Sure. Here are some webinar recording and delivery services that we’re aware of:
- Autopilot Webinars
- Evergreen Business System
- Google Hangouts
In general, webinar software and services used to be very expensive, but they have reduced in price quite a lot, and continue to get cheaper with time. Google Hangouts, for instance, is an excellent tool for giving webinars, and not only is it free, it’s also connected directly to a major social network.
Maybe. If you have already had success with your previous traditional marketing efforts, then absolutely don’t abandon them! Rather, select some of the things we’ve talked about in this chapter that you can easily add to that strategy, and see what happens.
Now, if you’ve seen rising costs and diminishing returns in traditional advertising, then you should think about cutting back on the parts of it that aren’t working, and ramping up your social media efforts. The world in general is moving toward social media and away from old-style media.
For products and services that have a long or detailed sales process, or are very complicated and/or expensive, webinars tend to convert very well to sales, more so than a plain old landing page. Definitely go for the sale during the presentation, but don’t show or provide the “buy” button until you get to the “bonuses” for fast-acting buyers.
The strategy for promoting a webinar is pretty universal, no matter where or how you’re doing it. It’s just a lot easier, quicker, and cheaper online if you focus on social media. When you’re promoting your webinar, foster a sense of urgency and scarcity. There are only so many seats, slots, or tickets. Show a countdown timer, or show the exact (low) number of available free tickets. Offer people the chance to win something extra by signing up early (“The first 20 people to sign up get this extra”), such as a free ticket to another event, free access to bonus material or other recordings of expensive events, or free product giveaways.
LeadPages has premade templates for webinar registration pages that are incredibly quick to fill in.
It’s just something to keep in mind for marketing purposes. A live event is going to generate more interest than a prerecorded event, so you’re going to want to advertise that fact. You also don’t want to mislead people; if you advertise something as live, but it is actually automated, it could backfire and generate a significant amount of negative buzz for future events if you’re found out.
If your event is prerecorded or automated, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you’re going to have to focus on a good value add. The recorded content is only part of the value. It may be prerecorded, but there is still someone there to field questions afterward, or there is some other interactive element to it that makes the fact that it’s not live a nonissue. Or maybe the content is so good and so unique that you can do it live once and resell the recording a few times for people who couldn’t attend the first event.
Another way to advertise or set up a prerecorded webinar is to tailor it for new customers or qualified prospects. Tell them that you have a webinar coming up in the near future, and then arrange to deliver it at that time. This can be done on an ad hoc basis, or you can schedule the events regularly.
Even though you’re not going to lie about a webinar being prerecorded, you probably don’t want to make it obvious that it is—you still want to give the appearance of it being live. Even if your attendees are aware that it’s prerecorded, a well-configured presentation will still put them into the same mode of thinking as if it were live. For instance, if an attendee is late, don’t let him start watching from the beginning of the presentation; make him miss the beginning and pick up where and when he joined, just as though it were live. The Q&A portion of the webinar should always look live, even if it’s not. This may require you to handle the Q&A in a separate service or session. You can also allow new questions to come in during the prerecorded Q&A session from the original live event, and say at the end of the session that you will reply to all other questions via email.
If you offer to do that, though, make sure you collect those questions and reply to them personally.
First, make sure the event is worth going to. The launch event of a weekly or monthly group meeting has to have some spark and incentive in order to get off the ground. If you can affordably cater the event (offer free food), that will help quite a lot. In your case, one of the signature events of a LUG is an installfest where Linux experts help Linux newbies install a desktop distribution on their computer in a dual-boot configuration, or they set up a USB drive to provide an alternate boot option. If you can afford to cover the cost of pizza and soft drinks for the attendees, and offer to perform free data backups to DVD (bring a spool of blank DVD-R discs), those would be two excellent, inexpensive incentives that would drive participation.
Think about the subject of an installfest. You need people who know Linux, and people who want to learn Linux. Where would you find people who have interest on both sides of that operation? Computer repair shops, perhaps. Can you post a sign or flyer there? What about at computer stores? Perhaps the owner of a small local shop will even offer to cover the cost of the refreshments if he’s allowed to bring some demonstration models and service flyers to the event.
It’s possible that you can leverage an existing technology-oriented group on Meetup.com as well. Search through the site and see if you can find related groups, then contact the group organizer and see if she’s amenable to your hosting your own event through that group.
In general, local events have gotten a little tougher to promote because local periodicals have lost a lot of popularity and relevance. You can’t take out an ad in the newspaper and expect results from it anymore. However, there’s Craigslist—that’s free, and has a lot of reach in the metropolitan areas that it serves. Post an ad there and keep it current right up until the actual day and time of the event. Then for the next meeting, post a different ad with photos and praise from the attendees of the inaugural event—social proof that this is a fun and interesting group that real people attend.
Also try to reach out to local bloggers; search all of the blogging services (e.g., WordPress, TypePad, Blogger) for people who are in your area and might have an interest in your event. For technical events, look for local blogs through Technorati.
Create a Facebook group for your meeting, and on the night of the event, take pictures and short videos and post them to that group. While you’re among the attendees in person, go around with your smartphone or tablet and invite each of them to the Facebook group and ask them to post something and invite their friends. After the first event, you should have enough momentum to see a benefit from spending a little bit of money ($20–$50) promoting your Facebook group to continue to improve attendance. Remember: you’re always looking for new members, even if you feel that you’ve achieved your attendance goals!