Q&A with B2B Lead Generation Experts

Looking for the best strategy for boosting your B2B lead generation? The reality is, the best marketers constantly adapt their strategies. They don’t lean on what worked last year — or even last month. Marketers are curious and driven professionals who constantly seek the latest-and-greatest way to do their jobs well. 

How are you hitting the B2B lead generation mark? If webinars are your marketing cornerstone, is live better than re-recorded? When it comes to emails, how do you make sure yours steer clear of the spam folder? How do you price virtual conferences to stay both competitive and profitable? Should you go ahead and include that wacky emoji in your subject line?

Marketers like you have these questions, and many more. ViB is here to give you answers from our best B2B lead generation experts. 

Find out how leading marketing professionals find success in B2B lead generation in this on-demand “Hot Topics” panel discussion webinar. This episode is a brand-new format that gives our live audience the power to vote for the topic they want our panel to discuss. This new format is another in our series of informative webinars brought to you by the marketing experts at Virtual Intelligence Briefing

In this new Hot Topics format, we invited four speakers to present, each representing a different topic. Our live audience upvoted which three topics they wanted to discuss. So out of the four speakers who started the webinar, only three presented their topics.  Keep an eye out for our next Hot Topics webinar and join us live to select your favorite topics!

GET EXPERT PERSPECTIVES AND ADVICE ON B2B LEAD GENERATION

In today’s episode, Tom Riddle, Director of Market Research at ViB, is joined by four expert marketers: Amanda McGuckin Hager, a marketing consultant and fractional CMO; Darius Eslami, Manager of Security Marketing at VMware Carbon Black; EJ Martinez, Solutions Consultant at Outreach; and Lisa Dawson, Director of Events at Ping Identity

Tom and three members of this panel of experts will answer questions and share information, tips, and advice about B2B lead generation:

  • What’s the most popular webinar format
  • The pros and cons of pre-recorded vs live webinars
  • How to attract more attendees to your webinar
  • The best time to send an email blast
  • How to ensure your email makes it to the inbox (not the spam folder)
  • When to hold a virtual conference vs physical conference
  • …and much more!

Q&A WITH DARIUS ESLAMI

Q: What do you think is the most popular format for a webinar?

DARIUS: In terms of format, we often aim for the 30-minute mark. Certainly try for no more than 45 minutes, particularly if it’s more of a presentation and less of an engagement-style webinar. We have one or two speakers that are presenting a topic with room for Q&A at the end. As part of our webinar strategy, I encourage making webinars as conversational as possible. Try to incorporate things like polls, questions, and raised-hand reactions early and throughout the presentation. That way, we’re able leverage a lot of that feedback further down the line and in other components and tactics of a webinar campaign.

Q: What’s the difference between pre-recorded and live webinars?

DARIUS: We actually don’t find too much of a difference. Obviously pre-recording is much more accommodating for people’s schedules, and it’s easier to do in advance. I think the biggest component if you’re going to go the pre-recorded route is to ensure you do have a live person on staff, whether a subject matter expert or somebody who’s just well versed enough to be able to field live questions while it’s running. Oftentimes, it helps at the top of the webinar as well to have that same person do a live kickoff. And obviously, this really only applies to more campaign-focused things. If they’re topical, you know, if you record something a month later, it may not be totally relevant. So obviously use a little common sense and discretion. But we haven’t noticed any drop-off rates or any statistically significant metrics around pre-recorded versus live as long as there’s that pseudo-live component toward the end.

Q: What are the best strategies and tactics for attracting webinar attendees?

DARIUS: I do this personally: I sign up for webinars if it’s very clear what the webinar is about in the title of the webinar. We often try to use either very action-oriented verbs or listicles (way back when listicles were a phrase that everyone used) if we’re leveraging numbers of some kind, because it’s very clear what the outcome will be from the webinar. Try to be as specific as possible within the title itself. In the landing page abstract, the copy to really draw people in should, when possible, leverage bullet points, as in: “these are the three clear takeaways.” Make sure to highlight who the speakers are in attendance. Oftentimes that lends credibility and helps push that attendance rate within their circles.

Q&A WITH AMANDA MCGUCKIN HAGER

Q: How do you feel about using emojis in subject lines?

AMANDA: I think it’s very brand-specific. If that is your brand — if your brand has that kind of cheeky humor — then I think you should definitely try it. I saw an emoji from a brand that was not a cheeky brand yesterday, actually. It was a webinar invitation and the subject line said “today at 1 p.m.” and then it used the clock emoji. I thought that was a tasteful way to use an emoji. I think it really depends on your brand. Receivers do recognize the communication of an emoji and so I think, as a receiver, it’s great. I would be more concerned about if it fits with the rest of the brand communication.

Q: What is the best time to send an email blast?

AMANDA: That’s a great question. Being in B2B, I really love a very early morning email send. I try to queue emails to go out at 6 a.m. in my timezone, knowing that it will be different in every other timezone. I do that because — I don’t know what you do in the morning — but I get up, and I grab my phone, and I grab my coffee, and I just start scrolling my inbox to see what has come in. That is really one of the only times that I have exploratory time to check email.

When the day has started and I’m working-working-working, much like your clients are probably working-working-working, or your prospects are working-working-working, they may not have the time to open your email and see what it’s about in the middle of the day. They’re usually in their own meetings and/or headed out to their own lunch hour or whatever. So I think you get the most attention and you have the best chance of being seen and read when you send it first thing in the morning.

Q: How do you pick a good high-performing subject line?

AMANDA: I’m really glad you brought up subject lines because I have a tool that I use in my back pocket that I’d love to share with all of you. I am in no way affiliated to this company. I learned about this company when I was working at Dell. Over 15 years ago now, Dell hired this company called Worldata to do list brokerage services. They created this tool and this URL: subjectline.com. Super simple. And they have a scoring on your subject line. Even after 20 years in this business, I go to subjectline.com and check the email subject lines that I’m writing to see how they score. They work both in the B2B and B2C space and so I believe that that tool works for both types of email communication.

Q: What are the main things we should avoid in email marketing?

AMANDA: Typos! Always have somebody read your content. Even if you think you’ve read it all, if you can have someone just scan it and make sure that they don’t see anything, I think that’s a wise decision. When you start paying attention to subject lines, there are some subject lines that will send you directly to a spam filter. Same with attachments: if you’re sending an email out on behalf of a sales team and you want to attach a datasheet, it’s a cue for a lot of spam filters. 

People do not pay any attention when they’re building an HTML email in whatever platform they’re in, be it Hubspot, Marketo, or Mailchimp. A lot of people don’t bother to look at what the text version will look like, and I think that that is an oversight. We don’t actually know when the receiver receives the email if they have their client set to accept HTML emails, or if they’re going to be getting the text email. So I would say avoid not looking — is that a double negative?– avoid not looking at the text version.

Q&A WITH LISA DAWSON

Q: What is the ROI on physical conferences vs virtual conferences?

LISA: So education-wise, I think there’s probably a slight lead for virtual conferences. You have an opportunity to, you know, digest the information in a manner and a pace and at a time that’s convenient to you. You can rewatch it, you can download slides. There’s time to actually dig into the information that you want to get into without any distractions.

For networking hands-down has to be the live events. And the difficulty, when you look at adult learning, is that so much of what you learn is both auditory and visual but a lot of it is just emotion. And the emotion is the piece that is sort of missing in virtual and no one has really, you know, found that magic bullet yet to make that emotion come across the screen. So I think you’re going to lose that in virtual.

Obviously, for accessibility and budget, hands-down virtual, right? They’re going to be able to attend it from anywhere. They can attend in a watch party with their workmates. It’s typically cheaper or very often free, and it doesn’t require any travel. 

Tom: Right. Great. Thanks for that. And now let me ask you. Let’s say in a hybrid environment that those people just can’t make it there and attend. How do you charge for that? Can you charge for that? You know, say a big conference where you have one price, that’s an established value for physical attendance. But for other people on the other side of the hybrid side, can you charge for that?

Q: How do you price virtual conferences?

LISA:  It’s a good question and it’s one that we’ve grappled with. Right now, for transparency, we’re charging probably about 10% of our live price is what our virtual price is. But we did put a price on it because we feel that the education has value, and we want you to make an investment to attend our events as well as, you know, engage and be there in an active participant way.

I think what we saw coming right out of COVID was everybody started doing virtual events and nobody understood that answer. And so everyone’s conference was free. And then we all got the price tag for doing a virtual event. We were like, “Well, we can’t do that forever, right? We’re going to have to put some kind of price around it.” Now, I’ve seen some conferences that are routinely $1,500 on-site and they’re holding that price on virtual. They’re just holding the same price.

So it’s really going to come down to the loyalty of your audience, the value of your education — but I personally think, unless you’re just doing it for brand awareness or you’re trying to do this as a prospecting sort of a vehicle, I think you need to put a price on it just to show that you feel your content is valuable and to get the attendee to have some skin in the game. And you can discount it or you can get comp tickets and that kind of thing, but you still need to put a price on it.

Q: When to hold a virtual conference vs physical conference?

LISA: I think a virtual conference is a good way to extend your brand. It’s a good way for you to introduce it in what can be a very accessible way to people who don’t know you aren’t ready to make the investment to travel and be with you in person. I think it’s a way for you to double down on the content that you already had at a conference. So you package it up and essentially make a roadshow out of it without having to go on the road. That gives you sort of a secondary value to anything that you’re putting together, which we never used to have with live conferences; it was always kind of one and done. And that was great, but, you know, it’s over now.

LEARN MORE ABOUT B2B LEAD GENERATION

Marketing is constantly evolving and the best marketers learn from each other every day. Find out more by watching the entire episode, “Q&A with Our Best B2B Marketing Experts.” Improve your B2B lead generation efforts and make every webinar, email, and event the best it can be. Drive results for your department and your business.

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