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!

Producing a Free Webinar – Looking to Speak with Owners of Small Businesses

January 5, 2009

i-want-you-for-feedback  I am looking for input from small business owners and marketers.

I am producing a webinar and panel tentatively titled “Lead Generation for Small Business: Tactics to Drive an Inbound Marketing Strategy” to be held February 11, 2009 at 8 PM EST (sixty minutes in duration).    Details below:

Cost?  The webinar is free to attend.  Register here.

Focus?  The session will feature a panel of business owners who will address questions around:

* Do you have a lead generation strategy? 

* What lead generation tactics work best for their business?

* What are the biggest barriers to executing such a strategy?

* How do you overcome resource limitations that often challenge small companies?

* What are tactics you use to overcome these barriers?

* What “proof of concept” or “ROI” is need to convince you that a lead generation strategy is necessary?

* What are examples of a very small business creating an “inbound marketing vortex” in a bad economy?

We will also field questions from attendees.

Who should attend?  Owners and/or practitioners that run and market their small business (loosely defined for purposes of this webinar as businesses that generate less than $15M annually).  These may be lawyers, consultants, software vendors, accountants, insurance brokers, store owners, publishers, etc.

ur-doing-it-wrong   I need your feedback!  Over the next two weeks I am looking to speak with as many small business owners and/or marketers as possible to gain feedback and insights on specific questions and topics we should address.   Please provide your feedback within this blog or simply email me to arrange a brief teleconference so we can connect one-on-one.  Your insights are truly appreciated! 

See you (virtually) on February 11 (I will post confirmed panelists and their bios on this site soon).

Event Marketing is a Six-to-Twelve Month Lead Generation Program

October 27, 2008

   Arguably the most under-utilized marketing tactic in professional services is around conferences and events.

If you help lead marketing efforts at your organization and you are reading this sentence I trust you are already questioning my credibility so let me elaborate before you close your browser on me.

All too often marketers target conferences, both large and small, based solely upon the demographics of expected attendees. They then plop down tens of thousands of marketing dollars and tie it to the two to five days of the event. A far too risky proposition if your job performance is tied to successful marketing ROIs, revenues and brand building.

The problem with the traditional approach to event marketing is that it is focuses far too much on the event itself. Event marketing, if executed properly, is a six to twelve month “lead generation program.”

When partnering with an event organizer or conference producer make sure the agreement goes beyond a simple exhibit or even a speaking slot. Include items like:

*   distribution of your white paper or recent case study

*   promotion and/or hosting of a pre-event web conference featuring your organization (make sure you review “don’t pitch to sell“)

*   an online poll around the conference topic that will enable you to distribute the results to all participants

And there is a whole lot more including market research, VIP dinners/lunches, recruting of talent, etc. !

Event marketing, when utilized correctly, can be at the core of your lead generation efforts and enable your organization to convey your expertise and capabilities to a targeted audience more effectively than any other tactic available to you.

And the cherry on top is if these tactics are planned and implemented property, they also serve the conference organizer in generating more excitement over their event …. increasingng the paid attendance and thus creating an opportunity for you to negotiate a less risky economic agreement for your organization!

  It’s the quintessential win-win arrangement!

Don’t Pitch to Sell!

October 23, 2008

When your objective during a conference (or webinar) presentation is to market your product or service then a key strategy to employ is ….to NOT market your product or service.

A great post to review on presenting is How to Get a Standing Ovation (within Guy Kawasaki’s blog).

Attendees who are taking the time (and sometimes lots of money) to listen to a presentation are there to network and/or learn …not be pitched services they may not need. However this environment, when approached correctly, can be a perfect opportunity to generate leads and build your brand ….so long as you do not promote your products or services.

Remember, your audience is spending the time and/or money to receive value…so focus on providing entertainment and value. By all means spend sixty seconds introducing yourself and what your company does …but limit it to sixty seconds. You should focus the remaining 95% of your presentation on:
a) entertaining the audience
b) offering value

If you successfully achieve “a” and “b” you will help establish yourself as both likeable and a subject matter expert, two critical characteristics needed to earn someone’s business. The immediate result will be attendees lining up for one of your business cards after the presentation. On the other hand, if you spend too much time spewing a sales pitch, you may find yourself sitting alone during lunch at a table set for ten.


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