All posts by Beth Toeniskoetter

Beth Toeniskoetter is the director of product and marketing at ReadyTalk, a cloud communications company. She loves to see how ReadyTalk enables their customers to create connection through communication. Prior to joining ReadyTalk in 2011, Beth worked as an account manager for a mobile payments start-up and as a product manager for the prepaid gift card program at First Data. Outside of the office, Beth loves to spend time with family and friends, practice her baking skills, and run.

Why you should make your webinars interactive

Many people don't know that webinars can feature interactive elements, such as real-time chat questions and polling. However, these features can have a big impact on the number and quality of the leads your webinar generates. 

Let's take a closer look at why you should make your webinar interactive:

An opportunity for greater engagement 

According to a March 2013 Demand Gen Report reader survey, chat questions are used to engage the audience on 54 percent of webinars, while polls are used 34 percent of the time. While it's great that some people are using these features, there's even more opportunity for webinar engagement on a larger scale. These interactive features are essential for lead generation, as we'll see in the next section. 

Nurturing leads 

Webinars serve two main purposes: They help current and future clients learn useful information in an easy-to-digest way, and they help nurture leads. In fact, webinars nurture more qualified leads than other marketing channels. More than 60 percent of marketers are using webinars as part of their content marketing programs, according to the Content Marketing Institute. And a survey we conducted found that between 20 and 40 percent of webinar attendees turned into qualified leads

The key to transforming webinar attendees into promising leads is creating webinars that effectively engage viewers. Attention spans are short, and webinar hosts need ways to grab audience members' attention. Interactive features do just that. Chat questions and polling enable audience members to engage in the webinar, instead of just passively listening to information. Webinar hosts also learn instant feedback, which they can use to tweak the content of the webinar to make it more relevant to attendees' needs. Let's take a closer look at both the chat and polling features:

Chat
Real-time chat can be conducted over webinars through both chat boxes and audio. A live audio chat Q&A session at the end of your webinar can be a great opportunity for audience members to learn more about your company and for you to learn more about what's on your customers' or potential customers' minds. 

Polling
Polling helps you gain more in-depth knowledge about the people tuning into your webinar. You can get a sense of what problems, issues or goals your viewers have as you present information that can help address their common pain points. You can also ask questions that are designed to qualify leads, but these are best saved for the end of the webinar. 

Getting people's attention is the name of the game in marketing these days, and interactive webinars are highly effective ways to engage audiences. The benefits don't end there, however – these engaged audiences then have a better chance of turning into qualified leads. Make your webinars interactive to give a much-needed oomph to your marketing strategy. 

3 collaboration trends for 2018

 

Collaboration is no longer a buzzword: It’s a way of life for most organization around the country. Employers and employees alike are pushing for more collaborative platforms and work processes than ever before. So what trends are forecast for 2018? Here are three areas in which industry experts are predicting a lot of growth over the next year:

1. Remote workers will become regular workers
Working from home isn’t a novel trend that will disappear anytime soon. On the contrary, most industry experts predict that remote workers will become an even more normalized factor of the modern workplace over the next few years. Instead of offices only relying on a few virtual employees, employers may soon be relying on an entirely remote workforce. To maintain productivity and internal collaboration, employees will leverage more team-centered solutions, such as audio and video conferencing tools.

After all, the happiest offices are the ones where employers let their employees work from home occasionally or reach out to the best workers around the world. Innovative, new technology is making it easier than ever before to have meaningful interactions with coworkers, regardless of their physical proximity. In all likelihood, 2018 will demonstrate a further decline of the demand for “in-office” workers.

2. Collaboration-focused management styles
Long gone are the days where employees kept to themselves all day in their small cubicles. Now, offices are promoting collaboration-centered management styles to boost productivity and employee morale levels. From open floor plans to the adoption of collaborative video conferencing tools, there are plenty of ways companies will increase their collaboration efforts over the next year, according to a few industry experts.

3. Rise of real-time, interactive webinars
Forget about boring webinar videos that are just posted to a company’s YouTube channel a few days after they launch. This year will see a rise of real-time, interactive webinars, where audience members can actively participate, as if they were in the crowd. It’s time offices got a little more creative with their webinars!

Don’t let your office fall behind in relation to these 2018 collaboration trends. Increase your office’s spirit of connectedness with a unified communication strategy!

7 webinar preparation tips

Webinars offer dynamic ways for businesses of all types to generate leads and establish themselves as thought leaders. But preparation makes all the difference in whether your webinar is a productive marketing channel or ultimately a waste of time. 

To help you put on a stellar webinar that adds value to both your audience's lives and your company's bottom line, follow these tips:

1. Keep the webinar to the point 

When you have a camera in front of you, it can be tempting to treat the opportunity like a Hollywood audition. However, webinars where the presenters go on and on about themselves or their services turn off viewers. Be sure to establish your webinar's goal – for example, teaching clients tips for successfully using cloud software or sharing important news about your company – and then, stick to the script. 

2. Give more than a sales pitch 

In our digital age, audiences are smart; they know when they're being given a sales pitch, and no one wants to feel like they're so blatantly being sold something. Webinars that are too sales-y or self-promoting can decrease audience engagement. 

3. Craft a catchy title 

Your potential webinar audience is constantly being confronted with grabs for its attention. The internet is saturated with content, so remember what you're competing against when designing a webinar. A catchy title will hook viewers – best practice is to keep it to no more than 15 words. 

4. Make it easy to register 

With all the media vying for people's attention, if people have to complete a complex registration process for the webinar, they're not going to bother. Include only registration fields that truly are necessary. The more fields to fill out, the less likely people are to register. 

5. Properly promote the webinar

Use a multichannel approach to most effectively promote your webinar, with campaigns on email and social media. For best results, start marketing the event at least two weeks in advance. 

6. Send a reminder 

Everyone's to-do list is miles long these days, so ensure your webinar hasn't been forgotten by sending a reminder email to people who have registered 24 hours before the event. 

7. Practice, practice, practice

Before you say "action!" practice your webinar presentation more than once. Do a full run-through with the tech to make sure everything goes smoothly the day of. 

With these tips, you can knock your webinars out of the park! 

What can I use webinars for?

 

Webinars – you hear a lot about them, but what do you actually use them for? Well, we’re here to tell you: a lot of things. And really exciting things at that!

If used right, webinars can bring big advantages for your business. More leads, happier customers, better brand recognition and more engaged employees – all this can be yours if you create targeted, high-quality webinars. And that’s easier than ever, thanks to the innovative, intuitive tools available and our handy webinar guide here.

So let’s dive in – here are a few specific ways you can use webinars at your business:

Share vital information with remote employees

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – the data shows that more companies than ever before are hiring full-time remote workers. Telecommuting arrangements can be a boon for productivity, but being able to get the job done effectively depends on having the right materials at your fingertips. Webinars offer ultra-focused ways to share must-have information, documents, presentations and the like with your remote workers. It can also be an engaging way to brief remote employees on company news, policy changes and new projects. Pair webinars with a unified communications solution and you can make sure that no telecommuter is left in the dark.

Position your company as a thought leader

In today’s crowded content marketplace, everyone’s fighting to grab consumers’ attentions. Brand visibility is the name of the game, and getting the word out that your organization is a thought leader in its industry is a great way to strengthen brand identity and get your name out there. A webinar is the perfect platform for building thought leadership, as it’s both dynamic and visually interesting. Have an influential industry figure or leader at your company share their insights on current news in your sector. Keep the webinar targeted to make it most effective. These types of webinars can also help generate leads and bring potential clients further through the sales cycle.

Enhance user training

You never want to feel like your customers don’t know how to fully take advantage of all the benefits your product or service offers. A dependable customer support team is part of the equation, but user training is also key. Hold webinars that address key functionalities of your products – they’ll be a valuable resource for your customers and keep them coming back to your site.

Webinars are an amazing tool to have at your company – use them to grow your business and engage your employees and customer base alike.

Tips for holding more effective all-company meetings

Maybe you need to give an update on quarterly performance or introduce a new PTO policy – but whatever the reason for holding an all-company meeting, you better make sure you put on a good show. Because while in theory these gatherings are the most effective way to share important information with a large group, in reality, they're far more often a real drag for employees to sit through and a big missed opportunity to unite your organization. 

However, you're not doomed to holding uninspiring all-company meetings forever – just follow these tips:

Be a transformer, not a transaction-er

Make like Optimus Prime in your all-company meetings – not physically per se, but in the sense that you're a leader who inspires others to do their best. Before this analogy goes off the rails, we're actually talking about being a "transformational leader" and not a "transactional leader" in your company-wide meetings. Transformational leaders are open to feedback, excited about change and transparent – and they create trust between company and employee, as the Society for Human Resource Management explained. Transactional leaders, on the other hand, see things in black and white: an "I boss, you employees" mentality, so to speak.  

Think about the agenda and content of your meeting in a transformational way, as opposed to a transactional one. Establish ample time for people to share their thoughts and ask questions, and explain how the information that's being presented is beneficial to employees' well-being, not just the company's bottom line. 

Connect remote workers with a webinar 

The internet is supposed to connect us – not leave sales guy Joe in Timbuktu with no idea what's going on with his company. The age of the remote worker is upon us, and that means that businesses need to be leveraging technologies that keep everyone on the same page. By hosting your all-company meeting as a webinar, you can ensure that all employees can join in, no matter how far flung they are around the world. Go one step further and record the meeting, too, so both in-office and remote workers can watch the meeting later if the proposed time isn't possible for them. 

Show them the money, but in helpful ways 

"This went up, that went down, here's some numbers, now meeting dismissed" is unfortunately the gist of far too many all-company meetings. Everyone knows how tempting pie charts can be – hey, we think it's fun to play around with the colors, too – but pointing to a bunch of graphs during a company meeting isn't doing anyone any favors. Make sure you present sales figures, revenue and other data in easy-to-understand ways and that you also provide context for such numbers. 

Follow these tips to avoid snores at your next meeting – and make it a productive use of both company and employee time.