Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Ever Popular Webinar

I've passed the three Webinar invitations per day threshold and the trend doesn't seem to be slowing down. Everyone wants an hour of my time. They all promise to answer the toughest questions and provide valuable insight that will change my business. Too often, the change they have in mind involves cutting them a check every month and the information consists of their accounts receivable mailing address.

Enough. There must be some accountability here. People will not continue to stand by while vendors line them up for hour-long sales pitches. Here are some tips for managing expectations better with this Web 2.0 tool.

1) Set webinar goals in terms of the attendee, not the host. It's not about you getting 50 qualified leads (at least it's not only about that), it's about attendees walking away better informed about something than they were when they got there.

2) Don't turn the webinar into a product demo unless the attendees have signed up for a product demo. If you promise to talk about industry trends, you better lay them out.

3) Quit wasting an hour of our time. Who has an hour to spend on a webinar? If the attendee has that much time on his hands, he's not making any money. Cut them down to 30 minutes, max.

4) If you promise attendees will get a free white paper or other informational product, make it easy for them to get it. Luring them in and then making them complete the Mackay 66 before you give them the link is not cool.

5) Don't let untrained executives run the webinar. Hire someone who can get the program moving and keep it moving. It does not serve the host well to have attendees hang up the phone and sigh in relief. You want them to leave the meeting wishing they had more time.

Is this to say that the host can't have any goals for the webinar? Of course not, but they are secondary to the goals and needs of the attendees or you will get people in the doors once and only once. In my next post, I'll talk about how to make webinars pay dividends for the company that hosts them.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Apple preloads company content

Apple is making an appeal directly to corporate communications and marketing departments by making it's iPod line of portable music and video players available with pre-loaded company content. Smart.

We've been doing that for some time because giving away an iPod is a great attention-grabbing tactic. Preloading it with your company sales message is just the extension of a good idea.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Keeping the Team on the Same Page

One of the great uses of new media is keeping everyone inside the organization on the same page. I have seen so many companies with great product offerings and a willing market fall down because the whole team couldn't pull together.

One team that does a great job of this is Oklahoma City-based a la mode. I was out at their annual users conference in Las Vegas recently and was really impressed with the way all of the folks I podcasted with seemed to be on the same page related to the a la mode Labs initiative and its overall mission. So I asked Communication's Director Matt Barr how it was done.

"There's no trick to it. It all comes down to Dave's leadership. Many owners and corporate officers are good at communicating; leadership is communicating what you believe and believing what you communicate," Matt said.

He's right about that. I listened to a la mode's founder and owner Dave Biggers talk to his customers for three days. His message never changed and he was passionate about what his team was doing the whole time.

Matt went on, "Adam [Calvery] and Chris [Low] hear what Dave says about the company and the Labs and then the Lab Fellows hear from Adam and Chris what they'd hear if Dave told them himself. This, incidentally, is where you would start if you ever explored the reasons behind a la mode's phenomenal success as a company over the last 22 years."

Nice plug, Matt. But he's got a point. Leaders have to use every tool available to get everyone in their organization on the same page and pulling in the same direction. I was proud to be chosen by the company to produce some podcasts to serve that end. But the best tools are probably passion and consistency. They are being employed here to good benefit.