Webinars - interactive online seminars - are a great way to get a business' name out on the web while inviting consumers to participate directly in some aspect of the company. USA Today's Steve Strauss offers some tips for business owners looking to harness the power of a webinar to spread the word about their services.
Typically, a webinar participant visits a website at a predetermined date or time to witness a presentation and lecture by a businessperson or expert. The webinar observer is also given a phone number that he or she can call to be placed on what is, essentially, a mass conference call - allowing him or her to ask the presenter direct questions. Webinars eliminate the hassle and expense of travel while encouraging customers to learn about a service or brand.
Webinars can also help businesses generate revenue, Strauss writes. If presenting a compelling enough topic, a webinar host can charge people to attend - but, more commonly, webinar hosts record their presentations to be resold as podcasts.
Even free webinars can help a business, says Strauss. They generate interest in a business' brand and products and encourage potential consumers to sign up for e-mail lists. Plus, the interactive nature of a webinar inspires trust and intimacy between vendor and consumers, crucial to creating brand loyalty.
Putting on a webinar is easy. All that's required is a PowerPoint presentation, a topic and a hosting service. Many webinar providers even offer a post-webinar analysis as well as polls for attendees, so business owners can see exactly how they have benefited from the presentation and how they can tweak their model to reap even greater benefits from their next webinar.