TEN KEYS TO SUCCESS WITH LEAD GENERATION WEBINARS

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Interactive Insight Report Series

TEN KEYS TO SUCCESS WITH LEAD

GENERATION WEBINARS

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Transforming casual interest into customer relationships

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TEN KEYS TO SUCCESS WITH LEAD 

GENERATION WEBINARS

Virtually every company agrees that qualified sales leads are mandatory to drive ongoing business growth. Despite the demand for lead generation programs however, “the devil is in the details.”

Once-dominated by direct mail, telemarketing, email and print advertising, lead generation has changed radically in the past 12 months. Direct mail is no longer cost effective; telemarketing is now shunned; spam has critically damaged email marketing; and print advertising has become so fragmented that its cost is often not justifiable.

The fastest growing replacement for traditional lead generation is the online Webinar program. Here too however, “the devil is in the details.” Many Webinars are so successful that they quickly become the dominant driver of company marketing strategies. Not all programs are equally successful, however. The winning companies are those that create a highly focused formula and constantly refine it.

This report is based on a survey of 50 PresenterNet users, each of whom has been extremely successful in delivering Webinars that produce qualified sales leads. Virtually all of these users learned through experience. PresenterNet has therefore distilled their comments into the 10 keys to success described here.

Key Number One ­ Define Precise Goals for 

Each Program

The purpose of a lead generation Webinar is to identify and engage new prospects that are ready to consider a company’s product or service. Building audience volume is secondary; only one step on the way to the final objective. In setting goals therefore, users should begin by profiling the kind of

prospects required. Are they from specific geographies or industries? What kind of jobs do they hold? What problems or goals would drive them to invest their time attending on online presentation? Most important, what do they want to hear and see? What will attract them?

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enrolled, the number of invitees, online ads, etc. If it is necessary to have 100 attendees, it may be advisable to hold the same program at 4 different times on four different days, to make scheduling more convenient. Since

PresenterNet users have no limit on the number of programs that can be presented under flat-rate pricing, many users will hold as many as 10 small Webinars a month, to keep the leads flowing at a steady, manageable rate.

Key Number Two ­ Choose Compelling Subject 

Matter

Unless prospects are actively pursuing a specific solution, Webinars that only focus on a company or its products are rarely successful for lead generation. Although online product or service capability presentations are appropriate for direct sales follow-up, Webinar lead generation requires high-value content to attract qualified prospects who are not actively seeking a sales presentation. The content presented may integrate the presenter’s messages, but it must first attract and educate to gain attention and credibility.

Otherwise, it is analogous to a TV infomercial, and has limited effectiveness. Most companies have high-value expertise and knowledge beyond their product capabilities.

A brokerage firm for example, might present a Webinar featuring stock picks in a specific industry, or methods of forecasting market timing. This content would be far more engaging than a sales pitch on the company’s services. A company selling computer security software can effectively present ideas on ways to avoid identity theft. This will be far more interesting to most prospects than a product feature pitch.

Even consumer goods companies can generate leads with high value content. A company selling cars for example, might present on vacation destinations, using pictures of its own products at every opportunity.

In each case a Webinar presenter can gather prospect information for follow- up using PresenterNet’s interactive capability to enable audience members to respond onscreen. This offers audience members a no-pressure opportunity to engage, without having to resist unwanted sales approaches.

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Key Number Three – Promote With the Most 

Effective Media Mix

Having profiled potential prospects, selected the right subject matter, and planned a program of appropriate size, a Webinar presenter needs an action plan to build and maintain an audience of potential prospects. This usually requires a mix of marketing media, leading interested prospects to enroll. No single promotional method covers all potential prospects.

Search engine advertising is especially valuable for this task. However, industry-specific email and high-traffic Web site advertising can also be significant parts of the mix.

Because Webinars are online events and enrollment is also online, invitations normally contain links to an enrollment page on a Web site. An alternate strategy however, is to promote the Webinar event further by offering potential prospects a sample of the material to be presented. A PresenterNet Showroom provides a convenient place for people to preview Webinar material. Users select a PowerPoint presentation for this purpose, and the Showroom enables visitors to view it unattended at any time. The

presentation in the Showroom should provide a compelling sample of the planned Webinar; enough to create interest, but only a segment of the most vital information. Each slide should also contain a link enabling the visitor to go directly into enrollment.

Key Number Four – Create an Easy Enrollment 

Process

Enrollment for a Webinar should be fast and simple. Companies who require prospects to fill out a lengthy form with numerous pre-qualification questions are likely to lose many people. When potential enrollees enter this sign-up phase, they may not yet feel committed to attend. Requests for extensive information and qualifying queries may suggest an annoying waste of time. Prospects may also reject the possibility of being added to spam email lists. Actual enrollment requires only a name and an email address. Every other piece of requested information can discourage and lose possible attendees. Whenever technically feasible, Webinar services should also avoid

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Key Number Five – Maximize Attendance with 

Invitation Reminders

Once prospects have enrolled, the Webinar provider needs to implement a short, polite and engaging email campaign to ensure that people actually attend. Minimally, the sequence should include a thank you message, a reminder 1-2 days prior to the event, and a final reminder on the day of the event itself. Each of these messages should include a clickable link for entering the Webinar, along with accompanying call-in numbers.

Each message should be noticeably different, and contain a sentence or two to renew interest.

Key Number Six – Ensure That Every Webinar 

is Content­Rich

Once a Webinar actually begins, the presenter needs to reestablish to the audience that the session will meet their expectations. Attendees can exit at any time and will quickly abandon a program that provides less than what was promised. As a rule-of-thumb, the first minute should include at least one useful idea or new high-value information.

Presenters should begin with a quick overview of what will be presented, and then solicit feedback. PresenterNet users create interactive slides for this purpose. A slide may ask, “Is there anything else you would like us to discuss today?” Then any audience member can enter a request in an onscreen text input box, to ensure that a specific issue is included.

Key Number Seven – Make Webinars 

Interactive to Keep Audiences Engaged

One of the greatest challenges for a Webinar presenter is ensuring that

audience members remain engaged, even though they can’t see them face-to- face. The most effective way to do this is to keep them involved by continually involving them in interactive onscreen responses. Presenters can ask

questions, draw feedback, request information, or casually quiz the audience to ensure that they understand specific messages.

Using PresenterNet, speakers can immediately view all responses and

comment on them if appropriate. Since all responses are also captured in the user’s database, they provide valuable information for follow-up.

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These same interactive elements provide an excellent method of collecting qualification information. Instead of asking for this kind of information at enrollment, the presenter can collect them from people when they are engaged in the actual presentation, and are therefore more fully qualified as potential leads.

Key Number Eight – Actively Solicit Audience 

Questions

Many audience members feel that they need to ask questions as a

presentation progresses. Some services rely on instant messaging for this role. Others use offline methods of sending questions which are provided to the presenter after all formal slides have been presented.

PresenterNet users often create formal question-solicitation slides, and use one every few minutes. Just as they might with a face-to-face audience, speakers pause periodically and ask whether there are any questions. They display a slide specifically designed to enable any audience member to type in a question. This provides a logical way to incorporate responses into the body of the presentation. It also enables the speaker to adjust remarks according to the audience needs.

Key Number Nine – Provide Formal 

Information Request Methods

Because the primary objective of this kind of program is lead generation, every Webinar benefits from a formal request mechanism, by which audience members can call for some kind of follow-up contact. Just as a printed mail promotion contains a business reply card, a Webinar needs a formal way for attendees to indicate their interest.

Minimally, the last slide of a Webinar must have email addresses and contact numbers. Some prospects will also respond to suggestions for using instant messaging or an open phone line to request follow-up.

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Like any other marketing program, a lead generation Webinar should

conclude with a call-to-action. For audience people not requesting a contact, the call-to-action might be as simple as a emphasizing a link to the company’s Web site.

For many PresenterNet users, the call to action is a link to a PresenterNet Showroom. The presentation posted there might provide details that were not appropriate for the body of the presentation, or may simply offer a review of material presented. Most important, the Showroom’s unattended presentation should include interactive slides to solicit additional feedback, and have mechanisms for requesting contact.

Key Number Ten – Create Effective Follow­up

At the conclusion of the Webinar, the presenting organization should minimally generate thank you email messages to all attendees, reiterating contact information, offers of additional brochures, etc. Attendees not yet engaged should also be invited to upcoming programs.

PresenterNet users who have included interactive slides can also use their response logs for personalized follow-up actions. As a first step all names and contact information from interactive slides can be exported directly to contact management systems like Salesforce.com without manual typing. Other interactive fields can also be processed to identify hot leads, information requests, personal interests, etc. In many cases, onscreen information input by audience members can be later used in customized correspondence or follow- up phone calls.

Putting It All Together

A lead generation Webinar is not only an event; it is a process. All steps in the process—from planning through follow-up—contribute to the ultimate goal, which is to close new business. The program may contribute to branding or audience education. Nevertheless, every step should be implemented toward the single goal of identifying and stimulating potential new customers. No Webinar program is effective without high-value content. Yet content alone is simply education. By adding effective promotion, streamlined enrollment, and interactivity presenters create something “greater than the “sum of the parts.” The end result not only delivers messages; it transforms people with casual interest into customer relationships.

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