Has your business held a webinar recently to engage with your customers or partners?

If you have never attended a webinar before or held one for your business, it might be time to get serious about adding webinars to your arsenal of online marketing techniques.

A report titled “Engage! How to avoid the seven sins of live, online presentations.” prepared for Citrix Online, August 2009 by the 1080 Group, LLC reported that webinars have reached the tipping point, stating that “Among respondents surveyed, 91% have attended a webinar, and in the next six months they expect to grow their own use of webinars by 148%, from an average of 2.1 per month to 5.2 per month.”

The report surveyed 600 professionals to find out their challenges in delivering powerful, engaging presentations to audiences that were not physically in attendance at a live “in person” event.

Why Hold a Webinar?

Webinars or teleseminars can be usefully applied by businesses in the following ways:

  • To communicate on a regular basis with clients and partners of your business;
  • To educate your target audience on a subject;
  • To provide informative content to your audience in your area of expertise;
  • To help establish relationships with your prospective customers and future business partners.

Brand Recognition

For businesses that have just launched their online presence, webinars are a good way to get the word out about your business and to improve brand recognition. It’s also a great way to establish new relationships with potential customers and to find future business partners.

Relationship Building

People who are interested to develop a long-term business relationship with your business will want to get to know you and your company better. Attendees will be able to learn more about you on a webinar than just from a web page, and by the same token, you will be able to find out more about them.

Webinars are often given as a free service to prospects, though some companies do provide paid webinars as well. Attendees are enticed to sign up because they are interested in acquiring new knowledge, or are attracted by what services you or your company has to offer.

Content

Webinars are often packed with informative content for attendees. As a business owner, think of a recent webinar that you attended for your business. Think about why you decided to attend the webinar – it’s not likely that you signed up for it just to attend a sale pitch for a product or service – you could have just gone on to a website and purchased the product or service if that was all you wanted. Chances are that you attended the webinar to acquire knowledge about a subject of interest to you.

Keep in mind that sharing good content is one of the main purposes for holding a webinar, as far as your customers are concerned. It’s OK to inform clients about the types of services that your business has to offer during a webinar, or to quickly survey your attendees about a particular aspect of your business, but your webinar will need to have plenty of informative content to attract attendees to your event, and to keep them listening.

Trust

It’s the trust that you build with your attendees by consistently providing great content in webinars that will help to increase sales for your business down the track. So stay focused on the long term benefits to be achieved for your business before setting about to plan a webinar for your business – don’t forget that webinars are a tool for building better relationships with your customers. Don’t risk harming that relationship by running a webinar that is really just a thinly disguised advertisement for your business.