How I Increased Conversions of Live Webinars 10X (SaaS Startup)

In today’s article, I’m going to be digging into how I have more than 10X the signup rate for the live workshops that I’ve been running for a SaaS startup. These workshops began in the first quarter of 2020. And since then we have seen a drastic increase in the conversion rates of new trial accounts. By the end of this article, you’re going to be able to take the same principle into your own startup in the case where you are working on some sort of workshop series, webinar, and things like that.

What we’ve been doing with these live workshops?

So in Q1 of 2020, we decided to start offering live workshops for different folks in our space to learn, get new professional development opportunities, and also be introduced to our product and platform.

To do so, what we did was we partnered with a number of different educators in our space that had good reputations as well as existing audiences. The reason why we did this is because we could lean on the existing email list of these partners that were presenting with us in order to introduce our platform to new people.

So for an hour or so, every other week, we would run a live workshop in which we invite all these different professionals to our workshop, and from there, have the educator talk about a particular topic while integrating our platform into the problem or topic that the speaker was presenting on. By doing this sort of content marketing approach, it was pretty effective in the first quarter of 2020.

In fact, we were averaging between five and 10% conversion rates for people that registered for the event and then ultimately signed up to try our SaaS platform for 14 days. Something that we noticed though, as we entered Q2 and Q3, is that fewer and fewer people that were registered for the workshops were signing up for free accounts.

In other words, our conversion rates were dipping from that five to 10% that we had been seeing earlier.

How did we tackle this problem

To tackle this problem, the tactic that we’ve leaned on is creating an alternate offer that has a direct call-to-action to sign up for our particular service. So instead of just having this passive ask where you would have a partner present and then sometimes talk about our product and try to get people to sign up, we’ve been taking the registrant’s who have not signed up for free accounts and essentially been targeting them for small cohort-based learning.

So we’ll pretty much reach out to somebody who may have attended two or three of our other partner workshops and then pitch them and tell them, “Hey, we’re running a special workshop just for a group of 20 or 30 people in the next week, and we’d love for you to join. It’s going to be a free workshop. You’re going to get a lot of value from it. And by the end of this particular workshop, you’re going to get X, Y, Z.”

So by having a particular end state in which they know within the 60 minutes or so that they are going to be getting something in return for their time, we’ve been able to get really high conversion rates from these events. In fact, the conversion rates have ranged from 30 to 60%. So this has been more than a 10X increase in some situations from the prior conversion rate of the more passive ask.

How can you apply this for your own startup?

So how can you apply this for your own startup? When we create these sorts of alternate offers, we are asking our qualifying questions upfront with the participant ahead of them getting into the room.

In other words, in order for them to get to the small group workshop, we’re asking them the same qualification questions that they are asked if they were to create a free account. This way, we can make sure that the people that are actually going into these alternate offers are the right people for us and our business.

The worst thing you want to do is introduce a ton of new free trial accounts to your product or service that are not actually good leads for your business. So once you’ve qualified those folks in, it’s all about delivering an awesome value pack experience for those individuals. So what I want you to think about when you’re thinking about applying this tactic for your own startup is what could you teach somebody in an hour or less and pitch that as the actual presentation for them?

So let’s say for example, you are running a CRM company and you want to help somebody move everything into a new CRM, or you want them to be able to manage their entire pipeline from start to finish? One way you could do that is by pitching some sort of workshop of how to migrate everything into a CRM in under 60 minutes.

And by having that sort of clearly framed offer in which it’s clear exactly what the outcome will be from that time period that they spend with you, it can become a really powerful way to convert somebody in your funnel. What we then do is we would have 30 minutes in which we talk about some of the common challenges that people have when it comes to moving something into a CRM, and then we’d spend the second portion of that presentation to actually show how to migrate things into our particular CRM product.

So by the end of it, every single person that attends the particular workshop should have their own trial account with your product or service that also solves the clear problem that they’re facing in their day-to-day lives.

That’s exactly what we’ve done in our particular situation, in which we’ve taken a core problem, that our prospects are always facing. We’ve educated them on that problem for 30 minutes. And then the second portion of that workshop is showing how they can create a free account and start directly tackling the problem that we just talked about in the presentation.

By having this sort of combination of an educated experience, as well as an immersive experience that they are actually taking part in learning and solving their own problems, it really empowers the end user to want to look for deeply into your product or service later on. And overall, what we’ve seen from this cohort-based approach is that for every registered we have, one in two will more or less create an account.

So there are naturally going to be some people who, as you get into the second portion of the interactive component are going to drop off because they don’t want to create an account for whatever reason. But in most situations, you will find this sort of targeted approach to account signup and creation to be very, very powerful for you in terms of 10 X-ing or just significantly increasing your overall conversion.

How to apply this approach

In the case where you apply this approach for your own startup or business, what I recommend you also do while you’re creating accounts for people is to have some sort of flow where you integrate with a Calendly or some other calendaring app to also have them book a time with your team a week from now from your presentation.

The reason why is because what we have found is that by having that sort of check-in point built into their trial experience, it increases the overall conversion rate of people. Because they’re able to get their questions answered as well as have another human touchpoint to essentially bounce off different ideas or applications of how they might be thinking about using your service.

It’s pretty crazy to think about how one small tweak can really make a world of a difference, but oftentimes just framing an alternate offer can be a great way to maximize the existing list you already have. In our situation, we’ve taken a list of a few thousand folks that have attended our other workshops and pretty much just remarketing them with alternate offers like these, to get them to the point where they are ready to create their free accounts.

And on average, we’re seeing about the same conversion rates for these people as for normal or inbound organic traffic. And what that should show you is the power of having an offer that speaks to your prospect.

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