The Value of Video Conferencing in Day-to-Day Activities

A recent study from Wainhouse Research indicates that companies are recognizing the value of video conferencing in day-to-day activities. Benefits of using video in your meetings include:AMA TV logo

  • Improving personal interaction with remote colleagues.
  • Removing miscommunications by sharing non-verbal cues.
  • Strengthening customer and prospect relationships regardless of distance.
  • Increasing audience engagement by personalizing your message.

View this AMA TV episode to learn more.

Looking for more information on how video conferencing can make you more effective? Visit the video conferencing section on our website or request a demo.

Addressing 3 Challenges for Today’s Demand Generation Webinars

Today's blog post is provided by Mike Agron, co-founder or WebAttract. Mike recently  presented on the ReadyTalk Webinar series in a webinar called "Managing the Webinar Life Cycle from Start to Finish." He also co-wrote an eBook on the topic. 

I always say that anyone can deliver a mediocre webinar, but to deliver an amazing webinar it takes thoughtful planning, nurturing and execution.  Ask yourself, are webinars high enough on your priority list to devote the necessary time to craft the right messaging, create an engaging, impactful delivery, and connect with an interested audience?

Webinars are a cost-effective means of attracting fresh new sales leads to your company’s bottom line. A well-executed webinar can mean revenue!

Based on my experience producing and moderating hundreds of B2B webinars for leading global and emerging brands, I have found that regardless of the industry or subject, all demand generation webinars have three key challenges:

Addressing 3 Challenges for Today's Demand Generation WebinarsChallenge #1: Attract the right audience.

Challenge #2:  Keep the audience engaged and stimulated with valuable information.

Challenge #3:  Inspire the audience to want to have a conversation after the webinar to forge a business relationship.

Here’s how ReadyTalk and I recently met the above three challenges to deliver a successful webinar:

Challenge #1: Attract the Right Audience

Since our webinar topic discussed how to manage and deliver webinars, we wanted to attract an audience that was interested in learning best practices. We wanted to get audience feedback right away about the challenges our audience faced, so we opened with an online poll.

We asked, “What are your biggest webinar challenges?” With 67% of the audience participating, these were the instant poll results:

  • Attracting the right audience — 40%
  • Converting prospects to customers — 40%
  • Engaging the audience — 20%
  • Other — 0%

I was not surprised that their major challenge was attracting the right audience. Today, it’s far more difficult than even a year ago to get the right eyeballs to register for your webinar. With all of the email noise from webinar invitations and social media updates, the novelty of attending a webinar no longer exists.

Here are some tips to attract the right audience:

  • Make sure your webinar topic is a “must have” and not a “nice to have.” Spend time up front strategically selecting a topic that your audience is hungry to learn about.
  • Create a compelling email subject line. Your goal is to have people register! This recent webinar subject line garnered over 1,000 registrants:  “Experts Reveal 4 Critical Engineering Leadership Skills to Improve Profitability.”

Challenge #2: Keep the audience engaged

During the webinar, I move quickly through my points, using slides to focus on one major point at a time.  I’m using my voice to create a connection with the audience, and I actually smile and use my hands, just as I would during a face-to-face conversation.  I really care about my topic and I want that to project to my audience.  Audiences want to learn something new, and in this particular webinar, we kept them engaged by presenting a step-by-step overview of the webinar planning life cycle and threw in plenty of best practices. 

For the closing poll, I asked, “Which of the following best practices will you use to help manage your next webinar?” With 57% of the audience weighing in, these were the results:

  • Using metrics to drive outcomes — 53%
  • The role of planning — 24%
  • Techniques to optimize audio/video — 24%
  • Managing logistics — 18%
  • Balancing human factors — 6%

I was pleased that ‘using metrics to drive outcomes’ was over 50%, as this, along with a deadline driven methodology and having a set of best practices, are the three cornerstones to producing successful webinars. The audience chose ‘the role of planning’ and ‘optimizing audio/video’ as their next highest best practices.  Both areas that can make or break your webinar!

In this poll, very few attendees chose ‘balancing human factors’ as an important best practice.  In my experience, the human factors have everything to do with how the speakers are able to connect with the audience in a virtual event.  I realize most speakers don’t deliver webinars regularly because they have a day job, but I can’t stress enough the importance of rehearsals for speakers to help them get more comfortable with this virtual medium and make a connection despite being physically absent. It takes practice!

Challenge #3: Inspire the audience to have a conversation after the webinar

Webinar attendees are in various stages of the sales cycle. The world of sales keeps evolving, and based on our own observations, as well as conversations with other demand gen experts, it seems today that a majority of B2B buyers prefer to do their research online before speaking with a live salesperson. The good news is that they might be attending your webinar because they’re interested in your topic and your company. They may be in the initial stage of collecting information, or looking to make a product choice move forward with a purchase.  Regardless, you’ll need to practice good old-fashioned lead nurturing to convert them from prospects to customers! 

To learn more, you can view the on-demand recording of the webinar at as well as download a complimentary copy of the eBook authored by WebAttract and ReadyTalk at http://meet.readytalk.com/WebinarLifeCycle.

 

 

 

A Change of Heart on Customer Service

Today's post comes from Abigail Wall, an account manager with ReadyTalk.
 
How often do you have to call Customer Service? Does the thought of doing so excite you?

If your customer service experiences are anything like mine you may dread calling another Customer Service Team. I get tired of the computer automated prompts when all I want to do is ask a quick question. I usually exhaust all of my online support options before picking up the phone and making the dreaded call. I plan on waiting for several minutes, jumping through hoops and then finally being able to speak with a live person who can help me.

However, this perspective was immediately challenged once I started working at ReadyTalk a couple of years ago. Our in-house Customer Care Team will pick up the phone within seconds of our support number being dialed. I dare you to test it out: 1-800-843-9166. Our team knows the ins and outs of our product and can have you on your way in a matter of minutes. However, if you have several questions, please feel free to ask them all, our Team is not on the clock to get you off the phone. They have won me over and I have had a change of heart about customer service everywhere.

Lauren Riley, from the Alaska Small Business Development Center has been able to interact with our Customer Care Team on a few different occasions. She shares:

I have had nothing but amazing customer service from ReadyTalk! Every time I call or submit an inquiry I get a personal response right away. I have called, emailed, and chatted with Representatives looking for assistance and each time I have been helped to the best of their ability. We use older Apple products for some of our workshops which aren't always compatible with today's technology and I had a rep who worked with me for an hour and a half to make sure we were able to use ReadyTalk on it. I also worked extensively over the phone with a Rep who helped me fix the audio issues we were having with some of our workshops. Since I have put into effect the tips given by the Rep to improve audio I haven't had a single complaint from an attendee.

It's SO nice to work with a company with workers as professional, caring, and helpful as ReadyTalk. I recommend ReadyTalk frequently to my outside presenters and sister organization and it is solely based on customer service.

Our Customer Care Team is here to support both you and your participants. Please encourage your participants to give us a call so that we can help them and you can focus on your presentation. Our Team is available by phone (1-800-843-9166), e-mail (support@readytalk.com), and chat through our website.

Our Team is made up of not only knowledgeable individuals, but also really great people. They are fun to work with and genuinely care about helping others. Please give our Customer Care Team a call today so they can help change your customer service perspective as well.

 

Why Every Small Business Needs to be in the Content Marketing Business

Guest blog by Bob Hanson, president, Quantum Leap Marketing 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks - CMP/MarketingProfs

You have probably noticed an abundance of articles, tweets, blogs and posts on content marketing. Why are marketing experts talking up this strategy?

What is Content Marketing?

We used to call content marketing two-step direct marketing, or multi-step marketing. Savvy small business marketers have used this strategy for decades, but it is now imperative and can be more effective than ever.

In short, content marketing means taking a piece of content, and using in it as part of your marketing. Now, it could be any form of content such as a blog, free report, survey, Tweet, webinar, or website, and it could be promoted through one of many channels like social media, email or web marketing.

Why Content Marketing Now?

Consider the following concepts:

  • The average person in the United States sees more than 5,000 ads per day. Media consumption, especially online and social media, continues to rise for the average American to more than 693 minutes per day by some estimates.
  • The rise of the Social Economy means your prospects with money are more in charge of the buying process than ever. Before, they chose what company/person to buy from. Now, in addition, they are choosing what information to consume, when to do research, who to talk to, how you should and should not communicate with them, and when to get started.    
  • The term Permission Marketing does not apply only to email marketing. Prospects are the ones making the decision to opt-in to communications with prospective and current vendors alike.
  • Our recent survey of small business executives and marketers revealed they are calling on more marketing tactics than ever before, and they need a workable, coherent strategy to leverage all of these channels to get leads from their marketing efforts.  

How Can You Slice Swiftly Through The Clutter?

So how do small businesses break through the noise, get noticed ahead of larger competitors, and cost-effectively generate and nurture sales leads from their marketing tactics?As an illustration of how to effectively execute a Content Marketing strategy, let’s look at two small businesses:  a service firm and a product company.  

 A financial services practice in action – The firm offers retirement planning services to area residents. It creates a Free Report and Webinar on Retirement Planning and calls on both of those both to generate and enrich leads. It markets its 60-minute, no-obligation Retirement Consultation both to existing leads and through referrals.

The firm promotes the Free Report through various channels such as Social Media, Email, Direct Mail, Referrals, Individual Networking, third-party Media Sites, and through Website Marketing.      

A computer products company's multi-pronged approach – the company provides software which does compliance audits for small businesses. It offers and updates a written checklist with top questions to ask to identify if you are in compliance.

The company attends trade shows quarterly to collect leads (partly by offering the checklist as a giveaway) and does monthly educational webinars on the challenges small businesses face in gaining and maintaining compliance.      

Here are 5 tips any small business can call on to leverage a content marketing strategy for 2013 and beyond:

  1. Focus on trends and problems, not just solutions.  Prospects are 3 times more likely to move away from problems than move towards a solution. Tap into what gets attention and sales by highlighting your expertise on the problem that you solve in your content and marketing. 
  2. Repurpose Content in Different Forms and Media.  Small businesses have limited content budgets, so be sure to leverage good content by marketing it through multiple channels and placing it in different media. For example, if you hire an outside expert to write a free report on your behalf, consider hosting and recording a webinar with them as the speaker on this same topic. That gives you 3 forms of media rather than just one. 
  3. Get your prospect’s attention through snappy headlines. One headline can out-pull another by 500% or more.  Prospects have limited attention for your promotion or ad so the idea is to stop them in their tracks to grab interest through your headline — your “ad for an ad.” 
  4. Nurture and educate leads with the 3 content pillars – something written, an event, and an personalized sample through a meeting or trial. For example, small business marketers may consider attracting leads to their list with a Free Report, getting prospects to request a trial through a seminar or webinar, and converting them to a customer through an appointment.   
  5. Think multi-media, multi-step follow-up. Today’s Marketing Automation and CRM Systems allow you to set-up a follow-up sequence and automate it totally if you like. Popular sequences include initial lead nurture, meeting request, and sales conversion campaigns.

For more ideas, download the companion Free Report, "What’s Working in Small Business Marketing 2013",  or check out the recorded webinar on the same topic.