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The Digital Business Kit for Retailers


Learning Outcomes

Retailers will understand how they can use eMarketing strategies to sell products and services online. [printfriendly]

mod-arrow Webinars

effective webinarsWebinars are seminars held on the web. They are a great mechanism to deliver thought leadership, product knowledge, “how to” sessions and much more. Webinars are especially great marketing tools for products that are visual, involve complex sales, have diverse uses, etc.

Webinars are typically free and promoted via newsletters and other marketing channels. They are developed to offer value to potential customers, demonstrate your company’s attributes such as expertise, product inventory, etc. and engage attendees in a sales cycle. These are also seen as quite valuable in the B2B world (see chart on right).

Webinars utilise multimedia capabilities, including presentations (PowerPoint, etc.), live or pre-recorded videos, live product demos, voice communications, and text chat. Attendees can be invited to ask questions during the webinar to further engage their interest and bring relevance to their own requirements as well as add richness to the experience of other attendees. Entire webinars can also be recorded and posted on your website or other media sites, such as YouTube, for viewing any time by interested potential customers. It is not a bad idea to ask for registration to view a webinar email – even just an email address can be a lead.

*See the demo video from GoToMeeting (one of the many providers of online meeting solutions) showing a meeting launch and functionality across several devices.

TIP:

You must have stable high speed internet connectivity to enjoy a quality online meeting experience, particularly if sharing a high volume of rich media such as video and high quality images.

Why use webinars?

Webinars are low cost to the host business and high value to attendees and can generate immediate upgrade sales, demo bookings and other high value customer engagement. Webinars can be recorded and posted online to continue to offer value online as videos (post to YouTube and tag for added SEO benefit) long after the original event.

One of the most valuable aspects of webinars is that they can have virtually unlimited global reach to wherever your target market is.

Typical uses & common webinar themes for marketing

 

  • “How to” /training
  • Demonstration of product use
  • Product knowledge
  • Thought leadership on a specific topic

Costs: Most multimedia webinar services are very affordable and subscribed to a Software-as-Service model. Attendees simply need to download a free application to connect into the webinar service and typically only need to do this once.

What happens in an online meeting?

What happens in an online meeting session or webinar?

Essentially everything that happens in a normal meeting. However, instead of sitting together in person, attendees are logging in with their computers. The presenters will share their screens so attendees experience the audio and visual they would normally see on the boardroom screen and hear from presenters coming from their own computer or device instead. Control over communications can be shared among participants. A registration process provides participants with login information and you with potential leads. Generally a moderator will do introductions and time management.   Attendees can communicate with presenters/moderator as desired.

Online meeting resources
The host uses an online meeting platform that allows the host to broadcast a variety of communication including:

  • Computer screen sharing, e.g. Showing your slideshows or anything else you choose to display.
  • Voice of moderator, other panelists and when appropriate other attendees.
  • Video of presenters.
  • Documents that can be shared and edited.
  • Text chat for private conversations or all audience questions.
  • Polls to collect and share feedback right away.
  • Other functions may be available based on the platform.

Choosing the right platform:
The right online meeting platform will be based on your organisation’s size, budget and the type of meetings that you plan to hold. There are numerous meeting platforms to choose from, ranging complex to more basic functionality with pricing from free to pay-per-month.

Click here to view resources links on platform types and read below for more decision making direction.

What to consider before hosting an online session

A well run online meeting is a well-planned meeting.
Here are a few considerations before you host your first online meeting (or to review best practice if you are currently hosting meetings).

 

  1. Attendance: The number of people you will be hosting during your online meetings may also dictate which type of program you use. For large audiences, you may want to consider a platform that offers a presentation mode that allows the presenter to mute/unmute all attendees.
  2. Session goals: It is important to plan for the goals of your session (such as education, editing documents, training, collaboration, etc). Stating the goals of the meeting very clearly for both your staff and attendees will be helpful in the rest of the online meeting process.
  3. Planning: Planning the time, date, content, length and applications to be used to conduct online meetings will depend on a number of different factors as outlined below. When trying to establish a date for a meeting between numerous people the online free tool www.doodle.com  may also be helpful. It is also important to consider time zones if you are inviting people or expecting attendees from a wide variety of geographic locations. Ensuring that you will have appropriate connection to the internet is very important. Test the internet connection prior to the meeting and consider an Internet backup such as an Internet USB or “hot spot” device in the event your local Internet fails.
  4. Required tools: Understanding your goals will help you plan the type of content that you want in your online meeting. Be clear on what type of tools will be required, which may include chat boxes, video, and interactive drawing tools. Look to your goals in order to plan the content, milestones and deliverables for your presentation.
  5. Meeting type: With your goals and tools established, you should be able to determine the structure of your meeting, as well as the type of meeting platform.
    1. Open to the public with 20+ attendees: webinar platform.
    2. Closed session (sales or staff): meeting platform with login by invitation and appropriate tools.
    3. Closed session (sales or staff): can be a planned or spontaneous session.
      Example of a spontaneous session: A phone conversation becomes difficult because you can’t both “see” the same document or screen. An instant meeting connection can be established using tools like skype.com or join.me to share a screen.
  6. Registration: Most online meeting programs include a registration service. The registration process is based on the attendees. For example, if it is a staff meeting, registration may be as simple as clicking on a link and entering a name and email address. However, if it is a marketing webinar that is open to the public, you may ask for more information from each attendee. Consider the time required to communicate with your potential attendees when you send out the registration. Make sure there’s enough time for them to register and for you to send them the information regarding the meeting.
  7. Documentation: Documentation may include the information that you sent to online-meeting attendees prior to the meeting. This can include a variety of information that will make it easier for the attendees to login and to interact during the online meeting. It is important to clarify how the meeting will be executed, expectation of attendees as well as how tools are used, and what to do if they have trouble logging in.
  8. Testing: If you are planning to organe an online meeting, particularly for the first time, it is very important to test the features to make sure that you and your staff know how to use the various tools and features. If you are involving other presenters, make sure that they are involved in a short testing for sound/video quality as well as the presenter’s ability to perform functions required in the meeting (Example: screen share, changing presenter, etc.)
  9. Execution: Plan to start early, establish the meeting platform and set all the control levels to where you want them.