Jeff Bartholomew submitted a success story describing his experience using AnyMeeting as a tool to help grow his business as a regional director for ACN, Inc. A network marketing company, ACN is the world’s largest direct seller of telecommunications and essential services for home and business. Jeff has been using AnyMeeting for over a month and further discusses his experience with AnyMeeting as a meeting tool for his business.
“I’m on the east coast and I have a team across the country, across the North American continent, and I’m able to do webinars regularly, three, four, five times a week. I can conduct trainings, briefings, presentations, communicating with my team and it’s been an incredible tool to help build my business. There is no way I would have been able to do this without AnyMeeting.”
Web conferencing has enhanced the effectiveness of online education, as well as brick and mortar education tenfold. Students are utilizing web conferencing tools more frequently and on a more goal-driven basis. From sharing files and engaging in social debates, to holding live instructional events entirely online, web-conferencing as an educational tool is changing how schools and universities function. This trend can be seen taking place both inside the classroom and outside where students are not just socializing with fellow classmates, but engaging with mentors in the form of webinars and study groups. The following are some of the interesting ways in which students can use web conferencing both inside and outside of the classroom.
In the Classroom
Inside the classroom, in both college and on the high school level, the expectation for students to be technologically savvy is becoming more pressing. This requires students to show they can utilize tools that extend much further than Microsoft Excel, or the basic Power Point Presentation. Web conferencing is the perfect tool to satisfy this expectation. In addition to being a valuable resource for information by providing students with the ability to contact experts in a certain field, web conferencing can also be used as a digital presentation tool in the classroom for live interviews with experts. Before conferencing was applicable as an integral part of the classroom, the thought of having an author present a live reading of their critically acclaimed novel, or having an actual political leader speak at a small classroom event would have only been possible in the rarest of opportune occasions. Web conferencing makes this type of exchange more convenient and thus more possible.
Outside the Classroom
Outside the classroom, students have the power to engage their fellow classmates on a level that is unprecedented. They can interact with mentors and experts for coaching and counseling. In many cases, counseling or consultancy services that were available to students in the past were often overlooked or avoided due to their lack of privacy or convenience. Tutoring services, foreign language studies, and adolescent counseling are all services that were costly or time consuming, but video conferencing makes them cost effective and time efficient. The most important aspect of this innovative resource is that students now have the ability to reach out and get assistance they need from the best possible source. They are no longer limited to resources just within their immediate surroundings, or community. The possibilities for education are truly globalized through web conferencing.
Now that web conferencing applications like Skype and Google Talk are extending their functionality to mobile devices, students will truly be able to conference on the go. The fact that numerous mobile devices are extending their use to faster 4G networks makes data streaming and sharing much more plausible as well. The best benefit of being able to engage a large group through a web conference by cell phone is the ability to share files conveniently and securely with an entire group within the span of few seconds while on a daily jog, or running other errands. The multi-functional nature of web conferencing on mobile devices allows for an entirely new realm of possibilities in education and business.
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.
Any way you spin it, webinars are a valuable sales tool. Simply offering a webinar can boost sales and enhance brand recognition, and there are tons of ways you can use them to convert casual interest into actual paying clients. Here are seven specific tactics for turning webinars into sales engines:
Offer a free introductory webinar to a longer, paid series. Delivering a complex training module can’t be done in just one webinar, and besides, if you gave away all your trade secrets for free your business would never turn a profit. Hosting a free introduction to a paid series is a useful way to accumulate more paid subscribers, by providing just enough information to entice attendees to want more.
Give a product discount as a bonus. Host a webinar, showcase your expertise and at the end, lead into subtle sales pitch for a product and offer an exclusive discount to attendees. Nothing is a greater sales incentive than a one-time opportunity to get a great deal on a valuable product.
Follow up, follow up, follow up! Once you’ve delivered an outstanding presentation, keep the interest of your attendees through regular contact. Ask for feedback the following day, follow up with a sales pitch for one of your products or paid workshops, and continue to provide value by inviting the same group to future free programs and regular industry tips. If, after you deliver your presentation, your attendees never hear from you again, you can bet they’ll soon forget all about you.
Identify a problem and a solution. Throughout your presentation, you should be hitting on hot buttons that identify common problems or frustrations. Grab their attention by making them feel like you’re talking directly to them, describing what they thought were unique challenges. Once they’re on the hook, offer up a solution: your products or services!
Build value. This is an area in which many webinar facilitators fail. You must toot your own horn… subtly. Demonstrate your excitement about sharing a tool with them that will solve their biggest problems, and make its value clear. Talk about the standard retail price of the product or service you’re pitching, how much time or money they will save (or how much more money they will make), and illustrate their cost savings for taking advantage of your one-time-only offer.
Create urgency. Of course, if you’re offering a limited-time discount, customers have an incentive to make an immediate purchase decision. Add to that momentum by talking results and conveying how much they’ll benefit by acting sooner rather than later.
Offer a free consultation. If you’re selling services, customers love free initial consultations. But place a limit on it, such as within 60 days of the webinar. This provides you with an additional, one-on-one opportunity to close the deal!
Facilitators can employ one or several of these techniques each time a webinar is offered to help drive sales. Your wealth of knowledge on the subject matter should speak for itself, but using additional sales strategies can help turn potential customers into paying customers sooner and convert undecideds into decision-makers.
While webinars allow for some leeway in terms of formality, they’re not an invitation to ignore pleasantries. Holding a successful webinar that participants take seriously requires employing standard etiquette. For an event that leaves a positive impression, follow this step-by-step guide to good webinar practices.
1. Plan Ahead
Reserve the webinar time and date and send out invitations at least two weeks in advance. Two days before the webinar, email a reminder with the specifics: date, time, URL, pass code and audio dial-in number. Note if the participants must download specific software or use a certain browser. Include a contact phone number in case of technical difficulties.
Prevent last-minute chaos by familiarizing yourself with the webinar system well before the event. Plan to log on early the day of the webinar to make sure everything is working well.
2. Polish, Polish, Polish
In this media age, most people expect to be entertained. While it’s not necessary to have an acting background to hold a webinar, it is important to practice your presentation until it’s near perfect. Hold a mini-webinar with friends and family, and ask for feedback.
3. Start and End on Time
Even if some people are late, start on time as a courtesy to those who arrived on time. In the same respect, if your webinar is scheduled to end at 10, don’t finish at 10:15. If there is a valid reason to go slightly overtime, apologize and excuse those who need to leave before you finish.
4. Clear Up Confusion
At the start of the meeting, make sure that all participants can see the screen or slide and that the audio is working properly. Quickly review how to use features such as chat. Lay the ground rules for asking questions and completing any polls.
5. Provide a Detailed Agenda
Few have the time or patience to board a ship aimlessly headed into uncharted territory. At the beginning of the webinar, display the agenda clearly outlining the topics to be covered. Also share when you’ll hold Q&A sessions and if a recorded edition of the webinar will be available at a later date. Introduce any incentives or value-adds at this time, like raffle prizes and supporting documents.
6. Determine Who’s on First
Having multiple presenters on a webinar is fine, often preferable, but make it clear to the audience from the outset who the moderator is. Introductions should include each presenter’s name, company, affiliations and relevant background. Also display each person’s photo and bio.
7. Use Common Courtesy
The age-old rule of “do unto others … ” applies. Avoid wasting everyone’s time and making yourself look incompetent by not drawing excessive attention to technical issues that arise or commenting on personal, irrelevant topics. Make sure all background noise is muted and avoid making unnecessary noises yourself. Never eat during a webinar. If you will share your desktop, clear it of personal data prior to the event.
8. Provide Added Value Rather than Overselling
If you’re selling something during the webinar, while it’s important to share how to buy the product, it’s equally vital to focus on content so the participants find the webinar worthwhile. Announcing your availability after the webinar to answer any questions can go a long way toward reaching your sales goals.
9. Follow Up
Send an email thanking participants for attending the webinar. Attach any promised information and ask for feedback. Short surveys work well for this purpose.
HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA–(Marketwire – Oct 10, 2011) – AnyMeeting, the completely free web conferencing and webinar service, today announced that it has redesigned its interface, giving a completely new look and feel that will totally reinvent the online meeting experience. Now, up to six meeting participants can broadcast video and audio simultaneously. This type of flexible video conferencing is an ideal tool for both small face-to-face collaborative meetings and large webinars that may include a multi-person panel discussion. See the complete press release on MarketWire.
Though online meeting terms like web conferencing, webinars and webcasting are often used interchangeably, as you’ll see here, they are distinctly different online tools. Understanding their capabilities allows you to make the most of these powerful methods for reaching an audience.
Web conferencing is an interactive method that replicates face-to-face meetings. All attendees of web conferences participate and have an opportunity to speak, offer visual presentations and respond throughout the meeting.
“Web conferencing is particularly useful for small groups of individuals meeting for strategic planning or collaborative efforts such as research and development,” says Leslie Buckley, a Unified Communications sales specialist working in the high-tech industry since 1999. “Web conferencing is often used for projects with a short time-line that necessitate promptly gathering key players for a meeting.”
When Buckley started her last position, she found web conferencing to be especially useful. “Web conferencing allowed me to meet with top personnel and quickly get up to speed,” she says. “Access to those online meetings definitely impacted my effectiveness.”
A webinar is an interactive online seminar held by a presenter and attended by an audience. Webinars usually follow an agenda and provide auditory and visual access to the information being shared. Typically, the voices of those attending the webinar are muted during the presentation so that the presenter’s message comes across clearly, and then he or she may invite live questions at the end.
Webinars are especially powerful marketing tools that allow businesses to make announcements about new products or services, and they are often used as training tools for the introduction of procedures and policies.
Paula Wilson owns an insurance agency specializing in employee benefits and is considered a national expert on healthcare reform. She often uses webinars to relay information of importance to her clients.
“Webinars are an effective tool for getting across important information in the ever-changing world of healthcare, and they allow me to keep my customers informed of the many changes affecting their businesses,” she says.
Webcasts are essentially one-way Internet broadcasts that involve no interaction on the part of the presenters and viewers. Such presentations are often pre-recorded and put up on the Internet for people to view at their convenience.
While they may be somewhat time-sensitive, webcasts often don’t require that those who watch them sign on at a specific time. They can be kept up on the Internet as long as a webcaster deems necessary.
Businesses use webcasts for a wide variety of reasons, including CEO “State-of-the-Union” addresses, earnings announcements, training and educational materials and marketing promotions. Television and radio stations webcast extensively to impart news and information on the Internet, sometimes streaming live content.
Now that you understand the capabilities and limitations of the different types of online meetings, you can choose the best method to meet your business goals.
Update: Please note that AnyMeeting was known as Freebinar prior to 3/26/11. Blog posts prior to this date may still mention Freebinar. For more information, please review our blog post or FAQ’s.
Displaying online ads to support its free function, Freebinar counts more than 2,600 users and nearly 500,000 ad impressions already
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., June 7, 2010 – CosNet Inc., a profitable web conferencing startup, today launched Freebinar, a free webinar service that allows anyone to conduct a webinar instantly, with simply a web browser. Ideal for small-to-midsize businesses and nonprofit organizations, Freebinar is delivered over CosNet’s proven Software as a Service (SaaS) platform, which has been scaled and profitable for four years.
“Entrepreneurs, small-business owners and nonprofits asked us for a free web conferencing service without limits,” said Costin Tuculescu, president and CEO, CosNet. “Competitors limit features, max out attendance at 20 participants and use their free applications to up-sell for premium paid versions. By displaying targeted ads, we’re able to offer a truly free webinar service. Freebinar users never have to pay for online meeting services or settle for limited features. Using other platforms offering similar features, a company could spend $1,200 per year or more.”
With Freebinar, web conference hosts can conduct online meetings with up to 150 attendees and manage their events with easy-to-use invitation and registration forms. Plus, Freebinar offers hosts free telephone conferencing and customer support. In addition, the simple interface does not require attendees to download software.
Now emerging from beta testing, Freebinar counts more than 2,600 business owners, professionals and nonprofit operators as customers.
“I’ve used GoToMeeting and Dimdim, and neither compared to the quality of Freebinar,” said Jes Coolbaugh of Colorado-based Jes C. Productions. “The screen-sharing application is far superior to any others I’ve used, and my attendees raved about it.”
Freebinar is a free webinar service created by Huntington Beach, Calif.-based CosNet Inc., a web conferencing developer and provider. Built on CosNet’s proven Software as a Service platform, Freebinar’s services exceed any other free webinar applications on the market. Webinar hosts can invited up to 150 attendees per meeting with no meeting-time restrictions. With free customer service, Freebinar is the best choice for businesses ready to hold an online meeting. To learn more, visit www.freebinar.com.