For whatever unknown reason, I’ve managed to attend upwards of a dozen webinars in the past month. Webinars on Facebook marketing, book marketing, and a few more. And most – but not all – of them have been very worthwhile.
It got me to thinking: why couldn’t you do a webinar to market your upcoming tradeshow appearance?
Webinars are extremely easy to set up, very economical, and they can reach virtually anyone. If you have an email list of your clients or prospects, it’s easy to reach out to them, tell them you have an upcoming webinar as a ‘tradeshow sneak preview’ or some such thing, and send along a link for registration.
Webinars are best done when you have a concise, well-prepared presentation – but even those that are more loosely organize and executed can be worthwhile if you have a notable guest speaker or great content.
Let’s say that you are going to unveil a new product or service at the show. It might be a fairly simply product, or a more complex product or service that takes a bit more time to explain how it works and what the features and benefits are.
With a webinar, you’re killing two birds with one stone. First, you’ve got a prime opportunity to discuss the product/service with a more relaxed approach. You might give the back story of the product, explaining how it came about, what the goals are for the product, how it works, and then go into all of the ways the customer will benefit from it.
Next, by pitching the free webinar to current clients and new prospects, you’re launching a subtle sales process to whet their appetite.
Let’s say you’re launching a new service at a tradeshow in March. In January, you’re still finalizing how the service might be packaged and presented – but you’re almost there. A webinar with 50 or 100 clients and prospects gives you a chance to let those folks know about the upcoming release. It also gives them a chance to ask questions. Those questions now become a part of your market research, which may help you finalize a few tweaks to make the service more in line with what your market wants.
You can also use the webinar as a promotion vehicle in another way: offer the webinar attendees a chance to get a significant discount at the show if they show up with a coupon or code – which you give away during the webinar.
I’ve never seen this idea done specifically to promote a product or service at a webinar – but there’s no reason it can’t be done – and done effectively.
What it takes to put on a top-notch webinar
- Computer with internet access
- Telephone or microphone (preferred)
- Account with a webinar provider such as AnyMeeting.com or GoToWebinar.com (although there are others, these are the two I’m most familiar with)
- Slide show or something to show on your computer screen
To produce a top-notch webinar, prepare a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation. Plan on writing a page or two of bullet points but DON’T read from a script – it’ll sound too…well, scripted. Make sure you rehearse it a few times. This will give you a realistic idea of how long the webinar will be and how it sounds. Have a few other folks in the company view the rehearsal to get feedback.
Your slides for the webinar should be set-up as if you were doing a live presentation in front of an audience – yeah, as if at a conference. In other words, not too many points or topics per slide. In fact, the best recommendation is to limit each slide to ONE point with perhaps a few supporting bullet points. Use large images that evoke an emotion you want your audience to feel. If you have pertinent photos or graphics of the product or service you’re pushing, use those.
If you have a screen capture program, record the rehearsal a couple of times and watch it back. It’s amazing what you’ll catch by listening to yourself. You’ll often find that you are using a lot of verbal crutches or tics, such as ‘uh,’ ‘um,’ ‘like,’ ‘y’know,’ etc.
Before the webinar, test your computer to make sure the audio and screen transmission are working. In all the webinars I’ve attended in the past month, all of them provided audio online, although calling in on the telephone is an option.
Once the date and time of the webinar arrives, log-on early and put up a slide from your computer showing the title, date and presenter.
Use a high quality microphone if you can. A USB microphone is relatively cheap and definitely worth it – your audience will thank you and it sounds a whole lot better than using the telephone.
Start on time, or within a minute of the advertised time. Respect your audience’s time – don’t wait for stragglers, just move on without them. If they’re late, it’s their fault, not yours!
Finally, finish on time. If it looks like you have a lot of Q&A, make sure you finish the main content before your scheduled time is up. If you go past your time to deal with the Q&A, be sure to emphasize that you’ve covered all of the information that you planned and are just offering extra time to answer questions. If you have a giveaway, coupon or special deal for tradeshow attendees, make sure you get all of that in before your go to the Q&A.
Resources for webinars: