4 ways webinars enhance business development

Webinars can be an excellent strategy to leverage the expertise and presentation ability of your in-house staff to highlight your firm as a sector thought leader as well as to cultivate business development.

The technology available nowadays can allow webinars to serve in the same way that attendees might gain knowledge through an in-person conference, but without the travel costs and time away from the office.

One of my duties for Cherokee Media Group for the past five years has been to coordinate and host webinars; in particular, for some of our clients in the automotive space.
Here is a quartet of observations and suggestions I have picked up over that period that could help your firm if you decide to participate in webinars.

1. Be aware of time
The most impactful webinars oftentimes last about 45 minutes, especially if it’s a single presenter from one company. That span includes the expert spending about 30 minutes going through the presentation and reserving 15 minutes for a Q&A segment. When a single presenter approaches the 60-minute mark, audience attention can diminish as phone calls and emails begin to accumulate and webinar attendees need to focus on other matters.

2. Record the session for future distribution
Many platforms allow for the webinar to be recorded. In the same light that podcasts have grown in popularity, registrants sometimes register for a session under the assumption they will watch it when it’s convenient, be it 6 that evening or 6 the following morning.
The recording also can give your firm a beneficial opportunity for follow-up with all registrants, as well as to build a library of content to highlight your company’s expertise.

3. Avoid being an infomercial
If you suffer from occasional bouts of insomnia, perhaps you have seen television programs dedicated to showing how effective that kitchen or cleaning gadget can be. When it comes to your company’s webinar, leverage it to highlight the knowledge and experience of your presenter, not necessarily how beneficial or affordable your product or service might be. Registrants want useful information they cannot find anywhere else because your staff has it. Certainly an occasional reference to your company’s offering can be made, but be judicious and reinforce contact information. If you can prove your staff knows the subject, clients will come.

4. Balance boring against over-the-top technology
We’ve all been in presentations that mimic the teacher’s voice from the “Peanuts” cartoons. Keep your presentation engaging, possibly using the platform’s capability to conduct attendee polls during the presentation.

But be careful not to get too flashy with video or other complicated splash effects in your presentation. Depending on your company’s bandwidth – or more importantly, your audience’s internet connection – those complicated, technology-driven applications might not translate well through the web. Not knowing whether attendees are watching at their desk with a 24-inch computer monitor or on a smartphone, sometimes the path of least resistance is best.

If your firm hasn’t delved into the world of webinars, the approach could significantly augment the other strategies already in place while showcasing the talent and personality of your workforce to a pool of clients not previously reached.

And if your shop already has been hosting webinars for some time, consider how you can refresh the content or personnel who participate as a way to highlight other segments of your business.

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