Webinars are an excellent way of reaching across the globe and connecting with business opportunities using video, audio, and chat. Having said that, learning a new way to do business can be a daunting task, even if the benefits are obvious.The following are six easy tips that will help you run a compelling web seminar and keep your audience coming back for more. No matter your skill level, these tips are sure to contribute to a successful online presentation.1. “Hook” attendeesStart your webinar with a compelling point, a fascinating revelation, or a powerful demonstration of your product or ability. This “hook” will draw your audience in, so when you introduce yourself they’re sure to listen. Although it may seem logical to begin with an exchange of names, consider that a webinar shares more in common with a presentation than a traditional conversation. They need to have a reason to listen to you before they’ll be interested in your name or position.A hard-hitting fact or question that begs to be answered will command attention and pave the way for an effective presentation.2. Plan for the “Human” elementAlthough we’d like to think that an audience has the ability and respect to be on time and prepared, the truth is that it is relatively rare. In a world governed by the speed of the Internet, people can still fall prey to overbooked schedules and a lack of technical knowledge.A knowledgeable presenter should take this into account when booking a web seminar. Booking your meeting for fifteen or so minutes before the actual start of your presentation will allow time for inevitable latecomers. In the initial webinar invitation, invite attendees to “preload” the conference application. A carefully designed webinar means every moment is important, and missing the first few minutes can mean the difference between a receptive audience and a resistant one.3. Remember your networkSmaller companies usually have less network resources at their disposal, and it can require some advance notice to insure a successful webinar. Plan ahead by informing coworkers of your meeting and asking them to refrain from high bandwidth Internet use until your presentation is finished. If you’re in a home office, you may want to schedule your presentation when no family members are online. This simple trick can mean the difference between a smooth presentation, and one that runs a bit uneven as a result of an overloaded connection.Your upload speed to the web is what counts here, and for some offices that’s a smaller number.4. Capture their attentionFrequently attendees arrive to a webinar before it begins, if only for a few minutes. A savvy presenter can use this to their advantage by preempting the meeting with important links, slides, or a short product demonstration, which demand attention and provide valuable information for attendees.In addition, a number of advanced web conferencing applications can allow attendees to fill out surveys or respond to questions that can turn into valuable leads or feedback.5. Do a dry runThis is especially important if you’re new to webinars, but even experts benefit from this tip. A few days before your presentation, confirm that all of your technology is working properly and you know the particulars of your topic.This trial session helps you catch any errors in your delivery, regulate your pacing as it relates to available time, determine ideal moments to invite questions, and generally shake down your entire presentation. It can also prevent the pre-show jitters that many people experience when presenting to a group. It’s better to work the kinks out on your own than in front of an audience.6. Leave your audience with a Call-To-ActionThe end of a successful presentation is your chance to stir people into action. At this point they’ll be more likely to act on the knowledge you provided than at any other moment. Use this to your advantage by offering a simple way your audience can follow up on what you’ve said. In sales demonstrations this is fairly straightforward; provide them with the ability to purchase your product outright or to reach a sales consultant directly. Secondary options include an opportunity to learn more about your product or to see further demonstrations. The call-to-action is important because it’s your chance to give the audience a positive lasting impression. If you’re doing a sales demonstration, consider showing them footage of the product in action. If the product is relatively inexpensive and is usually bought in bulk, consider providing the attendees the product as a gift. If it’s a service, offer a free trial period or a generous discount. If your webinar is about a topic and not a product, consider offering a favorable fact or example that demonstrates how this knowledge will benefit them.Simply be sure to make the benefit immediate and without any significant effort on their part.There are many other strategies and practices to improve your webinar, but starting with these tips is certain to improve your delivery. Don't forget to promote your webinar, well in advance, with a free email marketing service, so that your time and message will be delivered to a large audience.
The use of web-based email is on the decline while mobile emailing continues to gain popularity. If not already, email marketers must start utilizing this format by cautiously creating their campaigns and alerts to be more appealing to smart phone users.Marketing content for smart phones should look aesthetically pleasing but more importantly, needs to approach the reader with a concise and focused intent.The following are 5 marketing tips to keep in mind as you craft your next campaign for smart phones.1. Strengthen the subject lineThink of headlines on a newspaper when writing the subject line for your email. Often, they are less than five words but are carefully crafted to conjure a sense of urgency towards reading, while staying very specific.Keep in mind that with the confined parameters given in mobile emails, you have that much less opportunity to use wording as a way to intrigue your readers. Make sure each word used serves a purpose, is attractive to your readers, and stays on point.2. Clear intentThe same guidelines apply to the body of your email. Smart phones are often used on the go and smaller screen sizes make readers spend less time taking in the content.Make your intentions clear right in the beginning or put it somewhere where it will stand out.3. Plain text versionFor those subscribers with mobile readers that don’t support HTML, start to include a plain text copy of every HTML email you send. This will eliminate any potential issues your subscribers may have with the new format.4. Space out linksKeep the links in your email message spaced out to make it easier for readers to click. Imagine the frustration of your potential customer, trying over and over to press the right link on their tiny mobile device screen. Make it easier for them by organizing links without clutter and making sure it’s easy to click them within the limited space.Go the extra mile by making sure your links direct to a mobile-friendly page. By now, many content managers offer mobile displays that automatically turn on when they detect a smart phone browser so half the job is already done. All you have to do is check and your subscribers will thank you for it.5. Double check different devicesDo some research ahead of time to find out what your email will look like on all the popular mobile devices. For example, a message that’s clear on an iPhone doesn’t always look the same on a Blackberry and vice versa. This may mean adjusting contrasts between the background and font or simply providing the option for subscribers to “view online” if their phone won’t display your email correctly.A simple Google search for “mobile device simulator” will result in numerous options for simulators that show you exactly how your emails will look on various devices.The real challenge is making your emails pleasing to the eye without compromising functionality. Follow these guidelines and craft your campaigns with content for smart phones that stand out.
5 Ugly, Embarrassing Screw-Ups To Avoid
The slew of parties, dinners, and mixers that you attend at this time of year is what makes the holiday season unlike any other time of year. The other thing that makes it unlike any other time of year is the high concentration of business mixer blunders committed.Just as during the rest of the year, the key is moderation. The holiday season is not an isolated period that people forget come January 1st. Do not forget that your actions have repercussions for your professional reputation and relationships.Proper business mixer etiquette demands that you approach the holidays with an equal measure of cheer and common sense. Otherwise, you risk damaging the reputation you worked so hard to cultivate throughout the year.The following are 5 ugly, embarrassing screw-ups to avoid at business mixers.1. Aggressively passing out cardsSet a realistic number for the amount of people you want to meet and truly connect with and stick to it. Spend roughly three to ten minutes with each person but be aware of your surroundings. Set an appointment to meet at a later time to learn more and effectively pursue this new relationship.Avoid treating the mixer like a networking marathon.2. Talking only about yourselfDo not think of the business mixer strictly as a networking opportunity. Designate five to ten minutes to ask questions, and find out how you fit in. During this time, respond to questions with quick answers and navigate the conversation right back to them. Offer to follow up and thank them for their time. The goal is to have them remember you for your tact and etiquette, as opposed to your persistence and aggressiveness.3. Being shyTypically, people who stand back and wait for things to happen, miss everything. Networking has a way of happening organically, but not without the initial spark. If you find yourself standing in a corner waiting for someone to come to you, look to another corner. There is likely someone standing there looking for someone to speak to. Go ahead and introduce yourself. They will likely be thankful you did.4. Card exchange etiquetteMost of us grab a card, glance at it then, it disappears into our pocket and later the laundry mat.Make sure to look at the card. Find something interesting about it and make the remark. People put time and energy into creating their card; they will appreciate you noticing.Hold the card during the conversation and look from the person to their name several times to ensure that you remember their names. Later, write something special about the meeting on the back of the card. This can be an accomplishment, a comment, a joke they told, or any other unique thing about that meeting.5. Follow upNothing is more important than how and when you follow up. Let no more than two days pass before mailing a personal, hand-written note.For a big impact, go back and reference what you have written on their business card. In your personal note, include a complimentary remark about them that they will remember discussing with you at the mixer.The next follow up is a call within a week. There are two things to do during this call. First, tell them how much you enjoyed meeting them. Then set an appointment to meet with them and learn more about their business.Remember that the business mixer is a chance for people to feel appreciated for a job well done and to further enhance a sense of community in the workplace. The most common mistakes are committed not because of malicious intent but from excessive behavior. Keep these tips in mind at your next mixer and transition into the next year with a clean conscience.
Author: Yo Noguchi is a small business marketing expert and a frequent contributor to an online blog hosted by Benchmark Email, an email marketing software provider.
6 Things You Should Never Do With Your Email Campaigns
When executed properly, email marketing campaigns can be a great way to build content. Done improperly, email campaigns can chew up countless hours with no reward.
Point being, sometimes learning how to do things the right way requires learning what to avoid first.
Below are 6 things you should never do with your email campaigns.
1. Use the wrong mailing list
The most common mistake made in email marketing campaigns is using a mailing list that targets the wrong audience. No matter how great your ad copy, it will not be effective unless you reach the right market.
Purchasing the right mailing list is not easy because many companies will sell you lists without matching them with your targeted audience. Also, be wary of companies that offer to mail on your behalf because they typically distribute to random, unidentified populations.
2. Poor ad copy
Create branding and copy that captures the attention of your audience.
Typically, people do not immediately start reading the bulk of your content. They first start with a brand’s aesthetic then, move on to main words or phrases that stand out and finally, an ad copy is read.
Make sure that your ad is visually appealing, displays slogans, titles, and words that stand out. Ad copy should always be brief, descriptive, and call for a response.
If your ad copy has typos, poor grammar, or misspelled words consumers will be less likely to respond.
3. No call-for-action
Make sure to include a “call-for-action,” or encourage a response from consumers.
A call-for-action might be a coupon, sales event, a free consultation, anything really, but if you don’t include some reason for the consumer to respond, chances are, they won’t.
4. Busy layout
Direct marketing is not a good advertising vehicle to go crazy with design. Save the fancy stuff for marketing brochures and websites where readers have come to find out more information about your business.
Direct marketing most often involves reaching new markets, which means unsolicited intrusions into the lives of consumers.
The very nature of direct marketing calls for you to be brief. You are taking up consumer’s time- respect that in your ad!
Ads are typically postcards, inserts in mass mailers, a small banner ad in a publication, etc. Do not try to cram visual elements or words into small ads. If the space is small, design the ad in proportion to the space.
5. No professional marketer
Unless you are both a graphic designer and marketing professional, it is not likely that you will be able to develop the best campaign for your business.
Hiring a professional to help with your email marketing campaign can get expensive. On the other hand, doing it wrong will end up costing more because you will get unfavorable results and eventually have to cover your tracks.
6. Ignore social media
The most successful campaigns come from using social media. Since social media occurs in real time, you are able to contact recipients and get responses immediately.
Having said that, do not use social media as your only point of contact. Instead, use social media as a back up for your main distribution avenue. Not all businesses will need to utilize social media, but those that do should list that account on their main website. Try contacting through Twitter first, and use Facebook to establish further relations.
Avoid these 6 points with your next email campaign to increase its effectiveness and greater the chances of success.
More and more people are aspiring to turn a profit with their online ventures, but doing so involves strategically making the right decisions during each stage or level of growth. It also requires promoting your business in a way that reaches the widest range for your demographic.Email is an ideal marketing platform for an online business because it allows for instant updates about your products and services, the opportunity to build trust, and the ability to build your brand.Below are 6 tips for using email marketing with your business plan.1. Build an Email listBuilding your email list is the most crucial aspect of marketing online. Although pre-made bulk lists of email contacts are available, most of them are not worth the investment and can easily destroy your credibility.Building your email list organically will ensure that every single address on your list is viable and will increase the longevity of your campaign.2. Consider your imageThink about exactly what you want your subscribers to think of when they receive an email from you. Carefully consider whether your brand’s image effectively conveys the adjectives you would want someone to associate with your business.Every email you send to a customer, prospect or subscriber puts your brand and message front and center. Consider that you are building a brand among your constituents, and your email marketing efforts can go a long way to support it. Let the value and personality traits of your ideal business, guide you as you plan and create your marketing communications.3. Determine the valueCreate an online survey that is easy, affordable, yet effective to determine what type of content is valuable to your clients. The results you get back will provide insight into the value of your emails, what content is most relevant, and how subscribers use the content you provide.Then, take a look at your open rates and click-throughs to determine which articles generate the most interest, and which subject lines result in more opens. Finally, identify the most popular topics that will appeal to your subscribers going forward.4. Involve your audienceEngage your readers by making them part of the content. Add a question and answer section to your newsletters and conduct an online survey or simply ask for feedback in every issue. Consider inviting your customers to share their success stories or suggest tips for other readers. Give your audience the opportunity to be heard and personalize their experience in order to forge a greater connection with the audience.5. Expand your listIncorporate an incentive or loyalty program to generate new subscribers and strengthen existing subscriber relationships. Try partnering up with a like-minded business that offers a complementary service or product and encourage your customers to sign up for their newsletter and vice versa.Continuously finding people who are interested in your content and further engaging those who are already interested requires list growth. Promote your email communications and engage others in promoting them by encouraging dialogue about your brand among your demographic.6. Stick to a scheduleAfter analyzing your reports, surveying customers, and figuring out which content is valuable to your demographic, sit down with a calendar and create a schedule for your email communications. Consider upcoming seasons and events as email marketing opportunities.The intent is for readers to learn to expect your emails and get excited about what’s included in the content when they hear from you.Utilize an email marketing plan to serve as a road map for moving your business forward. Plan your strategy and set benchmarks for what you expect to accomplish in the future and identify which of these tactics will help you achieve those goals.