Online meetings have massive conversion potential.
Adobe calculates that 91% of registrants participate in one way or another. The same document tells us that over half of live attendees interacted through polls, chat, and Q&A sessions.
In a nutshell, online meetings work – If you get the preparation work right.
Do You Need an Online Meeting
The first step is to decide whether an online meeting is the best format for what you intend to do.
Alternatives include setting up a live stream using an app such as Meerkat, a written document, and a podcast. These are all broadcast media solutions rather than collaborative ones, but each will work for part of your audience.
Meerkat is a live video-streaming app could be useful to increase your Twitter subscribers. Written documents are useful for a more formal message, or one where users need time to absorb it. Podcasts are useful if your message is largely aural.
If you want people to interact with you, then an online meeting is the better option.
Preparing for Your Meeting
Identify the purpose of your meeting and how meeting participants will benefit. A good meeting strategy is to identify participants’ pain points and to focus on the one you can solve most effectively. You need mind-blowing content that will help your attendees: Sales opportunities should be secondary because people will only buy if there is a clear emotional benefit for them.
Spending an hour with you is a massive investment of time and people cannot multi-task during a webinar, so they need to be convinced ahead of time that they will benefit.
Choose presenters whose style matches that of your target audience. Most bloggers are introverts and may not react well to loud, brash presentation styles, so if your meeting is aimed at addressing bloggers’ pain points consider a lower key presentation style. If your audience consists of extroverted politicians, then they may not react well to quietly-spoken presenters. Find the right presentation style for your target audience rather than doing what everyone else does.
Buy the right hardware and software. Microphones and cameras are not all the same and basically, the more you pay, the higher the performance, so use the best you can afford. This report by The Independent is a good place to start your microphone research and this article on Lifehacker.com looks at webcams.
The best meeting software is simple to use, reliable and comes at a reasonable cost.
Clickmeeting meets all these criteria, is scalable, and it has a free 30-day trial.
Whatever software solution you choose you must schedule a dry run, with all of your production team and a few attendees. This will give you the confidence you need with the software and expose some potential problems.
Publicizing Your Meeting
You should consider teaming up with other people to increase your reach, especially if your own email list is a small one. Provide promotional incentives such as a product recommendation or co-hosting the meeting to make it worthwhile for contacts to help spread the word about your scheduled online meeting.
Running Your Meeting
You will need a team to run an effective online meeting. Things will go wrong, and you cannot be on-camera and responding to comments or fixing loose connections. You will need at three other team members to run a smooth and glitch-free meeting. You need someone tech-savvy to handle any software or hardware issues that crop up, someone to respond to comments and someone to log on as an attendee to give feedback regarding attendees see. This last person will have an overview and can provide prompts to presenters when necessary.
Make sure that you have plenty of bandwidth and that your connection is good enough not to cause any speed or latency issues. A cellular or satellite connection is not going to cut it, and if this is your situation, then you might need to find another base to host your meeting.
Your broadcast location should be quiet and uncluttered because you don’t want toilets flushing or passing traffic to come across to your attendees and you want them to be able to focus on you rather than on your office clutter. Avoid wearing patterned clothing that will cause image issues for people watching.
Make absolutely certain that you will not be interrupted during the meeting. Turn off your phones, disconnect the doorbell and hang a Do-Not-Disturb sign on your door.
Following Up with Meeting Attendees
Follow up is essential to get the maximum benefit from your online meeting. Use your email provider to segment the people who signed up into those who attended and those who failed to show up. Follow up with further offers of help or clarification to attendees and offer a recording of the meeting to those who didn’t make it.
The right equipment and software makes it simple to run a mind-blowing online meeting, even if you have not run one before. The secret is to have a team and to practice a few times before the big day, so you appear relaxed when the camera goes live with an audience.