A few weeks ago I was catching up on my industry reading, when I came across a consultant-generated white paper called 9 Management Practices for Exceptional Webinars. For someone who conducts a marketing-related Webinar at least twice per month within my own small company, I thought this article would be a quick way to pick up a few pointers. But as I browsed the Table of Contents, I realized the report’s 31 thesis-equivalent pages were not written for small companies like mine, but for “Best in Class” firms who were being advised to do things like:
- Assemble cross-functional Webinar teams;
- Invest in Webinar project plans;
- Involve third party vendors;
- Purchase Pay-per-Click advertising; and
- Involve telemarketing firms to follow up with attendees.
And almost immediately, something occurred to me. With big company consultants scaring the hell out of people, it’s no wonder more small companies don’t use Webinars in their Marketing strategy.
The fact is, for a few hundred dollars and four hours worth of time, any company—regardless of size—can run a successful Webinar. And as a first step in getting you to believe me, I would like to start by dispelling a few myths about the small company Webinar process.
Myth #1: You Have to Spend a Ton of Money.
Sure, there are a handful of massive Webinar providers who require year-long contracts and $30,000 down payments. But for every industry giant there is a smaller provider waiting in the wings, offering the exact same features and service for a fraction of the cost and commitment. One in particular that comes to mind is iLinc Web and Video Conferencing, where my company gets the same bells and whistles as the big guys offer—automated registration, reminder emails, free recording, unlimited events, and so on—for about $400 per month.
Myth #2: You Need an Entire ‘Team’ of People.
Contrary to the white paper I mentioned previously, participation from Marketing, Management, Sales, Customer Service and Finance (huh?) is not required to host a successful Webinar. In fact, to host a Webinar you really only need two things: a presenter, and a coordinator. And the division of work? Simple. The presenter creates the slides and delivers the presentation, while the coordinator works behind the scenes to set up the Webinar software, monitor the Webinar when it’s running, and handle the recorded version once it’s done. It sounds easy . . . because it IS easy.
Myth #3: You Need to Sell Something During Your Webinar.
One of the most frequent objections I hear from small company managers who avoid using Webinars is “I’m just not good at selling things.” However, the real question when deciding whether to host a Webinar should be “Am I good at TEACHING things?” Due to their ridiculously low cost, Webinars shouldn’t be viewed as sales presentations, but as opportunities to collect names of people who are interested in what you have to offer.
For Example: if your company sells popsicles, the title of your Webinar shouldn’t be 10 Reasons to Buy Popsicles from My Company. A much better approach would be to present something like The History of the Grapesickle or How to Eat a Popsicle Before it Melts All Over Your Hand. When it comes to Webinars, educational presentations should always be chosen over dog-and-pony shows.
The point is this: if you offer some clever and interesting education in exchange for a bit of contact information, you can always follow up later.
Myth #4: A Webinar is Considered a Failure if a Large Number of People Don’t Show Up.
If there is one aspect of planning and delivering Webinars that executives have the most trouble with, it is this: about 40% of registrants will make absolutely no effort to actually attend the event. But the good news is, other than denting the ego of the speaker, these absentee registrants are completely irrelevant when it comes to evaluating the success (or failure) of a Webinar event. Sure, a massive live audience can increase the amount of feedback and questions. But the fact is, whether or not they actually show up, you still have their contact information—and contact information is THE most valuable piece of this entire equation. Plus, if you are truly concerned about educating the 40% who didn’t show up, you can simply record the Webinar event (a free service provided by most Webinar platforms) and send them a link to the recorded version later.
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