pascal-1Webinars are among the most popular ways to educate and interact with customers online, and their popularity is increasing steadily. For businesses they provide a great way to spread information as they are affordable and give access to new audiences across the world. Today we’ll show you the basics so you can easily start your own webinars.

Why a Webinar?

The term webinar – a portmanteau of the words web and seminar – has come to mean a seminar that is held completely online and has various advantages compared to podcasts and regular teleseminars. Unlike other forms of e-learning, webinars aren’t restricted to a presenter lecturing his audience. They also make it possible to share files and supplement presentations with Powerpoint slides.

The biggest advantage of webinars over traditional seminars is their cost-effectiveness, and their capacity to handle virtually unlimited numbers of participants. For a regular seminar you need a location, which limits the turnout, and also requires that participants physically travel somewhere.

For a webinar, all a participant needs is a computer that is connected to the internet, a headset and a microphone. Some webinar providers also allow your participants to dial in using a local telephone number, so they don’t even need an internet connection. This is a great way for non-tech-savvy people to participate, but it does limit their opportunities for interaction because they won’t be able to see your slides or receive files.

Webinars are Becoming Increasingly Popular

As a form of learning, webinars are continually gaining popularity. According to a survey from the website Interleado.com, webinars are the most popular form of online training. Compared to teleseminars, online courses and discussion forums, webinars are “by far the most popular channel”.

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Source: www.interleado.com

At the same time, many companies are yet to take full advantage of webinars, even though there is no reason to not include them in your marketing. Various providers make it very simple to run your own webinar, either for educating your own staff or for communicating with your customers.

Webinar Providers

A range of webinar providers offer all-in-one solutions that enable you to host your own webinar in no time. However, there are certain factors you have to consider before choosing a provider. If you want your webinar to be completely interactive, you need to be able to unmute your participants.

During a webinar the participants are usually muted, especially if you have a large amount of listeners. Some webinar software solutions allow your participants to enter a certain key combination to “raise their hand” during the webinar. This way you can unmute them and bring them into the conversation. Providers with this feature are Instant Teleseminar undGoToWebinar. Other well-known providers are Mikogo, WebEX and ClickMeeting.

Most webinar providers offer various pricing models, depending on how many participants you want to include in your webinar. They enable you to cover a wide range of webinars, from a small online meeting up to huge conferences with thousands of people. Often times the providers will offer you a free trial period as well.

In this trial period you are usually restricted to a certain number of participants for your webinar. For holding regular webinars you can buy a license that suits your individual needs. If the amount of participants for your webinars are increasing over time, you can easily switch to a different payment plan and increase the number of participants.

Watch a recorded webinar, which took place on November 13th and 20th, where Versio2 Partners talked about new customer and business behaviour; how lean business needs apply to marketing; inbound marketing as a suitable response; and how to create customers online through blogging, social media and search.

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Stephan Burckhardt

This marketing vet is based in Greater Vancouver, Canada. He has worked in B2B marketing in Silicon Valley and Europe, was CEO of a large agency serving B2B startups, trans-nationals, and everything in between. Focus: technology, healthcare, professional services.
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