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The Webinar as a Business Marketing Tool

 

Webinars, we’ve all experienced them, but have you ever considered that they can be another marketing tool and a lead generation opportunity?

 

The webinar, a short hand term for web conferencing, is a way to connect many geographically dispersed people to a presenter and view the presentation on individual computers. Businesses use webinars for a variety of different reasons. The education industry is probably the biggest user of this technology creating online virtual classrooms where students anywhere in the world can interact with the teacher. And downloadable recorded sessions mean no one ever has to miss a class (though the live interaction will be gone).

 

Other industries have found them an excellent way to discuss new product launches, receive customer input, educate employees spread over geographic locations, promote their research to become thought leaders in their industry, or teach a new software application to many without onsite visits. Other businesses use it as a lead generation vehicle by doing presentations on topics that are helpful to potential customers and thereby build mailing lists from those who attended.

 

What can a webinar can do for your business?

 

* Build your brand identity and promote your company’s image, bringing your company into the 21st century of marketing strategies.

* Get feedback from a diverse customer base – the webinar becomes an “online panel” that gives you realtime feedback from your audience.

* Provide another pipeline for lead generation. In today’s tight market your old methods might have gone stale. If your message is being ignored or lost among all the competing sound bites here is a fresh and compelling way to reach an audience.

*Give your customers another way to connect with you, understand your offerings, and become evangelists to promote your product or service.

*Educate your customers on a new product/service launch.

 

For a few more dollars, webinars can also be recorded and permanently posted on your website. Though it loses its realtime value, it becomes another way to generate leads as people register to view it online. What we haven’t discussed in this article is who hosts the webinars – how they are physically produced. The links in the sidebar point to websites that will give you that information.

 

What makes for a successful webinar?

 

Your ROI for using this marketing tool requires that you leverage all the capabilities of the webinar to deliver on your specific marketing strategy.

 

Creating a marketing strategy for a successful webinar means:

 

·         Having a tightly defined target audience and set goals.

·         Selecting a good topic that hits the target's “hot button” and either gives them useful information or a learning experience.

·         Having a presenter who knows how to present in this medium. A recognized expert, an author, a person who has succeeded in solving the problem presented—or someone from outside the company so that the audience doesn’t feel this is an “infomercial”.

·         Deciding whether to make it available for free or to charge a fee. This will depend upon your content and what type of audience you wish to attract.

·         Scheduling and correct timing of the webinar so it can draw in the most attendees.

·         Promoting it well in advance, and sending out reminders especially on the scheduled day.

·         Merging the webinar promotion into your normal marketing program such as newsletters, e-mail, banner ads, your own Web site, even print and broadcast—and giving a link to register.

·         Developing a quick and easy registration process to maximize attendance.

·         Asking attendees at the end of the event to complete a quick, on-the-spot survey. Since webinars are interactive using this feature obtains immediate feedback and more qualifying prospect data.

·         Following up promptly after the event, by sending each attendee a “thanks for attending” e-mail.

 

Webinars might appear to be costly and time consuming to produce. However, they give your company a first hand immediate method to present content. They are a way to promote your company where you can be certain you have the recipients’ full attention to your message. In this information overloaded world, what other method can make that claim?


Are your marketing materials working for you?  Is it time to launch that e-newsletter? Update your website content? Or script that webinar. Contact us today for a free consultation. Call 908-241-5874 or e-mail Beyond-Words@att.net NOW!

                                                                               c 2008 Leona M Seufert

 

 

 

 

All of the companies I’ve listed offer their products on a trial basis and at different levels. I am not endorsing any, just feel that these sites not only give good overviews of the webinar category, but can also be a starting point to compare hosting services.

 

Infinite Conferencing "Leading the industry in low cost-high quality webinar solutions." 

Click here for their chart comparing two major webinar hosting companies. It will give you a great overview of webinar capabilities.

 

GoToMeeting is another company website that will give you a overview of what webinars can do.

 

Webinar or Webcast?

They both allow you to connect to many in real time but what is the difference? There is a difference! Click here to access the link within Streamlogics’ page to read a comprehensive comparison of both.

(They also have a great source of white papers to read)

 

The provider, Webex, has been around for years. Visit their site for an easy to understand description of their solutions for individual professionals and small businesses