration and selling. There are a lot of intricacies to landing page design but I focus on making them easy to understand and use.
Now that you have an overview of the webinar, I’m eager to make some hypotheses of what went wrong and how we’ll try to fix this webinar.
My team and I are spending this week working backward to find the failure points. We will be taking screenshots and making notes on everything that went wrong. Bookmark this page and be sure to check back on August 10th for my debrief and hypotheses.
Part 2: Why It Went Wrong
In business, as in life, there are losers and there are winners. Both types of people will fail many times throughout their careers. In fact, the winners will fail more often than the losers.
Losers will simply throw their hands up in the air and think of all the reasons why business isn’t fair and why they’re at a disadvantage. They will continue to make excuses until they just give up altogether.
Winners will see failures as minor setbacks. In fact, true winners will see failures as wins for their business as they provide them with data you can use to improve on in the future.
With every failure comes data that you can use to make a hypothesis on why you didn’t achieve your desired outcome. You then can make the necessary changes to correct course.
We’ve already looked at the three KPIs in Part 1, now I’ll examine the webinar funnel further and share my hypotheses on what went wrong.
(Note: I want your feedback so post in the comments if you think we missed anything!)
Webinar Registration Page:
This webinar had around 1,005 unique visitors to the registration page and approximately 399 of those visitors registered. That’s an opt-in Rate of 39.70%.
While not bad, it’s certainly less than our average of >50%.
Let’s start with what went wrong on the webinar registration page. Here’s what it looked like in the first version:
There seem to be three key reasons for the lower opt-in rate on this page. Those reasons are a lack of authority in the messaging, too much information on the page, and a headline that wasn’t compelling enough.
If visitors watch the video, they’ll learn a little about me and why I’m qualified to teach them. Unfortunately, most people won’t watch the video. Since there isn’t any other authority in the messaging, visitors have no reason to trust or learn from me.
Building authority and trust is crucial. We’re asking people to commit 90 minutes of their life with me and they need a good reason to do so. People want to make sure they aren’t wasting their time with an amateur just looking to sell something to them.
Too Much Information:
As you can see from the screenshot above, there are six boxes on this page that share different things I will discuss in the webinar:
- Niche Selection
- Market Research
- Telling Your Story
- Product Creation
- Getting Traffic
While on the surface this looks great (since attendees will learn so much), it’s actually overwhelming to many people and can cause them to leave the page without registering.
It may sound obvious but the sole purpose of a webinar registration page is to get people to register. We don’t want to distract them or give them a reason to disqualify themselves. Ideally, you want to show how much value they’ll get by attending but it’s easy to go overboard here.
Headline Is Not Compelling:
The headline used for the first version of the webinar was:
How To Create a Profitable Membership Site (My 6 Step Process Revealed)
Our sub-headline was:
Learn My 6 Step Process To Building Profitable Membership Sites
Looking back, there are two problems with this headline and sub-headline.
- The benefit isn’t clearly defined. “Create a Profitable Membership Site”. Sure that sounds great, but what does that even mean? Does it mean attendees are going to be able to create a profitable membership site with just this live training? It doesn’t address the questions people new to membership sites would have like “What topic would they create a membership site about?”. I’d bet a good amount of the 60% who left without registering even thought “what is a membership site?”
- The theme of “Building Profitable Membership Sites” is too vague. It would click for someone who is already interested in building a membership site, but not for the majority of people who are looking to create a new stream of income.
By addressing these three issues on the webinar registration page we should be able to increase the opt-in rate to the 50% range. Now let’s look at the next step after registration, the confirmation page.
Consumers are being bombarded almost non-stop with emails, text messages, phone calls, and Facebook alerts and their attention spans are short to say the least….
After they register for the webinar it’s your job to get them even more excited and to reinforce their decision by adding more value and by sharing social proof. You want to paint a picture of their success so they see what you’re offering as a means to that goal.
You need to do everything you can to stay at the top of their mind and there are many ways you can use your webinar confirmation page to accomplish that. Here is what the visitors saw after registering for the first version of our webinar:
I have to admit I was a little embarrassed to even share this page because we obviously rushed it… I didn’t plan far enough ahead for this webinar and that led to us pretty much doing the bare minimum here.
What a Webinar Registration Confirmation Page Should Do:
- Confirm The Registration
- Continue To Build Hype
- Give Them a Reason To Attend Live
- Share Social Proof
What Ours Did:
- Confirm The Registration
By adding the other three requirements we should see better results overall. For our next version, we are making significant changes to this confirmation page. I will be showing you those changes in Part 3 of this case study, so make sure to check in next week to see them.
Overall the emails were way too pushy and forgettable. They suffered from issues similar to the landing pages. The lack of building hype, conveying why they should attend, and building authority with my story.
The click rate for the follow-up emails were 10% for the first email and 5% for the second. Emails sent to leads this warm typically get around 50%. The messaging failed to give them enough reason to purchase our offer.
Going forward we’re going to adjust the messaging much like the registration pages. We think by adding in my story, increasing hype, and by being less pushy we should see much higher click rates.
Now we move on to the webinar itself. After looking back, I found that there was too much information, the information was too broad, and I didn’t share enough of my story. I think by addressing these three problems we’ll get a lot more conversions.
While I’m happy I presented this version of the webinar to a live audience, I quickly learned a lot about what was wrong with it while I was teaching.
The first problem is that it was just too much information…..
At two hours, not only was this the longest webinar I have ever presented, it was also the most technical.
By the time I was about halfway through I realized that the level of information I was sharing would only benefit people who already owned membership sites. This was a big problem because most of the attendees were on the webinar to learn about a new business opportunity. Not to grow their existing membership site. I’m sure a lot of what I was teaching went right over people’s heads… and even if they did retain some of the information there’s no way they could quickly implement everything I taught.
The second major issue with this webinar is that it was too broad. I covered six steps to building a profitable membership site when I should have gone with one or two. I tried to cover too much and that led to two hours of me rushing to explain complex processes that take weeks or months to accomplish.
The third thing I got wrong is not sharing enough of my story… I went right into the tech stuff without sharing who I am, why I got into membership sites, and why I created membership site masters. While the knowledge matters, I know my personal story is powerful and can help motivate others. Not to mention, telling my story would have built trust and authority when it came time for them to purchase the course.
All of these issues are being addressed and it’s safe to say the next version of the webinar will be almost unrecognizable to those who saw the first.
I feel like the offer was the strongest part of the webinar and that I simply didn’t do a good enough job with the rest of the webinar to prepare people to make a purchase decision.
I’m not going to share a screenshot of the offer here, but I will say that it will not be modified much for the next version.
We had a mix of audiences who we targeted for this webinar.
- Performance Marketer Retargeting
- Drop Ship Lifestyle (Premium Members) Retargeting
- Cold Targeting
Without sales data, it’s hard to gauge which audiences will convert moving forward. All we know at this point is that targeting the Drop Ship Lifestyle audience (without a proper indoctrination sequence) seemed to cause some confusion:
We think by targeting a new audience and adding a solid indoctrination sequence we should see a much better opt-in rate and an increase in conversions.
My team and I are spending this week improving the registration pages, webinar, emails, and the audience targeting. We’ll be taking screenshots and making notes on everything we changed. Bookmark this page and be sure to check back on August 17th for details on the new and improved webinar.
Part 3 – What We’re Doing To Fix It
Without further ado, it’s time to show off the changes that we’ve made. It’s important to note that I will be sharing these at the risk of overwhelming or confusing you. Everything we’ve changed and everything we’re currently testing is the result of many meetings and brainstorming sessions. I will do my best to share what we changed and why we changed it.
*** Important ***
We will be updating this case study again on August 24th with early results from our tests to share what’s working and what’s not. Be sure to check back then to see what happens next.
Going From 100% Live To An Automated Webinar With Live Q&A:
This is by far the biggest change that we made. The “failed” webinar was 100% live and while we know that live webinars convert better than automated, we need to semi-automate this one for awhile to get as many people as possible to join.
For the second version of the webinar, we wanted the attendance rate to be as high as possible. That’s so we can track analytics (watch time, bounce rate, conversion rate, etc) and make adjustments accordingly for when we go back to 100% live.
Updated Webinar Registration Pages:
For next version of this webinar, we actually have three unique webinar registrations pages… and no, they aren’t just for split testing. We decided to segment our audience based on their actions for better conversion rates through more relevant messaging.
UPDATED Webinar Registration Page # 1: Stand Alone Webinar Registration Page
- Improved the headline with a clear goal: “Learn How To Create Profit From Passion”.
- Reduced the bullet points from six to three to avoid overwhelming audiences.
- Improved video that adds credibility and authority.
- Added a Facebook like box for social proof.
NEW Webinar Registration Page # 2: Encore Webinar Registration Page
This a new registration page that we created for the “encore” of this webinar. This page will only be seen by people who registered for the webinar but didn’t attend and those who attended but left early.
Why it works:
- The video is clear and to the point. It tells people about this encore and why they should make sure to register while it’s still available.
- It adds further authority (with my short bio).
- It explains what people will learn but it in a different format than the bullet points.
NEW Webinar Registration Page # 3: Bridge Webinar Registration Page
This “bridge” page is shown after a lead opts-in for our list of 114 Membership Ideas.
We give them this free report and then ask them to register for the webinar on the next page.
We do this for a few reasons:
- In the past, it has been shown to lower lead costs.
- After someone reads one of our free reports they are much more likely to know, like, and trust us.
- Webinar registration ads to cold audiences on Facebook can have an expensive lead acquisition cost.
- This method helps to stand out and break the ice.
New Confirmation Page:
Because we decided to go with the semi-automated webinar platform, there’s a lot we did to improve the webinar registration confirmation page.
You can see the new one here:
Some of the improvements we made were:
- New video to reinforce that the visitor made a great decision and should attend the webinar.
- Descriptive text requesting the visitor to join the webinar from a desktop or laptop for the best experience.
- Calendar reminder so they don’t forget.
- Added a short survey to find out what people are looking to get out of the webinar. This will help us improve it moving forward.
We made some big changes here. This is the new sequence in Infusionsoft:
I won’t go into detail on what’s inside the emails in this part of the case study but I will say we have 3 segments of webinar registrants that we’ll mail to:
Segment 1: Attended Webinar & Saw Offer
Segment 2: Attended Webinar & Left Early
Segment 3: Missed Webinar
The reason we segment them this way is because everyone needs to be communicated to differently. For example, if someone saw the offer, our goal is to remind them what a great deal it is. If someone left early, our goal is to get them back on the encore. If someone just didn’t show up at all, our goal is to get them to register again.
We made some massive changes here as well. I recreated the entire training with the mentality of “less is more”. I now share only three tips (instead of six) that viewers can fully grasp during the shortened 90 minute presentation.
I also make a conscious effort to remove “tech talk” by removing any words or terms that the average viewer may not be familiar with yet. I do this because the goal isn’t to confuse people and make them feel like this is over their head, but to speak to them at their current level and guide them to success.
Not much was changed here. We are experimenting at different price points but the main offer is the same. As stated in Part 2 of this case study I still believe it’s a solid offer and I’ll leave it up to the results from this next week of testing to either prove me right or wrong.
Speaking of which, we will be updating this case study again on August 24th with the early results from our tests. Check back then to see what works and what failed!