5 Tips for Boosting Webinar Attendance
September 24, 2009 @ 11:03 AM | By Cambria Vaccaro

One of the biggest concerns for any webinar host is attendance. It is, for better or worse, the most common barometer for gauging event success. Of course, we all know quality prevails over quantity, right?

Boost_Webinar_AttendanceBut as I’m sure many would have to admit, it’s nice to tout an overwhelming number of attendees. So how do you encourage both quantity and quality at your next online event? Here are some tried-and-true tips:

Be Considerate

When scheduling your event, make sure you’re considering what’s best for the audience. Would they be most likely to attend in the morning or in the afternoon? Midweek or on Monday or Friday? Are there any conflicts, like a big industry tradeshow or conference, which might interfere with attendance at your virtual event?

Make It Matter

Be sure you’re providing content and speakers that your audience is interested in. Has the speaker you hired delivered the same content multiple times for other companies who might share your audience? Are you continually offering identical webinars with just a different title? Mix it up, stay relevant and ask your audience who and what they want to see and hear.

Try, Try Again

Send multiple invites to get your audience to register: one a couple of weeks before, one a week before and maybe one a day or two before. Remove people who have already registered for the event before sending subsequent invites and try different email content and subject lines with each invite. You never know what’s going to grab someone’s attention. Increased registration should hopefully lead to increased attendance. But with industry average attendance rates at anywhere from 30-50%, you should do everything you can to convert those registrants into attendees!

Keep It Simple

Make registration easy. You’ll have an opportunity to gather information throughout the process, thanks to surveys and polls, so limit registration fields to the essential contact information–name, email and maybe a phone number. That gives you an opportunity to ask a couple more questions that can help you qualify leads and even improve your presentation. For instance, you could ask for registrants to submit questions ahead of time, which can help shape content and delivery to the expectations and needs of the audience. Be sure to incorporate this information as a way of letting your audience know that you’re listening to their needs. And don’t forget to send an immediate email confirmation.

That Reminds Me…

Speaking of emails, you have to remind your audience. Then remind them again. Make sure you send multiple email reminders with clear, easy to understand instructions on how to attend, a link to the event, phone numbers to dial in and support contact information--just in case they need it. And be sure to include a ‘save to Outlook calendar’ option.

Some other tips:

Cross promote – Post it on your web site, partner web sites, your blog, Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools that you participate in, or use free event listing services like EventSpan.
Use the force – Your sales force, that is. Have them add a link to their emails, make calls and ensure it’s top of mind for their clients and prospects.
Buddy up – Find a co-sponsor and have them promote the event to their database.
Reward the behavior you want to promote – Incentives can work. If your goal is to increase attendance, make sure the giveaway goes to an attendee–and perhaps announce it end of the event so the audience stays to listen to the entire presentation.

Finally, sometimes people just can’t make it. Be sure to record your event! You’ll increase the value of your event investment and continue to capture leads over the lifetime of the recording.

Cam_blog Cambria Vaccaro is the Senior Director, Marketing Communications and our “Industry News” blogger.  Cambria has been in the conferencing industry for nearly fifteen years, and has seen it evolve from a traditional video bridging service to include cool web features and remote communication services.  She is an avid runner, cook, wife and mother of two gorgeous girls.

Own a small business? You’re using web conferencing, right?
September 17, 2009 @ 11:11 AM | By Cambria Vaccaro

Small-business-tools There are many tools online to help the small business owner be successful. You can network, schedule meetings and manage your customers. But in the end, creating a successful business is about the relationships you are able to create and how well you communicate with your stakeholders. If you own a small business you should be using web conferencing. Why? Here are 3 things that web conferencing can do for you.

  1. You save money.
  2. Travel is expensive. There are flights, rental cars, hotel rooms and dinners out with clients.  When you use web conferencing, you save money. Instead of traveling to meet with potential clients, meet online. Hosting a virtual meeting keeps you focused on business instead of worrying about the ROI of the trip.

  3. You look like a pro.
  4. Integrating a conference call with web cam video or desktop sharing shows that you are a tech-savvy professional. With conferencing and collaboration tools, you can avoid emailing documents back and forth or using a subpar “free” conference call service that may not have lines available when you need them.

  5. You can get started now.
  6. When you use online collaboration tools, you are building a partnership with your conferencing service provider. That provider is partially responsible for your success. The great part about this is that you don’t need to buy any expensive equipment or consult your IT guy. It’s packaged and ready to start using the day you decide you need an audio conference or video meeting.

Now, I’m not a salesperson by nature.  But if you think you are ready to give web conferencing a try, we do have a nifty free trial offer available for you. Let me know if web conferencing does everything I’ve promised here. If it gives you other benefits (and it will) come back and let us know about them.

Cam_blog Cambria Vaccaro is the Senior Director, Marketing Communications and our “Industry News” blogger.  Cambria has been in the conferencing industry for nearly fifteen years, and has seen it evolve from a traditional video bridging service to include cool web features and remote communication services.  She is an avid runner, cook, wife and mother of two gorgeous girls.

The Internet is Changing Business
September 9, 2009 @ 01:39 PM | By Guest Blogger

Internet-Changing-Business Please welcome our guest blogger and recent webinar speaker, Jerry Cahn.

Recently, someone asked me, “How has the Internet changed history?” Since the Internet is relatively new, we’re actually living through a period of “history in the making”. I brainstormed on the many ways the Internet is changing our lives both as consumers and as business people and considered what future implications and directions might be. With all things that change, it’s not all good or bad; the issue is what do we do with the new technologies: improve our lives or not?

So, when InterCall invited me to write a blog post, I decided it might be interesting to explore how the Internet is changing business-related communications and invite everyone to share their ideas. What’s changing and what’s not, including psychological and social implications?  (As a psychologist, that’s always my slant.)

Since I’m writing this blog on the day I delivered a webinar for InterCall on “SuperMentoring: Creating a Performance Culture” and announced a calendar of other webinars from now through December, let’s focus on webinars for a while.

There are some key advantages to webinars. You can:

  • Deliver live presentations to an audience from your desk
  • Save time and money by not traveling
  • Reach a large audience at one time without having to rent out space 
  • Build a relationship with an audience through polling, Q&A, etc.

As a result, webinars are ideal for many purposes including:

  • Introducing info (such as a health or retirement plan)
  • Educating employees, vendors, consultants
  • Marketing to customers and investors

On the other hand, webinars are NOT ideal for such things as sales and negotiations where “reading” and “relating” to the other party are vital to success. So use webinars to reach the audience and face-to-face meetings to close.

What determines impact usually isn’t mastery of the webinar technology; rather it’s the use of fundamental presentation skills when designing and delivering the presentation—content, structure, succinctness, organization, engaging graphics and the communication power of the presenter—are what really count.  We’ll talk about these issues in the next entry and then turn to other communication issues.

Share your thoughts with me in the comments below.

Jerry-Cahn Jerry Cahn, Ph.D., J.D., is a presentation master, organizational strategist and executive coach. He helps clients design and implement effective business strategies, sharpen sales and marketing performance, develop leadership skills and performance cultures, and produce winning sales, marketing and investor presentations.

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