The best way to generate leads is also the quickest and delivers the highest quality leads.
The tactic to which I am referring is the webinar. I’m not talking about the all too common, boring, product focused webinar where one single person drones on for the first 10 minutes about his company, then drones on for a solid 40 minutes about a product and wraps it up with some fake questions. Those types of webinars do not generate leads at all. I’m talking about a webinar that shares expertise and solves a problem for the audience, uses at least two speakers, includes interactive events throughout the webinar and, above all, is not, I repeat, not a product pitch.
I know, I know, you’ve tried webinars and they didn’t work. Did they look and sound like the one I just described? If you choose a relevant topic, craft the material about a problem the audience faces on a regular basis and intersperse attention-getting tactics throughout the webinar, you will get hundreds of people to sign up and attend your webinar. Yes, by the way, more than half of those registrants will be highly qualified leads that fill the top of your sales funnel.
Consider this research conducted by CFE Media and Trew Marketing in 2014. When asked, “How likely are you to provide basic contact information to access the following content related to your job/industry?”, the number one response was webinars.
72% of respondents said they would be willing to give contact information for a webinar.
That is why webinars are the single greatest lead generation tactic. Engineers relate webinars to high- value content. Any marketing tactic that does not collect the contact information does not generate leads.
CFE Media Research - December 2014
The key point to take away here is that not just any webinar will garner attention and contact information. The webinar must be valued by the audience. Educational webinars will always, significantly outperform product webinars. I helped one client increase webinar registrations from 15 to 642 just by switching from a product promotion webinar to an educational topic.
Here are 5 compelling reasons why webinars are the single greatest lead generation tactic:
- Educational webinars generate demand and create hundreds of high quality leads for the top of your sales funnel. Nothing generates interest and engagement like a webinar that educates the people in your target audience about a problem they face. If you pick a relevant topic and give away useful information, you will attract hundreds or even thousands of the very people in your target audience who will one day purchase your product. It's important to remember that only about 3% of the people who do register or attend your webinar are ready to buy right at that moment. Product webinars only attract those people who are ready to buy. Educational webinars attract the other 97% who have a problem and need a solution. Even though most of the registrants are not ready to buy on the day of the webinar, they are likely to buy what you’re selling at some time in the future in part because of the webinar. Registrants and attendees are high value leads. All you have to do is keep your brand and your offering top of mind. Have your inside sales team call each attendee, not to pitch the product, to pitch more high value information building credibility and top of mind awareness.
- Educational webinars establish your brand and your offering as more credible than the competition. Which firm is more credible; the one who pounds you with their corporate spin and product features or the firm that helps you to be better at your profession or solve some problem you face in your daily tasks? Most of us would answer that the firm sharing their expertise via educational events and activities has more credibility. I can tell you from experience the latter destroys the former every time. The best way to demonstrate credibility is to prove it by sharing expertise. Don't confuse expertise about your product with expertise that helps the people in your audience. Listen to this podcast, An Educational Webinar Success Story, for a great example of how one electronics manufacturer increased leads, engagement and awareness with webinars.
- Educational webinars are a gift to the very people who will one day purchase what you manufacture. Giving a gift of education to the people in your target audience evokes a desire to reciprocate. When the day comes around and the people who attended your webinar (which made their lives better) are ready to purchase the thing you are selling, they want to reciprocate and buy from you not your competitor. Top of mind awareness (TOMA), credibility and reciprocity are a killer combination.
- Webinars offer great engagement metrics that will impress your executive leadership team, the sales team and validate your marketing team's strategy and tactics. Yes, you can provide your sales team with a list of leads. Unlike other marketing tactics, webinars offer simple and easy metrics that will quickly validate your success. Imagine telling your CEO that your most recent webinar put your manufacturing experts in front of 2500 prospective customers. If you have the proper tools in place, you can also show how much revenue was generated by your webinar. You just might even be able to impress the CFO when you tell him (and prove it) that marketing is generating revenue!
- Educational webinars will grow your business and enable you to take market share from your competitors. You'll get the attention and engagement of a much larger portion of your potential market by helping them to be better through educational webinar events which share your expertise. While your competitors are stuck in the old ways of sales and marketing like trade shows and brochures talking about their products and their so-called global leadership position, you're helping the people in the market. You get TOMA, credibility, reciprocity and you take the business from your competition.
Many times, when marketers talk about content marketing or the strategy of gaining competitive advantage by sharing useful content, there is a heavy sigh because the implication that goes along with it is that it can take 6, 12 or 18 months to see results. Manufacturers want effective, quick results. The webinar is one of the few marketing tactics that provides quick, effective results in the form of qualified leads.