Why are webinar services the best marketing tools for your small business?

It is a known fact that there is no fixed formula for a successful marketing campaign. A well thought out plan and its execution with all relevant resources has proved helpful repeatedly.

Webinars are one such resource. You can easily make use of them to promote not only the products and services that you offer but also your brand as a whole. Here are a few advantages of including webinars as a part of your marketing strategy for your small or medium size business.

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Networking

Marketing is different from advertising. What your small business needs is promotional activities rather than transactional ones. Seek the help of an expert to host or co-host a webinar with you. Or have a company sponsor your webinar. They will give you instant brand recognition, act as a brand ambassador, while in return give them publicity and access to your contacts. Together you can reach a newer, bigger audience.  Using webinar services  this way is mutually beneficial for everyone involved.

Enables interaction

Using a free webinar service or hosting a free web conference is a great way to interact and engage potential clients. Free webinars provide various wayts to interact with your audience or clients that webcasts or pre-recorded sessions don’t.  You can live chat with attendees or have them join in the discussion by sharing their webcams or microphones. This makes the experience and interaction much more personal, creating better more trustworthy relationships. After the webinar (if done well) the attendees will feel as though they already know you.

Cross promotion

Repetition and omnipresence is of the essence in any marketing activity. A great webinar service or platform provides opportunity to easily cross promote. You can gain a lot of traction for your marketing campaign by repeatedly promoting on the landing page of your webinar and vice versa. This includes posting links to your website and social media pages. Live tweeting during a webinar not only promotes the webinar, but your Twitter presence and page. Your blog can also play a crucial role. You can easily embed the link of the webinar or recording in your blog. Similarly, you can post the link of your blog in your presentation or in the chat area. In other words, don’t forget to include your webinars in your integrated marketing campaign.

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More conversions

Just by registering for your webinar, people are showing interest your brand, company or product. This gives you another opportunity to convert interest into loyalty or purchase before the webinar even happens. Reach out to registrants, ask them why the registered and what they want to learn. This allows you to focus the webinar’s according to that particular audience. Great free webinar services or feature full webinar plans allow hosts and organizers to reach their audience before, during and after the webinar. Doing so increases and extends the timeline for conversion exponentially.

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The elevator pitch amplified

Every business requires you to have an elevator pitch. This pitch encompasses the what, when, where, why and how of your business, in a concise and clear way. A great free webinar service lets you explain every point in that pitch in a fun, interesting and meaningful way. Like Simon Sinek said, ‘people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it’.

Tips to take your Webinar from Good to Awesome

Webinars have opened the doors for a plethora of opportunities. They have made lectures and training sessions a lot easier by presenting them live on the internet. These days, webinars are enhanced with slick PowerPoint presentations, video clips, live questions, and and much more. If done correctly, a webinar can help generate leads, face-to-face connections, and boost the sales of your business or organization.

  1. Pay attention to the time spent: An effective webinar is best when it’s 60 minutes or less. If it exceeds an hour, you’ll most likely start to bore your audience, test their patience, or have them drop off altogether. It’s important to check the start time in different time zones if you are catering to a worldwide audience or a particular part of the world.
  1. Choose an area that is quiet: An area that is noiseless plays a super vital role in webinar hosting. You want your audience to be able to hear you and not be a part of constant chatter and disturbance. A soundproof room would be perfect! Also, if are planning on hosting webinars frequently, an investment in high quality audio and video equipment is worthwhile. Furthermore, ensure everything has been tested beforehand to avoid problems during your webinar.
  1. Registration fees should be economical or free: Don’t overcharge for registration. In fact if you aren’t well known or just started hosting, free is the way to go. The idea of using a webinar service and to host webinars is to impart knowledge and make it an enriching experience and interactive for those in attendance. Revenues come second. That being said, once you’ve established value or a core audience, you can start charging for more intimate or in-depth sessions.
  1. Include more than one presenter: Having more than one presenter adds to the charm of a webinar. Make sure this presenter is full of energy, knowledgeable and has a magnetic personality that keeps the audience glued. It can liven the conversation and help make it more interactive. It also doesn’t hurt if they’re tech savvy.
  1. Make it interactive: A good webinar with video conferencing is one that leaves plenty of time for attendants to ask questions. Moreover, another aspect of making it awesome is to give the attendants a chance to send in their feedback, and share their camera or microphone.
  1. Make use of social media channels: Social media is everywhere. Using social media is a practical and feasible promotional tool for small as well as medium-sized businesses. If done correctly, i.e. making use of hashtags, promoting blog posts, etc. can help you reach millions of users in a short span of time. However, don’t limit your promotion to only social media.
  1. Hold a free video conferencing event: The economy is global. A free video conferencing event can empower your business, reach new customers, and give it global recognition. In return, you reach a larger audience while providing an opportunity to connect remote employees with potential clients.

Here’s hoping the above was more or less a checklist for webinar hosting. Tell us what has been successful for you and your company.

The Keys to Using Social Media for Brand Engagement

The financial limbo of social media may be drawing to an end as companies slowly figure out how to monetize their likes and follows. Brand engagement is key.

Despite the sudden dominance of social networking in virtually all aspects of our lives, manipulating it to get results has been a sore point for businesses of all sorts, from start-ups and retailers to the network owners themselves.

Recent research conducted by Google indicates that “people who engage regularly with brands on social media tend to be better customers.” Not only were people who engaged with a business online more likely to prefer that business to others of the same type, they were also more likely to have purchased something there recently.

What’s more, the typical engaged social follower tended towards the same customer life cycle:

  1. Discovery of your company and products/services
  2. Choosing what is right for them
  3. Purchasing product/service
  4. Engaging with you and their peers after the purchase

The journey today’s consumer takes is increasingly cyclical, offering brands huge opportunities for not only repeat custom, but exposure to customers’ networks as well. Brands become more personable, accepted into the dynamic, and customers may come to see your company as an extension of their expanding social group. This is something to value and comes with great responsibility.

Rather than counting page views like a neanderthal, brand engagement on a company’s social profile is measured simply with replies, likes/favorites, and shares to better estimate how much of an impression your brand is making. Those sharing your identity and products online are your advocates and will help to build your brand.

Know your demographic and communicate in a way that appeals to them. Reward their positive comments with exposure to your own network (e.g. with a retweet — the new customer satisfaction quote). Remember, they might have a significant social outreach and their negative comments can travel as far as their positive ones. Keep them sweet!

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Each social network differs in the way it encourages and generates engagement too. Facebook is between “friends” (though often in the loosest possible sense) and users might be more inclined to believe what they read. Twitter, on the other hand, mixes audiences and works better in real time to deliver news or updates as they happen.

It might be the disposability of information on Twitter that explains why Instagram outperforms it 50 times over in brand engagement. Perhaps too much information is a bad thing after all!

Instagram’s success relies on the power of images. It forces you to be creative with everything you post, the hashtag system is easy to use, and its content is shared with wild abandon! Building a following from the ground up can be tough, but if you learn how to maximize your exposure and capture people’s attention with a great name recognition or brand then your content will practically start sharing itself.

The good news is that it’s only getting easier. Businesses can now sell directly through Instagram, and several companies are working at applying the same idea to the Pinterest model too. It’s only a matter of time before other social networks become more directly linked to our final purchases. As that happens, the effects of brand engagement will become simpler to measure and improve.

It may sound corny, but these days it’s truer than ever: the customer is your friend.

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Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles and Chicago. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years. He has  contributed articles to Visual.ly, Entrepreneur, and TechCrunch. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas, or you can reach him at NickAndrewRojas@gmail.com.