Where Have All Your Students Gone?

Posted by on Jan 26 2015

Learning StylesDo you wonder why attendance for your teleseminars and webinars has decreased? Here’s the reason and this will help you fix the problem.

What I have seen in the past few years, and what my colleagues tell me they’ve seen as well, is that a large proportion of people won’t attend the live teleseminar or webinar, but will choose instead to pick up the recording and listen to it when they have time.

This “I want what I want, when I want it” culture is becoming the norm, with TIVO, Netflix, Hulu, Kindle, etc. giving people complete control over access to what they want, on their own terms.

How This Affects Free Preview Classes

Say that you offer a special discount or deal during your free preview teleseminar or webinar. Your participants might not take you up on it…not because your special deal isn’t wonderful, but because people don’t listen to the recordings for a week or more. They don’t hear about your special deal until after the deadline has passed.

I’ve found that I need to send a second “Reminder to Pickup and Consume Your Recording” email to the registrants about 10 days after the class, to remind them that they need to listen to the recording that they downloaded. If there is a discount or special offer, I remind them about it in the email as well. (And if there is a deadline for them to take advantage of the special offer, I send that in the reminder email, too.)

Recently I held a free webinar on a Thursday afternoon. I sent an email to participants on Thursday evening, letting them know the recording was available. Within the next week, about 35% of the participants went out to the recording page and downloaded/viewed the recording. Ten days later, I sent a reminder email to the registrations (with a reminder about when the special discount would end), and the other 65% of the participants went out and downloaded/viewed the recording.

The Psychology of Missed Discounts

If you give them a deadline for a discount or some special bonuses for registering early, they often won’t hear about it until much later because they haven’t listened to the recording yet. Then, psychologically, they feel they’ve missed out on the lower price or special deal, and why should they now pay the higher price?

I know it’s not logical, but psychological studies show that if people knew there was a discount they missed, they resist buying, even if they want the item.

The deadline does not motivate them if they don’t know about it. You might consider extending the discount to include the time period after you send the second reminder.

Live, No Recording Options, and Evergreen Options

Don’t get me wrong, I think selling-via-free-classes is still a viable and strong marketing technique. We just have to modify our marketing to take into effect the new culture of on-demand education. That’s why I think we’re seeing so many “live, with no recording available” events…if the student doesn’t attend live, they miss out on the event entirely, as there is no recording. In this type of attend live only event, offering a discount with a deadline date makes sense.

Others are going to a evergreen marketing model where their free education videos/audios are always on a marketing website and people can start and go through the marketing process whenever they want (versus doing a free class on a specific date). This is great if you’re selling a self-study program, audio program or ebook.

How This Affects Live Paid Class Attendance

My colleagues report (and I’m seeing this as well) that attendance in paid teleseminars and webinars is changing, too. Students take the classes when they want, not always during the live event times. This means you could have 100 people sign up for a paid webinar series, and only 45 will show up live. The other 55 will take the class by watching or listening to the recording, according to their own needs and schedule.

I’m constantly reminding students to take the next lesson, listen to the next recording. Some students still access the private student website weeks after a live class has ended.

So you have to think how you will serve this subset of your students who can’t (or won’t) attend live, but still want to learn from you. Make sure the recordings are available for each class session, and send reminder emails to tell them to pick up the recordings by a certain deadline.

I hope these ideas and thoughts are helpful to you as you plan your class calendar for the coming year. The culture of the learner is changing and it’s important that you keep up with their demands.

Have you seen these changes happening with your own classes? I’ve love to hear your thoughts and comments about how your students (and YOU!) prefer to learn.

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Category: Creating, Marketing & Teaching Classes
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Think Small and Accomplish Great Things

Posted by on Jan 19 2015

Mary came to me to create big, new changes for her business. How exciting, having a big dream! She had a million ideas and a solid, well thought-out task lists to back up the big plan. Except there was one small problem – Mary’s dream was dying on the vine. By thinking big she was overwhelming herself. She was paralyzed.

Mary asked me, “How do you accomplish all the things you do? Do you have some mysterious time management system that I need to know about?”

Nope. No time management system. No crystal ball. No magic wand. Just one mantra: Think Big and Think Small.

Thinking Big is about dreaming and strategic design; it answers the questions, “What do I want?” and “Why do I want it now?”

Thinking Small is about tactical planning; it answers the question, “How do I accomplish it?”

Great things are accomplished through thinking in small steps.

Anyone who has tried to stop smoking or lose weight knows you do it one day (one hour, one moment) at a time. Anyone who has attempted to do a 30-mile hike knows it’s simply a case of one foot in front of the other.

People with big business dreams often forget these well-known truths about how to tackle big things.

Mary became frustrated because things weren’t moving fast enough. She was ready to give up her dream because there was too much to do and she didn’t know which task to do first. When she did start a task, she abandoned it if it took longer — or was more complicated — than she thought it should be.

We live in a world of instant gratification.

It numbs us to what’s really important: to live the big, juicy, vibrant life you desire. We’re afraid that thinking small and taking small steps forward because we equate it with being small and having a small life. Nothing could be further from the truth.

No matter how much you try, you can only really do one thing at a time.

You may think that multitasking makes you more productive, but studies show that multi-tasking actually reduces your ability to accomplish tasks. So instead of trying to do five tasks simultaneously I’m advocating this approach: put exquisite, conscious effort into one task at a time, complete it, and move on to the next.

How do you know what small step to take first?

You have been gifted with four pillars of life the day you were born: your intellect, your emotions, your intuition, and other human beings. Start by asking yourself, “What one small thing can I do, right now, that will move me towards my big goal?” Don’t give up if the answer doesn’t come to you immediately; have patience and allow the answer to bubble up to the surface.

If the answer still doesn’t come to you, ask other people for help.

Talk to supportive people who fully understand your big dream and can help you to look at the small tasks you must do to accomplish the goal. Write down the tasks or draw them on a piece of paper and ask yourself, “Does this feel right?” Write in pencil so that you can re-arrange it until it truly feels right to you. Then do one small task at a time.

I’m encouraging you to do both: Dream Big, Think Small, and you will succeed.

   

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Category: Business Strategy & Planning
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2015 Conferences for Small Business Owners

Posted by on Jan 13 2015

Need to get out of the office and mingle with real humans face-to-face? Consider attending one of these conferences to hone your skills and network with others:

Growth Conference
Sponsored by: Entrepreneur magazine
February 2015

ICON
Sponsored by: Infusionsoft
March 2015

Social Media Marketing World
Sponsored by: Social Media Examiner
March 2015

The Marketing Nation Summit
Sponsored by: Marketo
April 2015

Authority Rainmaker
Sponsored by: Copyblogger
May 2015

America’s Small Business Summit
Sponsored by: U.S. Chamber of Commerce
June 2015

Blogher Conference
Sponsored by: Blogher
July 2015

Podcast Movement
July 2015

Content Marketing World
Sponsored by: Content Marketing Institute
September 2015

Entrepreneurial Women’s Conference
Sponsored by: Women’s Business Development Center
September 2015

Inbound
Sponsored by: Hubspot
September 2015

   

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Category: Internet & Social Media Marketing, Marketing, Running a Strong & Efficient Business

Are You a Jumper or a Planner?

Posted by on Jan 06 2015

There appears to be two types of small business owners:Those who jump right into running their business, and marketing their products and services, with little or no planning.

And those who plan a strategy — and a service or product design — before they ever dream of offering it to the public.

Is one better than the other?

Yes and no.

Planning often allows you the time to brainstorm and think through possible scenarios before you commit your time, energy and money into your business idea. Ninety-five percent of the time, I advocate planning, especially if you’re starting a new business or launching a new product or service. The time you spend with research and working through possible alternatives, as well as the time you spend thinking about how you might handle worse-case scenarios, will reap huge rewards later on.

On the other hand, over-planning often leads to inaction. A phrase I love sums it up: Analysis Paralysis — the inability to move forward on a project because you feel you don’t have all the facts, and are unwilling to move forward until you’re 100% sure of success. (Every small business owner will tell you that there’s no such thing as being 100% sure of anything.)

When is jumping okay?

Jumping is okay if you’ve already got a solid business foundation underneath you. This means that your finances are in order, you’ve already got a working business model that brings in reliable income and steady administrative processes that support your next great adventure. Jumping is okay if you’ve done as much research as you can and have a good sense that your project is viable, even if you’re not 100% certain of its success.

There is a place for jumping in the world of small business. Jumping allows you to be flexible, and to ride the wave of enthusiasm and passion. Jumping allows you to be 85% sure and then go for it. Good Jumping is action, combined with knowledge, courage and trust.

When to put planning first?

When you don’t have a lot of wiggle room for things to go wrong, planning is crucial. Planning is a must-have when you’re protecting the reputation of your business and your brand (do you want to be known as the owner who constantly crashes and burns?). And when there are a huge number of moving pieces — and you want to eventually put all those pieces into a repeatable system, then planning is essential.

In the end analysis, a combination of planning and jumping is required of all small business owners. The key is to find a balance point.

   

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Category: Business Strategy & Planning, Managing Projects, Tasks & Time

Cleanup and Planning: Quarterly and Year-End Checklists

Posted by on Dec 31 2014

It’s here – the end of the last quarter of the year! It’s time to do some “good housekeeping” in preparation for the year-end of your business.

At the end of the year, it’s important to both close-out the old year properly as well as plan for the new year. I recommend you start this process early so that there isn’t a last-minute rush to complete your year-end closing tasks. Even better, do this quarterly so that you remain caught-up with the tasks. Here are some ideas that you might want to add to your quarterly and annual checklists:

Year-End Cleanup and Closing Tasks (some of these can be done quarterly, too!)

  • Enter all revenue and expenses into your record keeping system.
  • Send final invoices for current year.
  • Reconcile your bank account records with bank statements.
  • Estimate your last tax payment for the current year (many self-employed people make quarterly estimated tax payments…the final payment is usually due on January 15)
  • Mail holiday cards and gifts to clients/customers
  • Make holiday offers to clients/customers
  • Clean out old files/emails
  • Create year-end accounting reports and compare to goals for year
  • Tally business-related mileage for quarter/year
  • Tally expenses by vendor and prepare 1099’s if needed
  • Contact your accountant and discuss year-end tax planning

Planning Tasks for the New Quarter/Year

  • Write a list of goals
  • Write a list of tasks that need to be accomplished in order to achieve those goals
  • Write a list of projects you’d like to start or complete
  • Create an updated marketing plan
  • Create an updated budget
  • List the topics you’d like to study, the classes you’d like to take, or the books you’d like to read, to keep you up-to-date with your industry and business skills
  • Schedule upcoming classes you’ll teach and distribute that Calendar of Events to clients and staff

Cleanup and planning tasks don’t just happen in December and January. If you review these tasks quarterly, they won’t sneak up on you on December 31.

   

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Category: Business Strategy & Planning

Forget New Year’s Resolutions: What Are You Most Proud Of?

Posted by on Dec 29 2014

Here’s an amazing exercise for starting the New Year right. No — it’s NOT about writing New Year’s resolutions! It’s not about looking forward, but instead looking backwards.

What’s the point of looking backwards when a new year is on the horizon? Because what has happened, what you’ve accomplished is tangible proof of your effectiveness, creativity, determination, and success.

As the year draws to a close, it’s nice to look back and remind yourself what you’re most proud of accomplishing over the past 12 months.

  • Which projects did you complete?
  • Which skills and attitudes did you display?
  • Which relationships did you strengthen (and which did you get rid of)?
  • How much money did you make (and how much did you keep)?
  • What healthy habits did you embrace?
  • What did you do to alleviate stress?
  • What have you learned? What have you mastered?
  • Which events did you attend that brought results?
  • Which life and business development techniques worked for you?
  • What are you most proud of, from 2014?

Take time to write a complete list for the past year. You’ll be amazed at what you’ve accomplished and gain confidence that you can accomplish what you need to for 2015!

Here’s a worksheet (PDF) to help you with this exercise.

   

6 comments for now

Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business

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