How You Can Connect With A Broader Audience Through Webinars

Posted by Suzanne McKee on May 7, 2016 1:00:00 PM

Webinar-Series-1.jpgIf you had the opportunity to share your product assortment and valuable growing tips with one prospective customer, you would put a considerable amount of time and thoughtfulness into what information would be most valuable to them and ensure that they walk away more knowledgeable about your products.

Now, what if you could take that same effort and reach 100 people or more?

That’s what webinars can do for your business. They can take the personal touch of a sales call and turn it into a professional and efficient sales tool with far more reach and effectiveness. The beauty of it is the customer wins, too. Often, customers don’t have time to engage in a two-hour sales call in the middle of their day, but a 45-minute webinar they can watch from the comfort of their own office offers a lot of value to them.

I certainly don’t propose that webinars should replace all personal engagements with your customers and prospects. However, they can add a tremendous advantage to your business and to the customers you serve.
Webinars offer distinction to the companies who do them right, but most importantly, they bring value to prospects and customers with educational, timely, and helpful information that will help them be successful.

Smart Webinar Practices That Work

BethToeniskoetter.jpgI recently had the opportunity to sit down with Beth Toeniskoetter, Manager of the webinar line of business at ReadyTalk (www.readytalk.com), a leading web-conference company, to get her observations on good webinar techniques and best practices.

Here’s what she had to say...
If you could pick just one thing that a company can do to improve their webinars that would have the biggest impact, what would it be?
Beth Toeniskoetter: Connect more with your audience during the webinar, which also helps you learn more about them. For example, ReadyTalk enables webinar organizers to push poll questions to their audience throughout the event. Instead of using poll questions to make sure your audience is paying attention, use them as a way to learn more about their needs or pain points, or to ensure the content is meeting their expectations throughout your webinar.

Have you seen more success with standalone webinars or those that are set up as a series?
Toeniskoetter: It’s an interesting question, and I’m thinking about it a little differently. I would say the most success comes from consistent webinars, whether that’s monthly, quarterly, etc. The consistency is the most important part of helping build up your audience and letting them know what they can expect from you. This makes it easier to plan, promote, and help your audience know when to “hear” from you in your next webinar.
I think a series can be a great idea, but make sure the content builds on the last webinar. Each webinar should stand on its own from a takeaway perspective, in case someone can’t view the entire series.

What kind of follow-up activities do you recommend to keep webinar content relevant past the date of the presentation?
Toeniskoetter: Keep in mind how you are going to reuse the content before the live webinar happens. This can help you plan the content, so it is easier to slice and dice it for reuse later. More specifically:
• Try not to mention the date, time of year, or the weather as part of the webinar. It could instantly “age” the webinar.
• Write a blog post or create a slide deck that shares the highlights from the webinar. (Read more from Beth on “How to Multiply Your Webinar ROI: Repurpose Your Webinar Content” at goo.gl/Iby96S.

When is the best time of the week to host a webinar?
Toeniskoetter: Aim for the middle of the week — Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. This gives you enough time to follow-up with attendees and no-shows before the week is over and ensures you get past the stress of Monday. Also, aim for the middle of the day to accommodate most time zones.

What is the best webinar you have attended? What made it stand out to you?
Toeniskoetter: A recent one I attended was about a partner program that we participate in. The presenter was a dynamic speaker and had slides with mostly images and few words, but he got his main points across really well. I also loved that he recapped what he had reviewed at the end, and specified exactly how he was going to follow-up with the audience. In addition, the webinar was less than 30 minutes, just long enough to keep my attention.

Webinars are a great way to educate your prospects and help your customers be successful with relevant information. Think outside of the box to create compelling webinars that elevate your business and the industry as a whole.

Checklist For A Successful Webinar

  • Pick the topic
  • Get an enthusiastic speaker
  • Pick a date
  • Promote, promote, promote!
  • Remind registrants as the date approaches
  • Host an engaging webinar
  • Follow up with attendees and non-attendees
  • Repurpose your content using blogs, social media, Slideshare, infographics, and more

ePlantSource Webinar Series

*This article was originally published for Greenhouse Grower Magazine.

Topics: Marketing, Professional Greenhouse Grower, Retail Garden Center

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