Video Teleseminars Or Webinars?
How we communicate our knowledge to our target market has fundamentally changed in the last decade. Ten years ago, it was all about face-to-face meetings, networking events and sales letters. However, changes in technology and the downward pressure on pricing for computing, data storage, and communication have been a game changer. Some of us have embraced these changes more quickly and more easily than others and some of us may have got left behind. We now have the era of videos, teleseminars and webinars.
With the arrival of platforms like YouTube, anyone can quickly create short videos and upload them to the Internet at virtually zero cost and broadcast their message to the world. For several years, these videos were restricted to less than 15 minutes in length but now it is possible to upload 60+ minute videos and YouTube continues to offer free uploading of videos to content developers. The most popular videos have tended to be just 3 or 4 minutes long and contain a few interesting facts or an element of entertainment. The term edutainment was born for those of us that can educate and entertain our target audience at the same time.
Video has proved to be a really effective method of communicating with people that are interested in what we have to say and YouTube has facilitated this by allowing us to set up our own channels on their platform. Paid platforms such as Vimeo, Amazon S3 and Kajabi are particularly useful if you want to deliver your content to your target audience for a fee. This latter imperative allows us to shoot and upload longer videos or full programs on topics where we have expertise and to get paid for sharing our knowledge. Structured teaching platforms like curious.com are available for those of us that want to use a cookie cutter approach to teaching our content while getting paid for it. There are lots of others to choose from.
However, not everybody wants to get in front of a camera to broadcast his or her message. They may feel awkward or self-conscious. They may feel that it is too impersonal. Or they may be afraid of stuttering and fluffing their lines so that the content becomes unintelligible. Well you don’t have to get in front of a camera unless you are comfortable doing so. You can use tools like Screenflow or Camtasia to record your message, show slides, demonstrate computer screens or elements thereof, and add in music or graphics to enhance the presentation.
I don’t personally sell my video content. I prefer to use it to educate my followers on a broad range of business topics for free. If they are interested in learning more, then they can use the links to my blogs or websites to get more information or to engage with me if they so desire. With 175 of my own business education videos published on my YouTube channel, I simply use the platform to deliver some of my knowledge to my SME followers and to create awareness of some of my paid programs. The YouTube search engine is second only to Google in terms of delivering relevant traffic and for creating awareness of what I have to offer to potential clients. It can work for you too.
Video obviously has its place in the marketing mix and it can be really successful in delivering visitors to your websites. However, it does present a problem in that it does not deliver an obvious and immediate forum for conversation. Yes, you do have a comments section wherein you can engage with the audience, but it is not immediate and fluid enough for you to really get under the skin of what your audience really wants you to deliver. This has created the need for a more sophisticated communication platform that is bi-synchronous in nature. Enter the teleseminar or webinar.
Teleseminar or Webinar
A teleseminar is an audio-only training that you deliver over the telephone and people from all over the world can listen to at the same time. A webinar is similar, but it adds a visual element. With webinars, your viewers can sit in front of their computers, tablets or smartphones and watch slides or videos that enhance your audio teaching. Which one you choose to use will depend on your particular audience and your own style and technical competence. My own personal preference is webinars.
Well-established webinar platforms like Gotomeeting have a monthly charge based on the maximum number of participants you may invite plus the elements you wish to include in your package such as automatic webinar recording, keyboard and mouse sharing with other participants or automated email reminders to participants. Having the ability to run webinars with 1,000 participants at one time will set you back $300 per month or $3,600 per annum with Gotomeeting. Up to 100 participants will cost you $89 per month or a little over $1,000 per year but the feature set is not as rich as the higher priced version.
Another alternative is Webex from Cisco, which offers similar services, and offers comparable pricing, although they do their best to hide the pricing on their website unless you are expecting 100 or less participants per webinar, in which case the price is similar to Gotomeeting.
The new kids on the block for webinars are WebinarJam and their newest offering is called WebinarJam Studio. Originally launched with Google Hangouts as its underlying platform, it has been redeveloped with added functionality and a suite of free tools to simplify engagement with your target audience. WebinarJam has built an entire marketing suite on top of its core platform, which automates a lot of the functions that you need to do outside of competitor offerings.
WebinarJam also allows you to invite an unlimited number of attendees and you may run an unlimited number of webinars for an annual fee of just $397. You can even use the platform for paid presentations or teaching and there is full payment gateway integration to facilitate payment in advance of consumption of your content. If you have not hosted a webinar before, WebinarJam is the obvious choice from a cost and functionality perspective.
Webinars, regardless of the platform you choose, give you the opportunity to invite participants to attend a teaching or presentation you are giving at a particular time and date. There is the added advantage of allowing participants to comment or ask questions and give their point of view. It is like a live multi media classroom wherein attendees can come together and participate from anywhere in the world. Live chat allows them to queue questions, which you can answer as the webinar proceeds. You can make a slide presentation, show a movie or bring them through a demonstration – all from the comfort of your office or home. There is the option of recording the webinar so that participants who cannot make the original live event can view and listen to a replay at a time that suits them or you or both.
But again, not everybody wants to get up on a stage and risk embarrassing themselves. Some of us may simply have a quiet way about us and would prefer to continue with the old-fashioned one-on-one delivery of our message in get-to-know you sessions. This is perfectly okay and if this is your preferred modus operandi then simply continue doing it the old-fashioned way.
However, if you want to reach more people with your knowledge and capitalize on extended market reach by converting followers around the globe into paying clients, then there is little option but for you to embrace the technologies and communication methodologies discussed in this article. You may be late to the game but there is plenty of room for more players.
I have no connection or affiliate relationships with any of the providers discussed here and I don’t receive any income for creating awareness of these platforms.