Monthly Archives: March 2010

Santa and the Lost Dog Accepted Into istockphoto.com Designer Spotlight

Personalized page from Santa and the Lost DogWhen our team at Webinar Resources created the personalized interactive web presentation  "Santa and the Lost Dog", we used lots of stock images along with pictures of Mark’s dog Bella to help illustrate the story. Our source for many of the stock images was istockphoto.com. When you complete a design that uses images from istockphoto.com, you have the option of submitting your completed project to the Designer Spotlight. We are happy to announce that the Christmas story photo book "Santa and the Lost Dog" was accepted into the Designer Spotlight in the web category.

If you would like to view my entire portfolio of accepted completed designs and available stock images, see my istockphoto.com portfolio.

Phase 2: Pre-Event Efforts for Planning Successful Events

Once you have the basic structure of your event in mind you should move on to stage 2: Pre-Event Efforts. This progressive approach to event planning includes focusing on using every element of an event to create opportunities to engage your audience. Traditionally, the pre-event efforts are designed to get people to attend a singular face-to-face conference, seminar or meeting. Web2.0 has established new channels of communication that give these pre-event efforts the potential to be just as engaging and profitable as the actual “main event.” Remember, each touch is an opportunity to grow your relationship with existing customers as well as introduce your products and services to new ones.

In your pre-event efforts utilize social media channels – both new and old – to advertise the content to be shared during the event, as well as, start new conversations. The channels you chose should be relevant to your desired audience and the messages tailored to the nuances of each particular channel. When using a multi-channel mix it is wise to drive all out reach efforts towards one centralized website where all event information and forums are located. This creates a flow between the channels, as well as building a cohesive theme or message.
 

Some examples of pre-event efforts:

  • Tweet a concise but alluring intro to the event with a link to the home page. “No more recession depression. Now is the time to strive for growth…Link
  • Pose a question on LinkedIn that will pique interest and engage your network. Be sure the question is directly related to your event. “What are three things you’ve done recently to improve your relationship with your existing customer? Need some ideas? Link”
  • Use your Facebook page to express excitement about the upcoming event or reach out to those who have RSVP’d.
  • Attempt to survey those who are interested in coming but can’t. Find out why and what specifically they were interested in and whether they would be interested in alternative options. Then follow up. It starts a conversation and may lead to new opportunities.

As it relates to sales, pre-event efforts give you the unique opportunity to reach out to two different audiences. Existing customers and potential customers frame the two most targeted audiences for events. Knocking on doors, e-mail, phone calls, social media and more present many ways to reach out to these two audiences…but it’s the fact you took the time to share with them what your event is and why they should come—that creates an engagement opportunity for you to assess if they are worth your time. Having an event gives you something to talk about besides just trying to sell them a product or a service.

By using an extended series of mini opportunities around your central event you are opening the entire process of advertising, registering and following up to new profit potential. Setting a genuine and well managed standard of interaction through these initial pre-event efforts will lay the foundation for a successful and memorable event over all.

Peter Muir, president Bizucate Inc.
www.bizucate.com
 

Join us for Webinar Wednesdays

Webinar Wednesdays
 
In the first edition of Webinar Wednesdays host Peter Muir of Bizucate Inc. will introduce a progressive multi-channel mix approach to successful customer acquisition and event execution.  Responding to the shift in the economy, as well as, methods of communication, Muir proposes a revolution in the way business events are planned and structured. Moving away from the singularly focused traditional format to a phased and more engaged event strategy.
 
 
Wednesday, April 14th, 2010  
 
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM CDT
 
 
 If you miss the live broadcast, Webinars will be archived at our webinar replay portal.   Also, be sure to add The Multi-Channel Mix blog to your reader to receive weekly updates regarding more successful event planning.

To join our webinar email list, just text "webinar" (a space) and your email address to 88769.

(Produced by Webinar Resources)
 

Webinar Resources Recognized at Brainshark Sharkie Awards

Webinar Resources was recently recognized for our unique, personalized, Christmas Story Photo Book application at the second annual Brainshark Sharkie awards.     Our application was selected and recognized at the online Sharkie awards last week among a hundred entries of interactive Brainshark presentations.

You can view a sample Christmas Story Photo Book at the Brainshark Sharkie Gallery.   This presentation is a great example of the use of effective landing pages, cross media applications and on demand presentation content.   We personalized the reading experience for children with personalized text, images and audio in a unique Christmas story about Santa Claus and the Lost Dog.

Readers of our blog have seen some examples of how we have implemented cross media applications to drive the customer acquisition process.   Stay tuned for more creative uses of a multi channel mix of content and solutions that will bring business opportunity to your company.
 

"Help! I'm using so many applications I'm losing track of them all!"

Multi channel marketing is more important than ever before. Your audience is becoming increasingly segmented, and you have to open up more channels in order to be where the action is. Do you remember when just having a web site set you apart from the competition? Adding Facebook or Twitter to your multi channel mix used to be a cutting edge move – now social media applications have become so entrenched that Tweets like this one I saw this morning are possible – "Websites vs Facebook Pages: which URL should you promote?"

Social media applications, email accounts, blogs, web sites, shopping carts, payment gateways, CMSs, CRMs – all of these channels need feeding with new content and/or monitoring to make sure you are engaging with your audience and taking advantage of opportunities. You don’t want an important email to languish in a little-used account, a sold merchandise item to go unshipped, a new lead ignored, or a question posted to a blog or Facebook page to go unanswered. How does one remember to check up on all these channels?

Most of the time when your applications need attention, you will get an alert email, but you can’t count on getting all the emails you should. Email delivery is a real problem these days, even delivery of emails that you have made it very clear are wanted. To help me keep track of what I need to check on every day, I have made an html page and links to all of my email accounts, shopping carts, payment gateways, and social media applications. There is a shortcut to it on my desktop so it’s always handy.

Here at Webinar Resources, I’ve made a similar page in a password protected area that our whole team can refer to for similar information, plus links to other things we need such as individual contact information, login pages for various hosted services that we use, and links to information important to our collective knowledge. It’s a great convenience and time-saver. If you don’t have such a resource for yourself, I recommend you make one or ask your web developer to create an admin page tailored to your needs.

Looking for Retention and Lead Generation Ideas, Have an Event! Part 1

A basic marketing premise looks at how to retain good customers and how to acquire new ones. Acquisition and retention are a cornerstone in any business venture.

In an effort to show your existing customers how they can be more successful and show new customers new places they can go enabled by your ideas, products and services consider hosting an educational event.

I’d like you to consider 4 Planning Phases of Successful Events.
1. Planning
2. Pre-Event Efforts
3. Event Delivery
4. Post-Event Efforts and Outcomes

Below is the beginning of an Educational Event Planning Guide to Increased Sales. Whether your goal is to create an effective lead generation program, re-develop your customer acquisition process, salvage lost customers with a retention campaign or you just want to say no more to cold calls. Developing your objectives is part of the process. It may seem like the guide is a series of questions, but it’s in the process of answering the questions that will help you create an event that fits your organization, your needs and the needs of your current and future customers.

We’re just scratching the surface here with Phase 1 Planning. Three future posts will discuss Phase 2, 3 and 4.

Phase 1 Planning
The planning phase has two major parts. The planning process of how the event fits into the larger needs of the organization and the actual planning steps to the event itself.

Planning within the Big Picture

  • Why have an event, what are your goals? What do you want to get for your efforts? Develop objectives that are SMART (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Based) and align with the current or future needs of the organization.
  • Having an educational event provides a reason to talk to customers and prospects. It gives you something to buzz about beyond your capabilities and need for business. It could give your customers reasons to invest in new ideas and new products and services to help them grow.

Planning the Event

  • Content: strategic, operational, sales, business processes? The content is what will be advertised and why people will attend. Theming your event and tying it to actionable outcomes changes an informative event to a results event. Types of businesses and the role of the attendee will be influenced by the content you choose.
  • Type of Event: Face to Face or Webinar. Each presents its own benefits and shortcomings. Consider your content and audience along with your budget and resources as part of your thought process.
  • Timing: Early in the quarter? At the beginning, middle or late in the week? Morning, afternoon or all day? What time works best for those you are looking to reach?
  • Location: If face to face do you host it at your company, at a local hotel, a customers business? To feed or not to feed? Is the location part of your message? If you choose to have a web conference what are the needs of the solution? Browser, OS, phone, voice over IP, Presentation technology, presentation style, ability to interact with attendees.

Use the event itself to help you retain existing customers and acquire new ones. Use a multi channel approach to solicit input to your educational event. Post it on your blog, have sales reps call on the phone, visit face to face, Tweet about it, email it, provide a web page where people can influence the outcome. Use the multi channel mix to help you connect with people!

Let existing customers know you are hosting an educational event and you would like to invite them to "participate" early on and be part of the planning committee. Ask them what they would like to learn more about and why? What challenges are they facing, their industry, their customers facing? What opportunities would they like to go after but can’t seem to get started. Why? All of these questions can apply to new customers you’d like to acquire too.

It’s not really about the event itself. The event is an indirect approach to help you grow your relationship with existing customers and knock on new doors and acquire new ones. Deliver on what they ask for and you’re on a new road to showing your customer why they could be doing business with you and your organization.

Stay tuned for information on Phase 2: Pre-event Efforts, Phase 3: Event Delivery and Phase 4: Post-Event Efforts and Outcomes.

If you have additional planning ideas you’d like to share or have a question about anything we’ve posted, just let me know!