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6 Ways Your Small Business Can Get More From Webinars and Virtual Events

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6 Ways Your Small Business Can Get More From Webinars and Virtual Events

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: September 27, 2012

Technology moves fast these days. Sometimes it’s hard to keep pace with how it can help you be more successful in business – boosting productivity, saving money and improving collaboration.

This SBA guest blog from SmallBizTrends’ Anita Campbell, 4 Ways Technology Helps you Run Your Business, offers some useful tips and recommendations on how technology can help you redesign your business processes to be more efficient and save you money.

Many of the innovations Anita mentions are still rather new – tablet computers, cloud computing, and online software apps – but there is a technology that has been around for years that can still help deliver business success: the webinar!

Webinar or webcast technology has been around since the 90s and has become a staple in many business marketing toolkits, but the good old webinar can do lots more for your business. Here are some tips for getting more from your webinar platform and its more sophisticated cousin – the virtual event.

Use It As a Post-Sale Educational Tool

Marketers often use webinars to showcase products, educate sales prospects and generate leads. You can also use webinars as post-sale learning opportunities for existing customers – where folks can learn without leaving their desks. Have subject matter experts lead virtual learning webinars so that customers can learn about things such as industry trends, new innovations and overcoming topical challenges. Remember, though, it’s not a sales pitch.

Whether you use webinars to complement or even replace field seminars, they can help position your business as a genuinely helpful brand and establish you as the go-to expert in the field.

Use Webinars to Improve SEO

When it comes to driving traffic to your website, content is king, and archived webinars are a great way to improve your company’s search engine rankings. Whether it’s a product demo or an educational event, look for ways to broaden the visibility of your webinar content. Besides posting your archived webinars to your website, link back to them from social bookmarking sites like Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon, and promote them on your own social media channels. Post the slide deck to social sharing sites like SlideShare or author STREAM.

Integrate Webinars with Marketing Automation Systems

If you already have or are considering investing in a marketing automation system such as Eloqua, HubSpot or Marketo, get more from your webinar activity by automating your email invites and tracking registrant information, reminders and more. Most platforms offer sophisticated querying to track leads from the source (email, newsletters, sales efforts, etc.) and get real-time registration and attendance metrics in your automation system for dashboard reporting.

Virtual Events

Webinar technology has blossomed in recent years to enable businesses to host virtual events that mimic the traditional tradeshow or conference experience, complete with online exhibit halls, auditoriums, virtual hosts, streaming webinars and more.

Virtual events can be used for a variety of purposes. Many larger businesses use them to complement traditional user conferences or seminars and extend the reach of the event to users across the country or even the globe.

Virtual environments can also replace in-person meetings with partners or customers. For example, you can offer new product briefings or reseller training through a virtual event. You can set up multiple tracks easily, and integrate live briefings and product demos.

Popular virtual event platforms include INXPO, ubivent and Intercall, among others. As with webinars, much of the content can be pre-recorded and archived for “always-on” viewing. A virtual event can really extend the conversation beyond the initial event, offering a place to go to look up product information, meet and chat with your experts.

Product Launches

Wondering how to get maximum visibility and impact for a new product launch? Use webcasting to create a hybrid event or even replace a live product launch event. Many webinar platforms and virtual environments let you integrate social media interaction and live Q&A to ensure maximum engagement.

Employee Training and Communication

Is your team virtual or scattered? Use webinars as part of your employee learning program or as a way to keep them informed of company developments.

How have you used webinars or virtual environments in your small business? Leave a comment below!

About the Author:

Caron_Beesley
Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

Comments:

Yes! We used webinars 3 month. It's very useful for lead generation in our business.
Interesting, haven't though of it as a post-sales tool. Have always looked at webinars as pre-sales, but definitely something to consider.

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