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Webinars help generate, nurture leads at Mimosa Systems

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E-mail archiving and storage management company Mimosa Systems did not expect a webinar entitled “Strategies for Eliminating .PST Files” to become one of its top draws. The hourlong event focused on only one feature of Mimosa's product, and its title did not boast the catchy marketing lingo of other productions in the company's webinar archive. But .PST files turned out to have star power. The event piqued the interest of about 1,300 information technology professionals, the largest draw of any previous Mimosa webinar. “We had underestimated how much of a pain point it had been,” said Sarah Howard, senior campaign manager and acting director of corporate marketing at the start-up company. “We usually try to be more broad. We learned from that.” Mimosa regularly looks for those kinds of lessons, part of an ongoing adaptation of a webinar campaign that has become one of the 5-year-old company's most critical tools not only for generating but also nurturing leads. “You have to test everything,” said Howard, who has looked at the impact of webinar titles, e-mail subject lines and registration questions to determine how to get the best lead—not necessarily the most leads—for her efforts. Those efforts have paid off, allowing the company to brand itself and educate customers through a webinar campaign that, over a seven-month period, generated a minimum of 530 leads per event and saw an average of 45% of registrants attend its live webcasts. Howard works with third-party database providers to generate new leads, spreading her marketing dollars over a variety of vendors in an effort to grow the company's in-house database. The company recently began scoring leads, she said, working to create a system that not only helps the sales force target the best prospects but also helps marketers determine the most effective lead-generation tactics. “Next year, we'll be able to look at the scores before we choose vendors,” she said. But webinars do more than build databases. The 15-minute question-and-answer session that concluded the .PSP webinar, for example, generated 150 questions, far more than the speaker could answer before the event ended. Mimosa distributed the questions, along with answers from the expert, among the members of its sales force, providing customized starting points for conversations with the new prospects. Mimosa also responded to the volume of interest with the development of online demonstrations targeting the topic. “One of the things companies drop the ball on is not having a next step in line,” Howard said. Mimosa has found that customers who attend one webinar often sign on for another Web campaign element, she said—something that pushes up their lead score and better defines their interests. Mimosa's marketing department produces its own market influence report, looking at each sale the company closes and analyzing the interaction the customer had with mediums like webinars, white papers and face-to-face events. That internal report ranked the webinar as a top marketing tool, Howard said. “It's the No. 1 opportunity touch in Q1, more than any other campaign,” Howard said. “We're using it to build our database. It's also helping us push things in the pipeline.” M
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