Elizabeth Yin, Investor at 500 Startups

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Co-Founder at doxIQ

Very interesting. Have you looked at ROI of blog lead gen vs asset-based lead gen (like your e-books)?

I would imagine that while the latter takes more time and may not offer the same SEO benefits, it may generate more leads because the payoff comes after info is submitted?

Hmm...maybe I should write a blog post about this :) Here's a quick breakdown of our lead gen efforts and respective ROIs:

Webinars -- these are by far the best right now. We'll partner with another company, create the slides together, and split the time. And we'll each blast out about the webinar to our respective lists and will share the leads (people who sign up for the webinar) at the end. It's not in our company-culture to be very "aggressive" with our email marketing, so we make sure that the companies we partner with are the same if we're going to be sharing leads. We can typically generate 100-600 leads for a single webinar. Webinars are a lot of work, though. Putting together the slides, coordination meetings with the partner company, and post-production video time as well. We're still experimenting, and we might be able to do better lead generation from the post-webinar videos, but to date, we've not been able to do lead generation well after a webinar is over. So, while you get one good tranche of leads, there isn't really an annuity to this activity.

Blogs -- mentioned our results in the post. If we can get 100 leads in a quarter for less than the amount of work as building a webinar, then any additional leads are a bonus for us. We'll see how this unravels.

Ebooks -- our ebooks, in general, don't yield a whole lot of organic leads. Paid marketing works well for those, which we do, but we only get a handful of organic free leads in a given month. In part, our ebooks tend to be hidden. We don't really promote those in free channels such as forums and whatnot.

Books -- We are writing a regular book right now on email marketing. Distinction here is that this book will be longer than an ebook and at the quality of a "regular" book and will be sold on Amazon for $$ :) While an ebook can take 2-4 weeks of calendar time and maybe 2 people's full time for 2 weeks, this regular book has taken a couple years of calendar time and about 4 people's full time for 4-8 weeks and still counting... Jury is still out on the time-cost benefit of creating a regular book and the # of leads we get. To be fair, though, a lot of what we learned and share in this book were byproducts of other work activities we were doing. So a fair bit of the 4-8 weeks of 4 people's time would've happened anyway even if we weren't writing this book.

We are also trying some experiments on Twitter cards, but the jury is still out on that as well. The quality of the leads also varies quite a bit amongst all these channels and within channels.

Co-Founder at doxIQ

Wow awesome response- thanks! For post-webinar video lead gen, consider a service like Vidyard or Wistia that gates the video with an email form.

yeah definitely -- thanks! we're not quite producing enough videos to make full use of those saas products, but probably soon...

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