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Nathan Johnson

online platform

The Short History of Webinars: Past, Present, and Future

By | Webcasts & Webinars | No Comments

What is a Webinar?
Webinars are live, web-based video conferences. The audience is watching and listening to the webinar online and can view from anywhere in the world (so long as they have an internet connection). They started off as basic video conferences and have now evolved into a tool that can connect people anywhere, anytime. Webinars can be used to engage with customers and sell products and services. Additionally, they can be used as training tools for employees, especially those who work remotely. Unlike online conferences where all participants are allowed to present, webinars typically have one presenter and everyone watching and listening is the audience.

Webinars and other virtual events are unique in that they allow audience interaction. They are a convenient tool since people don’t have to travel to attend the event. For this reason, webinars are becoming more and more popular in a wide number of fields, from the corporate world to elite universities.

Webinars: Then and Now
Web conferencing began in the 1990s. The software allowed users to communicate with international clients and allowed all participants to interact in real-time. The first webinar software came out around the same time. It allowed users to give a presentation that could be viewed by attendees around the world. It was the first multimedia, interactive online platform. The world’s first live-streaming rock concert was given in 1993 by the band Severe Tire Damage.

From basic online conferences, webinars have evolved into high-tech events. There are many uses for an online platform including virtual trade shows, online events used for showcasing new products, and even online classes or training programs. There are different types of online webinar software to choose from, so it’s important to find one that works best for your needs.

The Future of Webinars
With the convenience of being able to use an online platform to reach anyone, anywhere, and at any time, webinars and other online events are expected to continue to gain popularity. MPI’s Meetings Outlook Summer 2017 report states that virtual event attendance is predicted to grow 2.4% in the years to come. Technology is making it easier to put together an interesting online presentation that uses graphics and photos to keep the audience intrigued and engaged.

It’s also expected that more companies will use 10-15 minute webinars rather than hour-long ones to allow the audience to get the information more quickly. Webinars are also expected to become even more interactive. Along with the usual QandA session, polls, surveys, and group chats will be used more frequently.

With today’s ever-growing technology, who knows where webinars and other virtual events will end up. But for now, they continue to be an excellent tool for customer service, training, and product launches, and so much more.

virtual trade show

3 Tips To a Great Webinar Experience

By | Virtual Events | No Comments

If you’re looking to hold a virtual trade show or online webinar, you need to start preparing early. Generally speaking, you should start promoting three weeks prior to the virtual event to have the best turnout and promote in a variety of locations.

However, having a good turnout doesn’t necessarily mean that your online events will be successful. Unlike a live event, a virtual trade show doesn’t have a captive audience. Individuals are more capable (and likely) to wander off. Many individuals who have attended online webinars and events are guilty of checking their social media accounts rather than paying attention.

So how do you make a webinar more engaging and keep your audience attentive? There are a few things you can do:

virtual trade showEncourage Audience Interaction

The more active your audience is, the more engaged they’ll be. You should encourage them to share their personal experiences, ask questions, take polls, and show a sense of humor. What can your audience gain from your event? Make sure you’re keeping this in mind at all times. Anything to break the ice and keep them jumping in will make for a more successful webinar experience.

Develop Interesting Slides

Powerpoint presentations have received a bad reputation over the years, which is understandable given that a poorly made one can have listeners zoning out. With a webinar, a slideshow is typically your only option, which means it needs to be interesting. It’s usually a good idea to add creative elements to each and every slide. Your presentation should still be cohesive, but there’s nothing wrong with adding a short sound effect or an interesting visual. You should keep any images related and on topic to avoid being derailed, but don’t be uninteresting.

Call for Questions Often

Certain participants will have come to the webinar with their “One Big Question” that they want you to answer. If they’re forced to wait 90 minutes to ask it, they’ll think only on their question, and ignore your lesson. They might even spend the entire time on their phone, checking their emails, or drifting off until it’s question time. These people are more likely to pay attention if they know you’ll take questions throughout the presentation.

Keeping your audience entertained and engaged during a virtual trade show is vital to having a successful online webinar. Don’t make the mistake of showing up unprepared and reading off slides. Keep things flowing and engaging. Interact with your audience!

virtual conference platform

Virtual Conference Platforms Can Work in Tandem With Physical Conferences: Here’s How

By | Best Practices, Business Strategy, Communication, Marketing, Virtual Events | No Comments

Conferences are an important tool for modern professionals, allowing hundreds in a field to come together and work on issues ranging from professional standards to the latest technological or scientific developments.

But now, the conference industry is undergoing a major revolution. New virtual conference platforms and online event software are offering conference organizers new ways to innovate and address existing problems. In fact, the industry is slated to grow from $14 billion to $18 billion in value by 2023.

In this guide, we will look at how virtual conference platforms can help supplement physical conferences to create the best events possible.

    1. Expand your reach
      One of the best ways to use virtual conference software is to expand your reach. While professional conferences might draw in thousands of visitors, for every attendee, there is someone at home who either could not afford the trip or could not get time off of work. By digitizing elements of your conference on a virtual conference platform, you are able to provide information and opportunity to those not physically able to attend.

 

    1. Digitize the Conference Experience
      With a virtual trade show, you can digitize the traditional conference or trade show experience in a variety of ways. First, a virtual conference platform can provide lucrative new sponsorship opportunities, which can help fund your efforts. Second, the best event software makes networking and lead capture far simpler for everyone involved, enhancing one of the most important aspects of these events. Finally, rather than making announcements over a loudspeaker, you can use notifications to update attendees at any time, whether they’re visiting in person or online.

 

  1. Feature Bonus Material
    It can be hard to make your conference schedule work for everyone all the time. The better rooms and better time slots will have to go to the most popular lectures and talks. But with virtual conferences, you are never at a loss for space, nor are you bound by the constraints of your speakers’ schedules. Using your virtual conference platform to show supplemental material that you didn’t have time and space for will allow your attendees to get more information before, during, and after the event.

Organizing and growing a successful conference can be difficult. One way that you can cost-effectively expand the education and engagement of your attendees is by taking advantage of online event platforms. This tool allows you to create a virtual component to your event and make your life easier at the same time.

Graphic reference https://www.marketresearchmedia.com/?p=421.

Maybe Everyone Will Offer Simultaneous Live Audio Streaming for Now Just Engagez

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

We believe there is another channel or audience segment that is not being served well by events. This segment is comprised of people who cannot attend a physical event and would like to, but also cannot sit and watch a live video stream either. The thought came to us when we were attending a remote video event but had to go to an appointment and could not watch in the car. We realized that we would have continued attending the event had they only offered an audio stream which we could listen to on the way. We know its not as good as a video, but it would have been better than nothing.

This concept was reinforced after we’d noticed people in our office with a video stream up on one browser, with another “work” browswer opened. They were listening, but couldn’t watch. “Why would I sit and watch someone talk unless I needed to see slides or something? I just want to hear what they are saying,” was the answer we got when asked.

In fact, I often do that as well with YouTube videos that are explaining something that I don’t need or want to watch-just listen.

Since we are unaware of any platform that provides this, we feel it is a unique idea. It may take a while to catch on but with the popularity of podcasting in general, we think it is worth pioneering.

Currently we offer audio-only (lower bandwidth and less strain on the user’s data plan) with the notion that people might start to listen to events more on their mobile devices–while they are traveling, at work or busy doing something else where video isn’t an option.

Ideas on How to Monetize Your Digital Events

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Some organizations look to generate direct revenue from their online event programs although most are actually seeking to achieve other, indirect benefits. This post is for those that want to generate revenue.

Like most roads, the road to monetization often leads back to content. Whether it is an overall event sponsorship you are selling, a content specific sponsorship, or access to specific content, the primary reason people attend an online program is to gain new knowledge.

Let’s start with the low hanging fruit; content people need and will pay money to access. As an example, one of the most successful virtual events is Social Media Summit. They consistently sell tickets to attend their annual event online and sell a lot! At $495 (at least last I checked that was the price) they have had events that have been attended by around 2,000 people. They have great content, a hot subject and lots of people to sell to.

There are associations that routinely make hundreds of thousands of dollars selling virtual-only registrations to their events at the full price of an in-person registration. People are willing to pay if the content is really important to them and may be willing to pay full price for the convenience of not having to leave their office or practice.

The key is to have content that people are willing and able to pay for (that by the way, is a good rule to have no matter what content you are sharing). That’s where your work comes in… finding out what that is and then putting a plan together to create/capture it AND THEN MARKETING. Don’t neglect to explore marketing partnerships either! The beauty of this type of digital product is that the cost doesn’t go up based on the use so you can be very aggressive with partner commissions.

Overall event sponsorship will vary depending on the type of event, the audience, the potential sponsors and the options in the technology you are using. Giving your sponsors the opportunity to have their content featured in a session or multiple sessions is usually a big benefit. Sponsoring individual session content may have appeal as well. Here you can offer a graphic or video message at either the beginning (of the event? Session?) or end or both. Some technology allows you to brand the player on which the remote audience is watching the stream/recording, or brand the live stream image itself with lower thirds or other options.

If you happen to be producing a hybrid event (in-person audience as well as online) you might consider setting up a studio at the event that’s used to interview your sponsor’s subject matter experts, attendees and speakers. The content would be streamed to the remote audience when there’s nothing to stream from the event onsite (i.e. during breaks). There are many ways to monetize with sponsorships of the studio, during the live event and also during any rebroadcast.

Advertising benefits are also a significant way to sell sponsorships. These can also be sold as standalone services if you have a large enough audience. You can include banner ads on the streaming player, pop up ads, and video ads played between programs. Some virtual event technologies will accommodate push messages and ads to the remote audience within event-related emails sent to attendees and potential attendees before, during and after the event.

We’ll come back to the subject of monetization again in the near future with a more exhaustive look.

Engagez Now Offers Simulive Broadcast Feature

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Simulive sessions or activities are pre-recorded for broadcast over the Internet at a specific date and time, but are not usually publicized as being pre-recorded. This is like what many “live” TV shows do to present a live looking program but have the ability to do some editing and better manage what viewers see on the program when broadcast so they aren’t seeing behind the scenes activities like audience load in and load out, changes and set up of cameras etc.

For conferences and webinars, simulive allows for the same kind of benefits and when the program is then streamed, the producer can engage in live Q&A. Using the simulive format also allows you to schedule speakers and guests that you might not be able to get at the specific date and time your event is held. It’s also helpful for speakers that will need their presentation reviewed and perhaps edited by their organization before it can be shown.

Many producers combine actual live stream programs with simulive to help keep the cost and technical complexity of an event to a manageable level. The program still has sessions starting and ending on a schedule, just like the live stream, and it functions just like a live session in that an attendee who arrives 10 minutes late will join the session 10 minutes into the presentation and not at the beginning (which would be on demand).

Doing a simulive program on your own can be complex to manage from a technical standpoint and usually requires someone actually starting and stopping the program at a certain time and watching over the process. Engagez makes it simple and allows you to set it and forget it. No one needs to start and stop stream or babysit them.