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Apr 18, 2007
Case Study

How to Turn a Sold-Out Event Into a Lead-Gen Webcast Bonanza

SUMMARY: Webcasts aren’t just a way to collect leads. They can also be used for limited-time offers to convert viewers into immediate customers.

See how one company used live, streaming video from an exclusive, sold-out conference to compile a list of leads and offer a one-time promotion to encourage conversions for a new product line. The pitch helped them reach their goal in six minutes, generate more than 40,000 leads and is still chugging along as a lead-generation tool.
CHALLENGE
When business training company Strategic Profits prepared to launch a new online training program, Product Launch Manager Dan Caron was charged with filling the pipeline with thousands of qualified leads and generating pre-sales.

Caron knew they needed a campaign that would have a strong promotional hook to build the necessary buzz but also introduce prospects to the business coaching techniques of company founder and training guru Rich Schefren.

Then the perfect opportunity presented itself: Schefren was scheduled to host a two-day, sold-out summit for existing customers. Caron and his team wondered if they could offer a free live video feed from the event for up to 10,000 online participants without taking away from its value for the attendees who had paid thousands of dollars to attend.

Although they worried about possible delays in video streaming, Caron really liked the format because it was similar to the technology used for their new training program. “The online university is very video intensive, so the prospects we’re gaining would be highly qualified. They’ve already shown interest in watching online videos.”


CAMPAIGN
First, Caron and his team looked for a vendor who could handle the technical aspects of streaming video to so many thousands of online users (see hotlink below). From there, they moved onto the promotion part. Here are the five steps they followed:

-> Step #1. Target leads through affiliate partners

Because Strategic Profits works with several hundred affiliate partners, each with their own email lists, Caron’s team enlisted that group to promote the event.

First, they needed to get their partners excited about the streaming video offer. To do this, Caron notified affiliates about the plan to build buzz for the product launch and stressed that the event was a rare opportunity to offer prospects a free, insider look at content from the exclusive, $2,997 seminar. “If you’re going to ask affiliates to mail to their list, you want to make sure they’re going to have great content.”

For partners who agreed to promote the event, they provided sample copy for a text-only email invitation. Affiliates were allowed to modify the appeal, which touched on a few key points:

o A free look at a live, sold-out event.
o A presentation that would provide valuable tips on running an online business.
o A note of urgency to encourage early registration. The company wasn’t sure how many viewers it would be able to handle online, so seats were filled on a first-come, first-served basis

All email invitations included a hotlink to Strategic Profits’ website, where attendees registered with their names and email addresses.

-> Step #2. Promote the event on company blog

Five days before the event, Schefren wrote a blog post inviting attendees to the live webcast. Because the conference wasn’t directly related to the new training program, his invitation included a “try before you buy” appeal (see creative samples). Like the email invitations, the blog post reiterated the first-come, first-served nature of the event and included a hotlink for registration.

-> Step #3. Reminder emails to registrants

Once Caron's team had a list of registrants generated from their affiliate partners, they sent two reminder emails a week before the event, thanking them for signing up, reminding them of the date and providing the login information for the webcast. One was sent at the beginning of the week, the other the day before the Saturday afternoon webcast.

-> Step #4. Limited-time offer to encourage pre-sales

Instead of being a pitch for the new online training program, the two-hour video feed focused on Schefren’s tips to build and grow an online business. At the end of the presentation, Caron’s team reminded webcast attendees of the upcoming product launch and then made a special, one-time offer:

- Over the live video stream, they opened up 100 seats in the new online training program. Attendees who signed up for those seats while watching the webcast would be allowed to remain online and watch the rest of the weekend-long seminar -- in essence, a free, virtual ticket to the entire sold-out event.

- A link on the video player took viewers to an online product order page, where they could register for the new training product and then continue viewing the live stream of the conference.

-> Step #5. Follow-up work and another blog post

After the event, Caron archived a recording of the webcast on their website along with another video presentation. Schefren posted a follow-up blog promoting the new videos and pointed users to the special section of the website, where a login page asked for name and email address to view the content.


RESULTS

Between blog comments, emails and calls to the office, the streaming event "was a huge success," Caron says. "We've seen other people in the marketplace already talking about doing [a live webcast of a seminar], and had a lot of people comment that this is definitely an up-and-coming technology for education and marketing."

The promotion worked better than Caron expected. All 100 spots in the online learning program sold out in six minutes. When the program officially launched a month later, the company brought in $2.8 million in sales the first day, which Caron says is more successful than the average launch.

“Allowing people to purchase coaching services during the live stream did two things: It allowed them to get in the door to a sold-out event, and it helped us build buzz through the rest of the month leading up to our launch.”

Using the affiliates to market the event was crucial to their success. 70% of the affiliates forwarded information about the program to their email lists.

The event also exceeded Caron’s goal of adding 30,000 names to the company database. So far, they have collected more than 40,000 names and email addresses from the live webcast and the archived recording, and they're still adding approximately 100 names a week.

The webcast continues to attract viewers to the website today. 4,547 viewers watched the live stream and more than 4,600 have watched the recorded version in the two months since.


Useful links related to this article

Creative samples from Strategic Profits
http://www.marketingsherpa.com/cs/stratpro/study.html


ON24 Inc. - which provided the viewing platform for the live, streaming video:
http://www.on24.com


Strategic Profits:
http://www.strategicprofits.com


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