The Benefit of Webinars

Webinar

Guest post by Robert DeVincent, Vice President of Product Marketing, Corcentric AP Outsourcing

Web-i-nar [web-uh-nahr]

seminar or other presentation that takes place on the Internet, allowing participants in different locations to see and hear the presenter, ask questions, and sometimes answer polls.

Thank you dictionary.com for the lovely definition. This strange sounding word – with a rather lackluster definition – could be the ticket to resounding success for your company.  Many people don’t fully understand how the power of social media tools can boost their company’s profile and create an environment that is enjoyable for their customers at the same time.  Webinars are one of the most interactive forms of social media because they have incorporated live vocal visual communication; not only can you interact with people across the world, but you can chat with them one-on-one in real-time!

Webinars allow specialists within your company to really broadcast what they are good at. They allow you to draw in audiences that you may not otherwise reach by providing specialized training that is directly linked to your service or product.  By broadcasting webinars, you show yourself to be an expert in your niche, which can make your product or service more compelling to the end user.  Not only that, but you have full control over what your consumer learns about your product and what they do with it – you call the shots.

Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and other social media sites, come with an aspect of the unknown, which rightfully causes some hesitation. You can certainly use those other networks to promote your upcoming webinar – and you should!  But when it comes to the actual production with webinars, the presenter is in control of what’s being communicated.

Most companies nowadays are in the business of sales – either selling a product, a service, or an individual – and webinars are the best way for your company to warm any potential business connections you might make by first having good conversations with them. Webinars are easily linked to other individuals and can be filmed and archived, so, not only will they be good in the right-here-and-now, but they will also be good for generating leads on downloads in the future. Depending on the quality of webinar, the amount of information you are sharing, and the market you are working in, your company stands to generate a large number of good leads that are already comfortable with your product and the information you are conveying.

Inbound marketing looks to be here to stay. Older marketing techniques like television, radio, and print ads are starting to slip in their effectiveness – so it is important that you and your company stay ahead of the curve. Starting to host your own Webinars is a great way to attract individual customers while still promoting yourself in a broader sense. By getting started with broadcasting your own Webinars you are taking a step in the right direction as well as a step ahead of the competition.

THIS IS A SPECIAL GUEST POST BY ONE OF OUR ANYMEETING USERS. WANT TO WRITE FOR THE ANYMEETING BLOG? GET THE DETAILS.

7 Tips for a Successful, Pitfall-Free, Lead Generating Webinar

Heather Butts Webinar

AnyMeeting’s “Small Business Toolkit” webinar series kicked off May with its latest guest webinar from Heather Butts, founder of L.E.A.R.N for Life Consulting.  A professional webinar consultant and frequent user of AnyMeeting, we would like to thank Heather for presenting “7 Tips for a Successful, Pitfall-Free, Lead Generating Webinar.”

We’d also like to thank the more than 200 attendees who participated with great questions and comments. Heather’s webinar provided great insight on pitfalls to avoid and tips to ensure a successful webinar that generates leads. If you were not able to attend live and would like to view the recording, just click: Recorded Webinar to Generate Leads.

UpComing WEBINAR: 7 Tips for a Successful, Pitfall-Free, Lead Generating Webinar

Heather Butts

Join us Tuesday, May 1st at 11 am Pacific for the next free webinar in our “Small Business Toolkit” webinar series, and get helpful tips to have a successful webinar.  Professional webinar consultant Heather Butts will provide valuable insight on the proper steps to take and pitfalls to avoid when putting together a solid webinar that generates leads.

Additionally, Heather will offer the first 20 registrants to respond a free evaluation of your next planned webinar, including a detailed report.  Heather will also provide everyone a free copy of her e-book, “How to Run A Successful, Pitfall-Free, Lead Generating Webinar.”

Only 200 spots are available – so sign up today for free.  Make sure you log in to the webinar early – attendance is on a first-come, first-served basis.

5 Tips for Using a Webinar Facilitator to Generate Leads and Customers


"Lead Generation"
Lead Generation

By Heather M. Butts, Founder, L.E.A.R.N for Life Consulting, L.L.C

Many business people and entrepreneurs would love to do a webinar, but are stopped for various reasons: Will I have a horrible technical issue that will ruin my webinar? Can I come up with a compelling topic that will entice potential customers to attend? Will the individuals that register for my webinar actually show up?  Individuals can turn to webinar facilitators – yes they do exist and I am one of them – to alleviate anxiety around webinars and online training, ensure a seamless, successfully programming and drive business leads and sales! Is a webinar facilitator for you?  Here are 5 tips to help you decide?

1.   Will the webinar facilitator assist you in the planning stages of your webinar?

So, one of the most critical services that I have provided as a webinar facilitator is around planning the webinar. What will be the length of your webinar? 1 hour? 2 hours? 30 minutes? What will the format look like? A presentation followed by a Q & A? A presentation only? An educational workshop? A 15 minute sales pitch at the end?  What platform will you use and do you know the pros and cons of using that specific platform? Will you be the only presenter or will there be a panel of presenters, each of whom may have their own PowerPoint presentations that will need to be uploaded for the webinar? How far in advance should you market your webinar and how often should you send email reminders, tweets and facebook messages to potential registrants? Do you have a really great title for your webinar that will attract the audience that you want in attendance? A webinar facilitator can be very helpful in helping you think through these issues and can ease some of the anxieties that you may have as you’re getting ready for the webinar. Planning out a first-rate webinar will ensure that attendees who are there will be more interested in your product, services or tools and that will lead to attracting leads and ultimately customers.

2.  Will the webinar facilitator work with you in the preparation and practice stages of your webinar?

Practice, practice practice!  Any webinar facilitator will tell you that the way to ensure you have a phenomenal webinar is to practice a lot! The way to ensure you have a nerve-wracking experience with glitches and problems is to sign onto the webinar platform 3 minutes before show time and hit the start button. Will the webinar facilitator do run-throughs of the webinar with you and do an actual simulation of the webinar 1-3 days before your event? Will the webinar facilitator proof-read your slides for grammar and syntax mistakes? Will the webinar facilitator coach you on voice modulation and pacing as you speak? Will the webinar facilitator prepare questions for you if they are going to facilitate the Q & A section and do a run through of those questions with you, possibly multiple times? Will you and the webinar facilitator do recording checks to ensure that the webinar platform you’re using is recording you well? These are all questions to find out and again, you may not need all of this help but find out if these are services the webinar facilitator can provide.

3.  Will the webinar facilitator assist you with marketing your webinar?

One of the biggest fears the individuals and businesses have regarding planning a webinar is that they will put a ton of work into the production, design, and content, and end up with 4 people in attendance! A webinar facilitator can be of assistance here in terms of advising you on ways that you can have a high marketing reach by reaching out to groups, organizations and other contacts to draw individuals into the webinar.  You’ll want to get very specific with the webinar facilitator to ascertain if she can and will be of assistance to you during the marketing and advertising process, if she has assisted others in promoting their webinars, what the results have been and what their previous registration-to-attendee rates have been.  A webinar facilitator can be critical in not only thinking through where your leads can come from, but also in helping you target those leads, getting attendees to your webinar and, as we will talk about later, helping to turn those attendees into customers.

4.  Will the webinar facilitator provide technical support, Q & A support, discussion support or all of the above during the webinar?

Webinar support can be everything from setting up your webinar for you from a technical standpoint – getting the platform ready 15 minutes before the webinar is to start, all the way to introducing you as the speaker, being a content facilitator during the webinar, helping you with the slide presentation (if applicable) during the webinar, and assisting with the question and answer period after the formal presentation has ended. Many webinar providers can also alert you to issues as the webinar is going on, such as distracting background noise, low voice volume, and other technical issues happening during the webinar that you either may be unaware of or unable to do anything about while the webinar is going on.

If you’re going to take questions during the webinar, the facilitator can also be of service in terms of vetting questions either via a chat feature, phone feature or computer microphones, thus freeing you up to answer the questions as opposed to concerning yourself with technical issues  that may distract you from your focus – great content and information!

Decide where your strengths and weaknesses are and what would make you most comfortable during the webinar.  Some people would feel very uncomfortable allowing someone else to be in control of the slide presentation during the webinar and would want to be in control of the slideshow. Others would be petrified to control the technical aspects  of moving the slides forward, so be honest with yourself, decide what you’d like to be in control of and what you’d like assistance with during the webinar.

5.  Will the webinar facilitator be of assistance to you in post-webinar production and wrap-up?

So life happens right.  Recordings of webinars have glitches, don’t turn out exactly the way you’d like, or you want to follow-up with potential clients post-webinar, or maybe you want to target a specific group that really seemed to enjoy the webinar and do another webinar for them.  If you hire a webinar facilitator, will they say goodbye as soon as you hit end on the record button, or can they be of assistance when you find out that the link to your webinar recording isn’t working and you need help to fix it? Does the webinar facilitator have the right equipment in place to edit the webinar in post-production and share that edited version with you either as a link or file?  These issues can be critical. For many people, the most important part of the webinar is the post-webinar marketing and follow-up with prospective customers, so if you need assistance with follow-up make sure that this is a service your potential webinar facilitator has experience in and is willing to provide.

Once the webinar is over, you’ll want to go over the registration/attendee rates.  How many people registered and how many people actually attended?  From there it is imperative that you follow-up with the individuals that registered but did not attend, ideally with a recording of the webinar very soon after the live event.  This can be instrumental in targeting individuals who are interested in what you have to say, but due to scheduling issues or other conflicts, could not make your webinar. Do you have a system for taking questions from individuals who watched the recorded version of the webinar? The webinar facilitator can assist you in creating such a system and managing queries that come through this system from prospective clients.

Following these 5 steps will ensure that you have a productive, wonderful webinar that will lead to increased registration and attendance, fantastic engagement of your audience and customer growth.

THIS IS A SPECIAL GUEST POST BY ONE OF OUR ANYMEETING USERS. WANT TO WRITE FOR THE ANYMEETING BLOG? GET THE DETAILS.

How to Plan Webinars That Work

webinar
Webinar

By James O’Brien

If you plan it right, they will come … and they will come back again and again.

Pulling together a webinar that not only impresses your audience but also creates a buzz — word of mouth that brings new attendees to your next event — is an avenue toward broadening the reach of your brand.  However, it’s not always intuitive what must be done to make a webinar work.

In this post, you’ll read about some key steps to getting your online offering into ship-shape condition. You’ll note some mistakes to avoid, and some ideas to carry forward after your next webinar knocks it out of the park.

The Right Topic and Marketing Synchronicity: Whether you’re the sole proprietor of a business or part of a company that’s moving into the market with online offerings in mind, associate the content of your webinar with what it is that you do best. Poll your audience and find out what they’d like to hear about. Discovering where your clientele already understands your expertise to lie will help you to craft a webinar that plays to their perceptions of existing strengths. Especially if you work in a team environment, don’t plan your webinar topics without the input of the sales and marketing staff. Prompting different departments to invest in the success of the webinar is a sure way to boost its visibility via ongoing outreach campaigns.

Solo or Team?: From the start of your webinar planning, you need to think about what format your online experience might take. Will it be just you, as the expert, explaining a principle, or are you thinking that it would be best to bring in additional presenters — people who can broaden the field of knowledge? Note that you’ll need to administrate a group if it’s the latter. So, plan and build all the slides and audio material from every presenter into a complete package, early on. You’ll want plenty of time for the dry run that we will address in a moment. Additionally, if your webinar is going to have more than one moving part in this way, consider bringing in assistance. With a second (or third) technically proficient person on hand, you’ll have a better shot at controlling damage if something goes awry with one participant’s video or audio during the webcast.

Planning and Managing Slides: Use charts, tables and a bit of video or illustration to not only augment what you might be saying at any given point, but also think about introductions and emphases. For example, you’ll want a slide that sets up a new presenter — giving their name, contact information, and a blurb about their realm of expertise. Have a “first-stop” slide in place before the webinar actually begins, one that confirms that audience members have come to the right place and that reminds them of the start time.

The Dry Run: With your concept, team and audio/visual components in place, do a dry run. This means a check of every component of your work, not just the speaking script and slides. You want to be sure that the technology you’re working with — the webinar platform, the microphones, all the “moving” parts — are doing what they’re supposed to. When you’ve done a complete and hitch-free dry run, you’ll also know the running time of the webinar. That leads to the last tip in this list …

Timing: Webinars that run longer than two hours tend to push their audience’s limits. More ambitious constructs should probably get broken down into separate sessions. Unless your anticipated audience has a whole day at their disposal, consider putting these second and third sessions on different days.

Finally, once you’ve hosted your successful webinar, don’t blow the follow-through. Reach out to attendees with a gracious thank-you e-mail, and make sure you invite feedback. Note an upcoming event or idea, and remember to ask if there’s a webinar topic they’d like to see in the future. That’s how you win a sustainable audience; one that reaches out to their own associates and increases attendance.

AnyMeeting’s “Small Business Toolkit” Webinar Series Rolls On

 

How to Use Webinars to Generate More Sales

AnyMeeting kept the “Small Business Toolkit” webinar series rolling with its latest webinar from Tom Treanor of Right Mix Marketing.  A veteran marketing expert, we would like to thank Tom for presenting “How to Use Webinars to Generate More Sales.”

Tom’s webinar was very informative and provided some great insight on how webinars can work for you.  If you were not able to attend Tom’s webinar and would like to view the recording of his presentation, just click here.

WEBINAR: How to Use Webinars to Generate More Sales

Tom Treanor

Join us Wednesday, March 21st at 11 am PT for the next free webinar of our “Small Business Toolkit” webinar series, and learn how to use webinars to generate more sales for your business.

Webinars are a very important and powerful way to connect with your target market. They are also a way for your company to stand out from the competition and to build bonds with potential customers. Join Tom Treanor of Right Mix Marketing as he presents ways that webinars can generate more sales for your business.

All registrants will also receive a copy of Tom Treanor’s report, “12 Damaging Webinar Mistakes (you need to avoid).”

Only 200 spots are available – so sign up today. Make sure you log in to the webinar early – attendance is on a first-come, first –served basis.

Webinars vs. Conferences

Webinar vs. Conference
Webinar vs. Conference

By Angela Stringfellow

Delivering value to consumers through free information is a marketing tactic popular among both small and large businesses. These days, marketing executives have a number of good options to do just that, via social networking, webinars, podcasts and conferences.

Webinars and conferences provide the most interactive formats for delivering larger quantities of information to consumers. Some are fee-based, while others are offered free as a way to generate prospects or build an email marketing list.

When deciding between a webinar and conference, there are a few factors to consider.

  1. Webinars are often cheaper to deliver. Services like AnyMeeting offer the ability to host free or fee-based webinars, but in either case, usage can be free for the business. Conferences, on the other hand, require facility rental, audio-visual equipment, refreshments and other incidental costs.
  2. Conferences can be more interactive for attendees. Conferences offer one advantage over webinars: An interactive nature. Webinars allow attendees to ask questions via Twitter (with a hashtag), through comments or other means. Conferences, however, offer facilitators the opportunity to have attendees work in small groups, deliver presentations to the group as a whole and otherwise interact with other attendees.
  3. Webinars are convenient. Attendees tend to gravitate toward webinars due to ease of attendance. Attendees can attend a webinar from the comfort of their own home or office, as long as they have a reliable internet connection or phone line. Conference attendees often must travel, racking up pricey hotel and airline fees as well as sacrificing time away from their families.
  4. Conferences provide camaraderie. Attending a webinar doesn’t allow for professionals to interact with one another, sit next to each other and network with other industry professionals the way a conference does. A webinar can mimic this benefit to a lesser extent using a chatroom or Twitter hashtag to allow attendees to communicate directly with one another.
  5. Conferences have a larger environmental footprint. Not only are conferences more expensive, but they carry a larger environmental footprint. A conference room can be expensive to maintain, including electricity, supplies and refreshments. A webinar doesn’t require paper handouts, as all materials can be delivered electronically.
  6. A free webinar is more likely than a free conference. Due to delivery costs, conferences are rarely offered free of charge to attendees. Facilitators must cover their costs, and even if the fee is nominal, it doesn’t beat a free ticket. Minimal operating costs allow businesses to provide free information more readily to consumers and professionals.

There are many variables to consider when deciding which format to use. Whether a webinar or a conference is right for you depends on the nature of your industry, the material you’re presenting and how important face-to-face interaction is in conveying important concepts.


 

10 Tips for Effective and Engaging Webinars

webinar

By Mark Di Vincenzo

Webinars, web-based seminars, have become a common way to present information. When you’re ready to host one to build your business, here are 10 tips to make sure it gives you the great results you’re expecting.

1. Define the purpose

Before you start marketing your online presentation, make sure you know why you’re doing it, what you’re trying to accomplish, and what you hope attendees will get out of it.

2. Determine who your audience will be and tailor the presentation to them

A lot of people multi-task during webinars, so do everything in your power to present information that grabs their attention and doesn’t let go. Schedule lively speakers, and make sure you have fascinating information to share.

3. Design an excellent presentation

In addition to creating a wonderful talk, spend as much as 20 hours building a simple and interesting slide deck to accompany it. Make sure they work well together.

4. Do a trial run

Well before the day of the online meeting, test the connection, computer, webcam, and headset. Every webinar platform is a little different, and this is the only way to know for sure that everything will work. While you’re at it, make sure the moderator knows his duties and can handle technical issues and problems.

5. Show up early

Give yourself plenty of time — get to the office, or wherever you’re running the webinar, at least an hour ahead of time — so you can identify problems and find someone who can take care of them.

6. Give clear instructions to the attendees

Let them know about the features like video conferencing you plan to use and how they can participate. Urge attendees who plan to ask questions to use a headset to avoid echos. (Ask the moderator to apologize, but to block audio access to anyone causing an echo.)

7. Engage participants every few minutes

With an in-person seminar, the presenter does something every 10 minutes or so to re-engage with the audience. With a webinar, since there’s no direct contact, presenters have to do it more often, to avoid losing the audience.

8. Make sure to ask specific questions

Don’t say, “Does anyone have a question?” Instead, if the webinar is about the best time to do things in the workplace, ask, “Who knows why 10 a.m. is the best time to give a presentation?” Involve your audience.

9. Conduct polls

And share the results as soon as they’re in. Polls are a great way to involve everyone in the online meeting, and they can be used to transition into or out of a topic.

10. Give something to stay front of mind

Webinar attendees want something in return for their attention and participation. So after the webinar ends, email a thank-you note to attendees, and include some tips related to the topic. Information, in the form of succinct tips, is something they can refer to and share. If there were any hyperlinks from the presentation, include them as well.

Just because the webinar ended, doesn’t mean the conversation has to as well. Send attendees a survey a day or two later. And then a week later, follow up with an email asking how they used — or plan to use — the information they received during the webinar.

A Little Known Secret to Webinar Success

secret
Want to know a secret?

By Eric Brown, BodyWorkBiz.com

THIS IS A SPECIAL GUEST POST BY ONE OF OUR ANYMEETING USERS. WANT TO WRITE FOR THE ANYMEETING BLOG? GET THE DETAILS.

I know that you’re reading this on the AnyMeeting blog, so I don’t have to tell you about all the great reasons to host webinars.

Whether it’s to generate leads and build your list, promote your products or services, or sell your expertise, webinars are an effective way to connect in a personal and powerful way with a targeted audience. But sometimes the process of getting sufficient numbers of people to your broadcast can be a daunting one:

  • You may not have a large network of contacts
  • You may not have the resources to reach the people you want to connect with
  • You may be an expert in your field, but you may not be great at marketing or selling

The bottom line: You need help getting audience members in your virtual seats.

Whatever your situation may be, the easiest way to overcome those obstacles and to get the viewers you need is by partnering with an individual or organization who already has a relationship with your target audience.

You can leverage your partner’s resources in a variety of ways to ensure your success. They’ve invested a great deal of time and money to develop and build a relationship a large network of customers, members, employees or volunteers. By partnering you can leverage those existing relationships and borrow the trust and reputation your partner has with their network. You don’t have to start from scratch.

Just because you’re leveraging their resources doesn’t mean that you’re using or taking advantage of your partner. The secret to a successful partnership, also called a joint venture, is ensuring that everyone involved comes away a winner: You, your partner and their network. There has to be value for all three parties.

Let me give you an example of how this works. A number of years ago I was working at developing leads for a web-based project. To grow our list fast, I looked at partnering with a large industry association. This association had an annual conference and I knew that the number of attendees had been dropping, so I offered to help them by hosting broadcasts of some of their top speakers. These broadcasts would be offered for free to their entire membership and they would give the association members a chance to get a taste for the topics covered. It also allowed some of their top presenters to showcase their knowledge with the goal of whetting the members’ appetite for more at the live event.

I offered to take care of all the logistics with the presenters and take care of the entire production of the webinars. All the association had to do was send several emails to their members. The emails promoted this free webinar series. Members could hear and even interact with some of the top industry experts at no cost. If someone wanted to attend all they needed to do is fill out a form with their name and email address and they were immediately sent the webinar details through an autoresponder.

The results: After just four one-hour webinars I had built an email list of over 3,000 people, all of who were prime prospects for my other offerings.

I did not have to send the promotional emails. I did not have to prepare the presentations or develop educational materials. The time I invested was minimal. All it cost was a couple hundred dollars to set up a small website and a small monthly fee for an autoresponder.

Everybody walked away happy. The association got some great promotion for their convention, the presenters got wider exposure, the association members got to hear experts they would not normally have an opportunity to hear and I grew my prospect list in a really big way.

So next time you decide to offer a webinar, think about utilizing partnerships to help ensure your success. Think about the individuals or groups that already have relationships with the people you want to reach and come up with ways to partner where everyone can walk away a winner.

What organizations could you partner with for your webinar? Share your ideas in the comments.