Webinars are worth considering for the same reason blogs have revolutionized the news media and, to a lesser extent, YouTube’s added dimension to corporate advertising: depth of resources, location, client base — they are all irrelevant. Further, webinars give everyone a front-row seat.
Think back to that last seminar you attended. It probably included a PowerPoint presentation, perhaps a moderated panel and an afternoon or morning in a stuffy room without enough coffee. A webinar, or webcast as they are known by some, is really the same concept only in a virtual sense. Many business organizations use webinars to replace in-person events and, as a result, these presentations have become the No. 1 online way to develop new business leads. Lawyers and law firms utilize webinars to deliver any kind of information over the World Wide Web, both live presentations and delayed productions with sound and/or video broadcasts. In addition to marketing seminars, such uses include staff meetings, training seminars (both for staff and clients) as well as client matter status updates and substantive discussions.
The beauty is that the technology affords access to anyone anywhere, as long as “attendees” have a working Internet connection and a phone. Compared to out of the office meetings, webinars gobble up less time during business hours and generally cost less than associated event expenses.
Too good to be true? Depending on the contract you negotiate with a given webinar provider, there is no proverbial rabbit hole. There are, however, a few pitfalls as well as best practices that you should consider:
- The biggest challenge to overcome with webinars is an obvious fact: there is far less personal contact. Enjoy making a presentation to an empty room? That is precisely what the presenter in a live webinar is doing. Unless you have a touch of schizophrenia, be prepared to practice the presentation prior to undertaking a live webinar.
- No matter how savvy a person may be, technology is still intimidating. The type and amount of technology involved can cause even the leading gizmo enthusiast to become superstitious. Consider at least two simulation webinars using the full functionality with a number of geographically diverse guinea pigs.
Finally, because the webinar is virtual, so is the marketing. Nothing comes close to in-person time with clients or prospects. Consequently, follow-up strategies to webinars, with clients and prospects alike, really become more important than putting on the presentation. Be assertive but still accommodating in making personal contact to develop relationships, answer questions and qualify leads.
John D. Bowers
Business Development Manager
Saul Ewing LLP