I spent some time at the Avista Solutions booth visiting with Ken Ellis. He's been reading the blog and wondered what I thought of Webinars as opposed to podcasts.
I never liked being told when to appear online or on a conference call to receive the same news everyone else was getting by someone who either didn't know what my schedule was or didn't care. Most journalists, at least in the financial services trade media, are under very heavy deadline pressure just about all the time. That was surely the case when I worked for Source Media and October Research. It wasn't very nice to hear that if I didn't show up at the appointed time everyone but me would get the news.
But, as Ken pointed out, companies need to know who is looking at their content if they hope to capitalize on the sales leads that content is intended to deliver. That's true enough.
You can tell who is present on a Webinar, especially if you force people to pre-register. If you just put content out there for free, anyone can pick it up and it's very difficult to track. Making people cough up a bunch of information before you send them to the download page is a sure way to annoy them.
So what's the answer? You have to use a combination of free content--designed to unlock the three golden doors that lead to sales, 1) show them you understand their problem, 2) show them you are smart enough to solve their problem and 3) show them you care about helping them solve their problem--and more secure content designed to deliver the qualified sales lead.
Ken was kind enough to point out a good example:
I think SalesPOP! does an exceptional job of presenting this on their website. They offer podcasts requiring no information, but if you want to hear the longer Webinar there is a form that is required. Their website is www.salespop.biz\home.htm.
By way of disclosure, neither Ken nor I do any business with this company, nor are we affiliated with it, but Ken admits that he knows a SalesPOP founder, Craig Pyne, a previous coworker. Check out the site and think about how you can leverage this idea.