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Is Web conferencing the right marketing tool for you?

June 25, 2014 in

Savvy marketers increasingly turn to Web conferencing to get their message out, to engage their target demographics, and to build relationships.

Some indications:

•  A 2014 Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and Adobe survey of marketing professionals found that webinars are considered the third most effective content marketing tactic (tied with the mighty video).

• CMI also found that while marketers rate web conferencing among the 12 most oft-used tactics, they rate them among the top five for their effectiveness.

•  A recent McKinsey & Co. survey reports that, “customers are becoming much more comfortable getting the information they need from sales resources through Web conferences.”

Effective though it is, the medium is not a magic bullet. Researchers have found that web conferencing works best when is used in the context of an overall marketing plan. For example, CMI surveys have found that 71 percent of companies with a documented marketing strategy found web conferencing effective, compared to 42 percent of companies who did not.

That said, for what kinds of specific purposes is the web conferencing medium considered a good choice?

Marketing: It’s a great way to attract people to a product or service, using an educational, explanatory approach

Business meetings and collaboration: The appropriate use of online meetings will considerably cut the cost of travel, allowing for more frequent meetings. And with the varied tools for collaboration provided by good web conferencing platforms, meetings can be rich, engaging, and memorable.

Education: Distance education and after-hours help are just a couple among many  examples. Again, the resource-sharing and collaborative tools available make web conferencing a natural and exciting choice here.

Awareness programs: Have something to say to a worldwide audience? A video conference can handle as many people as you and your team can invite.

Originally, web conferencing gained popularity as a means for generating sales leads, but in the past decade it has also become widely used for educational purposes, and the related purpose of establishing thought leadership.

However, there are some other situations in which web conferencing may not be the best alternative:

• To begin a relationship: when getting to know new clients, personal contact is best. Web conferencing is a great choice to maintain a relationship, but to start one, it’s important to be able to read your clients’ body language, to see the expression on their faces, etc. If, however, you still feel a web conference is the best option, exercise caution. Pay extra attention to the little things--even the breathing at the other end.

• Day-long sessions: The suggested max length for a web conference is two hours. An online meeting is not an ideal choice for a day-long skill-building workshop.

• You don’t intend an interactive presentation. If you just want to impart information, a dedicated video is a better option. Web conferencing is all about interactivity.

To decide on your marketing medium, ask the question, ‘Would my business benefit by educating prospects on the benefits and necessity of my product/service?’

If the answer is yes, then seriously consider web conferencing.  Especially when used as part of a marketing plan, it's a dynamic medium that grabs audience attention, makes a strong impression, and is great for building ongoing relationships.

Author: James Parker Doyle

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