Since running Webinars to help provide training for eNudge subscribers, a number of Contact Point clients have asked us about running Webinars for their own business, so I wanted to share with you what we've learnt after holding our first 3 eNudge webinars.
In simple terms, a webinar is an internet based meeting where multiple participants can hear your voice, see your
screen (e.g. a powerpoint presentation, a software demonstration etc), and interact with you either via voice or online
chat.Before holding the first Webinar I did quite a bit of research on which online tool to use to facilitate the Webinars. Specifically we were looking for a tool that would be easy to connect to via the internet or via an Australian phone number (for those without a headset / PC speakers), easy to use once you are have joined the Webinar, cost effective (especially as we don't charge our participants for attending), and not too restricted with regard to numbers who can attend.In the end I chose GoToMeeting because they provide a cost effective solution, which also has Australian dial in numbers. I would have preferred to utilise an Australian service, however, I just wasn't able to find one with all the features we need, that didn't cost far too much. I must say that I have already suffered the pain of not using an Australian-based service and found GoToMeeting's customer support extremely frustrating. So hopefully there will be an Australian equivalent soon!Tips for a Smooth Flowing WebinarHaving conducted 3 webinars now, I would certainly not call myself an expert, but I have found the following to be useful tips:
If you are having trouble with a caller's line generating stray noise that makes it hard for others to hear, simply mute all callers so that you can continue through the call without annoying everyone. Participants can be asked to raise questions at the end, or raise questions using the online chat tool in such a situation.
Prior preparation of the contents of your Webinar is very important. You might also like to have a script in front of you, to ensure that you cover off all of your content in a logical order.
Don't make the webinars too long - people can have trouble focusing on something that is onscreen and on the phone, but not in person, for long periods of time. Depending on your audience and the topic, somewhere between 1/2 and 1 hour is probably long enough.
Give possible attendees at least 1 week's notice of the webinar date and time.
How to Re-use the Webinar
The GoToMeeting interface allows you to record the webinar and then store that for later playback by the attendees or others who weren't able to attend. In this regard, always warn people that you are going to record the webinar so that they can protect their personal information when asking a question or making a comment.
Depending on the purpose of your webinar, the recorded contents can be used as training material for other customers, or promotional material playable from your website or YouTube (as long as it is smaller than 2Gb and less than 15 mins in length).
I have also found that the GoToMeeting record function has allowed me to easily record information for playback online even when it's not part of an actual webinar; that way you can record the information that makes up the webinar, without technology or other interruptions, which may be more suitable to be played by people who didn't attend.
Ideas for Webinars in your Business
The remaining question is how can you use Webinar technology for your business? Professional services companies will usually have an obvious use for Webinars to educate clients, provide customer service and support, and talk about new products and services that they intend to provided. Here are some examples of the use of webinars for other industries:
Retail - showcase a new range of products to loyal customers, describing their features and uses
Retail - explain how customers can order more complex products e.g. personalised items
Manufacturing - explain the key features of new products, or manufacturing changes
Personal Services - provide education to clients in your area of expertise
Technology - forum for user group meetings and training
Membership-based Organisations - meet to talk about important topics affecting your organisation; the webinar technology can help you to collaborate on the outcomes of the meetings
If you need some help arranging a webinar for your organisation, or want to talk through your ideas, don't hesitate to get in touch.
Heather Maloney is the Managing Director of Contact Point IT Services (http://www.contactpoint.com.au/), an Australian company, helping clients around the world to connect better with their customers and suppliers using technology.