How to Pick a Webinar Topic in 3 Steps

3 Steps to Picking a Webinar TopicIts my job, as marketing demand generation manager, to plan and execute many of our outbound marketing campaigns, one of them being our monthly webinar series. We've split the series up into two catagories – thought leadership and lead generation.

In our thought leadership events, we try to find speakers that are considered an expert in their particular field or well versed on the topic we know would resonate with our audiences – SEO, social media, leadership development, etc. Usually we reach out to the speaker, explain a bit about our series and they come up with the the topic and messaging for that presentation based on their knowledge. Basically, we'll hand over the reigns and let them run with it becuase they are the expert on the subject.

On the flip side, we have our lead generation events. Similar to many other companies out there, we use our webinar series as a vehicle to generate leads for our sales team. With these events, we'll decide upon a topic that we know by virtue of the messaging will give our sales team a good reason to reach out to regitrants following the event. For example, if you signed up for a webinar entitled, "Drive Strategic, Integrated Growth with Webinars" then I could likely assume that you are interested in doing just that – utilizing web conferencing technology to help drive leads along with other sales geared campaigns you might be running. So, by nature of the title I am driving registrants that have a valid interest in using a service that my company provides. Thus the starting point when choosing a topic for a lead generation webinar:

Step 1: Pick a topic that segments your propects for you

Is your product used by marketers? Then supply information and messaging that will address a marketer's pain points – like how they can capture more qualified leads for less money or why lead nurturing is vital to getting the highest ROI out of their campaigns. Does your product lend itself to a sales user? Then tell them how your service will give them shorter lead-to-close time or a more accurate view of their prospects in the funnel. Are trainers or educators your main audience? Discuss how your service can help them collaborate efficiently and effectively, even from remote locations. See what I'm doing? I've described 3 areas that all have pain points that I know my service can solve. For a lead generation event, you can throw out topics that you know your solution doesn't address.

Step 2: Pick a topic that gives you a reason to follow-up

Does your topic have a clear call to action at the end? Or can you at least formulate one after you've put all of the content together? This approach can be very helpful when trying to decide on a topic for a lead generation webinar. Again, you might just have an informational webinar or thought leadership but if you're trying to construct an event that will generate a list of prospects, you'll want to give your sales people a reason to follow-up. Whether it is a demo sign-up, a free trial of your service, a whitepaper or checklist that you promised to attendees that will address their problem – make sure you pick a topic that lends itself to further discussion.

Step 3: Pick a topic that you can repurpose for different crowds

Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose – just because you have a great topic for a webinar doesn't mean you'll get boat loads of people to sign-up (that's another blog post in itself); however, you may have a great topic for a killer webinar that attracts a good crowd and then you also turn that content into a blog post, a discussion thread, a series of tweets, a facebook contest, a checklist, etc. Create an event that you can break apart later to reach more audiences (content marketing is the name of the game). Your twitter reach may be five times as large as your mailing list. Your blog might attract the attention of people that wouldn't normally attend a webinar. It can still be the killer topic you decided on orginally, it now just has a different twist or format to gain the eyes of new viewers.

So, there you have it. Three ways to help you pick a topic, ar at least a starting point. Think of each step and ask if it will help you accomplish your end goal of producing (more) qualified leads for your sales team. These are just a few that I could think of – do you have other suggestions on ways to generate a topic that will ultimately drive prospects to your product?

 

Eloqua Topliners Tour – Atlanta

webinar polling example to be used in Eloqua

ReadyTalk attended Eloqua’s Road to Revenue Tour in Atlanta last week.  As always, Eloqua put on a thoughtful event for their customers and the marketing community.   They also made the event fun in the unique Eloqua style. 

During the event I had the chance to present ideas around webinar best practices, challenges with webinars and how cloud connectors help solve those, and a demo using the Eloqua Cloud Connectors for ReadyTalk. 

 You can view the presenations on our Slideshare page

The possibilities around using webinar polling questions and answers inside Eloqua to drive post-event activities sparked the most conversation. The example at the event showed how marketers could automatically pull in polling data from a webinar and then use the participants polling responses to segment users into different nurture campaigns.  This is just one way to use this powerful, behavioral, data.  I’m sure there are many more.  Our upcoming release of the Eloqua Cloud Connectors for ReadyTalk will include the capability to automatically pull polling questions and answers into Eloqua. 

How would you leverage polling data in Eloqua to drive post-event activities?

 

 

 

Bluewolf Cloud Innovation Summit: The Denver Edition

Bluewolf, a global consulting firm, kicked off its' Cloud Innovation Summit in Denver this week, which focused on helping companies to better understand the evolving behavior of their customers as they shift into a more social and mobile world.  ReadyTalk attended the Denver session as both a sponsor and participant to join in on the conversation.

As we continue to rapidly adopt a more social media-centric way of life, companies need to ensure that they continue to foster a culture of collaboration, both internally and externally.  Bluewolf identified three major shifts that are occurring in the business world:

  • Producing more (products, services, etc) with less resources
  • The workplace, and how we interact with each other, is changing
  • The buyer, and how they prefer to interact with their vendor(s), is changing

So, how should these shifts be addressed? By empowering your employees to join the social movement so they can understand how to best succeed in an ever changing workplace, positively contribute to their corporate brand, and, ultimately, better meet their customers' needs.

In order to encourage and enable their employees to 'go social,' Bluewolf took the following steps:

  1. Creation of an information portal that provides best practices, tutorials on using various social media sites, and other resources…and in several mediums that appeal to the masses, like short video clips, interactive slide presentations, and PDFs
  2. Display of "Pack Profiles" on their website that help visitors to learn more about their employees, such as what they love about Bluewolf, their interests in and out of the office, as well as view their respective social media feeds and past blog posts
  3. Foster good, old-fashioned competition…that's modernized through gamification. To encourage ongoing participation, employees are rewarded points based on activities like engagement on Chatter (giving and receiving of comments get extra points!), completed "Pack Profiles," content sharing…the list goes on.

The unofficial results? Bluewolf employees have become very active and engaged with social media, building their profiles as thought leaders on various topics, all while contributing to Bluewolf's overall corporate brand.

How is your company encouraging employees to go social?

Meet Susan Ulrich, ReadyTalk Salesforce Administrator

Susan Ulrich, ReadyTalk Salesforce AdministratorSusan is ReadyTalk’s Salesforce.com Administrator. She customizes, analyzes, maintains, integrates and improves our internal prospect and customer database. She found her calling as a "Salesforce guru" almost a decade ago after careers in everything from travel agent to restaurant manager.

When not dreaming up new applications for Salesforce she enjoys playing, dancing and running with her young son and husband in Boulder. She is a former world traveler and her dream job is to be a food critic.

8 Reasons to Join the ReadyTalk Engineering Team

The ReadyTalk Recruiting team has had a very busy couple of months and are excited to introduce several new employees to the ReadyTalk Engineering family. Last month, Chris Bishop joined us as a Web Application Engineer, Jason Buster is our newest addition to the Application Infratstructure team and Pete Winterscheidt is working on our Core Team as a Software Engineer. We are also looking forward to Robin Roscoe joing the ReadyTalk Team at the end of the month as an Agile Coach.

With the competitive nature of the tech market, one might wonder why so many extraordinarily talented engineers have chosen to make ReadyTalk their new home. Here are the top 8 reasons the best and brightest choose ReadyTalk!

1. ReadyTalk Labs! Twenty percent of your time at work can be spent on labs! You have the autonomy to build anything you can think up to help make our product better. It's an opportunity  for unguided innovation. Check out our open source Java Virtual Machine, Avian. This is an ReadyTalk Labs project that one of our engineers, Joel Dice, started in his 20% time. Our native client application is now run on this platform. 

2. Here at ReadyTalk, you’re surrounded by some of the most talented geeks in Colorado. There are always opportunities to learn from your neighbors and challenge one another’s ideas. Engaging other minds in problem solving and design issues is the norm.

3. You are not just a number at ReadyTalk. From day one, you will have the opportunity to come in and make an impact.  One of our newer engineers, Ben Limmer, spotted front-end improvements to help better our Section 508 compliance, implemented the improvements and deployed the changes into production all within his first 3 months on the job.

4. Free Beer!! Our engineers have a passion for *GREAT* beer (and great software, duh). They spend hours brewing up the next best thing to share with fellow ReadyTalkers.  If you come and visit the Engineering kitchen you will often times get  a free taste test! If there’s not a homebrew, you can always enjoy a delicious Wynkoop beer!

5. Engineers are encouraged to contribute to conversations around the architectural decisions for new and existing features. Ideas and opinions are really heard…not just listened to. You’ll be making impact and taking names!

6. Nerf Gun Wars – There is never a dull moment on the engineering floor. Every engineer receives a Nerf gun and thier very own personal stash of darts. There are full-on battles taking place as we speak (OR write). Get ready to duck!

7. Nerd Book Club – At ReadyTalk we encourage you to keep up your hacking chops! The ReadyTalk book club buys you a Kindle (or dead tree) version of an engineering topic decided by the engineers. Past topics include Continuous Delivery and how to write Clean Code. You’ll never stop learning!

8.  Finally, the main reason the top Engineers in the industry make ReadyTalk their home is the simple fact that they are given the tools, guidance and support they need to stay at the top of thier game! With such an innovative and collabrative environment they know they will always be a part of the leading developments in the software industry.

We are currently looking for Software Developers & Quality Engineers to join our team. Please contact me directly at catherine.harrison@readytalk.com if would like to be the newest addition!

(Co-Edited by Ben Limmer & Matt Weaver)