eMarketing

Series of The Little Book of Marketing Do’s & Don’ts now available online.

mb-2010-do-dont-v22bMissed Getting Your Copy of The Little Book of Marketing Do’s & Don’ts? Not to worry. We’ve made digital versions of all three volumes available via SlideShare. The Little Book of Marketing Do’s & Don’ts is a collection of the most viewed “Do’s & Don’ts” published by our MondoBeat newsletter including:

  • Taglines
  • Print Advertising
  • Referrals
  • Trade Shows
  • Corporate Brochures
  • Direct Mail
  • Thought Leadership
  • White Papers

Simply visit our SlideShare page to download your complimentary copy.

The Growing Case for Video Marketing.

Everything today is about adding value, and that’s the number one reason to use video marketing. It plugs interaction — including face-to-face interaction — into your website, print promotions and events. You get a unique opportunity to blend your company’s personality and message into either an online or offline experience.

Still not sold? Here are 10 additional reasons to use video marketing:

  1. Raises your website’s search engine results — web crawlers recognize video.
  2. Improves the potential for your message to go viral through the social networks.
  3. Increases the average amount of time visitors spend at your site.
  4. Makes you stand out as an expert since not as many sites use video.
  5. Offers opportunities to provide a tremendously rich offline media experience — stuff a disk with MP3s, video, personal messages, mobile apps, high-res product photos, web links and free downloads.
  6. Augments and supports your existing online strategy when used with direct mail, providing a seamless physical/digital experience that encourages double-digit response rates according to research studies.
  7. Appeals to people who like to see something before they read it.
  8. Provides an opportunity to educate customers about a product or service.
  9. Puts a face on your company and builds your brand.
  10. Engages your customers’ senses, triggering emotional reactions that influence buying decisions in ways that static content can’t.

Professional vs. Homegrown Video.

The nice thing about digital video is that it doesn’t always have to be high end and expensive. The key is to know when you can use your flip camera and when you need a professional team.

And really, the rules are pretty simple:

  • Homegrown video is fine for website demos, new product intros, how-to presentations, brief commentaries and the like. For example, interLinkONE, an integrated marketing solutions provider, has a media page that features short videos covering topics ranging from using QR Codes in a printed catalog to live reports from their booth at a trade show. Homegrown solutions work great for these purposes where immediacy is important and viewers don’t expect premium content with high-end production.
  • Professional video is a must when the production represents the official, animated face of your brand. That’s when you need a quality script, title slides, smooth transitions, excellent lighting and sound, multiple shooting perspectives and top-notch editing. It can also be a good investment when the video will have multiple purposes — website, direct mail, trade shows—and a longer life span. You also need to consider professional video whenever your audience is more sophisticated and has high expectations.

What’s the Right Length?

Everyone wants to know how long is too long. And the general consensus for the appropriate length of online video is one to four minutes. Attention spans seem to grow shorter everyday, especially online.

But purpose means a lot, too. So a one- or two-minute product intro is not the same as a four- to six-minute in-depth case study.

You can also cut longer videos into segments that allow people to access only the parts that interest them. In general, you need to think of the video as an overview from which you can then link buyers to more detailed information in print or electronic form.

Regardless of length, relevance dictates how long people will view the video. Provide information that people want to know, and they’re far more likely to stay for the duration. When you’re trying to keep their attention, it pays to be tactical in selecting content and forget the broad-brush stuff.

Video Media Types.

Video is definitely an evolving medium, and different media types are emerging including video:

  • Product demos
  • Product overviews
  • Testimonials
  • News releases
  • Case studies
  • White papers
  • Corporate presentations
  • Commercials
  • Trade show and event previews
  • “How-to” demos
  • Blog posts

As these media types mature, more specific standards for length and other factors will emerge as well. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to experiment. Viewership will tell you quickly enough what’s working and what’s not.

By Larry Bauer

Want Expert Advice?

MondoVox Creative Group can help you create online video, DVDs and CDs that result in more customer interaction and sales. For more information, email Julia Moran Martz.

You can connect with Julia Moran Martz on LinkedIn. Or follow her on Twitter.

Do’s and Don’ts of Video Marketing.

Take advantage of video’s remarkable ability to add value to your marketing program. Here’s how to ensure that videos will gain the positive attention that helps set your organization apart from the competition.

Do

  • Display your brand logo occasionally throughout the video to help build recognition.
  • Offer both low- and high-resolution options to accommodate different connection speeds.
  • Select content with a tactical perspective.
  • Experiment with different media types.
  • Break longer videos into segments with the ability to move from one section to the next and to jump between sections.
  • Connect people to more in-depth print and online information.
  • Include rich media video with direct mail packages for added lift.
  • Invest more in videos that will serve multiple purposes and have a longer life.

Don’t

  • Assume that everyone has the video player you choose—offer a link to a free download.
  • Forget that relevance rules in keeping peoples’ attention.
  • Overlook the value of a DVD to support your online strategy.
  • Use homegrown videos for corporate branding purposes or with sophisticated audiences that expect more.
  • Hesitate to use homegrown video for a product, service or event that has a short timeline and lower ROI potential.
  • Neglect to post your videos to YouTube and other video sharing sites in addition to your company’s website.
  • Fail to take advantage of the many free and low-cost video publishing, editing and post-production services that are available online.
  • Make excuses for not creating videos—go out and do it.

By Larry Bauer

Making Your Brand Memorable in Video.

Video creation is really only limited by your creativity, communications expertise and production ability of your team, whether you’re creating a professional marketing video or a low-end social media style video. Most video software tools allow for the inclusion of graphics, sound tracks, specific brand colors and a myriad of special effects. Even though the tools may allow you to create exploding logos, flames, and wacky transitions, try to restrain yourself and use only techniques that support the brand. Using too much cheese can look rather… “schlocky” and even a little desperate. Talented video teams are able to find brand-appropriate ways of grabbing attention while supporting the brand personality.

Tips for Incorporating Your Brand into Any Video.

Here are some video tips and examples that work whether you’re creating a high-end, $20,000 video or a low-end ad hoc video shot to share a quick-hit message on your company blog.

Graphics: The most obvious method for incorporating your brand into your video is with graphics, starting with your logo. Be cautious how you treat your logo and ensure its integrity is not lessened by any special treatments. Subtle logo treatments can include slight motion of a single element, having the logo enter from outside the frame or change color. Even incorporating a shine could work. Should you do all at once? Of course not. Choose carefully and wisely and don’t overdo it.

Other graphics can be incorporated to ensure your video supports your brand’s style guide. Fonts, color fields, tables, graphs, charts and text like testimonials can be used in the same way as your printed literature. Stick to your corporate fonts and you’re already partway there. The only limitation may be if you’re creating low-end ad-hoc video on your PC or iPhone, you won’t have the same graphic capabilities that a professional video studio will have. That’s when you resort to the Web fonts listed in your brand’s style guide.

Color: Color is incorporated into video in two ways:

  1. Graphics
  2. Scenes and people that are videoed

Adhere to color values from your style guide when incorporating graphics into your video and ensure they are applied appropriately. In the Ripon Printers video we created, each service area segment utilized the corporate color assigned to that service area: spice for Premedia, green for Printing and Bindery, burgundy for Mailing and Fulfillment, etc. Likewise, use these colors in graphics used in your video.

Color can also be used to provide brand cohesion when filming people, places and things for your video. For instance, all the employees interviewed for the Ripon Printers video were instructed to wear shirts that reflected the four corporate colors. No other colors were allowed. This kept everyone looking like a cohesive team.

Imagery: If you need stock images to convey specific messages, try to use images that are consistent with your brand look and feel. It’s also good to steer clear of clichés like shaking hands and obviously young models conducting important meetings. We always try to use shots of people who look authentic, not so pretty or handsome that they’re unbelievable.

Keep in mind too that you can use still photographs to great affect in a video. There were some instances when shooting the above Gourmetceuticals video where shooting with a still camera was the only option because of the plantation’s terrain. But by incorporating subtle motion with still shots, it still works.

Sound: Just as there are royalty-free and rights-managed stock images, there are many libraries of sounds for video production. There are different types of sounds used in video:

  1. Introduction background.
  2. Transitions between segments.
  3. Closing background.
  4. Brand punctuation. (Remember the simple jingle associated with Intel’s “Intel Inside” campaign? Or NBC’s 3-note jingle?)

If you’re creating a series of videos over the long haul, consider incorporating the same sound into the files. This becomes another feature that customers will learn to recognize as your brand.

Script: If your video is professional quality, of course you’ll have a scriptwriter on the team. This is not a standard copywriter, but rather someone who understands flow, audio, and most importantly, the spoken versus printed word.

If your video is just you or you’re shooting at a trade show, you’re less likely to have a formal script. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least draft your points and practice speaking first. Remember, while creating friendly, social-media oriented videos is affected by the tools you use, your comfort in front of the lens and your friendliness are going to affect the video’s success more.

Tools for Ad Hoc Videos.

Even the tools for shooting on-the-fly, low-end videos range in price tag from $100 to hundreds of dollars. But if your goal is to simply capture a quick moment at a trade show or share a quick thought on your blog, your iPhone or camera built into your computer will do the trick without a lot of fuss. Of course, limit the length of these type of low-end personalized videos. Their purpose is different from the polished video you hand out on DVD or post to your website.

iPhone: This is the easiest, while the mic on the phone itself leaves oodles to be desired. When shooting someone else, you can easily use the mic on the ear buds to get much better results. @jonathan360 created a great sample video to show you the difference when shooting with background noise.

You can also purchase several external mics that offer various quality options. Here’s a quick video from @DizzyDougTV comparing three models of mini-mics that ranging in price from $15 to about $100.

Consumer Flip Cameras: Now if you want to do an even better job but still don’t want to spend time scripting and shooting a pro-level video, my pal Heidi recorded her review of the Flip Ultra HD versus the Kodak Zi8. Yes, it means another gadget to haul around, but these models are a step up from your iPhone’s capabilities. Heidi points out the pros and cons of each in her quick video shot from her computer.

Before Hitting Record.

Remember that whether investing in a high-end production or a low-end recording, don’t lose sight of your brand. Even if you’re shooting low-end, remember to incorporate appropriate colors, sound and graphics. Most of the consumer-level tools allow you to at the least add your logo without flames ;-) and control transitions (don’t give your viewers a migraine, eh?)

But primarily, I’d like you to consider both types of video and use them where appropriate for your customers.

By Julia Moran Martz

Check out additional videos from folks referenced in this article:

The Big Fish — video production studio that created our Gourmetceuticals videos

Absolute Vision Productions — video production studio that created our Ripon Printers videos

Heidi Thorne, Promo with Purpose — Master of all things promotional

@jonathan360 — photographer

@DizzyDougTV — technical guru

Lessons Learned from the Trenches of Social Media.

My colleague, Julia, had already plunged into social media with her successful SnarkyVegan blog. I, on the other hand, was a rookie and a skeptic at that. But as we strategized about ways to establish thought leadership for the agency, we decided that enewsletters, which would roll into blogs, would be a good starting point. The result was MondoBeat: Ideas to Improve Your Marketing Rhythm.

To say the least, one thing led to another. Strong reception to the enewsletter/blog began to pique our interest. Soon we were announcing new posts at our Twitter sites, and I began to wonder if there was any potential in our mostly dormant LinkedIn accounts.

So Julia and I got busy completing our profiles, linking feeds from our blog, posting slide presentations, connecting with colleagues and participating in groups. Along the way, I was invited to manage my college’s alumni group as well as another group. So I got to see “groups” from both the participant and manger perspectives.

What We Learned

Clearly social media is evolving and participants are evolving along with it. Here are three key findings from our experience:

1. Synergy Counts.

The more options we integrated into our social media goal of growing our thought leadership perception, the better we did. More people started to follow us on Twitter, and we connected with more and more people on LinkedIn. Both are significant drivers of readers to the blog, and LinkedIn is now our number one source of hits and page views.

Of course everyone always wants to know if you were able to monetize social media. That was not our goal—thought leadership was—but we did receive several inquiries about our services and made presentations as a result of our social media experiences.

Additionally:

  • Our customers are virtually all loyal readers of our enewsletters/blogs.
  • We found a capable subcontractor through a renewed contact made on LinkedIn and used the individual on a project.
  • The enewsletter/blog grew to the point that we are now considering offering sole sponsorship opportunities for each issue (you’ll eventually be able to judge that success for yourself).
  • We are now more knowledgeable, empathetic social media advisors to our clients—you know the old adage about the best doctor being the one who just got out of the hospital.

2. Participation Counts.

If you want to benefit from social media, you have to be willing to participate on a consistent, frequent basis. You also need to be willing to learn the rules of social media so that your participation helps, not hurts your business. And you need to set your internal social media goals and appoint someone to coordinate your social media team.

In addition to getting some professional advice, we recommend taking one of the many good social media classes available. Some even offer social media certifications. The more skillfully you employ social media, the better the results.

3. Participation Takes Time.

Don’t get caught up in the notion that social media is free. It will definitely cost you time, a valuable commodity in today’s downsized companies. We easily spend an hour to an hour-and-a-half per day on social media, and that excludes writing our enewsletter/blog posts. You may be able to—and probably should—share some of the responsibilities, but don’t start if you’re not willing to commit the time. As a point of reference, many large companies now have one or more people on staff who do nothing but monitor social media.

Finally, remember that social media is primarily for relationship and thought leadership building. It should be part of your marketing plan, but continue to leave the heavy lifting to postal mail, email, print advertising and marketing media better suited to directly generating sales and ROI.

By Larry Bauer

Want Expert Advice?

MondoVox Creative Group can help you with social media strategy through program deployment. For more information, email Julia Moran Martz.

You can connect with Julia Moran Martz on LinkedIn. Or follow her on Twitter.

Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media.

Social media participation requires your time, but it needs to be quality time. Otherwise, you can cause more harm than good. Use these tips to create relationships and thought leadership that will help build your business.

Do

  • Set a social media strategy—outline what you want to accomplish and how it is going to happen.
  • Get some formal training—you need to know everything from the tools available to social media etiquette.
  • Appoint someone to direct and monitor your efforts.
  • Learn how your respected competitors are tapping social media—research them in the major search engines.
  • Create blogs, enewsletters and other articles on your sites to bolster the number of keywords and increase your search rankings.
  • Keep taking your social media to higher levels—provide richer content, etc.
  • Remember that social media is about earning attention.
  • Help, teach, guide and be tolerant with people new to social media—keep learning yourself.
  • Get in sync with your audience.
  • Be transparent, genuine and real about you and your company.
  • Spend at least as much time listening as you do broadcasting.
  • Find creative ways to use social media with print—maybe you’re a restaurant chain that could Tweet daily lunch or dinner specials on Twitter.

Don’t

  • View social media as simply a place to hype your wares—unlearn some of your traditional marketing habits.
  • Underestimate the power of video in social media.
  • Be naïve about the time commitment to do social media right.
  • Forget that cheaters never win—trying to game the system will eventually get you busted.
  • Neglect to measure—it’s the only way to know if you’re achieving your goals.
  • Get upset about losing followers unless they’re the people you really want to target—then figure out why you’re losing them and adjust.
  • Be thin skinned or take everything that happens in your social media experience personally.
  • Think you will ever know everything about social media—it turns on a dime.
  • Participate on an inconsistent basis—frequency definitely matters in building a following.
  • Fail to add value—people won’t spend their time if they don’t receive something worthwhile in return.
  • Disrespect the community—treat others the way you want to be treated.
  • Forget to enjoy your social media experience.

MondoVox® Creative Group Client Wins Marketing Award. MondoVox® Creative Group recently created an award-winning campaign for Ripon Printers (Ripon, WI), a leading printer of catalogs, publications, manuals and soft-cover educational products. The company received the prestigious National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL) Marketing Plus™ Award. This competition acknowledges and recognizes those printing companies that have created and produced successful marketing campaigns and collateral for the self-promotion of their companies.

Ripon Printers was the sole recipient of the Gold Award in the Vertical Markets category. Entries consisted of campaigns to promote company core competencies and services specifically relevant to identified vertical markets and positioning the company as an effective market leader in these market segments.

To read the complete release, including examples of the multichannel campaign components, please visit MondoVox News.

By Larry Bauer

Hashtags as Leadership Tools in Twitter.

We all know that starting and maintaining relevant conversations with customers and prospects are key to using thought leadership to enable sales, support and brand building. Before electronic social media tools, corporate socializing occurred on the golf course, while sharing beers at the local watering hole after work—even rented suites at the Indy500 and other events enabled you to prove your mettle with VIP clients and prospects.

Many of the ways we used to participate in social business conversations also translate well to social media tools. Discovering existing conversations about your brand or product niche is as easy as eavesdropping by searching for keywords in Twitter or using Google Blog Search. Creating and leading such conversations requires a concerted effort by you and your company.

Leading the Conversation.

Tags are a type of metadata used to identify specific topics online by assigning keywords to a specific piece of information, making that information easy to find. Hashtags are a specific type of tagging used in social media that you employ to create topically oriented conversations and to follow others’ conversations on Twitter or identi.ca.

It’s a way of grouping relevant messages into conversations, similar to the idea of but much broader than corralling VIPs in an event room or networking on the golf course. Imagine no conventional boundaries, and the fact that you’re potentially conversing with 500 or even 5,000 people in a given day, week, month.

By using hashtags (and tags in general), you can establish yourself as the thought leader for a given topic by starting the conversation, interacting intelligently with others and continuing to provide information/advice/support.

If you’re going to use hashtags for leading and managing conversations about your brand, be sure to follow these tips:

  • Write a great hashtag. Hashtags like #news are not helpful. Be more effective by using tags like #BrandNameNews, #BrandLaunch or #BrandHelp and be considerate of length. Remember that it does get counted in Twitter users’ 140-character limit. AND be cautious with acronyms as there could be multiple unrelated conversations potentially using the same acronym.
  • Use = promotion. Use the hashtag religiously and appropriately whenever speaking online about the specific topic. AND use it interactively when conversing with others in social media tools.
  • Don’t spam. Don’t pick up unrelated hashtags and appropriate them as your own. Inserting hashtags about a recent earthquake is NOT ok if your tweet has nothing to do with the earthquake. This is a proven method of upsetting Twitter users and they will make their displeasure known.
  • Promote it in other analog and digital marketing tools. Land Rover developed a very successful hashtag campaign in April 2009 by using a myriad of print and online promotions to promote the hashtag on Twitter. There is a lot to learn from Land Rover’s experience, and I would encourage you to not simply copy their strategy but to view it only as a starting point.
  • Develop communication guidelines for social media in general and apply them here. Include such things as a communications tone and consider any concerns that legal may have. Make sure anyone you’ve tasked with participating in social media on behalf of your brand is trained and knowledgeable.

Dealing with Loss of Control.

When putting your own hashtag out for use in the twitterverse, you must be prepared for negative use of the tag. Remember, just because the tag originated with you doesn’t mean you own it. It’s part of the larger conversation that you can participate in but never control. The effect is akin to having conversations with people at a party where some know and love you, some know and hate you and many don’t know you at all.

This is why it’s critical to understand and ensure your brand’s integrity and value. Likewise, it’s important to have the ability to lead the conversation as a valued participant. If your brand is suffering from poor quality products/service/support, no amount of twittering or tagging will save you. But you can use social media tools as part of your plan to turn your brand around so long as you truly are taking steps to improve the problems.

If you have quality, support or deliverability issues that you’re taking steps to resolve, plan on mitigating negative use of the hashtag by:

  • Fixing your problems. Start resolving the problems that affect your brand’s quality before taking on social media. You don’t have to finish resolving your issues, but you should be well on the path to recovery before initiating that first social media conversation. You may even want to use your resolve to repair the damage as your first hashtag topic.
  • Increasing your response time and quality. Comcast is THE benchmark for response times and problem resolution via Twitter. Forget their phone support, you’ll never get through. But use Twitter and they’ve got a tech on top of the problem within five or 10 minutes.
  • Creating a human voice. Again, Comcast wins hands down. They’ve got real live technical humans monitoring Twitter conversations about their product and service. These folks are also trained to interact with customers AND solve the problem.
  • Maintaining transparency. If there’s a problem, own up to it publicly. Take a lesson from Toyota’s recent PR fiasco and own up early, take steps to resolve the problem and communicate those steps without corporate speak. You must sound authentically human. Don’t skimp on this part or you’ll get nailed to the Twitter wall quickly.

And by all means, pay attention when online. Use the opportunity to converse with large numbers of customers to both help and guide them as well as learn if there are problems or areas for improvement. If your brand is loved and respected universally, you won’t have much of a problem. However, there are always instigators in any venue. You should be prepared to encounter them with knowledge, grace and honesty.

By Julia Moran Martz

Webinars as Lead-generating, Thought-leadership Tools.

For those less electronically initiated, a webinar is an online virtual event that typically includes a small number of presenters delivering a slide presentation to a dispersed audience over the Internet. Participants view the webinar from their computer desktops and hear the audio through their speakers or over a telephone line.
Using an outside webinar delivery platform makes sense for most companies. Many of these systems offer interactive capabilities such as:

  • Live chat.
  • Question and answer boxes.
  • Audience polls and surveys.
  • Virtual white boards.
  • Desktop application sharing.
  • And a number of other options.

They also generally offer customizable registration materials as well as tracking, automated reminders and post-production reports. Providers typically support popular programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Some can provide event management services for an additional fee.

So How Much Do Webinar Services Cost?

Actual delivery costs vary, but most license agreements are fairly modest. For example, GoToWebinar, one of the more popular delivery systems, offers flat-fee pricing that allows you to conduct unlimited Webinars for one rate. You can purchase a standard, single-user license online for $99 per month or $948 per year. There are no additional licensing costs for attendees to join.

Are Webinars Better Than In-person Events?

They are two different animals, each with its own set of pluses and minuses. The big advantage of webinars, especially with strained budgets, is the low cost to reach an audience anywhere in the world. In many ways, the cost structure helps to level playing fields among small and large companies, just as digital communications do in many other marketing activities.

Webinars are also:

  • Convenient and cost-effective for participants who don’t have to travel—distance becomes a non-factor.
  • Convenient for presenters who can be at multiple locations and likewise avoid travel.
  • Capable of bringing valuable information quickly to market.
  • Efficient at speeding the sales cycle with proper follow up.

Some of the drawbacks include:

  • More competition than for in-person seminar events.
  • Less interaction with participants.
  • Limited flexibility to change presentation order and flow.
  • Restrictions on managing questions.
  • Technology dependence to the ultimate degree.

In both types of events, you need to have a relatively large universe of qualified prospects. The general guideline for webinars is that approximately 5 percent of those invited will register and half of those will not attend. Some, however, will view the on-demand, archived version later.

Do Decision Makers Like Webinars?

Studies and my personal experience say they do. According to a white paper by Ridge Business Development LLC, The Benefits and Pitfalls of Webinars, people like the idea of learning about products and services without having to deal with a salesperson.

The white paper also points to a recent survey by Gartner indicating that 86 percent of respondents will view as many or more webinars this year as last. And a survey by PR Canada similarly indicates that only 7 percent found webinars a waste of time, while 86 percent fount them convenient and 66 percent found them time effective.

What If We’re Not Ready to Sponsor a Webinar Ourselves?

Many trade publications and associations offer webinar sponsorship opportunities that enable you to test the medium with varying degrees of participation. For example, you might strictly serve as the sponsor. But you also might be able to suggest topics, give input on selection of the featured presenter, provide qualifying and polling questions and perhaps even deliver part of the presentation if you choose.

You’ll typically get a banner ad at the registration site, inclusion in all of the promotional efforts and, of course, mentioned as the sponsor during the webinar. Additionally, you’ll virtually always get access to the registrant list for follow up.

This all comes at a price, of course, and $10,000 to $30,000 isn’t unusual. But a strong publication or association might also draw participants that you wouldn’t attract on your own, and it greatly reduces your time investment. Plus, it’s a good way to get started.

By Larry Bauer

Want Expert Advice?

MondoVox Creative Group can help you create content, develop professional webinar presentations and effectively promote the event in multiple media. For more information, email Julia Moran Martz.

You can connect with Julia Moran Martz on LinkedIn. Or follow her on Twitter.

Do’s and Don’ts of Webinars.

Webinars are inexpensive compared to face-to-face meetings. But like email and other low-cost electronic options, easy entry often lures ill-prepared companies into the arena. Use these tips to create and present webinars that will meet your audience’s highest expectations.

Do

  • Select your topics and presenters carefully.
  • Evaluate your internal capabilities objectively—outsource when needed.
  • Keep your presentation to one hour or less—including Q&A.
  • Start and end the webinar on time.
  • Seed questions to ensure covering important points and to encourage participation.
  • Learn to take advantage of the technology options—drawing tools, polling surveys, etc.
  • Promote your webinar beyond a homepage blurb—use email, direct mail, banner ads, social media, etc.
  • Be wary of using a wireless connection by a presenter.
  • Consider having a few friendly faces in the presentation room—presenters benefit from seeing reactions and playing off the “audience.”
  • Use professionally created slides—be sure to review outside presenter’s slides and be prepared to offer assistance.
  • Develop a lead follow-up plan—demand accountability from the sales team.
  • Record and archive your webinar—many executives appreciate and use the on-demand option.
  • Explore opportunities to generate passive income—selling a recorded series as a set, for example.
  • Rehearse and then rehearse again.

Don’t

  • Use inexperienced presenters as featured speakers—give them a smaller role until they get a few webinars under their belts.
  • Underestimate the investment of time to pull off a professional presentation.
  • Use webinars for target audiences that may not be tech savvy.
  • Dismiss the value of a good moderator to the webinar’s success.
  • Think that webinars will completely replace the need for face-to-face contact.
  • Assume that webinar leads are conversion ready—they are more likely in the exploratory stage and will require further nurturing.
  • Fail to add qualified attendees to your marketing database.
  • Forget to invite your customers to webinars.
  • Use an unproven webinar delivery platform provider—they are not all created equal.
  • Overburden the moderator with the technology requirements—consider a person for each role.
  • Fail to follow up with registrants who don’t attend the webinar.
  • Overlook the value of a webinar as a training tool for your own people.
  • Forget to continue promoting your recorded webinar.
  • Neglect to collect some qualifying information at registration—use checklists and limit the number of questions to three or four.

Pick a Strong Webinar Delivery Platform Provider. The last thing you want is unreliable technology and support when you’re doing a webinar. You look bad and people abandon the event. We really don’t have favorites, and you may uncover a great provider on your own, but we suggest at least looking into these proven companies:

For more information, email Julia Moran Martz.

By Larry Bauer

Extending Your Brand To and Beyond the Webinar.

Assuming your presentation is buttoned-up tight and focused cleanly on your topic, what else can you do to ensure wise use of your webinar budget? Well, it’s all about two key points we seem to repeat a lot:

  1. Ensuring brand integrity builds and maintains brand recognition.
  2. Linking this particular tool (webinars) with other marketing and sales tools builds a network around your prospects, creating additional sales touch points.

Essentially, it’s all about maintaining professionalism while being available where and when your prospects need you.

Ensuring Brand Integrity In Webinars.

This seems pretty limited on the surface, right? It would appear that all you can do is send the webinar company your logo as a low-res jpeg and hope for the best. While that may be true with some third-party webinar companies, consider these options below and push, push, push on behalf of your brand.

  • Make sure your presentation is easy to read for the age group of the attendees and includes key brand elements such as logo, colors, fonts (where possible), image assets, etc. This is especially important because the webinar company will be using their own brand elements in the general interface.
  • Don’t choose an outsourced webinar delivery platform based solely on price. Also DO consider how well its interface supports branding your webinar as well as its user-friendliness.
  • Realize that folks will be attending from a variety of platforms and monitor sizes. Adjust the content of your graphics and text appropriately. If your Corporate Brand Guidebook doesn’t contain information specific to webinars, pull from the chapters for PowerPoint and Website styling.
  • Choose a speaker whose voice is appropriate for your brand. If your subject matter expert has a whiney voice, choose someone else or outsource. Stay away from extremely high or low-pitched voices, as they may be hard to hear and understand via many computer audio systems. If you’re selling cosmetics, consider using a female voice. Whereas sports or auto related topics may be able to go either way depending on the audience.
  • Be certain that your support materials are brand cohesive. This includes anything you’re linking to from the webinar such as white papers, case studies, speaker bios or an annotated outline of the webinar content.
  • If you’re sponsoring a trade pub’s webinar, ensure that you’re using every brand tool at your disposal: logo files, ad page, banner ad and link to landing page for more info. Negotiate for additional touch points where possible and connect them back to tools you can control such as landing pages or your website.

Opportunities for Extending Your Brand Beyond the Webinar.

Working your communications before and after the webinar takes research, planning and time. But the key benefit is keeping your audience engaged beyond the webcast to the point of closing a sale.

Imagine being a big-ticket sales person in a brick and mortar store and discovering a way to get the name, phone number and email address of every interested shopper with whom you spoke? You’d do it, right? Even if they didn’t buy from you right away, you could provide additional information and follow up with them during and after their buying process.

This is why it’s critical to look for opportunities to increase the viral aspect of your brand beyond the basic webinar.

  • Make sure you create avenues for attendees to interact with you following the event. Creating an ongoing forum or listserv or even linking to a blog post about your topic provides additional discussion options. If you already have an online discussion forum, open a new topic coinciding with the webinar and publicize it in follow-up communications.
  • Also ensure that your speakers have valid corporate Twitter and/or LinkedIn accounts for attendees to connect with afterwards, and provide that information freely at the webinar. Both tools have methods of supporting discussion topics.
  • Consider setting up a landing page or mini-site to support your webinar. Use this as an info link during registration and reminders, and then modify it afterwards to collect more information during post webinar follow up.
  • Consider timing your webinar close to a key industry trade show and include special invitations to webinar attendees for a VIP session or special gift at the show. This takes advantage of your sales team’s limited travel budgets.
  • If you’re offering in-depth workshops at an upcoming trade show, pre-empt the show with a preparatory session via a webinar. This can generate excitement for the show and increase valid attendees at the live event.
  • And remember, if you’re creating your own webinar content, you can still advertise it via banner ads in industry publications, usually for relatively modest expenditures.

Ultimately, It’s About Building Branded Networks.

Don’t think of a webinar as a one-off event. Use it as a building block within your entire communications network to get the biggest impact.