How to engage your audience during a web event? Use polling

 

Find out what your audience is thinking

Unlike a physical meeting, you can’t read the body language of your participants during a web event. You need to pay attention to the little things, like the breathing (or snoring) on the other end to gauge your audience’s interest. Better yet you can ensure your audience is engaged early by using the interactive features you have available within your web conferencing service – Q&A, chat, and polling. Polling your audience is especially helpful as it can help you tailor your presentation to their needs, provide a way for them to interact during the event, and gather information that will help you with lead qualification. During training sessions you can also check their understanding and re-direct your presentation if your audience isn’t clear on something.

Best practices to follow

ReadyTalk is preparing to launch its new service, Web Meeting 6, which features robust polling functionality (you can try it out in our preview environment, see more below) so I thought I'd share a few tips I've learned. I checked in with Ken Molay, President of Webinar Success recently to get some of his recommendations as we’ve been building out our new service:

  • When polling your audience, plan to incorporate at least 2-3 polls throughout an hour-long webinar – not closer than 10 minutes apart.
  • When developing your questions, start with your overall goal in mind then create your polls; make sure this is done prior to the meeting – if you’re creating your polls during the meeting you are not paying attention to your audience.
  • Make each question simple and direct – avoid using jargon and acronyms.
  • Be careful of too much “dead air” while gathering results.
  • Participants generally like to see results so be sure to follow up with a discussion about what the results mean or why your audience should care.


Types of questions

 

In Web Meeting 6, we will support six different question/response types:

  • Yes/No
  • Free text – use this choice when you don’t know all the possible answers
  • Multiple choice with single answer and multiple choice with multiple answers– use when there are a finite number of answers
  • Ranking poll – to rate things in relation to other things
  • Opinion polls – to assess a person’s feelings about something


Creating a poll is simple using ReadyTalk's polling tool; press a button and you can create a poll, save it and insert it as a slide. Polls are persistent so if you use the same one often it will be there when you need it. And if you need it to show up later during your presentation, simply drag and drop to reorder your slides.

 

Polls versus surveys

Is there a difference between polls and surveys? Sure is. Polls are quick, flexible questions – often served one at a time; surveys are longer, more complex, and sometimes probing. Use polls during your event (don’t forget to share your results) and surveys at the end.

Check out our polling feature

If you’re an existing ReadyTalk customer, you can try out our polling feature using your current account information at http://www.readytalk.com/preview. If you don’t have an account, sign up for a free trial and you’ll get exclusive access to our Preview environment.

In the next few months the ReadyTalk Webinar Series will offer a three-part series on planning, meeting and sharing your web event. The second in the series will focus exclusively on engaging your audience during a meeting or event using polling and other similar strategies. Registered participants will receive a white paper outlining best practices so watch for more information coming soon.

Meanwhile, try out our new functionality and let me know what you think. I’d also be interested in hearing how you use polls to engage your audience.

Web Meeting 6: Because I hate to be late


I hate to be late. When I'm attending a meeting in-person, I want to be the first person in the conference room, not the last. This same philosophy applies to web conferencing.

I sit on a lot of webinars that use competitive products, sometimes I’m doing competitive research and sometimes I sign up because of the topic (social media, word of mouth marketing, prospecting, lead generation, PR, etc.).

It’s guaranteed that I have a meeting right before, which usually gives me about 30 seconds to join the webinar on time. Guess what? That’s never enough time. By the time the software launches, I’m late to join the meeting. Plus, if it’s the first time using that web conferencing software, I likely have to download their application. This means I have to have an IT administrator install the software before I can join. If I’m lucky, I’ll only be 10 minutes late to the webinar.

For me, this is a big deal and is one of the reasons why I’m excited about the launch of Web Meeting 6, which is ReadyTalk’s new web meeting product that will launch later this spring. Web Meeting 6 doesn’t require participants to download any special software (not even Java). That’s right, no participant downloads required. Participants use a Flash-based player that makes joining a conference easy and FAST. More on Web Meeting 6 is available here.

I wanted to find out exactly what ‘fast’ meant, so today I did some time trials on joining a meeting. As a participant using Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome, I was able to join the meeting in 11 seconds. I could join via Firefox in just 9 seconds. Oh, and it only took two mouse clicks to join.

Want to try it out? Web Meeting 6 is currently available in an exclusive Preview environment. Current customers can access Preview at http://www.readytalk.com/preview using their current ReadyTalk access number and pass code and get started. Not a ReadyTalk customer? Contact sales@readytalk.com and they’ll set you up with a free 30-day trial account that also includes exclusive access to the Preview environment.

Please comment below on how quickly you’re able to join a meeting. Also, please share your thoughts on the new interface and features like enhanced polling. We love getting honest feedback.

Google bans 30,000 advertisers—and how this affects you

That represents 5.3% of their active advertiser base, which is about 570,000 advertisers strong. Despite that loss, their overall revenues were up 13% from Q3 to Q4 of last year, according to a new report released by AdGooroo.

The 4th quarter is typically strong because of the holiday shopping season, as gains from brick and mortar, plus “click and mortar” stores, more than offset the spammers that were banned.  The report noted that overall search volumes between November and December didn’t increase—thus, Google’s increased revenue came from more advertisers competing for those searches. Google now shows an average of 5.48 ads per search.  We don’t know the increase in average CPC, but we can assume it’s significant, given that revenue is up 13% in spite of banning folks. Note that a good chunk of those search results have zero search results, plus have map results showing.

In the last few months, we’ve seen a shift in online advertising, as local businesses are starting to not only get online with websites, but also begin advertising, whether doing it themselves or getting help from a local agency.

It’s no surprise that local advertisers can pay more—they are hyper-targeting customers in their neighborhood, as opposed to trying to compete nationwide.  If you’re Google, would you rather collect 50 cents per click from an advertiser promising miracle weight loss from their products or $5 a click from a local liposuction doctor who can actually deliver results?  Google is now financially rewarded for doing the right thing.  Spammers are driven out of the system by sheer economics, not just because of policy enforcements.

Consider this pest control company, paying $2 to $3 per click instead of a spammy 20 cents—and while they’re ridding homes of termites, ants, and roaches—they are also ridding the Internet of the other kinds of digital pests. Do you find that deliciously ironic?

We believe this local trend will become even stronger, as small businesses are learning how to build killer landing pages and optimize traffic. This increased conversion rate allows them to bid more for each click. The increase in the number of advertisers, whether directly or through agencies, demonstrates the enormous opportunity for you to get your small business online and with advertising from Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other engines.

If you’re not already advertising online or perhaps need a bit of help optimizing your campaigns to their potential, bookmark the ReadyTalk blog or check out one of the many free webinars that are available here on the site.

This is a guest post by Dennis Yu , CEO of BlitzLocal, a company specializing in helping local service firms get found on Google