BY LONNIE PACELLI
IMAGINE THIS scenario: An audience of
400 men and women
have signed up to hear
you share how your
small business can help
them solve their problems. Every one of the
attendees is a potential customer who could be
from anywhere in the country. You deliver a
concise, entertaining and relevant presentation
that demonstrates your unique value proposition to your prospective customers. At the end
of your presentation, hundreds of the attendees
sign up to receive additional information about
you and your company. You wrap up your presentation, walk out of your home office, go into
your kitchen and eat breakfast with the satisfaction of knowing your prospect list has
grown by hundreds of potential customers.
Congratulations. You have just delivered a
The ability to reach so many new prospects simultaneously from New York to Los
Angeles to Seattle to Orlando, all from the convenience of one’s home office, is mind-bog-gling. But for today’s small-business owner, the
internet is the great equalizer and can make
even the smallest business look big. And webcasting is a strategic weapon that any small
business can use to reach customers previously
viewed as unreachable.
What is webcasting?
Simply put, webcasting is like having your
own television channel on the internet.
Attendees can “tune in” to your webcast channel, where you can deliver live or prerecorded
audio and video content. To transmit through
your webcast channel, you use special software
that is designed specifically for the purposes of
webcasting. You can do webcasting one-on-one in a meeting format or do a broad-reach
webcast (sometimes called a webinar) for hun-
dreds of attendees.
The coolest thing
about webcasting is it is
very cost-effective (typically
less than $100 per month) and can be
done using basic computer equipment. Because
the cost of entry is so low, you can experiment
with webcasting and decide if the return is
worth your time.
Considering taking the webcasting
plunge? Check out the following tips to help
you drive results through a practical webcasting strategy.
Experiment with webcast tools. Webcast
tools like Skype for Business (various plans;
GoToWebinar ($89 per month, up to 100
WebEx ($69 per month, up to 100 attendees;
webex.com) can get you up and running
quickly. Each of these offers either a trial or free
option to allow you to play around before
deciding. Take some time to see what the tools
have to offer before making an investment.
Have something compelling to say. You
can have the greatest webcasting technology on
the planet, but if you come off like a wet noodle
with a reheated message you’ll fail to attract an
audience that is willing to listen to you. Your
message needs to be concise, be relevant and
solve some problem your audience has.
A neat feature of webcasting tools is that
you can display whatever is on your computer
desktop to your webcast audience. This means
that, rather than sticking to just a PowerPoint
presentation, you can show a spreadsheet, a
web page, photos, text and more. If you can
see it on your desktop, you can broadcast it via
a webcast. Using several tools during your
webcast not only helps you underscore your
message better but also is more interesting to
Have an easy-to-maintain website. Key
to your webcast strategy is having an easy-
to-maintain website that you can update
with your webcast information. For exam-
ple, when you decide to do a webcast, create
a web page with the webcast information
and sign-up instructions included. As you
get closer to the webcast date, update the
page with last-minute information. After
the webcast, update the web page with a link
to the recorded webcast so that anyone
unable to see the webcast live can view the
recording later. If the idea of creating and
updating web pages intimidates you, check
out Weebly or WordPress (
wordpress.com). Both have free offerings
and intuitive tools to help you get a website
up and running fast.
Publicize your webcast. Just as you need
to advertise your small business, you’ve got to
publicize your webcast and draw people in.
Certainly, publicizing it on your website is
great, but, depending on your web traffic, it
might not be enough to attract a large audience. Be aggressive with email and social
media to help publicize your webcast. Don’t be
delusional about expecting people to stand in
e-line to attend your webcast; you’ve got to get
the word out.
Something else to think about is whether
to charge for your webcast. You’ll need to
decide whether you want to make money from
the webcast or use it as a promotional tool to
sell other products or services.
Create a one-minute trailer. Prospective
customers want to know what to expect from
you and your webcast and want to feel as if the
the reach of