Webinars 201: Pre-Event Tips for Successful Webinars

Webinar Best PracticesThis post is the second in a series on webinars. While it maybe elementary to many of our expert readers, we hope the series will be valuable to those of you who are considering a webinar program. You can read the first post in the series: Webinars 101. Maybe our experts will provide some additional tips!

 

From a technological standpoint, hosting a webinar is easy. If you want your webinar to be successful, however, you need to put some thought and effort into it. Here are some best practices for hosting your webinar.

Determine How Your Webinar will Help Your Organization

The first thing you need to do is figure out why you want to host a webinar. State your goals very specifically, in terms of how the webinar will benefit your company. For example, "This webinar will help clients solve common product problems on their own so we can free up customer service lines for people with more complicated issues." Be careful of generalities. Don't use goals like "increase sales" or "educate customers." Instead, define specifically what you want to do with your webinar in order to increase sales or what you want to teach your customers and why.

Create a Title that will Attract Participants

Don't provide a dry, factual title! If you do, people won't sign up because they won't care about your topic. Now that you know why you are hosting the webinar, ask yourself what would attract your ideal customer. Create a title that speaks to that ideal participant's needs and interests.

Keep Registration Simple

Don't require registrants to fill out a long, involved registration form. They may be too overwhelmed or too busy to do so. As a result, they don't register. Keep registration forms simple and ask for as little information as possible. Name, email address and phone number are usually sufficient so that you can follow up with registrants and provide login information for your webinar.

Don't Overemphasize Your Programs

Your webinar should be informational, not sales-based. You can mention programs and services, but don't emphasize sales. Never put sales-based questionnaires on your registration form. When you do this, you shift the focus onto what participants can do for you instead of what you can do for them. This scares people away.

Confirm Each Person's Registration

To cut down on the possibility of no-shows, send a confirmation email as soon as you receive a registration request. You should also send reminders as the date approaches, especially if registration is far in advance of the event. Mention that you will be doing this when you send the confirmation email so you won't annoy your registrants with your emails.

Ask Registrants to Provide Questions

Giving participants the opportunity to provide questions helps ensure they are engaged with the webinar. Ask for questions ahead of time. Make it clear you may not cover every question but that you appreciate participants' input. This encourages people to attend to see if their question will be answered.

What other tips would you suggest for organizing a webinar? Be sure to check back next week for Webinars 301 and more webinar best practices.

Two Weeks as a ReadyTalk Marketing Intern

The ReadyTalk Marketing team recently had the pleasure of having Mathew Stern intern with our team for a couple of weeks. Matthew worked with us as part of his senior project and high school graduation requirement. He shared his experience through a series of short posts. 

Day 1:

As I arrived at the ReadyTalk offices, I was greeted by a warm face at the front desk and offices that looked more like they belonged in an art studio than in an office building. Within my first hour I had met the marketing team I would be working with and many other people from other departments. Every person warmly greeted me and welcomed me to the team. My supervisor, Teresa, gave me a rundown on the projects and I would be doing for the next few weeks and the goals I wanted to achieve. I learned that not only would I be working on marketing focused projects, but I would be sitting in on meetings from all departments and working with each department head for at least one day. Within my second hour I was sitting in on a meeting determining the life value of a costumer and what leads are worth pursuing. Then it was on to the next meeting with the inside sales team and a discussion about the recent numbers involving Sales Qualified Opportunities (SQO) and Marketing Qualified Opportunities (MQO). In the afternoon I learned more about the products ReadyTalk offers and planned some of my projects for the upcoming days. After just the first day at ReadyTalk I am confident that I have chosen an amazing place for me to intern and I look forward to what’s to come in the next few weeks.

Day 2:

Although only the second day into my internship, I already was taking a half day off. Unfortunately, I was only able to work until 11 a.m. because I had to take my AP Statistics test in the afternoon. After my previous day I was ready to be back at ReadyTalk and excited to start working on some projects and learning more about the company. After a quick project working on finding information about webinars, I met with Kelly and Simone and learned how they use social media to promote ReadyTalk. I was then given a project to try and convert sides that were used in a webinar to slides that could be uploaded to Slideshare. Although I only worked for a few hours, I came away feeling productive and more knowledgeable about the company.

Day 3:

Unlike most other Mondays where I slowly make my way to school in the morning, I made my way to ReadyTalk for my first, and only, full week of work. When I arrived I already had a project to work on that I was given the previous Friday, and therefore was able to get to work right away (after a little discussing of Mother’s Day weekend). My project consisted of me listening to a recorded webinar and making changes and improvements to the slides so that they would make more sense once uploaded to slideshare. Although seemingly easy, it became difficult to express the presenters’ ideas as slides in a PowerPoint presentation. Once finished, we uploaded the slide deck to Slideshare and were done for the day.

Day 4:

Again, I was only able to work a half day at ReadyTalk because I was taking my final AP Test ever. After a morning full of thinking about US Government, I was ready for a change of pace. I was able to make it to Denver by 11:00 besides the heavy traffic from a crash on I-25. When I got to ReadyTalk, Mike had downloaded an application on my computer called Ghostery, and explained what I was going to do with it. My project was to go to customer websites, and using Ghostery, see what types of technology platforms they were using with their website, then take that information and add it to their customer profile on Salesforce. In the afternoon my next project was to change the coding on a few of the ReadyTalk landing pages built for non-profit organizations using Eloqua.

Day 5:

My morning started with a bi-monthly marketing department meeting. During the meeting we went over everything from upcoming events to brainstorming ideas for small one-picture advertisements. After the meeting I continued working on my long term project, finding technology platforms on customer websites. To celebrate a recent employee’s college graduation and return to ReadyTalk, the marketing team unfortunately, HAD to go to The Rio for lunch and sit out on the deck. After our midday break we all returned and continued working on our projects. I worked on my project for a few hours until I had a meeting with Keith about his role in event management and what event management does for the company.

Day 6:

After meeting with Keith and learning about event management the previous day, I started the day off shadowing another events manager doing a dry run of a webinar with a customer. I learned how the events team helps take presenters through a dry run webinar and teaches them how to use the controls before their actual event usually taking place. I then continued to work on my long term project until lunch time when I went to a lunch with Scott and Dan, the co-founders of ReadyTalk. After lunch I returned to my project until I attended a meeting ran by Dan explaining why ReadyTalk conducts cultural interviews (interviews deciding whether candidates will fit in with the ReadyTalk culture). In the meeting I learned about the motives and values of the company and how that plays into the interviewing process and therefore the people that are hired.

Day 7:

Today ends my only full week of work at ReadyTalk and marks my 3rd to last day. Although I have only been here a short time it feels as if I could have been working here for years. Everyone has been so kind and welcoming, I am glad to have spent the last week and a half here and I look forward to the days that I have left. Today I spent the whole day finishing my long term project so that I could move to a few other, smaller projects to finish out my internship. After going through the whole list of costumer websites, I had finally finished compiling the technology platforms that each company was using.  

Day 8:

As I return to work after a weekend full of graduation parties, I realize how soon graduation is and remember that it means I only have two more days at ReadyTalk. I started off my day by listening to a recorded webinar from a few weeks prior and again, taking notes so that it will make more sense once uploaded to Slideshare. However, instead of uploading the whole slide deck to slideshare like last time, we are splitting this webinar up into smaller, shorter slide decks, each with individual topics. Therefore, viewers will be able to view slides on only the topic they are interested in and not have to go through many other slides that they are uninterested in. I also got to shadow an Account Executive as he was giving a costumer on a free trial information about the next steps that they can take with ReadyTalk.

Day 9:

Today was my last day at ReadyTalk. Although I only was only able to work for two weeks I not only learned about ReadyTalk and its’ products, but I learned about how the different departments like marketing, sales, customer care, etc. generally works in a technology company. Today I finished one last project, by doing the same thing as yesterday; taking a webinar and improving the slides so that they may be uploaded to slideshare. I also got to listen in as one of the event managers helped set up a live webinar as well as troubleshoot any problems that came up. To celebrate my last day at ReadyTalk we also went out as a marketing team to lunch. Looking back on my internship I am glad I got to spend the last two weeks at ReadyTalk and am thankful for everything they have taught me.

Coming soon! ReadyTalk for ExactTarget Integration

 

The ReadyTalk footprint continues to expand as we announce our latest integration. ReadyTalk for ExactTarget will be generally available starting July 15th for ExactTarget clients through the launch of ExactTarget’s HubExchange.  ReadyTalk’s app will be one of the inaugural apps available within the ExactTarget HubExchange marketplace for ExactTarget clients to download and use directly within the Interactive Marketing Hub.

Can’t wait until July 15 to check out of the ReadyTalk for ExactTarget application? We'd love to show you a demo! Send me an email (beth.toeniskoetter@readytalk.com) to find out more!

Now that we have gotten past the excitement about ReadyTalk launching an integration with ExactTarget, let’s talk about what it actually entails, shall we?

If you use email as one of the ways to communicate with your prospects and customers, you are most likely aware of ExactTarget, and the products and services they offer beyond everyday email. ReadyTalk for ExactTarget allows you to leverage the best of what each platform has to offer. Use ExactTarget to create and distribute all of your event-related emails and registration pages, and ReadyTalk for sharing relevant content while interacting with your audience during the webinar.

With the application, you can:

  • Get your webinar program up and running quickly by instantly creating ExactTarget webinar invitations, confirmation, reminder, and follow-up emails plus webinar registration pages using your existing templates or ReadyTalk’s out-of-the-box templates
  • Take advantage of ExactTarget’s customizability, deliverability, and reporting capabilities when you send all event-related emails from ExactTarget
  • Make it easy for registrants to add your event to their calendar by including an ICS file with all of the information people need to join the event (including their unique ‘Join Meeting’ link) in confirmation and reminder emails sent from ExactTarget
  • Avoid the tedious upload and download of spreadsheets between platforms by automatically (and instantly!) capturing webinar registration and attendance data in ExactTarget
  • Increase conversion rates by sending timely post-event emails to attendees and no-shows immediately after the webinar

To learn more about HubExchange, visit the HubExchange Week site where you can sign up for meet-ups in your region or any virtual sessions in case you are not able to attend in person. ReadyTalk will be sponsoring and hosting live and virtual events, so please check the HubExchange Week site for the most up-to-date information!

Webinars 101

While webinars have become a fairly common, we like to offer a webinar 101 primer from time to time. If webinar is a new concept for you, read on!

If you want to get information out to a bunch of people all over the US and world, hosting a webinar may be the best way to go about it. Webinars allow you to present information and slides over the Internet; you can broadcast live and allow people to ask questions or post your webinar for audiences to look at later.

What is a Webinar?
Webinar is short for "web seminar."  It involves broadcasting slides, video and/or audio over the Internet to a select group of people. Some webinars are free and open to anyone who wants to register, while other webinars are limited only to people who work for a particular organization or who pay a registration fee.
 
During a live webinar, people can ask questions and interact with you via email or instant message; when you get their questions, you can incorporate them into your presentation.
 
Who Can Host a Webinar?
Anyone with a computer can host a webinar. Webinars are often hosted by:
  • Company executives who want to teach employees across the country about policies and procedures.
  • Nonprofit organizations that want to recruit volunteers or teach about their cause
  • Coaches or consultants who want to help potential clients overcome a particular problem.
How Do Webinars Work?
In order to host a webinar, you need an Internet connection, a microphone and speakers. You may want to use a headset with an external microphone in order to improve your sound quality even if you have a microphone built into your computer.
 
Besides that, you just need webinar software and you're good to go. The software broadcasts and records your webinar for you.
 
Webinars Are a Recruitment Tool
The best webinars recruit people to a cause, job or relationship by providing information. The educational content helps fulfill an important need in the participants' lives so that they are motivated to continue working with the webinar leader.
 
In some cases though, recruitment isn't a primary goal.  For example, if you are creating a webinar for your employees, you don't want to recruit them–you've already hired them! However, you can use your webinar to motivate them to do whatever it is you want them to do.
 
Webinars Bring Geographically Diverse People Together
The best advantage to using a webinar is that you can talk to people all over the country and world at once. If you only want to talk with people in your office or community, a webinar probably isn't necessary. However, if you want to talk to people all over the country, a webinar is your best bet.

New from ReadyTalk – Web Meeting plugin for Mac

Update: You can download the plugin on our website: http://www.readytalk.com/support-training/downloads. Please keep sharing your feedback!

 

Great news for our Mac customers. We've made it quicker and easier than ever for you to start your meetings as a chairperson or be promoted to co-presenter. Beginning today, Mac users can download the free ReadyTalk Web Meeting plugin when they start their meeting from any browser or are promoted to co-presenter. The Web Meeting plugin removes ReadyTalk's reliance on Java's plugin which has been the cause of many issues for our Mac customers as documented by our CTO Dan Cunningham in an earlier blog post. The workflow available for Mac users starting their meeting or being promoted to co-presenter now includes:

  1. If the Web Meeting plugin is installed, the plugin will be used to launch the Conference Controls
  2. If the Java plugin is installed and active, Java will be used to launch Conference Controls

    • The Thank You page will prompt the user to download the plugin even if they have Java for a faster experience next time. 
  3. If Java is inactive or not installed, the user will see two options:

    • Fix the problem now (permanent solution). This option gives Instructions for downloading the Web Meeting plugin for Mac which is a very fast and easy download getting you up and running in seconds. 
    • Start my conference now (temporary solution). This option is the manual download option which is a 1 time solution and should only be used as a last resort. 

plugin

We encourage our Mac users to get the plugin as soon as possible for a much faster and hassle free conferencing experience. We plan on releasing a similar plugin for our Window's users later this year. If you have any questions or concerns about the plugin please contact ReadyTalk customer care at 800.843.9166 or help@readytalk.com. If you have any comments please leave them below.