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When you’re responsible for all aspects of your seminar business – from booking a meeting room, handling logistics and arranging travel to developing content, marketing the event and taking registrations – some details are bound to fall through the cracks. If you’re brand-new to the industry, it’s easy to miss key tasks simply because you don’t know what you don’t know.

Tracking data is often one of these important, but easily overlooked, responsibilities.

Data about your events allows you to gauge how well your event is doing compared with previous events. It enables you to predict the number of attendees you’ll have in the room once the event starts. It makes it easier to decide which marketing channels to use. It can even help you identify when extra marketing “touches” are needed to achieve your goals.

Here are the top 7 pieces of data to track when promoting your own seminars, workshops, conferences, teleseminars and webinars:

  • Open rate. When using email to promote your messages (and really, who doesn’t? – it’s still the mainstay of event marketing), the first challenge is to get your message opened. If the message isn’t opened, there’s no way your prospects will read your offer and click through to the next step. Your open rate tells you how compelling your subject lines are – and how engaged your list is. If you notice a dip in open rates, it tells you that your message isn’t striking the right tone. Likewise, if you notice a spike in open rates, it tells you that your subject line hit a nerve. Analyze open rates to see what type of subject lines your list is responding to.
  • Click-through rate. This measures the effectiveness of your email message: Can you get them to click the link and take the next step? If prospects aren’t clicking through at their usual rate, it’s a sign that your message isn’t hitting the right tone. If you aren’t getting the click through rates you want, experiment with how your event is positioned, the promise you make, the theme or angle used in your message, the call to action, and even the length of email.

A few years ago, when writing emails for a prominent speaker’s annual training workshop, we noticed a significant spike in the open and click-through rates on one particular message. The message reminded them that we have a limited amount of time on Earth – that if they felt the urge to follow their passion, they belonged at the seminar. The message hit a chord with this particular audience, so we created more messages with this angle for the remainder of the campaign.

  • Conversion/registration rate. This number tells you how well your sales page is working. Does it explain what will happen at the event, make a big enough promise, demonstrate the incredible value of what you’re teaching, and push enough buttons that visitors are motivated to take action?

When analyzing your conversion rates, keep the type of event you’re promoting in mind. It’s easy and common for a visitor to make a yes/no decision the first time they visit an event page for a teleseminar or seminar. For a multi-day event for which they’ll need to invest a thousand dollars and four days of time, however, they’re more likely to visit the page multiple times before making a final decision. This is where tracking to see what is normal for your events and your audience becomes important.

  • Source. When you get leads and registrations, it helps to know where they came from. Did your direct mail postcard produce enough of a response to justify the expense? Did your Facebook promotions produce click-throughs to your sales page? Did your final, urgent emails drive last-minute registrations? Knowing the response that each channel generated can help you make decisions about which channels to use – and how much – for future campaigns.
  • Timing of touches. Going hand-in-hand with the source of your promotion is tracking how and when you’re reaching out to your audience. This allows you to experiment with timing and the type of outreach. For example, if you typically send 1 email a week starting 8 weeks out, you could experiment with sending 2 emails a week to see how that boosts your event marketing results.
  • Timing of registrations. How many registrations are coming in each week and/or day? Knowing these statistics will help you gauge how well your event is doing – are you on task to achieve your goal? If you know that you typically reach that halfway point in registration 3 weeks before your event, at 3 weeks out from your current event, you can predict how many people will end up in the room. This allows you to decide whether you need an extra promotional push to hit your numbers.
  • Hotel rooms. If you’ve arranged a room block and have a minimum number of rooms that you’ve guaranteed to fill, you may wish to track your reservation patterns here, too. This can help you determine when you need to send extra reminders to get your rooms filled. More importantly, it can help you decide how many rooms need to be in your room block for future events.

Tracking data is an added responsibility, one that’s easy to let slip through the cracks. But the decision-making power and confidence that come from knowing how your event is performing cannot be overrated. Use this list to guide your data-gathering efforts, and see what a difference it can make when it comes to promoting your future events.

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One of the challenges you face when leading a seminar is that everyone in the room has a different level of experience with the information you are teaching. For some instructors and seminars, this does not matter. But for other programs, the disparity in education and experience can be distracting and even a hindrance. Audience participation is good, but when participation consists of entry-level questions that are far below the experience of the majority of the room, the end result can be frustration for all. Experienced attendees can become annoyed by the slower pace of instruction. Less-experienced attendees get frustrated when the content is too advanced to understand, meaning they’ll have a harder time implementing the material.

Here are 5 strategies you can use when designing and marketing a seminar to ensure that all participants have the background needed to understand your program.

  1. Adjust your presentation. As experts in our fields, it can be easy to lose sight of how much we know. As a result, we teach and forgot that the terminology and examples we use might be over the heads of people who are newer to our field. Review your presentation with a critical eye – where would it be beneficial to stop and add a bit more explanation? Taking the time to review information, define terminology and adding more background might lengthen your presentation a bit. But the payoff will be fewer questions about the basics and reassurance that more of your participants are able to keep up. For example, I often use Internet marketing terminology when talking to event promoters, because online promotion is an essential element of a successful marketing plan. However, some people I speak to are new to Internet marketing, so I need to define basic terms like “autoresponder,” “pay per click advertising” and “opt-in page.”
  2. Deliver pre-training by teleseminar or webinar. Prepare one or more lessons to teach registrants the basic information and skills they must understand to be able to keep up with the seminar you’ll be teaching. Require that all registrants participate in the virtual training before your seminar starts. Be sure to send them a few reminders to watch the program.
  3. Establish a prerequisite course. Create a separate seminar that delivers basic skills and information. Require your participants to attend this program before attending your more advanced program. You may want to deliver the prerequisite course via virtual training, so that it is more convenient and affordable to participate.
  4. Administer a test. Create a test that participants can use to gauge their readiness for your seminar. Then figure out a course of action for people who don’t do well on the exam. Do you want them to take a different seminar first, or will watching an introductory webinar suffice?
  5. Deliver supplemental FAQ training. Start paying attention to the questions that course participants have. When you see the same questions popping up, start to create a list of Frequently Asked Questions. Next, create a series of audio or video answers that answers the questions (one video or audio per question). Post the list of questions and the corresponding answers so that participants can quickly find the supplemental information they need. Refer to the availability of the FAQ training throughout your presentation so that participants know where to go for additional support.

 

Ensuring that all of your participants understand basic principles about your subject matter before your seminar starts is a service for everyone involved. Your participants will understand more of what is being taught – and be able to use the information to generate a return on their investment in your seminar. Other attendees won’t grow frustrated by interruptions to ask basic questions. Finally, you’ll be able to deliver a smooth-flowing program and have the confidence that your message is being received and understood.

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Developing a compelling marketing campaign is useless if your message doesn't get read. When using direct mail, a medium that many avoid because of the time and money needed for successful execution, it's even more important to get your message opened and read. That's where what some experts call "lumpy mail" comes in.

Lumpy mail is mail that either has a literal lump in it (think of a pen included in your envelope) or that has such unusual packaging that prospects are compelled to open it.

The best lumpy mail campaigns I've seen and worked on include 3 powerful ingredients:

 

  1. Unusual packaging. The goal is to get your package quickly put into the "A" pile of important items that get opened first. Packaging that falls into this category include boxes, tubes, unusual envelopes, personal mail, and priority delivery envelopes.
  2. A lumpy item. Items you can use here run the gamut. You might select a common and useful promotional item such as a mini-flashlight or calculator. You could also choose items that are more entertaining than they are useful, such as a silver platter, worry dolls, or a scratch-off game card.
  3. A letter that ties the package together. This is the piece that makes or breaks the promotion. Not only should your sales message be strong, it should also tie back to the promotional item you sent. For example, when including a silver platter, you could ask prospects if they've ever wished someone would deliver the magic solution to their #1 problem on a silver platter - and then tell them to keep reading to see how you've finally made that wish come true.

For added power, use the conclusion and/or P.S. of your letter to again tie back to your letter's unusual theme. For example, you could ask prospects to mention the silver platter when responding to receive a special bonus. Or you could state that as part of your "silver platter service," your solution delivers an A-to-Z turnkey solution so they get up and running quickly.

Is direct mail more costly than online marketing? Yes. Does it require more lead time? Yes. Can it help you stand out? Absolutely yes - especially when you employ lumpy marketing. Use these tips to maximize the return on your investment.

Bonus gift: Several years ago, I did an interview with one of America's #1 lumpy mail experts - JonGoldman of Brand Launcher. Click here to get a free transcript of this interview and learn more about his impressive track record and fun case studies.

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Principle #7 of Jack Canfield’s “The Success Principles” contains a particularly valuable lesson for speakers, consultants, coaches and other experts who promote seminars, workshops and other forms of training – Ask Repeatedly.

As Jack says, "One of the most important principles of success is persistence, not giving up. Whenever you're asking others to participate in the fulfillment of your goals, some people are going to say no. They may have other priorities, commitments, and reasons not to participate. It's not a reflection on you."

This is a valuable reminder to protect yourself from the inevitable rejection that comes when trying to persuade someone to invest their time and money to attend your seminar. (Selling training can discouraging if you let low response rates get to you.)

But it's also an important guideline to follow when creating your marketing schedule and deciding who should receive your promotions.

Things change. Just because an individual doesn't want to attend your event today doesn't mean he'll say no next week, next month, or even next year. Keep asking, and you might get a yes when your prospects ...

... aren't so busy.

... don't have a vacation planned the same weekend as your event.

... have more money to invest in training.

... feel like they know and trust you better.

... resonate more with your marketing copy.

... are more familiar with your expertise.

... have heard more positive reviews about your work.

... decide that the problem you'll help them solve needs to fixed NOW, not someday.

If response rates aren't where you want them to be, first stop and make sure you aren't interpreting the "no's" as rejection of you and your expertise.

Then look at ways you can help prospects turn their "no" into a "yes." Perhaps you can arrange childcare, so attendees can bring their kids along. Perhaps you offer a payment plan to make the tuition easier to afford. Perhaps you shift the schedule and end early

on the last day, so attendees can fly home that night.

Above all, be persistent. Keep inviting prospects to attend your training. When someone's "not right now" becomes "OK, I want to proceed," you want to be there ready to take the registration.

Many marketers find that it is easiest to get new prospects to say yes to their offers. The reason is that when someone raises their hand to indicate interest in your expertise, they are often doing so because they are actively searching for a solution to a pressing problem.

You may find this to be true with your prospects, as well. You may want to invest more of your promotional dollars and time into marketing to these hot leads.

However, don’t make the mistake of completely dismissing people who haven’t attended your training or purchased a product. Stay in touch with them on a basic level, using low-cost marketing methods, such as a newsletter or e-zine, email promotions, and social media. By maintaining a presence in all of your prospects’ lives, you’ll find yourself in the right place, at the right time, with the right offer when your long-time prospects are finally ready to buy.

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Testimonials are an invaluable component of any seminar promotion. They help reassure prospects who are considering attending your event that yes, in fact, other people have also found your offer to be compelling enough to commit their time and money in your event.

You can get the greatest mileage from your past attendees’ comments by following these tips:

 

  • Incorporate specifics whenever possible. Steer clear of testimonials that are general, such as “This seminar was the best!” Instead, you want “I used one idea to add an extra $40,000 in revenue to our bottom line last month.
  • Use full attribution. A testimonial from “Jenny in Chicago” doesn’t have the same level of credibility as “Jenny Hamby, copywriting and seminar marketing coach, SeminarMarketingPro.com, Plainfield, IL.” Use as much detail about your attendees as they’re comfortable letting you use.
  • Capture audio and/or video testimonials. Listening to, and even seeing, someone give a testimonial adds even more credibility to their comments. Whereas it’s not hard to believe that a devious promoter would make up written comments, it’s harder to fathom going through the effort of finding multiple accomplices to record audio or video of false testimonials.

  • Address prospects’ biggest objections. If attendees reveal that they struggled with their decision to attend your seminar, invite them to share that information in their testimonial. Just be sure that they also explain why they attended, why they’re delighted that they attended, and why they recommend that anyone who is struggling with the same doubt attend the event anyway.
  • Let someone else present your biggest claims. Prospects know that you stand to gain financially for every seat you sell, so they will take any claim that you make with a healthy dose of skepticism. But the same claims coming from a third party in the form of a testimonial will be much more palatable.

 

An easy way to capture testimonials is to have a video camera set up at your event and invite participants to record their thoughts. You also can set up a testimonial recording line with a service like AudioGenerator to capture audio testimonials. Once you have the video or audio testimonials, transcribe them. That way, you can include some of the verbiage in your written sales copy, as well as have the audio or video testimonials for prospects who want more.

In addition to including testimonials in a section titled “Rave Reviews” or something similar, sprinkle them throughout your copy. Add testimonials after major sections of copy, on name-squeeze pages, order forms and thank you pages, as well as email and direct mail promotions.

Above all, never stop collecting testimonials. You can never have too many examples of this form of proof.

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Affiliate marketing is a proven tool for filling seats at seminars, teleseminars and webinars. With this marketing model, you pay promotional partners a commission for every registration they generate by promoting your event to their mailing lists.

Affiliates may be your direct competitors. They also may simply be other experts or companies who have relationships with your target audience.

Affiliate marketing allows you to leverage the credibility and good will that other professionals have with your target audience. In essence, they are vouching for the quality of your event by recommending it to their lists.

To be effective at affiliate marketing, however, takes persistence and follow-up. Here are 5 tips to help you generate greater results.

 

  1. Provide marketing materials. One way you can overcome the “I’m too busy” excuse that affiliates offer is by providing marketing materials for them to use. This removes the task of creating a marketing message from your affiliates’ to-do lists. Materials you will want to provide include email messages, banner and text ads, and messages to use with FaceBook and Twitter.
  2. Spell out a marketing schedule. The best way to ensure that your promotions don’t get overlooked is to tell your promotional partners exactly when you want them to contact their list … and even which tools you want them to use. Spelling out your desired marketing schedule eliminates the need to “think about” when to promote your event.
  3. Offer special support to your biggest affiliates. If you know that a particular affiliate has a highly responsive list that has performed well for you in the past or that looks exceptionally promising, offer this partner additional support. This could include hosting a special teleseminar just for that partner’s list or customizing the marketing copy to fit the individual’s unique marketing voice and audience.
  4. Follow up with your promotional partners. Stay in touch with your affiliates. Remind them of upcoming marketing milestones, such as sending the next email to their lists. Watch their numbers and see which partners are generating clicks and registrations. Then follow up with those on the low end, to see if they have any questions or need additional support, as well as those who are most successful, to see if you can help them achieve even better results.
  5. Lower your expectations. Every affiliate who agrees to promote your events will not follow through. Most often, this is because they get busy promoting their own events, products and services … or simply running their companies. Rarely is their lack of participation intended as a slight to you. Most often, they forget or simply run out of time. Don’t waste energy worrying about their lack of participation.

 

Supporting affiliates involves time and resources. However, it is well worth the investment. Affiliate marketing can help you reach tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of additional prospects – people who may otherwise not hear anything about your seminar, teleseminar or webinar.

What is your best tip for boost results from affiliate marketing? Share your thoughts below. ~ Jenny

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Affiliate marketing is an excellent and proven way to fill events, particularly if your list is not big enough or responsive enough to fill your seminars, teleseminars and webinars.

Affiliates are individuals or companies who promote your seminar in exchange for a commission for every registration they generate. For best results, look for affiliates who already market to your target audience.

Marketing your event through affiliates allows you to leverage the relationships that they have already built with your target audience. When they promote your event to their lists, they are lending credibility to your seminar, essentially endorsing it and recommending it to their subscribers.

Here are 7 places you can search for potential affiliates.

  1. Search engines. Go to your favorite search engine (e.g., Google or Yahoo!) and think like your prospective customers. Enter the keywords you think they would use to find you and what you’re offering (e.g., wealth seminars, business building seminar, business coach, etc.). Check out the other sites that come up in the search listing.
  2. Pay-Per-Click ads. While you’re using your favorite search engine, take a look at the pay-per-click that pop up when you type in your keywords. Click on the ads to see what other experts are advertising to your target audience.
  3. Associations. Check out the membership roster for local state, regional and national associations. Investigate associations joined by your potential attendees.  The companies you want to meet are likely to be listed as affiliate or partner members – the special class of membership created for vendors that serve the association’s main membership. Also check out organizations for members of your profession.
  4. Survey your list. Ask your subscribers and clients to tell you what other experts they listen to, follow and hire.
  5. Network. The more you are out and about, the more likely you are to hear about and meet your people who would make good affiliates.
  6. Read industry publications. As with associations, you should check out publications written for your profession, as well as publications that are geared toward your prospects. Study the ads to see what other events and products are being publicized.
  7. Phone book. Don’t overlook the Yellow Pages or its online equivalents, such as SuperPages.com. This resource is especially helpful if you are marketing a local event and want to find local competitors.

Affiliates can be your direct competitors. However, they don’t have to be. The key is that your promotional partners have relationships with prospects who are likely to need, want and pay for your seminar.

What is your favorite way to find affiliates? Share your ideas below. ~ Jenny

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Customers who have attended one or more of your past seminars are extremely valuable to your business. Most seminar promoters recognize that marketing to this audience is much easier than marketing to prospects; because they’ve already experienced one of your events, persuading them to sign up for another is generally easier.

However, they can also serve another purpose that’s often overlooked: that of evangelist and general goodwill ambassador. These are the folks you want front and center to help overcome the skepticism and reserve of other, first-time attendees – especially if they’ve taken their relationship with you from mere seminar attendee to coaching or consulting client.

Some ways you can draw attention to these premier clients include:

  • Using ribbons, stars or different ink color on their name badges …and explaining during your opening announcements what the different designations mean.
  • Calling on them during your presentation to share anecdotes or results of their work with you. You may find that clients spontaneously share their rave reviews with other attendees, but if you want particular individuals to share, it certainly can help to ask them in advance if they’ll participate.
  • Asking them to lead small groups of attendees to lunch or dinner – a great way to ensure that all attendees have a positive networking experience.
  • Requesting them to record testimonial videos for use in your promotional efforts. This, of course, will help convince prospective attendees that your marketing claims are legitimate and overcome other objects. It will also give your best clients some visibility and exposure.
  • Lending their name and likeness to your promotional efforts in the form of a lift letter. For example, you could include a small insert with your direct mail campaign with a headline like, “Read this if you’ve decided not to attend….” Inside, share a special message from one of your best clients, explaining the unique value they found in participating in your seminars.
  • Helping with telemarketing efforts. If you have rabid fans and are building a community, you may have followers who are so loyal that they will help make courtesy calls to prospects, as well as to field inbound calls from people who are unsure whether your event is right for them.

Before marketing your next event, take stock of what you do to leverage the relationship you’ve built with your best clients. Chances are that there are things they can do to help you promote your events – and that they’ll be more than willing to help.

How do you acknowledge your best customers? Share your ideas below! ~ Jenny

 

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When my friend and colleague George Huang suggested that we do Ezinearticles.com's “Hundred Articles in a Hundred Days” challenge together, I was a little hesitant. It sounded like a big commitment. But I concluded that the time would be well-spent, as I’d generate valuable content to use in my article marketing efforts.

This is the last article I wrote (technically, article #101 to meet my personal goal). I have the content I envisioned when I started out … and much more. Here are some of the valuable lessons I learned:

  • Accountability partners are invaluable when tackling big goals. I had three accountability partners throughout this project. Two were participating in the challenge with me and dropped out once they realized they’d have to write three articles a day to get caught up.

One partner was diligent about checking in with me even though she decided not to finish. She knew that the goal is important to me. Her calls kept me encouraged and focused. My husband, who helped out by submitting the articles, was invaluable in keeping me on course, especially as the deadline grew closer. There were times where I was tempted to drop out and use the time I was spending writing articles to do something else instead. He was my backbone during those periods, holding me accountable to achieving this public goal.

  • Daily discipline makes writing easier. I’m a professional writer, but even I noticed that the discipline of getting up every morning to write made it easier to write throughout the rest of my day.
  • Work ahead during good times. There were days when I was slower with client work or when writing was going especially well. I used those days to work ahead and write two or three articles. The stockpile came in handy when life interfered in the form of tons of client projects, a day out of the office to chaperone a field trip, and a family vacation to Disney World.

Working ahead is a strategy you can apply to all areas of life, whether it’s saving a little bit of every dollar that comes in or taking advantage of downtime to run an errand.

  • Don’t recreate the wheel. I’ve been a writer for more than 15 years and have shared countless tips with my subscriber list, as well as clients. One way I met the goal was by repurposing old content. Sometimes I pulled out tips I had written – 100-word chunks of advice – and expanded them into articles. Other times, I wrote articles based on the advice I was sharing on free calls I had hosted in the past.
  • The more you write, the better the ideas get. It wasn’t unusual for me to start with a particular topic and then end up in a completely different place by the time the article was finished. The more I let loose and focused on writing quickly without editing what was coming out, the better the content. The process of writing article often generated ideas for two or three other ideas.
  • Completion builds confidence. Achieving the goals you set builds self-trust and helps you realize that you can do the things you dream about. If I can achieve this goal, I can achieve other goals I set.

The Google Panda update, which reduced the effectiveness of article marketing for SEO, was released when I was 30 articles away from achieving the HAHD goal. One colleague asked if it made sense to finish. My response: "I don’t care what Panda does to the effectiveness of this project. I’m finishing this goal for ME."

One of the most important things I’ve learned from studying the work of Jack Canfield, “America’s #1 Success Coach” and author of “The Success Principles” is the importance of truly celebrating your successes, no matter how small. So now, with the HAHD project complete, I’m turning over this article to my husband for placement, and I’m off to celebrate. Thank you, Ezinearticles.com, for such a valuable experience!

What's the most important lesson you've learned by pursuing a big goal? Share your ideas below. ~ Jenny

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Many seminar promoters assume that big, bold action and massive change is required to put more butts in seminar seats. In fact, increasing seminar registrations is often accomplished with surprisingly small changes. If you make dozens of small changes, their cumulative impact can be powerful and dramatic.

How you capture and follow up with prospective seminar attendees is one area in which tiny changes can produce big results. Here are some questions you can ask to identify areas for improving your lead-generation process:

1. How many ways do you invite people into your business? Too often, seminar promoters' web sites include the standard "contact us" page or "join our mailing list" opt-in box. But if this is all you're doing to capture leads, you are letting prospects slip through your fingers. Unless prospects have a pressing need to talk to you, they are not likely to fill out a "contact us" form, even if they would be interested in hearing from you in the future.

"Join our mailing list" is straightforward, but not very enticing. In essence, this offer says "give me your contact information so I can send you junk mail." If someone really is passionate about what you offer and sees that this is the only way to stay in touch, they may opt to join your list. You'll get better results, though, if you offer valuable content in exchange for the opt-in.

2. Where are good leads already coming into your business ... and where are you failing in your follow up? Do you have a system in place for capturing and systematically following up with every lead? When someone fills out your "contact us" form, what happens? Do they get an email reply? A follow up phone call? Where does their data get recorded? Are they guaranteed to hear from you again?

One client I worked with discovered that hungry leads who were writing to request information about upcoming seminars were not receiving any sort of follow up -- their names, email addresses and phone numbers were sitting in an unmonitored inbox.

Another good area to examine are past event attendees. People who have signed up for earlier educational offerings are ideal prospects for your future events. They've already demonstrated that they are interested in learning. Plus, they are familiar with your content and teaching style. What system do you have in place to follow up with students once a program has ended? How do you invite them to continue their education?

3. What do you do with prospects who have questions? You should be giving students a way to contact your office if they have questions about your program. Although it's great when your promotional materials do the full job of selling seminar seats, some prospects will need a little bit of reassurance from a live human that they are making a good decision by investing in your seminar.

Make sure that you are capturing contact information for every person who calls or emails with questions about your event. If they are interested enough to ask questions, they are a more qualified prospect than the average person on your list. Sometimes a quick follow-up courtesy call is all that's needed to push them off the fence and onto your registration list.

Before you spend too much time and effort expanding your lead-generation efforts, make sure that you have done your best to plug the leaks in your existing system. Not only will this easily increase your registrations, it also will allow you to get a bigger return on your investment into more lead-generation efforts.

What leaks have you found in your system? Share your insights below. ~ Jenny

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