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!


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.


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.


Update on Webinar: Lead Generation for Small Business

January 7, 2009

Thank you for all your input!   The Webinar and Panel is entitled:

Lead Generation for Small Business: Tactics to Drive an Inbound Marketing Strategy
February 11, 2009 at 8 PM EST (sixty minutes in duration)

Register (free) at: http://marketingstudio.eventbrite.com

 

 

I summarize below the insights I have received into three buckets.  Any additional thoughts are welcome …feel free to forward along to other smart folks as well.  Thank you all again!   

 

bucket  I. Strategy

* Do you have a lead generation strategy?

* What lead generation tactics work best for your business?

* How can small companies be seen among the ever-widening pool of larger companies who are flooding into social media?

* What are the biggest barriers to executing a lead generation strategy?

 

bucket II. Resource Allocation and Prioritization

* Sharpening your market focus

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

* How do you find  time to execute marketing programs when you are busy “delivering”?

* Tying your marketing strategy to what you are best at doing

* Focusing on tactics/projects that are vital to your survival and/or prosperity

* Allocating resources to try something different

* Ensuring new tactics are aligned with your existing strategy
* What are the best lead generation tools (i.e. website, CRM, networking, SEO, etc)?

 

bucket III. Client Retention

* Gaining a clear perspective on your core customer segments: their pain points and how you provide value to them

* Retaining existing clients – ongoing communication and feedback gathering (i.e. customer surveys), understanding their ongoing needs

* How are companies nourishing relationships with existing clients?

* What tactics are you using to increase sales/billable hours from existing clients?

 

Remember, mark the calendar for Feb 11 at 8 PM EST ….we’ll try to address a subset of these issues through an expert panel (session will be free).

 

Register at: http://marketingstudio.eventbrite.com/


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).


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