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Web Conferencing Basics for Online Entrepreneurs and Service Providers
If there is any technology in use today that has clearly taken concrete shape owing to simultaneous progress in multiple technical spheres, it is web conferencing. As Internet entrepreneurs and decision makers who believe that live chat is a viable pathway to customer engagement, you have perhaps encountered web conferencing technology in one shape or another. You have either been invited to a webinar, which you did not attend, asked to set up an in-house web conferencing solution, which you chose not to pursue owing to high costs, or simply were too busy to embrace yet another player on the horizon. If cost factors have held you back, we have good news for you because some of the best web conferencing services charge you as little as $50 a month with free trials available frequently. Web conferencing, also known as virtual conferencing or online conferencing, allows you to conduct online conferences with your colleagues, affiliates, channel partners and even customers and sales prospects in an environment that is no longer compromised by the limitations of technology. You can now surf the web collaboratively and co-browse websites with your co-participants, share and review documents in real time, and most importantly, reach out and touch each other through real time conversation regardless of geographical proximities. All this activity takes place in an environment in which conference participants can see each other live and in full motion complete with colors and shades.
Analyzing your Needs
There are three types of web conferencing solutions available to address every need. We will first tell you which ones they are and then make a few recommendations.
As the name aptly suggests, this is an online meeting forum. It allows users to engage in conversations with one another and share information among participants, all on a common platform. Emphasis is usually placed on sharing documents, spreadsheets and presentations in an informal setting.
Webcasts are much like TV broadcasts and are conducted via the Internet. This is a one-way presentation tool designed to be watched usually on demand. However, there is nothing to stop you from beaming a live webcast via the Internet.
Webinars are by far the most popular form of web conferencing today. Webinars allow users to interact with one another as well as with conference presenters. Q&A sessions can be organized effortlessly once the presentation is over. Most webinars allow attendees to patch themselves in via telephone just in case they do not have convenient access to the Internet. Webinars are almost always recorded by service providers for on demand viewing. Regardless of the model you eventually choose to augment your live chat software solution in order to support your marketing and customer satisfaction initiatives, they generally have all the features listed below. You can: View PowerPoint presentations
Imagine being able to connect with your customer community regularly through webinars. You can organize door prizes, give aways, mystery gifts and other incentives to inspire your customers and sales prospects to attend your online events. You can use web conferencing to conduct product demos, explain an installation process or even gather informally to assess customer sentiment—the possibilities are endless and many forward-looking companies are already doing so. Your presentations can be digitally recorded and stored on either your server or on the service provider’s server for those who happened to miss the event.
Where to Start
Robert Half Technology, a California-based staffing firm, recently polled 1,400 chief information officers and 60% reported current use or planned use of web conferencing technology. More than half the participants polled responded positively about current or planned use of web conferencing. Survey respondents noted that these technologies help employees interact through collaboration and offer organizations efficient and low-cost methods to preserve and share organizational knowledge.
For starters, visit Go2Webinar.com or HyperMeeting.com to get a feel for this technology. Better still, ask the company to arrange a conference invite for you. The quality will amaze you. Once you immerse yourself in this technology for a little while, you are bound to come up with ideas on how to leverage it in order to further enhance your business goals.