Time for Timelines? Planning for a Successful Webinar or Web Event

If you’re in charge of planning webinars for your organization, you know the challenge of finding topics and identifying speakers. You also know the challenge of trying to determine what to do and when to do it? Scheduling webinars – especially if they are a series or occur on a regular basis – can be a daunting task. You have to determine the individual pieces necessary to put each webinar together and your speaker(s) need to know when you need them.

Flash back to a few years ago, before I became an official ReadyTalker, I was in your shoes as the employee who scheduled the webinars for my company. I quickly learned that I needed to organize the flow of information I was gathering from, and providing to, the speakers, or something was going to slip through the cracks. What I did was put together a generic timeline, similar to the one shown below, that I could then tailor for each event and each speaker.

If you consider doing something like this, be sure you allow enough time for the various tasks. Ideally, the scheduling should begin at least 6 to 8 weeks prior to the live webinar date.

In addition to the example I’ve provided below, you may also consider providing the speaker(s) with a detailed agenda of how the live webinar will flow. This may include the order of speakers (moderator, operator – if used, order of multiple speakers – if used) and even time constraints for each portion of the webinar (introduction, presentation, Q&A, closing).

ReadyTalk Webinar Timeline

As you well know by now – similar to an in-person event – a LOT of work and planning occurs “behind the scenes” long before the live webinar date. Feel free to use the idea of a timeline and tailor it to your specific needs.

What steps do you take to schedule your webinars and organize the information you need to complete the process? We would love to hear from you!

In addition, if you have any questions please let us know. The ReadyTalk Events Team can be reached  at <A HREF=”mailto:events@readytalk.com” eveents2readytalk.com /a>.

As an event manager, Anthony works with clients on all aspects of their audio and web conferencing needs. Prior to working at ReadyTalk, he was a ReadyTalk customer, so he brings a great understanding of developing and running webinar programs. He enjoys spending time with his family and two dogs, watching movies, reading and exploring Denver’s top restaurants.

Customer Care Spotlight: Toby

We talk a lot about the importance of customer service here at ReadyTalk. Today's post is part of a series highlighting members of the customer care team and giving you a chance to get to know them better.

Name: Toby
Title: Customer Care Representative

Favorite sports team: IU Hoosiers, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Indianapolis Colts
Hobbies: Cooking
Pets: Two cats – Mia and Mo
Interesting fact about Toby: He collects pint glasses from different breweries. But more importantly, he and his wife are expecting their first child in February.

Longest customer care call: 3 hours and 36 minutes, which is a ReadyTalk record.
Favorite customer request: Help – I've forgotten my passcode.
One ReadyTalk tip to share with customers: Use our web controls for you audio calls also. Our interface interacts with the audio and it allows you to navigate the call more easily.
Favorite thing about working at ReadyTalk: The team!

Think you can stump Toby with a technical question? Want his favorite recipe? Share your questions in the comment section.

Have You Checked-Out Your Options for Checking-In?

This month on the Webinar Series, we were privileged to welcome one of one of the leading consultants in social engagement and online reputation management, Craig Agranoff.  He has worked with many Internet start-ups and founded the tech blog sCommerce.com and Rev2.org.  Craig is the author of two books: Do It Yourself Online Reputation Management and most recently, Checked-In: How To Use Gowalla, Foursquare and Other Geo-Location Applications For Fun and Profit.

The topic of the webinar addressed the topic of location-based marketing through mobile devices. There were a number of great takeaways that came out of the content, plus a few that we weren't able to fit into the sixty minute time slot. I wanted to pass along some of those items, but be sure to go back and check out the recording for the full rundown.

  • The latest study by Pew Research says that 72 percent of American adults use their mobile phones for text messaging (that number jumps to 87% for teens).
  • The average e-mail open rate hovers around 15% while the average SMS open rate is close to 90%.
  • The foursquare business development team recently wrote a post sharing various example of how participating companies are truly cashing in on the platform to cultivate customer loyalty and continual drive traffic to their establishments. One that stands out – Starbucks has seen a 50% increase in check-ins at its locations simply by running a $1 off incentive – 50 %! That's pretty impressive even for Starbucks who is already the most checked in retailer on the foursquare platform.
  • Foursquare has over 5.6 million venues listed, receives over 1 million check-ins a week, and gets 13k new users a day!  Gowalla comes in at just over 1.4 million venues and 1,370 newcomers each day.


So, what's my point? Look at these numbers and the potential reach of those that are in the different networks. Word spreads fast among communities and simple incentives can encourage people that may not be your typical customer or consumer to explore new territory. People use location-based applications for numerous reasons.  Some use it to find people, some to get badges or points, but many use them specifically for special offers/coupons and local tips. Think of it as a way to track someone's personal history of places, then get creative and capitalize on their behaviors.

 

Has your company started using mobile marketing to reach customers? What have your successes been? What are the pitfalls? Share your thoughts below.

Simone has been involved with both the sales and marketing teams at ReadyTalk and currently fills the role of Programs Coordinator and  manages the monthly ReadyTalk Webinar Series, which is a free  forum for professionals to interact with their peers and other experts on topics ranging from sales and marketing to nonprofits and funding to leadership and professional development. Simone is an outdoor enthusiast – skiing, climbing, triathlons, and trail runs with her dog, Bucket, are just a few of the things she enjoys outside of the office.

Controlling your Audio Conference on the Web: a Painless Solution to your Audio Conferencing Woes

We’ve all been there right? Five minutes late to your own conference call, there are 25 people already dialed in and you somehow have to tell the presenter how to un-mute their line so they can present on the call without broadcasting your embarrassing lack of preparation…no… just me? Oh, well if not, I’m sure some visual control over your audio conference controls would still do you good.

ReadyTalk gives each and every one of its customers access to a web-based audio controls to enable greater control over audio conferences at no extra charge. Even if you have an audio-only account, you can use the web-based audio controls:

  • View a participant list (Both for active participants and those in lobby)
  • Individual mute/unmute
  • Mute/unmute all participants
  • Web-based dial out using phone numbers in your address book or typing in the numbers for the participant
  • Listen-only mode
  • Call continuation so that the call continues if the chairperson is disconnected
  • Lock audio
  • One-click connection to a live operator
  • Add participants to your phone book so the next time they call in their name will automatically be assigned to their phone number


Why should I?

 

There are many advantages to logging into ReadyTalk’s web-based audio controls to manage your audio:

  • Better awareness of who has dialed into your call before it’s even begun
  • Ability to mute individual lines from the web
  • Ability to dial out from an intuitive web-based interface or from the phone book that you’ve built
  • Piece of mind that your call will go off without a hitch because you can see what’s going on at all time
  • One click away from a live operator should anything go wrong


How do I?

 

  • Go to www.readytalk.com
  • Under chairperson login type your Access Code and Passcode
  • In your Conference Center, make sure “On-Demand Meeting” is selected and click Open Meeting Controls
  • Once logged in go ahead and dial your Toll-Free conferencing number and start your audio conference


And that’s it, once the application loads you will have full visibility and control over your audio conference. Trust me, you will enjoy this much better than controlling your conference through your touch-tone keypad. For additional details, check out Using the Web to Manage Your Audio Call.

 

 

Have you used ReadyTalk’s integrated audio controls? What do you think? If you haven’t, do you think it would be helpful?

Paul was formerly an Account Executive at ReadyTalk gaining valuable experience with competitors and the state of the web and audio conferencing industry. Currently in his role as Product Marketing Specialist, he is in charge of the competitive landscape, all Audio products, and many other random projects. Paul can Wookie call better than many twice his age. He also loves the outdoors, his pup Huck, his wife Jess, and getting to the ski slopes as much as possible.

Creating a New Website: Integrating a jQuery carousel in to Drupal

In ReadyTalk’s new website design, we’ll provide up-to-date, dynamic information to our customers in a number of ways. One of those will be a carousel on the front page of the website. We want to load data asynchronously on to the front page to reduce loading times and we want it to load from Drupal nodes for easy maintenance. We originally went to find a Drupal carousel plugin, but none existed that met our needs.

We decided to use jQuery Tabs since Drupal comes with jQuery installed. It was easy to integrate in to our theme files using the great documentation provided by jQuery Tools. We also installed the jQuery Update module for Drupal to bring jQuery up to speed.

jQuery tabs offers a slideshow plugin for Tabs that makes for a great carousel with some useful features, such as navigation elements, smooth transitions and pause on mouse hover. The only hurdle we encountered with this setup was pulling nodes cleanly in to the carousel.

Loading a node would also pull all the page layout data with it – any associated blocks or theme data would be pulled in to the carousel – not what we want. This solution is simple and works great for loading the content of a node and nothing else. Appending any address with ?ajax=1 will automatically grab the node content by itself, exactly what we want for loading via jQuery. This solution is also applicable to any circumstance where node data might be pulled asynchronously.

So, long story short:

 

All done!

Have you done something similar? How did it work? What are other ways to do this?

This is the third post in the “Creating a New Website” series. See posts one and two for other web site ideas.