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Why Your Business Is Not Making Any Money From Its Webinars

 

dollarsymbolIs this an oft-repeated scenario in your enterprise: Another day, another webinar and another poor outcome? If so, by now you’re starting to wonder if anyone actually makes any money from this type of service.

Wonder no more: Webinars do have the power to yield strong returns in the form of customer conversions and sales. But simply hosting an online event, in and of itself, won’t guarantee a financial reward. If you’re not getting the desired results from your webinars, here are three possible reasons why:

Nobody is attending: You can’t play to an empty room and hope to increase awareness about your brand. If nobody is attending your webinars, your chances of driving sales are, obviously, nil.

So what are you doing wrong here? Chances are likely that you dropped the ball early on in the webinar planning process. You should spend as much time promoting the webinar as you do in preparing your presentation. And make sure to provide plenty of opportunities for your guests to register for the event.

You aren’t targeting key decision markers: Don’t get us wrong—it’s great to have a variety of different types of workers tuning into your webinar. After all, you never know who holds weight in terms of purchasing products. Make sure, however, that the bulk majority of attendees are comprised of decision makers who have spending power.

How do you target more decision makers and get them to tune into your webinar? Ensure that the content is valuable enough to attract the attention of high-ranking executives. Otherwise, you could be wasting your time marketing your business to people too low on the totem pole to do your brand much good.

You aren’t following up leads: Here at Onstream Webinars, we can’t impress this last point enough: You need to follow up with attendees immediately after the webinar ends, while the ideas you just talked about are still fresh in their minds. You can’t wait days, or even too many hours, to follow up. The process needs to be quick and efficient to sign up new customers and capitalize on all of your selling points.

Want to learn more about how you can improve your webinars? Click here to read about the right and wrong ways to conduct a webinar. 

Steer Clear of WebRTC for Your Business

 

WebRTC LogoIf you’re in the market for a new business collaboration and communications suite, chances are likely that Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) is high on your list of solutions to explore, based on the heavy amount of online attention that it’s been receiving recently.

What exactly is WebRTC? It is a free open-source, browser-based communication and collaboration suite capable of offering voice, chat and peer-to-peer file sharing. The technology comes with promises of high-quality communications, interoperability with existing VoIP systems and, of course, cost-saving features. As a result of these attributes, as well as others, the WebRTC market is expected to reach about $4.7 billion by 2018, and will likely be used by about 60 percent of the Internet population by as soon as 2019.

It sounds great on paper, but is it right for your business? Look deeper and you’ll see that WebRTC also comes with some major disadvantages that could seriously impact the security and stability of your organization.  

What are the main disadvantages of WebRTC? First and foremost, it’s not browser-agnostic, which could prevent a large chunk of your customer base from being able to interact with your employees when using the technology. As of right now, the only mainstream Internet browsers that support WebRTC are Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. While there is speculation that Apple and Microsoft may someday add WebRTC into their Safari and Internet Explorer, it remains to be seen whether these industry giants will ever adopt the technology.  

Another major drawback with WebRTC is that it’s not entirely secure. To facilitate real-time voice and video communication between end users over the Web, WebRTC utilizes both local (private) and public IP addresses using Session Traversal Utilities for NAT (STUN) servers. In short, WebRTC makes it very easy for a website to locate a local IP address, which makes it possible to identify and track end users. This is a major security loophole that could jeopardize enterprise security. 

Furthermore, WebRTC makes it possible for end users to send files directly from a browser to any remote endpoint. As a result, employees are much more liable to transmit risky files that could infect their computers and the network as a whole.

If you’re looking to upgrade your communication and collaboration platform, stick with a private, high-end browser-based communications platform like Onstream Meetings.

Click here to learn more about what sets Onstream Meetings apart.

How to Design Great PowerPoint Slides

 

Ultimate powerpoint templatWhether you are hosting a webinar or a presentation to your company, you may want to make use of PowerPoint to create a good presentation. Before you get started, you may wonder what exactly makes a PowerPoint slide good. There really isn’t a right or wrong answer to this question. However, if you use these guidelines, you will be able to create PowerPoint slides that are right for your presentation.

Context Is Important

Whether the slide is appropriate or not for your particular audience is more important than whether it is good or bad. However, it is common for people to think more in terms of what is good or bad, particularly in the area of design. When it comes to PowerPoint slides for your presentation, it is important to consider the best way to layout your page so it is easy to understand and follow by your audience. Therefore, you need to think about the content and images you want to use and create a slide with the right placement for your audience.

Keep It Simple

Simplicity is an important element to creating PowerPoint slides that are effective for your audience. Sometimes the best graphics are those that are created with simplicity in mind. However, just because the design is simple doesn’t mean the presentation lacks information. As long as you put the work into the content and the context of each slide, a simple slide can be even more effective than one that is more complex. Keeping your audience in mind will help you make sure your design is not too complicated for them to understand.

Some people view simplicity as a way to provide greater clarity to the information you are trying to provide. If you are careful about the story you are trying to portray through your presentation is best told with visuals that will support the story and clue your audience in more easily. However, you may not know just how to create that simplicity. You may wonder if there is a specific formula that must be followed to make sure your presentation follows this law of simplicity.

There is no easy answer to this question. However, if you think about it, you will realize the formula to simplicity requires you to break down each problem and issue into its individual components. The ability to break everything down into smaller elements will provide you with the simplicity you desire in your presentation. However, there is still no clear answer for everyone. Each person and industry must decide what that simplicity means to them.

Because there is no specific formula, the design of your presentation will be a combination of art and science you must work on. You need to consider the needs of your audience, as well as your company, so you can determine just what information you need to portray in your presentation. When you apply these needs to the context and content in your presentation, the answer will become clear for you, though no one else will be able to use the same answer you will.

Visual Changes

The best way to cover the need for visual changes in your slides is to use a brief example. For instance, if you are creating slides as a part of your presentation that detail important statistics you want your audience to remember, you need to look at the way you have designed these slides. You may attempt to use irrelevant clip art with the text that details the statistic or you may use a specially designed chart that illustrates your statistic. Both of these methods portray the information but often in an unclear manner, such as boring backgrounds, text that blends in and 3D graphics. All of these things should be avoided for better slides.

Instead, you can better portray the graphics you want your audience to remember for future reference by creating slides that are more uniform with the rest of the presentation. Your entire presentation should follow a theme, including the background colors of the slides. In your redesigned slides, you should make sure the text that details the statistic stands out from the background and you use a graphic that reflects that statistic. You don’t need to include a lot of information on a slide. Your verbal presentation will elaborate.

You can still use a graphic, such as a chart, to reflect the statistic, but it is important to use a plain chart, not one that is in 3D. You can also create a slide that simply features your statistic as a headline. However, you need to turn that headline into a full declarative sentence, rather than a short headline, for the greatest impact.

How Should You Design Your Slides?

Even with the examples above, there’s no way for any person to tell you exactly how to design your slides for your presentation. Each presentation should be unique to you, providing your audience with the information they need in an easy-to-understand and read manner. You also need to take into consideration the topic of your presentation. A non-technical presentation can easily use slides that are extremely simple. However, if you are presenting on a more technical topic, such as technology, you may need to add a little more complexity to the slides for the best impact. Even with this complexity, though, the focus should still be on simplicity.

Therefore, there is no good or bad when it comes to your PowerPoint slides. Instead, you need to consider your topic and your audience and go from there as you design your presentation.

Hold Your Next Web Conference in the Cloud

 

conferenceLet’s face it: Planning for a successful Web conference can take a lot of hard work. Oftentimes, many man hours of preparation, internal communications and customer outreach are required to ensure a successful online event.

With this in mind, the last thing you want to worry about when planning a Web conference is the stability of your core infrastructure. Fewer things are more frustrating than having several hours of planning and coordinating compromised by network failure, software licensing issues or bandwidth restrictions.

So, what’s the best way to avoid these problems and ensure a smooth presentation? Invest in a cloud-based Web conferencing platform, which will allow you to utilize the power of a third-party server instead of having to rely on legacy equipment.

Below are three reasons why you should hold your next Web conference in the cloud:

Save money: A recent survey shows that 70 percent of businesses are able to reinvest money back into their organizations as a result of migrating to the cloud. Your business will save money on repairs and expensive upgrades, as well as on system downtime, because the cloud is hosted offsite and managed by a third party that is also responsible for ensuring its stability.

Avoid hardware and software issues: Cloud-based Web conferencing software can be easily accessed through an Internet browser. This way, end users (including both employees and customers) will never run into hardware restrictions or software licensing and compatibility issues when it’s time to log into a meeting.

Scale rapidly: Your business may need to upsize or downsize on short notice. With a cloud-based Web conferencing service, your company can scale rapidly in a cost-effective way. Instead of having to manually provision or restrict access to software, your IT department can easily perform deployment services from a central location, which can save hours of work. 

Click here to contact Onstream Meetings, a leading provider of cloud-based Web conferencing solutions, and learn how we can help your business improve its online communications. 

Avoid the Dreaded Unsupported File Type While Conferencing

 

filetypesYou’ve been trying to load a file into your conferencing platform for five minutes, but it just won’t work. You can hear tapping feet and sighs of frustration on the other end of the line as your colleagues become impatient awaiting the material. After some time, you give up and resort to email—a process that takes extra time--forcing attendees to leave their conferencing platform to obtain the file.   

An unsupported media type, be it audio, video, flash or image, is one of the most frustrating things that can happen during a Web conference. After all, time is valuable; in most cases, you only have an hour to make it through all points on your agenda. File transfers, therefore, must be seamless.

Using Onstream Meetings’ advanced conferencing platform, you’ll never have to worry about this problem. Onstream Meetings is equipped to handle the following types of file exchanges over its built-in conferencing resource library:

Audio:  Onstream Meetings supports basic MP3 and MP4 audio formats, as well as advanced audio coding (AAC) for higher-quality sound files. The platform can also receive 3GP and 3G2 for text and speech-based files on mobile devices.

Image: .JPEG and JPG files are both supported for easy image transfers, as well as PNG (Portable Network Graphics) for compressed images.

Flash: Onstream Meetings is equipped to transmit flash animations in the form of F4A, F4B, F4P and F4V. Flash animations are typically seen in animated logos, background images for websites and short cartoons.

Video: Share video files ranging from short Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) to longer M4A or M4V or MOV. Onstream is also capable of handling Small Web Format (SWF), a Shockwave Flash file extension. 

Click here to contact Onstream and request more information about a conferencing solution.

What to Do When Your Online Meeting Goes Awry

 

onlinemeetingYour team is struggling to communicate an idea to a client during an online meeting and, as a result, the customer is not happy. Now, time is running out to convince your customer that your team can get the job done before he or she hangs up and moves on.

As this example shows, not all online meetings go as planned; clients will react differently than anticipated. In the event that an online meeting goes awry, you must have the ability to change course while communicating your ideas clearly and effectively with co-workers and clients.

You may, in other words, need to include a video or a picture that you have on file to convey your thought in a different way than you had originally planned. Or, you may want to introduce an audio clip. In addition, you may decide to draw a quick diagram of your proposal for your client to visualize. In any event, you should make sure that you have an entire arsenal of ideas to use during your interaction.

The strength of your online meetings platform—meaning its ease of use, speed, reliability, appearance and tool kit—will go a long way in helping you brainstorm with clients over the Web. Your platform should make sharing multimedia completely seamless. The easier it is to exchange information and work together as a team in real time, the closer you will be to meeting the high expectations of your clients.

So don’t let a great idea—or client—be lost to a lapse in communication. Click here to learn how Onstream Meetings can help. 

Five Unique Features That Set Onstream Meetings Apart

 

reportingAfter exchanging several emails and holding a handful of phone conversations with a prospect, your team has the potential customer right where it wants him or her in the sales process. The only thing left to do is close the deal by showcasing your product’s capabilities in an online meeting; you simply need to “wow” the buyer.

It’s important, therefore, that your online meeting platform has the ability to paint your product and your business in the best possible light.

Onstream Meetings, a best-in-class, browser-based platform, has over 100 features that can turn your next Web-based presentation into the sales pitch of a lifetime. Here are five features that it offers:

  1. Presentation markup: Words or images aren’t always enough to convey ideas; sometimes you have to mark up a document with diagrams or notes to drive home a point (like a low price or an innovative feature). Onstream Meeting’s markup and whiteboard feature makes it possible to annotate a digital document as needed, in real-time. 
  2. Quick access to content: Suppose you want to pull up a relevant image, article or video and share it with your viewers in the middle of a presentation; spending several minutes searching for the multimedia can drag down your momentum. Onstream Meeting’s easy-to-access on-demand content library makes it possible to store files in the cloud and share them at any point during an online meeting.
  3. User branding: You don’t want to have any old meeting—you want your customer to walk away with your brand’s image firing up his or her brain cells. Onstream Meeting makes this possible with unique user branding, which allows moderators to personalize each meeting using background images and logos.
  4. Improved security: Onstream Meeting’s highly secure encrypted protocol makes it possible to protect your online meetings from the snooping eyes of hackers. Rest assured that every meeting will be tightly closed to intruders.
  5. Real-time reporting: Do you want to craft exclusive in-meeting surveys? Using Onstream Meetings, you can pre-create polls, use them in the middle of a presentation and export them to your server with ease.  

These are just a few of the many features that Onstream Meetings can provide. Click here to access more. 

Offer More Than Video or Audio on Your Next Web Conference

 

audiovideoThis is the standard, low-end Web conferencing solution used by most businesses today: two-way audio and video transmission. It has poor video quality (meaning it’s prone to choppy or delayed feeds) and it has no way of transmitting multimedia in real time. In short, it’s a low-budget approach to customer communication.

Is this the type of solution that you use to represent your company during sales pitches, contract negotiations, project proposals and other collaborations? If so, you could be limiting your business—and weakening your brand image in the eyes of your customers. The fact is that customers will judge your business by the quality of its communications infrastructure, so it’s critical to have access to a platform that reflects your business’s high-quality standards.

The cloud-based Onstream Meetings conferencing platform, by comparison, offers crystal-clear video and audio transmission to as many as 50 users at a time, in addition to private chat rooms and direct messages. Teams can, therefore, select their preferred type of communications—or use a mix--during each meeting.

Onstream Meetings also makes it easy to exchange multimedia in real time through a versatile, user-friendly library. Some of the accepted file types capable of being delivered through Onstream include .3G2 for video, .F4A for Adobe Flash and .AAC for audio. Team members can collaborate using screen sharing so that everyone involved in a meeting can have an equal chance of contributing.

As you can see, the Onstream Meetings Web conferencing platform provides all members of the enterprise—from the C-suite to HR to sales—with a high-end communications solution capable of facilitating amazing Web conferencing experiences.

Click here to learn more about how your company can leverage the power of Onstream Meetings. 

The Right and Wrong Ways to Conduct a Webinar

 

promotewebinarIn many ways, hosting a webinar is like putting on a play. Your goal should be to put on a first-class production and ensure that your customers walk away feeling informed, entertained and confident about supporting your brand.

When it comes time to “draw the curtain” and begin your presentation, you must, therefore, have everything in place to ensure a flawless performance. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind throughout the process to ensure that the webinar is a strong reflection of the positive aspects of your company, as well as of any guest panelists’ companies:

Promoting the webinar: Unless you want to play to an empty room, you’ll need to create buzz about your event well in advance of the date.

The wrong way: Don’t assume that posting messages on your company’s social media accounts, sending cards in the mail or even cold-calling your customers will be strong enough measures to convince people to tune into your big presentation. Taking these measures can help boost attendance but, on their own, will not be enough to get the job done.

The right way: Your attendees need to be invited through email and given official Outlook notifications reminding them of the exact time and date of the event. By committing to register, and by being sent a reminder 15 minutes before the webinar takes place, your attendees are more likely to feel a sense of obligation to attend the webinar when it comes time to do so.   

Beginning the webinar: A theatre would never lock or obstruct its doors on the evening of a performance; likewise, you’ll need to ensure your attendees can access your webinar platform.

The wrong way: Avoid investing in software that needs to be downloaded for attendees to log in. This can cause panic and frustration, especially for those who are presenting. Furthermore, many people are suspicious about downloading software over the Web due to concerns about malware or data usage allowances.

The right way: Make sure that your webinar platform is browser-based so that attendees can access it via an Internet browser. A browser-based webinar platform is hardware-agnostic, meaning that anyone can log in regardless of the make or model of their device.

Managing the webinar: Issues related to light or audio quality can ruin a performance at a theatre. Likewise, they can wreck your webinar presentation too.   

The wrong way: Unfortunately, many webinar platforms make it difficult or impossible to adjust audio and video quality settings once the presentation begins, meaning that attendees must sit through problems like choppy or muted audio or blacked-out video feeds.

The right way: Make sure that your browser allows for easy access to video controls so that the moderator can receive feedback from guests and adjust the presentation quality as needed. This will ensure an optimal presentation for everyone in attendance.

Following up with attendees: Event promoters in the theatre have easy access to critics’ reviews following a performance. For marketers using a webinar, however, obtaining critical feedback requires following up with targeted leads (i.e., people who signed up and attended the webinar).

The wrong way: A simple “thank you” is often all you need to capitalize on an interested attendee following a webinar and drive a sale. But many marketers often drop the ball here and wait to send a thank you note, or don’t send one at all.

The right way: Invest in a solution that will allow you to send automated follow-up notes immediately after the culmination of the event. This will ensure that you do not miss the opportunity to connect with audience members while they are still actively interested in the presentation. 

Three Features Every HIPAA-Compliant Online Meetings Suite Should Have

 

describe the imageAs an IT professional in the healthcare industry, ensuring HIPAA compliance in your online meetings suite is one of the most important responsibilities that you have. After all, data breach violations can cost upward of $1.5 million per incident. And aside from the steep fines associated with HIPAA negligence, your business’s reputation could be tarnished in the eyes of its customers if their private information is stolen or compromised.

In the past, ensuring HIPAA compliance was a simpler process since because it primarily involved keeping physical customer medical charts on premises and in locked filing cabinets. But now, due to the fact that a great deal of private information is transmitted among team members over the Internet, your system should be equipped to prevent unauthorized third parties from intercepting data.  

Therefore, if you’re looking for an online meetings suite for your healthcare organization, make sure it has the following features along with HIPAA certification:

Strong data encryption: Your company will generate a lot of customer data during online meetings, and you must protect that information as it flows over the Internet among end users. Encryption locks the information using secure coding; this way, if it is intercepted by an unauthorized third party, it will be inaccessible. Just about any form of multimedia can be encrypted.

Access controls: You don’t want unauthorized employees accessing customer information. Accordingly, look for a solution that comes with access controls such as unique user ID numbers and automatic logoff to safeguard against snooping eyes and sensitive data from sitting on idling machines.

Integrity controls: This type of control can prevent sensitive data like health records from being altered in real time during online meetings. Using integrity controls, you can ensure that data can be shared among team members and returned to its original state without its contents being changed.

Of course, it pays to partner with an online meetings provider like Onstream Meetings, which can provide your business with a full suite of HIPPA-compliant features. You can learn more about Onstream Meetings by clicking here

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