Recently, Australian based Fred Gillen and I, Carol A Santella, host of Business Innovators Radio met to discuss the Power of Webinars. What a joy and informative sharing of the minds it was.
His expertise is global and his decades of street smarts and business experience certainly positioned him as a great mentor and an online marketing strategist and authority.
As the interview continued, it was evident that Fred works with business owners to help them understand what they need to attract more clients by using the power of webinars and the power of the internet to grow their businesses. We found out also that Fred is a recognized public speaker and published author.
I extended a heartfelt welcome to Fred and we were on our way to learning The Power of Webinars.
CS: Probably the place to start would be to share what exactly a webinar is for those who may not be familiar with what they are and discuss if there are various types of webinars or just a standard style?
FG: No, there are a few options available. Just to clarify what a webinar is: a webinar is very similar to a live seminar. If you have a seminar that you’ve put on where you invite people to it, you’ve a slide projector, your notes and you just present whatever it is that you’re promoting or selling to an audience then a webinar takes all of that and it puts it online. It becomes a virtual seminar. That’s probably a subheading for a webinar, so people can get a better understanding of exactly what a webinar is.
It’s basically taking a normal type seminar environment where you’re talking to a group of people rather than just one and you take it online and you run it all from the base of your computer. You’re just sitting behind a microphone and in some cases a camera, if you actually want to be on screen and share yourself as well or if you just want to run a slideshow similar to what you do at a live webinar. It’s a virtual seminar, in all respects.
CS: That would make it better than a teleseminar because of the visuals.
FG: Yes, that’s exactly it. That’s the huge benefit in the audio. The big benefit from the webinars is that you can either be on screen, so you can present yourself and build your notoriety and you can set up that relationship with your viewers or you can just have a slideshow where you talk about your products, the services and run through a slideshow.
The visual aspect keeps people engaged probably a lot more than just an audio session. That’s one reason that you can probably run webinars for a lot longer than just an audio session because peoples’ attention spans are a lot longer where they’re looking at something, as well as listening to it. I hope that answers your question.
CS: It does. I can imagine that engagement is a huge part of any type of work in business today — especially with that, how would people engage in a webinar?
FG: There are a few ways of doing that. The main way is to actually get your audience to respond. With webinars, you have what they call a chat window. Down one side, there’ll be a little window where you can type in questions. That’s one way. You type in questions and usually the presenter will start that process by asking questions. They might start off the webinar by encouraging people to let them know that they can actually see everything, so they can see the screen or they can hear the audio and the audio’s crisp and clear.
That would be an initial question. It’s not staged, but it’s programmed, so the presenter will ask those questions so that they get the viewer to actually action their keyboard. They do something on the keyboard that gets them engaged into the actual presence of the webinar. Throughout the webinar, they will ask more questions, like: “Can you still hear me” or “If everybody liked that information, can you type one in the chat box. If you didn’t get anything out of that, then type two and I’ll expand on it.”
You do that throughout the webinar to encourage people to stay involved, stay engaged and keep their mind on what’s actually happening, rather than going off and looking at their emails while they’re listening to you or checking their spam folders or looking at Skype and Facebook and all the rest. You’ve got to try to keep them engaged by asking questions and getting them involved in the actual presentation.
CS: Okay, thank you for that. Are there specific businesses that would benefit the most from conducting webinars or doesn’t it really matter who holds them?
FG: In my opinion, it doesn’t really matter. As long as you can present something to your client base;know your client base (most businesses do); as long as you’ve got something that you can present to a group and if you think about even going out to a local business chamber, if you can present to a chamber and talk about your business, then there’s no reason you can’t present that on a webinar. Obviously the more niche down you get and the better the presentation and control of it, in my belief, I don’t believe that any business that can’t benefit by attracting clients online and one of the better ways of doing that is webinars.
CS: What do you think the main uses are for businesses using webinars?
FG: There are a couple of uses. Main use is probably lead generation. You actually get new clients engaged on the webinar. You explain what your business is all about, what the benefits are of doing business with you, what features you offer. The normal type of stuff. Encouraging people to do business with you. You can give them free advice as I do constantly on my webinars. We give away a lot of information freely and it’s not canned. People can ask questions on our webinars. They get the answers, so we don’t just say, “You’ve got to pay some money to get the answer.”
We actually give the answers and then hopefully that sets up that relationship with us. They learn to know, like and trust us. Then they will eventually do business with us.