Scheduling Web Seminars

Ken Molay over at Webinar Success posted a great survey trying to discover what days and times are best for webinars. He makes several good points about our assumptions. Like most providers, we run our webinars at 12pm MST (2pm EST). This seems to be the most popular times for most wenianrs. However, we are assuming, we do not really know. With his survey, Ken is trying to quantify what we "assume".

Please take the survey. It will help service providers like us better schedule our events. This is for information gathering purposes only.

[tags]webinars, web seminars, survey[/tags]

Researching White Papers

I think it is appropriate that I write about white papers as we are currently in the process of reviewing all of our documentation. White papers being that ubiquitous source of B2B information that magically inspires the reader to pick up the phone and order your product or service.

But I digress, what I really want to talk about is how you research your white papers. Two particular topics come to my mind when I think of research:

1. How do you decide upon a topic for your whitepaper and,
2. How do you research your topic once it is decided upon.

This brings me to my main point: interviews, interviews and more interviews. For the first point, talk to current customers about the content they find valuable. Talk to prospects about the content that worked and did not work.

For the second point, interviews are much more fun and interactive than doing all your research on Google. As a general rule, primary research is always more effective than secondary research. Quotes from experts in the field can really drive the point of a white paper home to the reader.

How do you decide upon your topics? And, once decided, how do you research those topics?

[tags] white papers, research, B2B [/tags]

ReadyTalk Releases Event Manager

Event management is a fairly common feature among web conferencing products. It encompasses functionality to let users set up events in advance, collect registrations, send login instructions and reminder emails and track attendance. This is in contrast to an ad hoc meeting which require no registration or advance notice.

Given that lots of vendors offer event management, is there anything that differentiates one product from another? At ReadyTalk, we were faced with that dilemma when designing our own event manager. From our research, we found out two things that would help us differentiate our product.

First, we found that quite a few companies required customers to use a different, higher priced product version or purchase a separate module if they wanted to make use of event management. We decided to make event management a core component of the basic web conferencing software. All customers have access to it and they can choose to use it for a structured meeting, or ignore it for an ad-hoc meeting as they wish.

Second, we saw in most product the lack of support for tracking promotional campaigns. For example, you might want to have banner ads on different websites, newsletter sponsorships and email blasts to various lists and you want to see which ones perform best so you can adjust your marketing spends in the future. The problem is that event management systems create a single registration page, with no ability to differentiate where people come from.

We decided to include a feature that lets marketers specify named campaigns or promotional channels and generate a unique registration URL for each one. You only have to manage the registration information and layout of your page once, but the system automatically clones it as many times as needed to give you individually traceable destination pages for use in each advertising location. The information feeds down to reports on registration and attendance, letting you track performance throughout your event’s lifecycle.

If you run marketing events, training sessions, customer updates, or other meetings that require registration and reporting, you should consider the costs and the features of your vendor’s event management implementation. If you want to see how we do it, you can always visit www.readytalk.com/events.

[tags] web events, events, web conferencing, webinars, web seminars [/tags]

Doc, doc. Is anyone there?

manual.jpgI helped out some with the update to the User Guide for the new ReadyTalk release. Considering the fact that the only significant writing I've done lately is my family's annual Christmas letter, I think it turned out pretty good (or is that "well?"). In any case, it really doesn't matter too much. Nobody ever reads the documentation anyway.

I certainly try not to. Generally, if I can't figure a product out with a minimum amount of colorful language, I give up. That's why the only thing I can do with my new digital camera is snap a photo of something standing still in good light. Anything else would require me to read the manual, which is 3 times the size of the camera itself. That's ludicrous, in my opinion. When it comes to technology, I'm what you might call an impatient adopter.

So I was a good testcase for ReadyTalk's new Event Manager. After all, I had to use it to write about it (at least that's my professional policy). Event Manager turned out to be straight-forward and fun. I used it to schedule a documentation review web meeting and invited a few ReadyTalk employees. I also invited my wife just for the heck of it. She registered for the meeting and then, because Event Manager allowed me to, I declined her registration. It gave me an exhilarating sense of power and control.

I bet you'll feel the same way. Give the Event Manager a try (you can get a 30-day free trial if you don't already have a ReadyTalk account). Schedule an event, even if it's just a small web or audio conference. Invite your spouse, or not. But only read the User Guide if you have to.

[tags]Documentation, Product Development, Audio Conferencing, Web Conferencing[/tags]