Question. What is a webinar and why should I care?
Answer. A webinar is a seminar delivered over the internet (i.e. web) where your audience views your presentation live using their web browser (e.g. Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, etc.).
Webinars provide a cost effective method of reaching your audience. Imagine stripping away all the travel and lodging cost associated with taking your “show” on the road? Now, from the comfort of your home, your office, or even better, your home office, you can get your message out to hundreds of folks. Webinars can teach, inspire and generate revenue for you without ever setting foot in an airport.
Q. How do I choose a webinar software provider?
A. Webinar software providers (e.g. Webex, Adobe Connect Pro, GoToWebinar, IBM Sametime Unyte, etc.) have more common features than differentiators. All providers allow you to show a presentation (usually PowerPoint) to your audience. Most allow you to conduct polls, annotate your presentation on the fly, and provide your audience with a “chat” room where they can ask questions.
Some providers offer long term contracts (usually a year) in addition to pay-per-use. Some, like GoToWebinar only offer an “all you can eat” monthly price. Virtually all providers give you one month free to kick the tires and decide if you’re happy with the service. Vell Group contracts with two software vendors on a pay-per-use basis and we pass these costs onto you if you do not have your own service contract.
Q. How long should my webinar be?
A. A general rule of thumb is never longer than 90 minutes. Probably 85 – 90% of all webinars are an hour long with about 45 minutes devoted to presentation and 15 minutes devoted to answering questions from the audience. If your webinar is really nothing more than a commercial for your product then the recommendation would be no more than 30 minutes.
Q. Tell me more about polling. Why might I use it? Does my audience have to leave my webinar to take polls?
A. Webinar software providers who offer polling implement the feature within the webinar so your attendees do not leave the webinar to take the poll. Polling serves a couple of purposes. First it gives you information about your audience. A common polling question asks the audience their level of experience with your subject matter. This allows you to tailor your presentation to the audience’s skill level. The other key feature of polling is it increases the interactivity of your webinar. Polling keeps your audience engaged. Too much of anything is no good so you don’t want to use polling more than two or three times in a one hour webinar.
Q. I want to establish intimacy with my audience so I plan to have a video of me talking during the presentation. Good idea?
A. Actually, no. Not a good idea at all. If you want your audience to see you during the webinar than simply post a still picture of yourself in the video window (if one is provided). Having a moving video of you during your webinar has two disadvantages. First it puts a terrible burden on you to look at the camera for an hour and “act”. It is much easier for you to be able to look down at notes, scratch your nose when it itches, etc. The other disadvantage is that it unnecessarily distracts the audience from your presentation. They are looking at you instead of looking at your slides. You can establish intimacy by showing compelling slides and having a confident engaging vocal style. You don’t need to be a TV star, just a radio star!
Q. Isn’t it cheaper for me to just run the webinar myself and not rely on a producer?
A. Well yes and no. For a webinar to be effective, preparation must be done. Depending on your labor rate, the time you spend doing the prep work may be more expensive than if you outsource the prep work. Beyond that, there are “moving parts” that you must attend to if you run the webinar yourself. While you are presenting, you must monitor your chat room to see if anyone in your audience has concerns. You will have to run your Q&A session yourself which means sorting through questions on the fly (whereas a producer could pick out questions for you and have them ready while you’re focused on your presentation).
Q. I do not have an account with a webinar software provider. Can I still get help from you?
A. Absolutely. Ask for our WPTS (We Provide the Software) option.
Q. What is your payment policy? Do I pay up front or after the webinar?
A. We request a 50% down payment of our flat fee. You can do this easily through our “Pay Here” page. If you prefer, we can also invoice you. Once we receive notice of your payment, we will schedule consulting time with you and start planning your webinar. When the webinar concludes, we will bill you for the balance of the flat fee plus any services charges incurred in the WPTS option.
Q. I don’t see the answer to my question here. How can I contact you with more questions?
A. There are a variety of ways to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!