Feature Friday: ReadyTalk Scheduler Outlook

Visit the ReadyTalk blog every Friday to learn more about a ReadyTalk feature.  

Why use this feature?

The ReadyTalk Scheduler for Outlook allows for Outlook users to easily schedule, invite and start ReadyTalk Meetings directly from Outlook.

See the information below to learn how to configure and get started with the Scheduler within your Outlook. In addition to supporting this type of functionality, the Scheduler also syncs data with salesforce.com.

How to use this feature:

Step 1: Download the Scheduler

(If you have already have the Scheduler downloaded and customized, skip to step 3)

Step 2: Customize your settings

  • Once installed, you will need to customize your Outlook settings.  Reference pages 8-14 of the user guide. It will tell you how to configure:

    • Default Meeting Types (On-demand vs. Scheduled Meetings)
    • Adding and Deleting Accounts
    • Adding and Deleting Subscriptions
    • Subscription Details
    • Dial-in Numbers
    • Sending Plain Text Invitations

Step 3: Start Meeting

  • To start a meeting, click on the “Start a Meeting” button. If you have a meeting anywhere from 24 hours prior to 48 hours after, you’ll be able to select the meeting you’d like to launch.
  • Creating a new meeting request: You have the ability to start three different meeting types from here: A ReadyTalk Audio/ Web Meeting, a ReadyTalk Audio Meeting or a ReadyTalk Web Meeting. Select which one works

    • When you have clicked on the type of meeting you need, the Meeting Request opens automatically with the relevant information your participants will need in order to join.
    • Feel free to manually add any other information at the top of the meeting request. After that, you can send your invitation.

What the invitation will look like.

 

  • Joining the meeting: Your participants can accept the Outlook invitation and join directly from the links that are embedded into the meeting request. These include (depending on the meeting type) the Dial in information (or have the meeting call you) the web login, even a list of global numbers if applicable.

 

Contact ReadyTalk Customer Care if you have any questions about the ReadyTalk Scheduler for Outlook. And let us know your thoughts by sharing a comment below!

What’s Faster Than a Speeding Bullet? Starting Your Meeting Using ReadyTalk’s Connectivity Tools

What if Meetings Faster Than a Speeding Bulletevery online meeting you joined took five minutes to launch and get into? Doh!  I attend at least 10 online meetings a week. If I was struggling to get into every meeting I attended I’d be wasting an hour a week – or the equivalent of a week each year, simply (or not so simply), getting into meetings.

Now, imagine you are the one who is scheduling all these meetings. What if you had to go into yet another platform besides your current email client or CRM to schedule and start all the meetings you host? You probably do that now. That time could easily add up to another week per year.

At ReadyTalk, we believe meetings should be easy to schedule and start, ultimately making you more efficient and productive.  That’s why we recently launched our Connectivity Tools – to help you get that time back.

With plug-ins available for all the major communication platforms like Outlook, Lync, Google, as well as Salesforce, you no longer have to break your current workflow to schedule your meetings. It’s as simple as downloading the plug-in for your specific platform and setting up your default meeting details. Then send the invites out of your current email, instant message or CRM tool.

And, your participants can now access and enter a meeting so much faster. As you know, not all conferencing platforms are created equal. Sometimes you need to press numerous audio buttons, others require specific downloads to get online. At ReadyTalk, we started asked ourselves questions like, “What if you could join a meeting in one click?” or "What if the meeting called you?”  From that came our latest features for accessing a meeting: ReadyTalk’s Quick Launcher desktop tool, Call Me and the Web Meeting plug-in.

We invite our customers to visit our Connectivity Tools page to learn more about our plug-ins that will give you back some time. If you’re not a customer, but would like to learn more about how you can meet faster and more efficiently, join us for a live demo.

And feel free to let me know what you’re doing with your extra week a year (Hawaii anyone?).

Conference Center Gets Feature Frag-tastic!

Twice a year ReadyTalk hosts Feature Frag. This five day “hack-a-thon” gives our engineering teams an opportunity to showcase their creativity while building features that enhance our product. Ideas for these projects came from customer feedback, road map suggestions, feature requests and more.

Several of those projects made it into production and we will keep you updated as more are released. In the mean time, the Conference Center Feature Frag projects are now available.

Frag Feature #1: Click and Drag Questions

Are you creating custom registration questions or working on a survey? Instead of breaking your workflows, adjust your custom registration or survey questions without starting from the beginning.

1) Click on the box to the left of the question

2) Drag the question up or down accordingly to reach your desired flow

 

 

Feature Frag #2: Invite from Contacts

For collaboration and webinars alike, this new feature makes inviting meeting participants quick and easy. The key benefit of this feature is that it auto suggests participants from your Conference Center contacts. Additionally, it also validates the email formats of.csv uploads.

If you generally invite the same people to numerous meetings, a best practice is to upload those contacts into Conference Center first.

To Invite Contacts Manually

  • Type in the name of your participant and the system will auto suggest and complete as you type them in.

 

To Invite Contacts Using the Bulk Upload Feature

  • Upload a .csv file. The system will validate and report back if any of the addresses are invalid. It will allow you to fix them.

This screen will show you how many of the addresses are valid and invalid.

 

 

As mentioned above, stay tuned for the release of more of the projects from this Feature Frag including some cool mobile enhancements.

As always, we love to hear from you. What features would you like to see added to our product? Leave a note below!

 

What to Look for in a Web Conferencing Platform: Cost (Part 3)

There are several factors to consider when choosing an audio and web conferencing provider. This series of posts explores three items that are important for a potential buyer:   User Experience , customer experience and cost.

 

Is cost the most important part of the decision making process when making a decision?

Not always. When selecting an audio and web conferencing provider, a survey conducted by Frost & Sullivan discovered only 16% of respondents said cost was important to customer satisfaction.

Of course an important consideration, there is more to a technical decision than just price. Cost may take a backseat to other criterion. According to the survey, the top three items respondents were looking for in Web Events were a professional look, reliable technology and excellent customer support. In the collaboration use case, the main focus was on robust features, ease of use and high performance.

Test out the product

Web conferencing needs to work and with ease. Furthermore, you need to be comfortable with the platform you are using.  There are numerous options available on the market, both paid and free models, but are they reliable? A reliable solution will give you a free trial period to experience the product for yourself.

Before deciding on a solution simply because it's the lowest price, take a step back and evaluate the purpose. What is the need for implementing a new solution? And what would you like it to do? Does a full feature set come at the sacrifice of good customer service? Or is everything else in place, but the product is too basic?

How has cost factored into your decision making process? Leave a comment below.

 

5 Tips for Webinar Lead Generation – from the Right Partners to Social Engagement

Today's guest post is provided by Kira Sparks is the Senior Content Manager at Shoutlet, a ReadyTalk customer.

Webinars are a true marketing challenge: If they go well, they can be a phenomenal content marketing and lead generation tool. If they go poorly, they can be a big-time embarrassment. (Raise your hand if you’ve ever lost sleep due to a webinar!)

Here at Shoutlet, we’ve put a lot of steps in place to make sure our webinars fall into that first category. And because of that, our webinar program generates a lot of value for us. It helps us meet new customers, nurture existing relationships, and share relevant content with community managers across the world.  

Today I’ll share a few of the tricks and tactics we’ve learned along the way to help you get the most out of your webinar program.

Go in with the right partners

Launching a webinar program comes with certain technology needs. Chief among them:
A platform provider to help broadcast your presentations and an email or automation software that allows you to distribute promotions and other webinar communications.

Like many of you, we partner with Readytalk, which helps us ensure everything goes smoothly from the technical end. For email, we use marketing automation tool Marketo. Marketo goes way beyond email, allowing us to track our relationships with prospects over time, and communicate at the appropriate moments along the way.

Whichever providers you use, make sure they’re committed to being a partner 24/7.  When it comes to webinars, the last thing you want is to get put on hold when something goes wrong.

Don’t skimp on the content

While it may seem obvious, remember that putting together quality content is one of the most vital components of the webinar process. If an attendee isn’t pleased with what they hear, it’s unlikely they’ll come to another webinar and even less likely they’ll want to talk with your sales rep after it’s over.

Here are three ways to create stellar content that results in repeat visitors:

  • Make it actionable: The standard hour-long webinar is a lot of time to take away from work. Provide specific actionable items to ensure attendees feel like they got something out of their time investment.  We try to deliver specific tips to attendees, such as this webinar slide about taking a great Instagram photo: 
    Using Webinars for Lead Generation
  • Go light on sales. While it’s perfectly fine to share information or examples of your product, people will be disappointed if that’s all they get. Think beyond your product to the place in the industry it occupies – what do professionals in this space need to know to thrive?
  • Bring on great speakers. People like variety, and it can be rough to listen to one person for an entire hour. Bring on a customer or industry expert to share their experience and lend credibility to your organization.

Continually hone your process

Our digital marketing team never stops experimenting with email campaigns.  They’re constantly testing subject lines, send times, segments, and more. Over time, this experimentation has led to incredibly valuable insights about how to reach our audience. Start small and tweak just one or two things per email to see the effect. Even if you don’t have the bandwidth for much experimentation, trying just one technique a month can help you transform your communications over time.

Engage socially – before, during, and after the event

While email is a main driver of webinar registrations, don’t forget to get the message out on social channels, too. This is where the buzz can really get going. You can see a full post on the subject here, but let’s look at some quick tips to fuel that social engagement:

  • Create a promo kit for the speaker(s) that provides them with pre-written tweets and social images to share via their own networks.
  • Create a webinar hashtag. Encourage people to tweet with the hashtag during the webinar, and incentivize them with a fun giveaway:
    Creating leads with webinars
  • Use a Social CRM to track your social fans’ engagement with you during the webinar process and use this information to build the relationship over time.
  • If you can, try boosting your reach through paid promotion via Facebook ads, Promoted Tweets or LinkedIn Sponsored Updates.

Follow up with relevant materials 

When the webinar wraps and everyone returns to work, your job isn’t done. Send the slides and recording to all attendees within 24 hours. Go a step further by offering them relevant content that helps them continue to explore the webinar topic. Then, next time you promote a webinar, segment your communication to those who have and haven’t attended one of your presentations before. That’s a great way to show your regulars some love.

Bringing it all together

When you get all of these pieces in place, webinars can be a fantastic way to build new and existing relationships – even if you have to lose a little sleep in the meantime.

Want to hear more about Shoutlet or social media strategies? Visit our blog at shoutlet.com/blog. We’d love to connect with you.

About the Author

Kira Sparks is the Senior Content Manager at Shoutlet. In her role, she creates and delivers thought-leading content for community managers and marketing professionals across the country.