Not Another Webinar! Five Critical Things to Consider for Your Virtual Event

December 9, 2010

So how many invitations do you receive a day to attend yet ANOTHER free webinar? Recently I conducted an “audit” of my inbox and during the week of November 15-19 I was invited to 12 different webinars.  My “greater than 2 a day” average is at best … average …and my guess is that many of you are bombarded with far more invitations.

Ironically, despite all the choices out there, webinars continue to be one of the most effective marketing tactics for our clients.   There are many ways to skin a cat and certainly the same holds true for planning, producing and executing a webinar.  At a very high level …here are 5 Critical Things to Consider as you jump into the webinar fray.

1. content is king …. .. pick a hot topic and people will come.

2. feature the primary market
“Who do you want to attend your webinar?” Invite one or more thought leaders who fit the same profile of your desired attendees to participate as speakers or panelists.

3. panels work!
I often identify 3-4 questions around a hot topic and then recruit a panel of thought leaders from the primary market (see #2) to sit on the panel. This enables me to

a) promote a multi-perspective event
b) more easily recruit panelists as there is now no real prep work for them (i.e. no slides)
c) help our brand by sitting “up on stage” with clients or prospective clients
d) showcase our expertise without forcing our audience to sit through a capabilities presentation.

4.  convenience.
Typically, half our attendance results from our “day of event” promotion.” In other words, we generate lots of registrations 3-4 weeks out, but the folks that show up are largely driven by the ”day of” promotion. Why? Webinars are a “convenience” event for most. People are busy and there are a ton of webinars out there so even if your topic is terrific, your attendees will only attend if their calendar remains open on the day/time of the event.

5.  five minutes after.
What is your plan for the first 5 minutes AFTER the webinar ends? This is often the most critical question to answer in you planning as it ties in all the objectives you attached to the event. Three must haves:

i) have a plan on how to identify the attendees you want to follow-up with
ii) have content already prepared to follow-up
iii) have a plan on how to leverage the energy /success resulting from your webinar in the weeks that follow

There are many tactics that can be discussed to embellish or expand upon the above. In addition, as I mentioned at the onset, there is more than one approach to make this all work.   I would be happy to answer any additional questions.  Good luck!


Panel to discuss: Utilizing Facebook for Small Business Lead Generation

April 22, 2009

I am very excited to be hosting and moderating a terrific panel of experts (via webinar) who will be sharing their experiences around “Utilizing Facebook for Small Business Lead Generation.”  The free webinar takes place Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 12 PM ET and will last 75 minutes.   During the session our expert panel will provide the following, in a case study format:

* An overview of Facebook and it’s elements
* How Facebook fits in with other social media platforms
* Why and how B2C and B2B companies are using Facebook
* The benefits being derived from marketing on Facebook
* The drawbacks of Facebook
* Best practices for small businesses on Facebook
* Summary and Q&A.

Review our panel and register here.

Our objectives for the call are as follows:
* Provide an overview of Facebook for the beginners
* Explain how businesses are leveraging the various elements of Facebook
* Outline some challenges and/or drawbacks you may encounter
* Provide examples of “wins” from businesses who have “been there, done that”
* Answer your questions

The All Star Panel is as follows:

Rachel Levy, Social Media and Marketing Consultant; Blog: Rachel Levy Blog


Susan Liddy, Life Coach and Founder, AspireLifeCoach.org; Blog: AspireLifeCoach.org Blog


Hasan Luongo, Co-Founder, Hoodiepeople.com; Blog: Hooodiepeople’s Blog

Mike Volpe, Vice President, Marketing, Hubspot; Blog: Hubspot’s Inbound Internet Marketing Blog

Register here.

Who should attend?  Owners and/or practitioners that are responsible for marketing their small business.  (For the purpose of this webinar, small businesses are loosely defined as businesses that generate less than $8M annually).  These may be lawyers, consultants, software vendors, accountants, insurance brokers, store owners, service providers, publishers, etc.


Polling Data & Slides – Leveraging Twitter to Grow Your Small Business

March 19, 2009

We had a tremendous panel discussion last week covering how various small businesses are using Twitter to help their business.

During the Marketing Studio webinar session, we asked our 100+ attendees various questions about their use and perceptions of Twitter.  You may access the PDF to the blinded results data, and the slides used by me and the panelists, via this link.  The questions were as follows:

Do your currently use Twitter?
What do you do on Twitter?
What was your first perception of Twitter when you initially joined?
What is your biggest fear of Twitter?
Who executes your lead generation programs?
In order to execute more Social Media oriented lead generation programs, I need more:
Which most closely describes why you chose to attend today’s webinar?
How do you distribute online content and capture leads?
What is currently your most effective “push marketing” tactic to drive people to your web site or blog?
What is the most realistic short term (next six months) benefit your business may realize from leveraging Twitter?
What is the most realistic long term (beyond September ’09) benefit your business may realize from leveraging Twitter?

View the blinded polling results.

A special thank you to our terrific panelists (links to their latest blog posts):

Kyle Flaherty, Director of Marketing, BreakingPoint
Becky McCray, Small Town Entrepreneur
Aaron Strout, VP, Marketing, Powered
Monica Valentinelli, Social Media Expert, Musicnotes.com

marketing-studio-logo Mark your calendar for April 23 @ 12 PM EDT:
Utilizing Facebook for Small Business Lead Generation, register for free now.


Small Business Case Studies – Leveraging Twitter!

March 8, 2009

Over the past year, more and more businesses of all shapes and sizes, are investing time to explore what all the hype is behind “Twitter.”  What many have discovered is that this microblogging phenomenon presents a great opportunity for their companies.  I list below links to four great posts/case studies on how different types of business are successfully using Twitter as a tool to ultimately …make ….money!

Leveraging Twitter as a lead generation, customer service, or overall branding tool takes time; a precious and scarce resource when you are running your own small business.  Time and lack of expertise are barriers preventing most small businesses from successfully utilizing Twitter for lead generation and networking.  According to a recent Marketing Studio poll,  79% of small business owners avoid Twitter because of: lack of expertise, not enough time or insufficent understanding of how it can make an impact on their business (i.e. no proven ROI model). 

Well here is a quick public service message to small business owners: “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance” (Derek Bok, former Harvard University president).  Bottom line is this: if you are not making an effort to learn more about Twitter, you may be costing your small business an incredible opportunity.  

eventbrite   I have the privilege of hosting a live webinar Wednesday, March 11 at 12 PM EST where four experts in social media will not only answer the question “what the heck is Twitter?” but also outline three real life examples on how companies are actually leveraging Twitter to grow their business.  Join us (it’s free).  Meanwhile as a prelude to our discussion on March 11, I list below four interesting case studies/stories.

case-studies4 Four Case Studies

Zoomdweebie’s Tea Bar How Twitter saved a small business in Wichita, KS.  Now they may relocate because they need bigger space!

CoffeeGroundz Cafe Blog post by @ericaogrady discussing how Twitter has changed the way they CoffeeGroundz Cafe in Houston, Texas conducts business.

The Big Guys A Business Week article outlining how some of the biggest companies in the world are using Twitter to communicate with their customers.

BBGeeks A great, must read on the trials, tribulations and “results” of a self proclaimed “Non-Big Brand.” 

 

usa_dream_team  During Marketing Studio’s March 11 webinar we will feature three additional real life examples of how people are leveraging Twitter to Grow Their Small Business.  Below is our “dream team” of panelists with links to their latest blog posts:

Aaron Strout, VP, Marketing, Powered

Becky McCray, Small Town Entrepreneur

Kyle Flaherty, Director of Marketing, BreakingPoint

Monica Valentinelli, Social Media Expert, Musicnotes.com

 

*** Register for the March 11 webinar here (registration is free) ***


Who Are You More Likely to Follow on Twitter?

March 2, 2009


(vote via Poll above — don’t be shy, just click on an open square)

arrowOn topic, view the full interview of Evan Willimas, Founder and CEO, Twitter on Charlie Rose via this VentureBeat blog post.

arrowMake sure you register for the upcoming webinar How to Leverage Twitter to Grow Your Small Business, March 12 @ 12 EST (60 minutes in duration).   The session is free!  Our expert panel includes:

 Aaron Strout, Chief Marketing Officer, Powered, Inc.
Blog: Citizen Marketer 2.1
Follow @AaronStrout  

Elliott Kosmicki, User Experience Manager, Musicnotes.com
Blog: Goodplum
Follow 
@iElliott on |

Becky McCray, Small Town Entrepreneur
Blog: Small Biz Survival
Follow @BeckyMcCray

 Kyle Flarhety, Director of Marketing, BreakingPoint
Blog: Engage in PR
Follow @kyleflaherty  on

 
What We Will Cover
* What is Twitter and how does it fit in with other social media platforms?
* Four steps to leveraging Twitter for your B2C small business
* Four steps to leveraging Twitter for partnerships that will grow your small business 
* Four steps to leveraging Twitter for partnerships that will grow your B2B small business 
* Good peeps to follow to get started or to grow!
* Summary and Q&A
 

Register for free.

Who should attend?  Owners and/or practitioners that are responsible for market their small business.  (For the purpose of this webinar, small businesses are loosely defined as businesses that generate less than $5M annually).  These may be lawyers, consultants, software vendors, accountants, insurance brokers, store owners, service providers, publishers, etc.


Case Study – The Potential Impact of Lead Generation Tactics on a Small Business

February 23, 2009

hour-glassRecently I conducted a survey amongt small business owners, asking them, “what are the biggest barriers to conducting various lead generation tactics?”  (Lead Generation Tactics for Resource Limited Small Businesses, Feb 11, 2009).  A quick overview of the results showed:

 

- 76% of our poll respondents said “they” are in charge of executing lead generation programs.

- 34% of our total respondents said “Time” is the biggest barrier to conducting more lead generation tactics.

- 60% of the respondents stated webinars, case studies/article and blogs are the most difficult lead generation tactics to execute.   

- 60% of the respondents cited “Time” and “Lack of Expertise” as the reasons small business owners did not leverage these tactics.

 

I provide the full set of the blinded survey and poll data here (you will be asked to provide some basic info to access and download the results).  

 

roi  Is making the time (or buying the time) worth it?  Before answering that question, business owners must take a long term ROI view when ascertaining the risk and reward of a lead generation investment.  The following is a quick example (call it a mini-case study) on the potential ROI webinars can make on a small business’s sales and lead generation effort over 4 years:

 

Mini-Case Study: The Impact of Webinars on Lead Generation

 

I. Webinar Frequency and Reach

Frequency:  2 webinars over 60 days

Resulting Attendance: 176 registrants, 80 attendees (estimates)

New Clients (Sales) = 3 (1.7% of total registrants) *

 

* The number of New Clients will vary based on various factors including the average revenue per new client (see III. Revenue New Sales).

 

II.  Risk/Costs

Direct Costs: $400 total (telephone and web charges)

Indirect Costs: $8,000 (time spent by you, your marketer and/or a contractor)

Total Costs = $8,400

 

III.  Revenues/New Sales

Revenue per New Client = $10,000

Annual Retention Rate of Clients = 70%

Growth Rate Per Client (% Increase/Yr) = 15%

(try replacing my hypothetical #s with your own numbers for Revenue/New Client, Retention Rate and Growth Rate per Client to asses your business’s potential ROI)

 

IV.  Results/ROI

New Revenue in Year 1 = $30,000 (3 new clients x $10K)

One Year ROI =  257%

 

Retained Revenue (Years 2,3,4) = $45,990 

Growth Revenue (Years 2,3,4) = $6,898.50

 

Total Revenue (Years 1,2,3,4) = $82,888.50

Four Year ROI = 887%

 

Special props to Wellesley Hills Group who outline this concept very well in their report entitled Making Lead Generation Work for Professional Services.

                                               

V.  Intangible

Revenue does not take into account the estimated 20% of webinar registrants who are new “leads” for business and may eventually become clients in future, further adding to the positive ROI (approximately 34 of 176 registrants in this case).

 

VISummary
The answer to the question “Is it Worth the Time?” is a resounding YES!   The impact of well thought marketing programs will vary depending on your business, your database, etc.  However, invariably the short term and long term ROI of a well planned and executed lead generation program will make a positive impact on sales, and serve as a foundation for additional revenues for years to come.

 

Other good posts that resulted from our webinar and poll entitled Lead Generation Tactics for Resource Limited Small Businesses are:

9 Tools Marketers Need in their Toolbox

20 Ways to Trigger a Groundswell for Your Viral Marketing Content

 

And Mark Your Calendar for March 11 at 12 PM EST for the next Marketing Studio Webinar: Leveraging Twitter to Grow Your Small Business.  Check out the All-Star panel we have by clicking here.

 

Contact me if you would like to learn more on how I can help save you time by helping with the planning and execution of your small business’s lead generation program.


Lead Generation is Old and Boring!!

February 10, 2009

sexy  New Marketing, Social Media and Web 2.0 are the new “sexy” terms marketers love to use today. But what do those terms really refer to anyway?

chris-brogan  Chris Brogan writes on his blog today about the “The Rise of Microfame.” His point is that social media platforms have provided all of us the opportunity to become mircofamous. He is spot on!   Becoming “microfamous” should be at the core of any business’s marketing strategy.  

godin-image     hubspot-with-heartlogo    However, at the end of the day, whether you are building your own “Tribe,” (thank you Seth Godin), creating an Inbound marketing machine (thank you Hubspot) or becoming Microfamous you are doing that same thing the very best marketers have always excelled at: “generating leads to build brand and grow the business.”

 There is no more effective avenue to showcase your insights and expertise than social media platforms (blogs, communities, twitter, facebook, etc).   Brogan further explains “fame isn’t trust, and the real goal, in my estimation, would be to develop trust, build relationships, and earn the attention of people in our circles of interest.   That’s what matters.”  

As a small business, freelancer or sole practitioner you can leverage these new platforms to quickly build relationships with your target market.   Every single resource spent on marketing (time exhausted and dollars invested) should be focused on building credibility and trust within your market.  Once more, lead generation programs must be designed to identify who out there may have reason to purchase your product or service one day (aka Lead Generation).

stage-with-audience Social media platforms, even in today’s economy, present a great opportunity for the little guy to grow their business doing the same ole, same ole…..generating business by building trust and credibility within your marketplace ….this is at the core of good old fashion Lead Generation.  So jump on the social media stage and become Microfamous!

webinar-globe   Join us Wednesday at 8PM to discuss these topics further. I am moderating a great panel of experts (via webinar) who will discuss the most important of these tactics ….it’s free so register now! Details at: http://marketingstudio.eventbrite.com


4 Things to Quick Start A Social Media Lead Generation Program – for Small Business Owners and Practitioners

February 3, 2009

geico-commerical   Quick commercial …join us for a complementary webinar and expert panel: Lead Generation Tactics for Resource Limited Small Businesses.  Register at:  http://marketingstudio.eventbrite.com …I know, not as entertaining as GEICO commercial ….at any rate, latest post below.
__________________________________________________________________________________________

 frustrated-at-computer  When I speak with small business owners about lead generation and social media, I am often asked one rhetorical question (usually in a very loud tone of voice): “How can I find the time!?”

There is no doubt that when you are small, and busy selling and delivering your services/products, its lead nourishment and pipeline generation that often gets ignored.  

 desk-with-pile-of-papers   This is simply a fact of life … a fact of the small business owner’s life. Everything takes time. Social media is no different, but before you say “I am too busy to get in involved in social media” take one weekend or a couple of weeknights away from the television to do the following four things:

1. Find 10 blogs or discussion forums that your market may have reason to read – Remember to think of it from a potential client point of view and not your own
Think broader than your business! For example:

* If you are a personal injury attorney with a focus on “slip and fall” injuries don’t look for blogs covering only legal issues and plaintiff’s rights, look for content around physical therapy, wellness, treatment, etc.
* If you are a web design firm, rather than focus on content specific to design, follow blogs that talk abut branding, e-marketing or lead generation.
* If you are a benefits consultant or talent recruiter, rather than focus on human resource issues, broaden the scope to small business strategy.

2. Join twitter_logo_s

“Leveraging Twitter to Grow Your Small Business” is a topic of our March webinar, and the topic of many, many other blog posts, some written by very knowledgeable and talented folks. Thus I will give you only a few tips to get started on twitter:

* use Twitter Packs to start following “packs” of people who may be your target market.
* use your first and last name as your username and if that is not available add an underscore, middle initial or choose first initial, last name (don’t use your company name)
* upload a photo of yourself, people without photos are viewed suspiciously (don’t ask, they just are)… twitter is casual, so your clothing in the photo should be as well; business casual.
* don’t start promoting … listen, watch, observe …this also can be a great way to finding those 10 blogs you need to follow …
* anytime you see anything of value provided by other people “tweet it” and give the source the proper credit
* Google “Twitter etiquette” and “Twitter best practices” and read up on more details on how to best leverage Twitter (topic for my March webinar)

3. Start your own blog. You don’t have to say anything intelligent, don’t even tell anyone about it …. yet!  Just go to http://www.wordpress.com, sign up and write a simple top 4 list …see how it works, how it feels. ..no commitment …..just a test drive.

4. Start logging your insights in a word document. Before you leave the desk each evening, ask yourself what are the things that came up at work today that others may find interesting or useful to their business? For example:

* I saw a great example of how Starbucks is building customer loyalty and spreading the Starbucks “virus” through Twitter
* I had further confirmation on how simple, inexpensive and valuable industry polls and surveys are for lead generation
* I learned of a great new tool called Blitztime that can help complement web-based, social media platforms.

Within a week you will have dozens of topics for potential blog posts. The challenge will be deciding which ones have the most immediate interest to your market.

one-big-dayIn summary, the above list should take no more than a day to complete. Your effort will result in a basic foundation for you, the busy entrepreneur and practitioner, to generate more leads and further build your brand by tapping into the “groundswell” that is social media.

Another good post on the topic is byRick Burnes at Hubspot.

Email me if I can help or if you have additional questions.


Seven Steps to A Successful Web Conference

January 12, 2009

webinar-globe   Offering a free web based conference is a tremendous lead generation vehicle  ….one of my favorites.  Here are seven important steps to ensure your next web conference generates an attractive ROI for your organization:

 

1. DEFINE A CLEAR OBJECTIVE

Is it sales, brand awareness, PR?  Make sure there is one clearly defined and agreed upon objective behind the web conference.

 

2. DELIVER VALUE

No matter the objective make sure the presentation is not just a sales pitch but delivers value to your audience.

 

3. HONEST PROMOTION

When promoting the web conference make sure you outline the “deal” behind the free VALUE you are offering.   This type of communication informs the attendees that in exchange for the free value you are offering there will be a marketing/sales component to the event.   In other words, avoid  surprising the audience with a long sales pitch by being forthcoming about the OBJECTIVE of the web conference    “the presentation will highlight research and analysis generated during the production of a recently published report on XYZ” or  “the case study will highlight the use of XYZ’s technology in reducing Company A’s R &D cycle by 25%.”

 

Your honesty helps establishes longer term creditability and trustworthiness between you and your market.

 

4. PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE

I recommend a minimum of two dress rehearsals for veterans and five rehearsals for rookies … anticipate questions, go over your answers …you will miss out on your OBJECTIVE if you are not prepared in a manner that allows you to convey your professionalism and expertise

 

5. ANTICIPATE PROBLEMS

Technical and operational kinks almost always occur the day of your event.  Anticipate problems by logging and calling-in multiple time prior to your attendees arrival, and you can usually solve everything before it’s show time.

 

6. SURVEY/FEEDBACK

The most powerful lead generation tool attached to a web conference is the survey …present a survey or “feedback form” at the end of the web conference (use a simple web based tool like Survey Monkey).  Offer a copy of the presentation as incentive to anyone who completes the form.  Make sure attendees can complete the form in less than five minutes by being brief (20 questions or less) and providing primarily multiple-choice questions.  And don’t forget you are always trying to generate leads so ask the question “would you like to hear more about (my services)?”

 

7. PLAN FOLLOW-UP

Most companies get caught up in the promotion and execution of the webinar and then find themselves scrambling to take advantage of all the hot leads that emerge from their efforts.  If you and your team do not have a plan of action from the minute the web conference ends than you will dramatically reduce the positive impact the event will have on your business.  Don’t lose site of that fact that well planned, timely and appropriate responses is the key to converting any lead generating activity into sales and generating a healthy ROI.

 

Web conferences are powerful lead generation tools but they do require time and a well thought out plan to be successful.  Follow the seven steps and maximize leads generated from this fun and exciting marketing tactic. 

contact-me1 Email me with any questions or if you need assistance producing your company’s next web conference!

Attend the free Marketing Studio webinar series: Lead Generation Tactics for Small business at: http://marketingstudio.eventbrite.com.


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