If you are like many small businesses dealing with a sudden downturn in the economy due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, you are relying on eCommerce and online marketing more than ever. It’s a great way to stay connected to your customers during times like these.
While opportunities to reach your customers in-person are diminishing as many business meetings and hundreds of trade shows worldwide have been canceled or postponed, online technology may offer a solution. How can you still reach a mass audience while also navigating the new rules of business? A webinar could be the answer.
Webinars are a great opportunity to establish your small business as a thought leader within your industry and reach out to your target audience to build trust and credibility. A webinar will help you:
Interact with People Who are Interested in Your Brand
When you are looking for ways to connect people with your brand in the current atmosphere of separation, webinars allow you to interact with a large group of your customers and prospects at the same time. Whether your goal is to keep your audience engaged with your products and services or you are launching a new solution, a webinar can help you have a positive impact in the virtual marketplace.
As the rules of large group interaction have changed and may be in place for the foreseeable future, webinars offer valuable benefits that traditional conferences or in-person meetings can’t deliver. Most notably, webinars conserve valuable resources as they reduce or eliminate the need for travel, material, workforce and overhead expenditures. These budget-friendly benefits extend to your target audience as well, which may lead to greater attendance than you would have probably attracted with an in-person gathering.
Develop a Plan for Reaching Your Audience in a Meaningful Way
If you’ve never hosted a webinar before, you might be surprised how easy it is to plan and complete your first online event. Begin by selecting a topic that will appeal to your audience. For example, if you have an accounting firm, now would be a great time to discuss with your clients the extension of the federal tax deadline, pros and cons for waiting to file and ideas for being even more conscious of costs in the coronavirus economy. These are timely topics that will attract your customers who value your expertise and prospects who want to learn more about this subject.
Next, determine a date and time for your webinar and create a list of actionable steps to meet this deadline. Online apps like Teamwork and Easynote can help you map out a solid plan and keep you and your team on task to successfully complete each phase of the project. Promote your webinar well in advance of the event using your website, an email campaign and social media. Link interested customers and prospects to a sign-up page on your website and gather email addresses and phone numbers of your attendees. This will help you create a valuable database of people who are interested in your company and generate qualified leads.
Create an Impactful Presentation That Generates Interest – and Sales
The next step in the webinar process is creating your presentation. Utilizing resources like Google Slides or Microsoft PowerPoint and including relevant photos and graphics will help keep your webinar organized and visually appealing. Make sure that your content is optimized for laptops and mobile screens and keep it simple and easy to follow.
Keep the content on each slide to a bare minimum. You or someone with your company will lead your audience through the presentation and narrate each section. While less is almost always more, focus on delivering substance. Attendees prefer 60-minute webinars over the 30-minute variety because they want to ensure that they are receiving quality content with actionable information in exchange for their valuable time.
Produce a Customer Experience That Adds Value to Your Brand
Once you have created your presentation, you can prepare to implement the webinar using helpful online platforms. Among the most popular are Demio and GoToWebinar which will help you upload your content and will create a link that your customers and prospects can access when your webinar goes live. These platforms generate reports and analytics to help you measure attendance and engagement so you can determine the success of your online event.
Before your webinar, conduct a trial run to test all of your webinar tools and practice your presentation. Check your webcam and software to ensure it is working properly and review your online chat functions if you plan on interacting with your audience in real time. Whether you present your webinar solo or with a co-host, you’ll want to come across as confident, knowledgeable, friendly and welcoming to your audience. When the big day arrives, relax and take a deep breath – you’re prepared and you’ve got this.
Keep Your Audience Engaged After Your Event
Once your webinar is completed, send out your presentation and a recording of your event to attendees and those who registered but were not present during the live version. Interpret each attendee’s registration as a signal of interest in your products and services. Send out emails thanking your audience for participating and offer sales incentives to generate more revenue while your brand is top of mind with these customers and prospects
Repromote your webinar recording and presentation on your website and through social media channels to maintain positive momentum. This will help you capitalize on all of your efforts and create even more brand visibility. Be sure to stay in touch with your audience and frequently update them on your products and services. A webinar is further proof that you don’t have to meet in-person to form meaningful customer relationships.
In these interesting times, technology is coming into play more than ever for small businesses seeking to stay connected with their customers. By following these ideas, you can generate a webinar that will build your customer base and create brand loyalty.