I am often asked the question “how can web-conferencing help me generate business?” when I introduce myself and say what I do for a living. I don’t usually find enough time to explain it thoroughly in a couple sentences. I know my “elevator pitch” about web conferencing in general and what omNovia does but it takes a little more time to analyse the impact of webinars on your marketing results. So let me take a shot at it here. I promise I’ll keep it short in the first message. I hope others will relate their experiences and share their ideas.
I’d like to introduce here the notion of “active marketing” as opposed to the traditional ad-based “passive marketing”.
When you mass-mail or mass-email ads to thousands and millions of people or when spend a fortune posting billboards or banners on different web sites, you are hoping that some will notice your message and will eventually call a number of click the mouse. This is a “passive” approach as you have no way of interacting with your prospects. Once they do contact you, the “sales phase” begins whereby you try to “close the deal”. Here is why this process is inefficient:
- Supporting a large number of 1-on-1 phone calls is expensive and results vary based on the quality of the sales person; and
- Automated web-site sales processes (online brochure + shopping-cart) are not personal enough and do not lead to same results as talking with a sales person
Typically a conversion rate of 3% is considered as a successful outcome. Conversion rate is the number of people who actually end up buying your product over the number of people who saw the initial ad.
In a fundamentally different approach, web conferencing offers an “active marketing” method. How does this work? You still have to initiate the process by placing ads and banners to lure prospects. But the “Sales phase” discussed above differs significantly. You gather hundreds or thousands of people in one virtual room at one time and demonstrate your product or services in a fully interactive environment. Via voice, video, power point presentations, recorded movies, polls … you create an environment of trust and answer all questions and address their concerns real-time. Imagine you could gather 600 prospects in one large hotel ball-room! The webinar environment (if done right!) is very similar except that people can attend from the comfort of their homes or offices.
So what are the benefits of “Marketinars”? You have your best sales person (or people) present to the large crowd. At the end or throughout your presentation, you can invite attendees to sign-up for your service or at least for a free trial. Two factors help increase your sales:
- Prospects feel more comfortable signing up as their questions are answered. They are making an educated decision.
- The infamous “group factor” kicks in. When you see others purchasing the product and you hear that only 28 are left at reduced price, you are encouraged to make the leap and click!
Let us summarize the advantages:
- Your cost is significantly less than the traditional sales technique. You have your best sales person (or a few sales persons) present to a large crowd instead of a costly team of inconsistent quality sales people.
- As proved by our customers’ results the conversion rate is tremendously higher (We have heard up to 23%!)
- You save time
- You receive valuable feedback allowing you to improve your next webinar
Now what are the risks? Obviously you need to have the right people and the right content or you are going to bore your prospects off and as it is well known you only have “one bullet” you don’t want to miss. An important factor is also the quality of the web conferencing service. If people have difficulties accessing yoru room or once in the room have problems hearing, viewing the show, asking questions … no matter how good your content, they are going to be turned off and never return.
A few tips on the web conferencing platform you need:
- You need a system that requires no software installs. These days even installing an Activex control might be a problem as it requires admin rights and involves other security violations. Typically any web conferencing platform requiring an install will prevent 10% of potential attendees to enter. Some of your best future customers might be among them!
- You need a system with clear integrated voice. Dialing a phone number and staying online while watching a webinar is inconvenient and passé!
- You need room for growth! Many web conferencing platforms do a decent job with small crowd but miserably fail with large capacity rooms. You might start with 50 people but things go fast on the Internet. before you know it your might need a room of 500 or more!
- Branding helps! You should choose a system that can be seen as an extension of your web site.
Our customers’ numerous success stories suggest that at omNovia we have reached our goal of creating such system. Some will share their success stories with you in this blog.
Shawn Shadfar – C.E.O omNovia Technologies