Vaughan Gordon

Webinars for customer engagement and lead generation

By Vaughan Gordon

I’ve been hosting webinars recently and have been amazed at how well they are received. If the content is good and the presenter engaging then they are a great format. They are short – one hour or less – and you don’t have to leave your desk to participate. Participants learn a lot and can get a copy of the presentation after the webinar.

For the organiser, they are great for lead generation as users have to sign up to the webinar so that they can then be invited to attend the event (via email). These are not hard sell events, they are about engaging customers and potential customers with relevant content.

I recently heard Jonathan Campbell, CEO at talent acquisition consultancy Social Talent, talk about how he uses webinars to engage with customers and potential customers. He kindly agreed to answer a few questions, and provide me with an artist’s impression of himself . . .

What made you decide to use webinars for lead generation?
I became hooked on webinars after signing up for a few with CreativeTechs.com in Seattle. They run free training webinars on Adobe products, digital photography and film making. Their webinars taught me how to design logos and build websites. I ended up paying for some advanced features as a result of watching their free stuff; I’ve always loved the freemium model.

We first started using webinars to build awareness. We figured that if we copied CreativeTechs and gave some of our best stuff away for free that the people would come. They did. Using that data for lead generation was, to be honest, more of an accidental benefit.

From your experience, what makes an effective webinar?
Webinars should be all about giving, not selling. An effective webinar leaves the viewer walking away with something valuable that they didn’t have before. They should come away feeling that they got something for free that they really should have paid for. That makes them appreciative of the time that the organisers spent in preparing it. If they feel like they gave up their time to hear someone sell, then it’s all wrong.

How do you market them?
We target agency and in-house recruiters and there is no network better than LinkedIn for finding and connecting with this demographic. At the moment we exclusively market them to our first degree connections and this ensures that we max out every week. Through word of mouth more and more people have found them and signed up.

From 250 sign-ups per week, roughly 50% are new viewers each week, which is great. We have a stable base of regular viewers who watch at least every second webinar and they provide us with great feedback. We’re hoping to find a sponsor to enable us to open up the webinars to 1,000 recruiters each week and then we will promote on groups and more heavily on Twitter and email marketing.

Are they a cost-effective marketing tool?
Absolutely. We generate very direct revenue in training and consulting from people who attend our webinar. This morning we confirmed a training day in Vienna, Austria that resulted from one recruiter in the Czech Republic logging on to a webinar several months ago. She told her colleagues and pretty soon they were all logging in. Now we’re going to be training the entire team.

It takes a lot of time to prepare each webinar, anything between three and six hours but you need to invest the time in research and preparation to make sure that the content is valuable and really helps your audience.

Any other benefits of using them?
Most marketing is one way, you rarely get feedback and your customers remain at arm’s length. Our webinar viewers engage through the webinar chat, live on Twitter and through email after each webinar. We learn from them as much as I hope they learn from us.

It’s started this little Wednesday afternoon community that come back to us each week to learn. I know of one recruitment agency in Dublin who bring all of their recruiters into the boardroom at 4pm each week to watch our live broadcasts. What are other marketing tool delivers that kind of a reaction? And yes, before you ask, they are now a customer!

Find out more about the Social Talent webinar programme.


Martin Couzins – Associate, VG&A