The When and Where of Webinars: Planning and Promoting

The ReadyTalk Webinar Series has been around for nearly six years – six! Our growth continues each year with the help of a few things:

  1. Great content and expertise provided by our speakers.
  2. Word of Mouth – you (our audience) gaining new and actionable insight from our webinars and spreading the word to colleagues and friends.
  3. Social Media networks – we’re persistently tweeting, posting, and linking to groups with the same interests – the gift that keeps on giving!
  4. Continually adding our events to new forums and calendars with targeted audiences (and knowing when to do so).

 

The last one, specifically, is what I’d like to touch on. If you are a webinar host or planner you know that the promotional aspect can make or break your event. So what are some best practices regarding timelines (refresher from previous post) and places to make your webinar visible? I’ve included a quick breakdown of each below:


Timeline – For a detailed rundown check out our Sample Timeline Whitepaper.

 

 

6 to 8 weeks prior –
•    Webinar title and description
•    Photo and bios from speaker(s)

4 to 6 weeks prior –
•    Invitations
•    Marketing Campaigns

3 weeks prior –
•    Review Conferencing Technology with your speakers

1 to 2 weeks prior –
•    Finalize Powerpoint Slides

3 to 5 days prior –
•    Speaker Dry-run

Day of Webinar –
•    Live event preliminary action items

Within 3 days of event –
•    Post-event activities

Places to Post – here are a few of places I’ve used to post our Webinar Series events:

http://www.eventspan.com/ – Marketers can syndicate web event listings and site users can search for webcasts and webinars by category or speaker. Presenters, industry professionals, and organizations can create profile pages to network and connect.

 


http://webinarlistings.com/ – This website is a central source for thousands of upcoming webinars, from business to health, from the U.S. to Europe. They list live webinars and recorded (on-demand) events, as well. Search and be searched for.

 

 

http://www.webinarbase.com/ – You can think of WebinarBase as a classifieds web site for webinars, webcasts, web conferences and any type of online events. You can list your webinars, browse through articles on how to promote or market your webinars, determine how to price your online events, or simply gain more leads. There are also some advertising options on this site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facebook Events Tab – Take advantage of this feature on your fan page to post your upcoming webinars and send out invites to all followers or a specific target audience. Share links, photos, and videos and update your fans as the event date approaches.

 

 

 

 


To make your webinar a success, you must plan for it and promote just as you would an in-person event. Identify the prospective participants who make the most sense to target, then send invitations that will appeal specifically to them or post the event in forums where you know that type of audience is abundant. This allows you to take full advantage of the meeting itself, as well as leverage web conferencing technology to deliver certain benefits an in-person event can’t match.

 

 

Customer Spotlight: American Marketing Association

ReadyTalk is the conferencing provider for the American Marketing Association. For the past three years, the AMA runs their weekly webcast series using ReadyTalk’s webinar services. The series focuses on marketing thought leaders as they cover today's most relevant marketing challenges.

The AMA has conducted over 100 webinars on the ReadyTalk platform. They use the ReadyTalk service to capture all registration data for the event, send out reminders and conduct post event follow. The polling feature is used to calibrate the content to the audience and all Q&A is moderated through the chat feature. They are also able to record and edit all of their events with ReadyTalk’s recording interface.

After the event is recorded, the AMA adds the recording to their resource library for members to access later. They are also able to add each recording to a podcast feed that ReadyTalk hosts free of charge. The resource library allows the AMA to increase their member benefits with educational material and in turn, this helps drive membership as well.

Here is a recording of our latest event co-hosted with the AMA,  “Integrating Webinars into your Marketing: Make Your Next Event the Centerpiece of an End-to-End Campaign.” I encourage you to check it out to get a glimpse of the type of content that the AMA provides to their members.

One Million Minutes and Counting… ReadyTalk Reaches a New Milestone

In the last few weeks ReadyTalk has consistently been delivering more than a million minutes of audio conferencing a day (our web conferencing minutes are nearly double that!). This is a huge milestone for us – one that has been 10 years in the making. And if you work at ReadyTalk you know what that means — its time for a party! The entire company celebrated recently at Braun’s Grill, we gave away cool ReadyTalk baseball caps from Oglio and for fun we rented a photobooth from Shutterbooth.

Marketing

But for many of us (millionaires excluded), a million is a hard number to visualize. So we started thinking about what a million minutes actually means….One million minutes is…16,666 hours. One million minutes is…694 days. One million minutes is…1.9 years. It takes 278 hours to count to one million (if it was your full-time job, it would take 35 days to complete).

In the next one million minutes, the average person could:

  • Upload 10 million hours of video on YouTube.
  • Walk about 66,666 miles.
  • Blink more than 20 million times.
  • Have 5,840 dreams.
  • Watch the movie The Dark Knight 6,579 times.
  • Eat 50,000 meals.

 

What if you had a million dollars? You could buy:

 

 

 

  • 33 full size 4WD pickup trucks
  • 10-20 houses (depending on where you live, of course)
  • 2000 TV’s
  • 200 snowmobiles
  • 50,000 music CD’s
  • 40 university educations
  • Half a Lear Jet airplane

 

Did you know?

 

 

 

  • The average man grows about 1/8 of a pound of facial hair in a million minutes.
  • From first grade until early in your sophomore year in high school, you will have spent about 1 million minutes in school.
  • The average person spends about a million minutes on the phone in their lifetime (the events team is definitely above average).
  • In a million minutes, a pig could run 183.333 miles.
  • It takes Mars about a million minutes to orbit the Sun.

 

So, hopefully, now you too get the picture. This is a really big deal and we are very proud of this accomplishment. And, most of all, we are incredibly thankful to our loyal customers who helped us reach this milestone.

 

 

Seven Reasons to Look Forward to Salesforce’s Dreamforce

Next week marks the annual Salesforce.com user conference in San Francisco. As a long time CRM administrator, I always look forward to attending this event, in fact, this year will be my 7th trip to Dreamforce. In honor of that I’m listing the top 7 reasons why I love going to Dreamforce…

  • #7 The schwag – Not only have I accumulated some really nice Salesforce schwag over the years, but the partner expo is loaded with fun chotchkies. I’ve stuffed my suitcase with computer bags to water bottles, tee shirts, yoga mats, Crocs, movie tickets, Starbucks cards, USB drives, flashlights, key chains and more pens and highlighters than I’ll ever need. Yes, I still talk to vendors if I’m interested in their product offering (and there are hundreds of great partners at the expo), but good schwag makes any tradeshow more fun.

     

    #6 Networking – Dreamforce is where I can really let my inner Salesforce geek shine. I have made some great contacts at Dreamforce and look forward to catching up with them every year at the conference. While affectionately teased as a “Salesforce guru” here at ReadyTalk , attending Dreamforce is my annual affirmation that there are over 15,000 Salesforce disciples out there just like me.

    #5 The music – Salesforce knows how to throw a party. And, the opening night gala seems to get bigger and better ever year. It’s not easy to pull off a rock concert in a convention hall with a bunch of Salesforce admins and developers, but they’ve managed to do it with style. This year’s act is Stevie Wonder yes, the STEVIE WONDER. I’ll see you on the dance floor!

    #4 The keynotes – I am always impressed by the caliber of the keynote speakers at Dreamforce. Over the years, I have been lucky enough to watch speeches from the venerable Colin Powell, Neil Young, Michael Dell and, the Jedi-Master himself—George Lucas. This year is no exception, we’ll be hearing from former president Bill Clinton.

    #3 The food – Salesforce does its best to keep us all fat and happy. The conference lunches are far superior to your typical cafeteria meals; and drinks and snacks seem to be around every corner at the breakout sessions. Add to that the posh customer/partner dinners and receptions held each night throughout the conference, and the always-stellar San Francisco dining scene. My advice to newcomers is to pack forgiving clothing, stay at a hotel with a decent gym, and indulge!

    #2 The breakout sessions – For me, the breakouts are the raison d’être for attending Dreamforce. I always walk away from these sessions with new tools and insights, and ways to improve our ever-evolving CRM arsenal. This is where you really get to see how other companies are leveraging cloud computing, learn best practices, checkout the product roadmap, and start to think outside the box. After several years in the same field, I love the fact that there is always something new to learn at Dreamforce.

    #1 ReadyTalk at the expo! – That’s right! ReadyTalk is heading for the AppExchange. We’ve developed an application that integrates Salesforce Leads and Contacts with our Conference Center. Stop by our booth at the expo (#513) and see a demo of our awesome new app for managing our webinars right within your Salesforce instance. No downloads, no spreadsheets, just clicks. And, be sure to pick up some of our cool ReadyTalk schwag while you’re there!

 

ReadyTalk is also hosting the Cloud Connection Party with Astadia. Want to join us for the rockin' party? Get an invite.


Susan is ReadyTalk's CRM administrator. She loves dreaming about food, traveling the world and new ways to customize Salesforce.com. She lives in Boulder with her husband, Todd. They are excitedly awaiting the arrival of their baby boy in February.

Measuring Marketing Qualified Leads

This post is the third and final post in a series on Creating a Service Level Agreement between Marketing and Sales.

Previously in this series, I discussed the creation of an SLA that contains a definition of a marketing qualified lead (MQL) and a process for level of effort. In the final post on this topic, I wanted to show you how you bring this all together with reporting and what Brian Carrol refers to as Closed Loop Feedback.

As with any process change, proper tracking and reporting will let you know what needs improvement and what is not working. In the case of MQLs and level of effort, we have implemented a MQL dashboard at ReadyTalk, which tracks how many MQLs are accepted by sales, how many are won/lost and the average deal size. The most important of these is the MQL conversion rates in these areas. If a large percentage of MQLs are being rejected by sales, the MQL definition needs to be revisited and tweaked. Similarly, if a large percentage of MQLs are being accepted but the opportunity is not created, the MQL definition needs to be revisited. This is especially true in our model since all accepted MQLs should be made into working opportunities.

While the dashboard gives you a quantitative measure of how your new process is performing, the closed loop feedback system gives you a qualitative look at each lead. Brian defines this system on his blog. We have instituted weekly gatherings of pertinent parties for this closed loop feedback process. Each lead that has made it to MQL status is discussed. With direct feedback from the sales representative who owns the lead, we are able to fine-tune the process.

Any process change should be accompanied by metrics that can be used to judge the success of the new process. The MQL dashboard and closed loop feedback system are tools we use at ReadyTalk to help our sales team with more qualified leads. What are some of the processes you use? Did I miss anything?