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Using Free Webinars To Market Training

Should I Use Free Webinars To Market My "Paid" Training Sessions? By Robert Bacal

Now that the technology to deliver "webinars" online and through the phone has become easier and cheaper to use, more and more trainers are using short online sessions, or webinars to promote themselves.

It's an opportunity to "show off", both your content skills on a topic, and your ability to deliver training in an engaging way.

To answer the question directly, it's useful to look at free webinars as a marketing method, but you have to do things properly. Below are some important things to keep in mind.

Things To Consider Before Offering Free Webinars To Market Training

  1. You still have to have a marketing strategy in place for the WEBINAR. You might think that "free" will attract people to register, but that won't happen automatically. You need a marketing strategy for the webinar, and THEN you'll need a strategy for marketing to webinar attendees, so in one sense there's a double marketing hit.
  2. It's hard to do a webinar, particularly via phone conferencing ONLY, so that it's engaging, useful, and also shows the best side of your abilities. In fact, the webinars I've taken part in, even short one hour ones, are boring, superficial, and very uninspiring. This, of course, ends up counter-productive. In fact, you may be great at in class training, but if you can't transform that into really great webinars, then it backfires.
  3. Webinars still suffer from technology issues. That's something you should be aware of. The simpler the technologies, for example, the less likely your session will end up derailed by technical problems, like losing connections.

    On the other hand, the simple technologies, again, let's say phone conferencing, is very dull. If you add web access, using web cams so participants can see each other and so forth, that makes them much more engaging, but also much more prone to technical difficulties.
  4. If you want to use free webinars for marketing, make sure they are recorded, so you can make them available online in some archive form. This can greatly increase your marketing reach.
  5. Free webinars can be great for marketing and selling products in addition to using them to convince potential training customers to hire you. This tends to work well if you are a published author, or have other "tools" that can be sold in print or, even better, in downloadable versions.
  6. You can't just "lecture" on a webinar, since that's going to be incredibly dull. There MUST be significant interactive components throughout the entire webinar, and that means more than just a "question and answer" session at the end. That will probably mean you'll have to have someone to moderate questions and comments. That adds an extra layer of complexity.
  7. Don't oversell your training or products. One of the things that makes people upset is when they sign up and spend an hour in a webinar only to discover that the content is weak, and it's only an obvious marketing ploy. Focus on being useful. Make the webinar useful, and don't hold back information or details in an effort to make a sale. Yes, it may be marketing, but you are proving your expertise and ability to help your clients, and you are NOT marketing a service or product in an obvious way.

Conclusion: Why I Don't Do Webinars

Several times I've been asked by webinar companies, or other prospective clients whether I would do a webinar on a topic within my area of expertise, and each time, after exploring the possibilities, I've refused.

I have a lot of reasons, so here's a summary:

  • I don't like interacting via technology. I need live people I can see, so I can get real time feedback. Webinars don't let me do that.
  • I don't feel that short webinars can do justice to the topics I offer training in, and I'm not comfortable with how webinars are marketed, since they are almost always over-sold with a lot of silly hype. Webinar trainees simply aren't going to learn a lot about a subject in an hour or so.
  • When I've been offered a fee for doing a webinar from a webinar company, I find that my "cut" is way too small relative to the tuition being paid to the host company. I've been offered fees of several hundred dollars to do a webinar, only to discover that the host company is actually charging attendees $200 per person to attend a webinar. Even if only 20 people attended at that price, they would receive $3,750 while I would end up with $250 and that's simply not an equitable split.

For more on marketing your training services, click here to go to the main index for "The Business Of Training

Tags: #webinars #free webinars #marketing training #training business #business strategy #marketing training #selling training

 

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