Monday, May 02, 2011

 

Six alternatives to Webinars for lead generation

When's the last time you went an entire workday without being offered a free Webinar? They're clearly the lead generation offer of choice right now, and mostly for good reason. A Webinar is a great tool to share information in a dynamic way, it's fast & easy for prospects to accept, and relatively easy to execute.

Many organizations, however, fret about the production costs of getting a good Webinar together. The content and presentation can require significant soft and hard costs, which many organizations don't have to produce Webinars on a regular basis.

Whether you're light on money and resources, or just want to diversify your offer portfolio, here are six offer alternatives we've used both at Heinz Marketing as well as with clients to drive the same quantity and quality of leads as traditional Webinars, but typically with a fraction of the time and cost.

Customer Q&A
Put your customer in the spotlight. Ask them to talk about their priorities, why they went looking for a solution, how they chose you, and what it's been like. Pitch it to prospects as an "unedited" perspective from a peer.

We've had a lot of success with this format, especially with prospects who are already in the early stages of the sales process and need to hear from someone else who's already been down the path they're considering.

Thought Leader Interviews
Believe it or not, a Webinar does not need to have slides. Or pre-written content. Find someone in your industry with great ideas or a fascinating perspective, and interview them. Have a couple slides prepared that summarize their qualifications, and perhaps feature the pre-written questions you're going to ask them. But the content is in the words, not the slides.

We were skeptical about this format when we first tested it, but it works. We have clients who use it regularly in lieu of traditional Webinars with no different in lead volume or quality.

Conference Calls
Ten years ago, there were no Webinars. We mostly did conference calls, which featured a ton of great ideas but (obviously) required no slides. There's no reason you can't use this format today, especially with an audience that isn't always at a computer.

Realtors, for instance, respond well to conference calls when they're on the road, in their cards, or at an open house with time on their hands. Field sales teams, installers, and other audiences who spend most of their time in the field may find it easier to dial in vs. log in.

Live Video from an Event
The next time you do a live event - a customer seminar, a speaking gig at an industry conference, or even a live demonstration of a new product or service - make it available via live feed online and require registration to get access. This can be done with a number of online tools that often require nothing more than a laptop, webcam and wifi connection.

Transcripts & Slides
Prospects register for a topic, not a format. Some prospects are willing to spend an hour online watching the content, some are just as interested in the content (and possibly in what you're selling) but are just fine reading the transcript. Or scanning the slides.

An hour online, or 10 minutes on the train home after work. Does it really matter if you make a connection with a qualified prospect? Think about the various methods and formats in which you can extend the life and value of your great content.

"Unlimited" Access To Your Content
Much of your content should be free. No registration required. But your library of thought leadership events, expert interviews, "insider" best practices - those have significant value. Every time you do a single event, put it in the library. Market that library to prospects with "unlimited" access to everything you've done in the past. One registration gets you everything today and moving forward.

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