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FileHold Systems streamlines webinar process to boost attendance, conversion

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FileHold Systems provides companies with document workflow, scanning, and records management software as well as software-as-a-service functionality. The company, which caters to midsize and large organizations, does very little outbound marketing. Instead, it focuses most of its marketing efforts on search engine optimization to generate leads, which are then nurtured using webinars, said Larry Oliver, the company's president, who also handles marketing for the British Columbia, Canada-based firm. About a year ago, Filehold Systems set out to boost webinar attendance by improving the quality and process behind its webinars, said Oliver. “We started with the assumption that we had a good webinar,” he said. “We just wanted to refine everything.” The company's webinars, held using Citrix Systems GoToWebinar, were already scheduled in what Oliver called an “optimal time.” The live events take place on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month at 11 a.m. PT. The company selected that time slot and day by using its Web analytics, Oliver said. “We monitor website traffic and Wednesdays has been our heaviest time every week for five years,” he said. In order to push people to the webinars, FileHold Systems peppered their site, as well as all prospect communications, with mentions of and links to the webinar signup. “We add invitations to nearly every response our sales team makes to prospects, and we have a dedicated inside sales person who focuses on ensuring that everyone who contacts us knows about the webinar opportunity,” Oliver said. The company's signup efforts also included a simplified registration form that asked for a person's name, company, telephone number and email address, although only their name and email address were required. The language behind the webinars was also refined so potential attendees would know it was a “nonthreatening soft sell,” Oliver said. “It is a simple discussion about how people use our product, and a little information about our company.” The events, which yield registrations of between 30 and 36 people each month, stick to a formula. They start exactly on time, go no longer than 45 minutes to an hour and make use of demonstrations and PowerPoint to show key product features. In addition, they are moderated by a professional speaker, and include commentary from senior salespeople who are familiar with the company's offerings. At the end of the event, there's a live Q&A that makes use of a typed Q&A box, and the opportunity for people to stick around and ask questions via voice. “At the end of the hour, we turn everyone's microphones on and give people the opportunity to have a dialogue with us,” Oliver said. The efforts have resulted in strong double-digit gains for the company, according to Oliver. “By focusing on driving prospects to the webinar, we have increased attendance by 50% over the last year, and by making them as good as possible our post-webinar engagement rates have increased by 25% over the same time period,” he said. Oliver said the fact that the webinar is so formulaic helps boost its quality since everyone is comfortable with the platform, the content and the flow. “A lot of webinars you'll attend are really bad—there's technical problems with the tools or software, confusion among the presenters, the slides are too busy,” he said. “Our presentation has good voices, scripts. It's all orchestrated, and it's not some sales guy saying how great he is.”
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