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Hire.com, which caters to corporate hiring managers at Global 2000 companies, is using webinars as a low-sell method to get its message out.

Twice each quarter, Doug Miller, VP-marketing for the Austin, Texas-based company, and his marketing team create educational Web conferences about key hiring issues such as compliance and employee retention and deployment strategies.

The company develops its webinar ideas by asking existing and potential customers what they are interested in. For example, when people register for one Web conference, they must fill out a survey that, among other things, asks what topics they are most interested in and why.

Hire.com also uses the survey answers in another way. "For each of the questions on the survey, we identify a marketing piece [of collateral]," Miller said. " We thank them for registering and tell them, `In the meantime, here are materials you can read.' As soon as they fill out the survey, they get that collateral."

The strategy is working. More than 65% of those who register for Hire.com webinars actually attend. Those who don't make the live event aren't out of the marketing loop, however. "About one-third of the 35% who miss the event will come back to the Web site and watch the recorded event," Miller said. "Plus, we get a lot of people who never registered who will watch the recorded webinars."

Customers like the webinars, Miller said, because Hire.com makes them educational, with outside moderators, such as customers and industry experts, and case studies with commentary from actual customers.

"We try not to make [the webinars] blatant sales. We found when we were making them very Hire.com-centric we might get 20 to 50 people attending," explained Miller. "But if we make it more educational, we might get 300 to 400 people attending the conference. The content should be more about the attendee and less about us."

Hire.com gets the message out about its webinars using e-mail marketing. The company rents newsletter lists and uses cross-promotion whenever possible. "Integrated marketing is key to what we do," Miller said.

The results have been impressive. A single statistic tells the entire story: It costs Hire.com $7,000 to create a Web conference, but each customer that the company garners from its events is worth $100,000, Miller said. Each Web conference yields 10 to 20 prospects; of these,10% to 20% become Hire.com customers.

Miller said his Web conferencing program succeeds because each webinar is a part of the company's overall marketing program. "They are a big part of our mix," he said.

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