At The Streaming Network (TSN), we recognize meeting tools have their place – in fact, if you book an intro/demo call with any one on our team, you’ll connect to Adobe Connect Pro for our presentation. My target prospect is a senior marketer with a complicated story to tell and the need for robust reporting and analytics to show ROI, but more importantly, the insights to properly qualify Marketing and Sales Qualified Leads. And while many utilize collaboration tools to deliver webinars, they’re leaving a lot on the table using a meeting tool when what they truly need is a stage. At HubSpot, the switch to the Elite webinar platform and an interactive, interview style delivery format resulted in a 36% increase in MQL’s.
So, what are you leaving on the table?
- End User Ease of Access – TSN’s Elite webinar platform requires no download/plugin on any device, and is cross-browser and cross-operating system compliant. Both WebEx and GoTo require proprietary plugins for participants on all devices, and Adobe Connect requires one on mobile. While mobile participants generally equate to less than 10% of the total audience, we expect that number to continue to rise. This past summer, Google searches on mobile exceeded those on desktop for the first time, and, with Elite, you’ll be ready as the preference for mobile grows. New TSN clients with an existing webinar program consistently report an increase in registrant to viewership conversion.
- Variety in Delivery Methods, Consistent User Experience – With a web conferencing tool you are limited to audio or webcam delivery. While you may be able to record and host an archive, the ability to engage with the webinar will cease to exist, as will the ability to measure that engagement. With the Elite webinar platform, you have the option to deliver via telephone-bridge, webcam, video conference unit or broadcast video, as well as the ability to deliver live, on-demand only or pre-record and deliver simulated-live. Most importantly, the end user experience is exactly the same on all delivery methods.
- Audience Engagement – It’s quite common when we ask marketers how they measure engagement on their webinars that each registrant gets a 1, and each viewer gets a 2. They may also look at the viewership duration. The problem with that methodology, is if two people attend your webinar for 45 minutes, and one sits back and watches while the other submits two questions, responds to a poll, answers a survey and downloads a whitepaper, those two participants are not at the same spot in the funnel, nor should they receive the same scoring. More importantly – how do you follow up with each? The active participant has something happening in their business that is relevant NOW. Here at TSN, that level of engagement results in picking up the phone and calling the prospect. We have over 30 engagement widgets to choose from including polling, surveys, Q&A, social sharing, downloadable resources, speakers bios containing direct connect links for email, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc, and all are controlled by the participant. As mentioned above, all engagement features work the same no matter the delivery format – live, simulated-live or on-demand. This level of audience engagement results in an average view time of 56 minutes live, and 30 minutes on-demand.
- Integrated Reporting and Analytics – At TSN, we track over 24 pieces of data on every viewer while they’re on the platform. Our detailed engagement scoring enables your organization to identify MQL’s and SQL’s – your power leads, or the Glengarry leads if you will – quickly. Our Elite webinar platform also integrates with your existing technology stack, including SalesForce, Dynamics, HubSpot, Marketo, Eloqua and a number of others. Finally, we offer an XML data feed if need be, and all your data is exportable from the back-end of the platform.
- Video is King – A recent report from Forrester indicates 1 minute of video is the equivalent of 1.8 million words on the internet. Our top performing customers aggregate their webinar content (more on that below) and slice and dice their long format webinars into snackable content assets, promoted on social media, to help drive traffic back to the long format webinar. Whenever possible, they look to create evergreen content that can continue to work for them, driving registrants and viewership with little manpower required beyond proper promotion of your content.
- Respect the On-Demand Webinar, Aggregate, Aggregate, Aggregate – As mentioned above, our top performing customers are aggregating their content and driving on-demand viewership well beyond the average client. Our top 9% get over 1,000 live viewers, but 56% of their total viewership comes from on-demand! The North American average is 25% on-demand viewership. With our Content Gateway product, you can automatically publish your webinars to a portal on your website, and stack them beside other digital content – PDF’s, whitepapers, case studies, flip books, etc. When you aggregate, you drive the Netflix effect, or binge watching of your content. And with our Content Gateway product, the prospect registers for one asset, and we track each and every step they take within the portal.
As you can see, there are significant benefits to using the right tool for the right job. WebEx, GoTo, join.me – these are great tools and serve their purpose in the marketplace. However, if you’re a marketer looking to drive leads, influence pipeline and close more sales, they’re not the right tool for you.
Let’s back up a little bit and talk about the history of meeting tools – you’re probably all aware of household names like Adobe Connect, WebEx, GoTo Meeting, join.me, etc. They allow you the ability to connect via webcam/audio for myriad reasons – document collaboration, project management, training, internal team meetings with remote staff, sales pitches, etc. They elevate the traditional conference call with features like whiteboarding, break-out sessions, document share, etc. The history of web conferencing tools date back to the early ‘90’s, when we first began to see multi-point document collaboration software developed. At their root, these tools were born out of the necessity to remotely collaborate – collaboration being the key. As webinars grew in popularity in the early 2000’s, virtual meeting room tools added event management feature-functionality to stretch their platform capabilities. Now we’ve all seen a bicycle with an after-market engine, and we’ve all seen a Harley Davidson. While the motorized bicycle may be a great option for a run to the grocery store, it’s not going to cut it for your 2-week, east coast motorcycle tour with your college buds.
If you’re in a situation where you can’t afford the stage, Adobe Connect Pro is the best meeting tool turned webinar platform in our humble opinion. Regardless of where you’re at – just starting out or already running a regular program, using a meeting tool or another stage – email me to setup some time to talk further about how we can help get you started, or step your game up.
As you can tell from this post, webinars, webcasting and virtual environments are my passion. I joined the Wish Group in 2015, and have sold for both Evolve Collaboration and The Streaming Network since. Being new to the virtual communications industry, I didn’t at first see the need for the division between the two companies – we quite often worked together to deliver projects, and sometimes even separately sold to the same decision makers. As my understanding of customer needs grew, it didn’t take me long to realize that many of my prospects were in the same boat as I – they just didn’t know what they didn’t know about the difference between web conferencing, and webinars.
As of May 1, 2017, Evolve Collaboration, The Streaming Network and Momentum Conferencing have merged to form one truly national powerhouse. With this merge, I have reached a fork in the road, and will be handing off my collaboration book of business to focus on webinars, webcasting and virtual environments. It’s been a great run with Evolve Collaboration, but the time has come to focus on streaming media and continue to help the Canadian market question themselves – why would I use a meeting room when what I really need is a stage?
For inquiries about The Streaming Network, feel free to shoot me an email at PHowser@thestreamingnetwork.com
More information about the merger can be found here: Press Release