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Alternatives to webinars we shouldn’t ignore

Running a seminar, whether in person or online (as a ‘webinar’), is a great sales tool, but it’s still a little too much effort (or risky) for many businesses. There’s plenty to go wrong; maybe nobody will attend; and worst of all, it requires customers to put in the effort. Is there a more comfortable way of running seminars that more of us could try?

When stripped back, a sales seminar is just a sales presentation with the chance for the audience to ask questions. So we should ask ourselves: “Does the audience really value that chance of interacting with us – and does this have to be in person?”

If the presentation may as well be online, and if all the audience really needs to do is watch and listen, then we can forget the idea of a seminar completely. What’s required is a video sales presentation. These have the big advantage that they can be watched by customers at their convenience, and over time, will reach a much larger audience than a webinar which requires customers to be present at a fixed moment. So we should first consider if we need to hold a live event at all.

For situations where the interactivity is essential, there’s an alternative to the live event, and that’s the ‘automated webinar’. With this, the webinar is actually a sales presentation that customers can watch whenever they want (during support hours!), but there’ll be someone at the company available to answer questions in real time whenever they do, using a ‘live chat’ format or by email. Products like eWebinar do this.

If we do end up holding a live webinar, then it’s essential to really sweat the asset afterwards. Many customers would actually rather watch a recording – they can see the event’s duration in advance, move through it at their own pace, and be confident that any presentational glitches will have been edited out. In addition, a well-presented recording of a webinar will come with a full transcript and relevant links.

Many businesses fear holding live seminars – perhaps understandably – or judge them as not being appropriate for their market. But in doing so, a lot mistakenly write off video sales presentations and automated webinars at the same time. This could be a missed opportunity.