Two Webinars for Mastering Unusual Times

One way or another, the global COVID-19 pandemic affects every person. For many, the financial impact of quarantine and the economic repercussions of state-wide shutdowns are unknown and could remain that way far into the future.

Beyond personal financial situations, many small businesses are facing a stark decision: remain in business and hope things get better or close permanently.

With so much uncertainty looming, we want to share two finance-themed webinar opportunities with you: “Business Unusual, Big Ideas for Small Business” and “Master Your Money: Planning for the Future in Uncertain Times.

Business Unusual, Big Ideas for Small Business

Business Unusual, Big Ideas for Small Business is a new webinar series from AT&T Business and  Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group and “Shark” on ABC’s Shark Tank.

The series asks the question “Where Do We Go from Here?” and aims to share tips and recommendations from experts that businesses can act on now related to the current economy, business, finance and technology. Additional themes will be announced later in 2020.

The first webinar in the series airs on July 22 at 1 p.m. CT and is free and open to anyone! Register here. The series will also feature three additional webinars taking place each Wednesday in August. These webinars will investigate where retail, restaurants and hospitality businesses — industries hardest hit by COVID-19 — can go from here.

Each webinar in the series features notable guests like Amy Chow, CEO of AT&T Business; Matt Higgins, co-founder and CEO of RSE Ventures, vice-chairman of the Miami Dolphins and fellow “Shark” on ABC’s Shark Tank; Rachel Ray, celebrity chef, cookbook author and Food Network television host; Kim Nelson, founder of Daisy Cakes and former Shark Tank participant; and Oscar Munoz, executive chairman of United Airlines.

Master Your Money: Planning for the Future in Uncertain Times

Looking for something a little more personal? Well, Business Insider and Fidelity Investments have a webinar for you.

Entitled, “Planning for the Future in Uncertain Times,” this on-demand webinar discusses how millennials can make or adjust financial plans and achieve financial goals amidst setbacks, roadblocks, delays and uncertainty. The webinar is free and open to anyone! Register here.

The event is hosted by Tanza Loudenback, Personal Finance Insider correspondent, and features expert guests like Kelly Lannan, a member of Business Insider’s Money Council and VP of Young Investors for Personal Investing which is a segment of Fidelity Investments, and Anna N’Jie-Konte, CFP and founder of Dare to Dream financial planning.

Master Your Money is a four-part series designed to help millennials control their financial future. The four pillars of Master Your Money are Learn, Plan, Invest and Thrive, all of which provide education, advice, ideas and inspiration for millennials to achieve their financial goals. You can explore the series in more detail on Business Insider’s Master Your Money website.

Connection’s Three Steps for Turning Internal Trainings Digital

Each year, Connection holds an internal training session for its sales team. The session trains team members on the latest healthcare industry trends and how Connection can address IT needs.

But Covid-19 changed things. The in-person event was canceled. To make up for it, and to keep Connection’s sales team in top-selling shape, they devised a plan to bring the in-person event into the digital world.

But first, the Connection team needed a solution to make the plan a reality. After a short review, the team signed on with ON24. The team now had 43 days to learn the ON24 Platform, train presenters, record sessions, produce designs, test events and set up an experience Connection’s sales team would love.

Here’s how they did it:

Train up all participants

A webinerd and her coworkers discuss optimization

First, the Connection team needed to familiarize themselves with the ON24 Platform. So, the team worked with ON24 to set up intensive training sessions for not only the internal Connection team, but also any sponsors that would be involved in bringing the virtual conference to life.

With everyone trained up, the team bought themselves more time to make the annual Healthcare University Training event a success.

Pre-Record all Session

With knowledge of the ON24 Platform under everyone’s belt, the team turned its attention to recording the sessions that would go live online. To help coordinate, Connection teamed up with their Events Manager to round up all the sponsor speakers, scheduled recording times and recorded sessions. Their plan? To turn each session into a simulive event.

The Connection team also had to collect, compile and load speaker content for the partners to record their audio over their slides.

With simulive in place, the team could broadcast all 23 recordings while giving attendees a live experience through ON24’s Q&A engagement tool, bringing value to its partners.

One-Stop Hosting

To provide the sales team with an always-on, easy-to-access resource they could return to at any time, the team set up a specialized landing page using ON24 Target. With Target in place, the sales team could easily access each training session on their own time, allowing them to relearn as needed.

With everything in place, Connection managed to record an entire event, digitalize its training and provide its sales team with information they needed to keep driving sales in a digital-first world. And it did so in just 43 days. Now, the Connection team is planning out several more internal training sessions that they’ll carry out utilizing the ON24 Platform.

How the Remote Work Landscape Is Changing Webinars

COVID-19 has transformed how businesses operate today. We work remote, jump in and out of video calls, Slack, chat and type all from the comfort of our homes. Has this remote work landscape changed how we interact with webinars? You betcha.

Get a quick overview of how the remote work landscape is changing webinars with our infographic below. In it, you’ll discover just how much webinars have changed — from consumption to interaction — in April 2020 alone. Check it out:

Three NYT-Approved Tips for Running Educational Webinars

Teachers and students are adjusting to a new life of digital classrooms and distance learning with most schools around the country closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. For those who have never done it before, teaching and learning remotely can be a drastic change.

Traditional lesson plans that incorporate group activities are gone and teachers are trying to quickly replace their usual instructional styles and tactics with new methods that fit distance learning. If you’re struggling to adapt as quickly as you hoped, you’re not alone!

The Learning Network, an educational segment of The New York Times, is here to help with plenty of topics, suggestions and activities to help you connect with your students and maintain a rich, engaging learning environment through your digital classroom.

Members of The Learning Network recently hosted a webinar about their Lesson of the Day. During the hour-long presentation, Rachel, Ross and Nicole taught participants about The Learning Network, the types of resources they offer, how they can be used in digital classrooms, and example lesson plans.

The trio also imparted a few tips educators can use when producing their own virtual lessons. Here’s what they had to offer:

Set Clear Expectations

Distance learning and teaching is a new experience for most people, so to help everyone, set clear expectations for your students and yourself. Let them know exactly what you want from them in terms of participation, preparation, and assignments.

Also let them know what they can expect from you in terms of classroom structure, rules and regulations, your availability and timeframes for communication and feedback. And if things change as you get into remote teaching, that’s ok — just let everyone know so you’re all on the same page.

Give timely feedback

Without the ability to converse face-to-face or stop by office hours to ask a question, it’s important for teachers to provide timely feedback on assignments. With distance learning, if a student has made a mistake or missed the mark on an assignment, they can’t just pop in for some quick feedback and clarification before the next assignment is due.

Without timely feedback on their work, students will continue to make the same mistake and be subsequently punished through their grades on other assignments. Help your students by making sure they get feedback on an assignment before the next one is due.

Use Resources to Help You

There are many online resources to help educators successfully teach online. The Learning Network provides over 1,000 resources every school year including their Lesson of the Day and other activities like picture prompts, geography quizzes, teenagers in The Times and more.

Not only are there online lesson plans and outlined curricula like what’s available through The Learning Network, but there are also online classroom management tools like Google Classroom, Blackboard or Canvas that can help you organize your materials and provide a “home base” for your online classroom.

Here is a quick overview of these tools:

Google Classroom is designed to help teachers and students effectively collaborate remotely, manage and organize assignments and tasks and foster communication for instruction, feedback and Q&As. It functions on the same cloud principles as all other programs in the Google Suite ecosystem, and can be accessed anywhere, anytime, and on any device.

Blackboard is a virtual learning environment tool that allows instructors to set up online classrooms with access to materials and lectures, areas for assignment submissions and assessments like quizzes and tests, communication tools like discussion boards and a gradebook. It integrates with plagiarism software like TurnItIn and SafeAssign and allows the instructor to open and close access to items like curriculum units, assignments, assessments, and course materials as needed.

Canvas is a newer learning management system that is touted as being more user-friendly than competitor programs because it provides a simpler interface through a dashboard layout that quickly summarizes assignments, announcements and other important information across multiple course pages. Canvas includes the ability to manage enrollments, share documents, submit assignments and assign grades plus it can be personalized to an individual’s preferences.

How Three Webinerds Are Keeping Audiences Engaged

More members of our webinerd community are checking in from their work-from-home locations. They are all busy putting together webinars to share important information about business in the time of the coronavirus and making improvements for a better digital customer experience.

To see what webinerds are doing to make the most out of their work-from-home world, check out the posts below. Want some tips that you can use now? Scroll down to the bottom of this post or click here.

Megan Conheeney Is Keeping Audiences Informed

Megan Conheeney and her colleagues at Grant Thornton spent the beginning of their work-from-home life creating webinars in response to the coronavirus — including a risk-assessment tool. They then moved on to creating a webinar that explores what the stimulus bill means for businesses and individuals. As the Senior Associate of Digital Marketing for Grant Thornton, Megan was thrilled to see webinar attendance rates climb now that most people are working remotely.

Chris Hei Is Quickly Creating Analytical Webinars

Chris Hei runs webinars for Latham & Watkins and working from home started out busier than usual for his team. In one Saturday, his team created and distributed two webinars on the CARES ACT. They were able to use the ON24 Webinar Platform to coordinate appearances by lawyers in eight different locations and have it ready for on-demand viewing in record time.

Ashley Bergman Is Building Better Content Hubs

For Ashly Bergman, a Sales Marketing Manager for AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions, working from home didn’t cause too much of a disruption. Ashley and her colleagues at AccuWeather are using this time to make improvements to their digital content. They are creating content hubs as a home for past webinars that are now viewable on-demand, creating client-specific pages that house webinars relevant to a specific topic and industry and updating thank you pages with more current webinar suggestions for previous attendees.

Four Tips You Can Use Now

Webinerd checklist

If you’re looking to add webinars to your marketing program, or even increase the frequency of the webinars you’re hosting, we have some tips and suggestions for you. Check out our four tips here:

Determine Your Webinar Purpose

Every good webinar is created with a goal in mind. Webinars can have different goals such as being educational or informative. Figure out what type of webinar you’re going to host and use that as the premise for your content and structure.

Once you have a purpose in mind, you’ll need a topic and a hook — a reason for attendees to log into  your event. Take a look at industry news or news in general if you’re having a hard time finding inspiration for a webinar topic.

Choose the Right Day and Time

We recently released our Webinar Benchmarks Report which has a ton of useful information about running webinars and based on survey results and webinar participation, the middle of the week is the best time to hold a webinar.

The hours before or after lunch tend to be the best time of day. If your webinar is going to air to participants across the United States, we recommend 10 a.m. PT and 1 p.m. ET.

You can check out specific recommendations for EMEA and APAC too.

Develop a Plan to Market Your Webinar

Now that your webinar has content and is scheduled for an optimal day and time, you need to tell people about it so they can attend. We recommend advertising your webinar on your website and on your social media channels.

You can also send email notifications if you have a list of appropriate/interested recipients set up, but be mindful not to send too many messages — it’s very easy to oversaturate with email. There’s a good chance many of the people on your email lists are also connected to you on social media so they’ll still see your information.

Pro tip: Get your presenters involved in the promotions. If possible, see if your presenters are willing to help promote your webinar through their social channels. Odds are they’re a respected professional in their field, so people will want to know about a topic they’re speaking on and this could help cast a wider net for marketing your event.

Have an Always-On Mentality

No matter how well you plan the day and time of your webinar, it’s not going to work for everyone. Instead of just letting those people go, offer them the opportunity to watch your webinar at a time that’s convenient for them.

On-demand and Simulive viewing options are a great way to give attendees more flexibility to watch your presentation at a time that works for them. You can also add your on-demand webinars to a content hub, like Engagement Hub, so attendees can review all of the content you have on a given topic. These additional viewing options can also go a long way to increasing your attendance rates especially if you send an email reminder when the video is available on your website.

Are You Using the Right CTAs on Your Webinars?

Nothing is worse than a mistimed call to action. I was recently on an auto dealership website and right as I arrived, before I even navigated toward the model I was researching, I was prompted with a chatbot about if I was ready to buy now.

Umm… no. (Side note — I’m a bit of a car snob and it is breaking my heart at the thought of trading in my six-speed MINI Cooper for a more family-friendly SUV.)

Aside from all that, at its core introducing a chatbot to push a deal is a misunderstanding of the buyer’s journey. A car is a considered purchase, even if it is a consumer decision. As a first time visitor to the site, this prompt was out of left field at best.

And all of this led me to think about how webinars often don’t have the appropriate CTAs based on the messaging and their intended audience. Think back to your most recent webinars, did you use appropriate CTAs? Sure it is great to ask if someone wants a demo at the end of the webinar, but could your CTA conversion rates not be high enough because the audience for that webinar is actually at a stage where they are seeking other information?

Now the first step before any of this is to ensure your webinars are aligned in messaging and content to the buyer’s journey. A full series of posts could be dedicated to that, but today we’re focusing on how the CTAs apply. I’ve included two examples per buyer’s journey stage:

It is critical that, as you develop your digital experience strategies, you don’t leave your audiences with a dead-end at the end of an event. By using this table, you’re taking the first step to keeping audiences engaged and allowing them to self-select into appropriate next steps.

How Webinerds are Adapting to Work from Home

Businesses are starting to adapt to a work from home world, but the day to day of office life isn’t back to normal and may not be for quite some time. To compensate, our webinerd community quickly adapted and shared their tips on how to keep work steady and operations going.

Here’s what they had to share:

Rachel Ross Creates Physical-Turned-Digital Events and More Webinars for Customers

Rachel Ross is the Field and Corporate Marketing Coordinator for Cherwell Software and the coronavirus pandemic made work a little crazy for her. Rachel and her colleagues had to quickly create and publish webinars to make sure they’re staying visible to their customers and supporting their sales teams. She’s also been working hard to transition in-person events to digital events using the ON24 Platform.

Brandy Rowden Shares Webinar Best Practices with Colleagues

Working from home gave Brandy Rowden, Senior Marketing Program Manager for ServiceNow, the opportunity to take a seat on the other side of a webinar and present to colleagues. Brandy spoke on webinar best practices and made sure to wear her #webinerd t-shirt for an added boost in confidence!

Ariana Raftopoulos Works to Support Customers’ Needs

As the Corporate Webinar Manager for Salesforce, Ariana Raftopoulos keeps busy by adjusting topics and producing webinars that support customer needs. As a big fan of webinars, Ariana is happy to see so many others realizing how webinars can be a powerful tool for success.

Dean Shaw Created Good from Bad with A Virtual Conference

For Dean Shaw, Global Advocacy Program Manager for SAS, the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on SAS’s biggest conference of the year and forced them to cancel the event after many months of planning and preparation. After struggling to break through the historical mindset of a traditional face-to-face conference, Dean and his team transitioned their event to a virtual conference with almost 50 webinars powered by ON24.

Webinerd Tips

Businesses are taking a more cautious approach by letting employees return to the office when they’re ready. But this push to return to normal also misses a critical outcome of digital-first situations: that strong digital experiences will necessarily need to be a part of any company’s marketing plan regardless in both good times and bad. This means webinars, digital conferences and virtual trade shows should remain a critical tool in every marketer’s pocket.

But what about the attendees? What should they do? Well, here are a few tips to keep in mind if you find yourself watching a webinar:

Focus

You signed up for a webinar for whatever reason: the topic interests you, you need continuing education credits or everyone on your team is doing it and you don’t want to be left out of the discussion…whatever! You committed to do this, so embrace the experience and do what you can to get the most out of it.

Most webinars last an hour and include a question and answer portion toward the end. Commit to getting the most out of the experience by focusing on the presentation. Break out a notepad and jot down any interesting perspectives you may come across. If you need specific information that is shared during the webinar, jot down the timestamp of important content if you know you’ll be able to go back and review the presentation at a later time.

Engage

A good webinar encourages engagement from participants through tools like quizzes, polls, or chat pages with the hosts and other participants. Just like in a face-to-face presentation, the audience may be asked to raise their hands for something or to call out answers to a question.

This is also true with webinars, so if the hosts ask you to do something, be a good participant and engage with them! Doing so can help introduce your fellow participants to new ideas and perspectives. In fact, you and another attendee may even have the same question. So, participate!

Be Patient

Some webinar hosts are bonafide webinerds who are long past the days of being nervous about hosting a live webinar, but those people are few and far between. So, be patient with your webinar hosts — especially when they’re broadcasting from home.

Recognize the more personal side of business — especially if there’s a noise in the background or a child is seeking a parent’s attention. Most webinar hosts will have prepared contingencies in case something goes wrong, but even the most experienced webinerd encounters problems they’re not equipped to handle. It happens and it’s human! Have fun with it and when things get back on track, start taking notes again.

How SAP Switzerland Went All In On Digital Experiences

Every year, SAP hosts its flagship customer event SAP NOW in different markets and locations around the world. For SAP Switzerland, that means anticipating more than 2,000 in-person attendees for a two-day event loaded with keynotes, breakout sessions and an exhibition hall filled with sponsors.

This year, though, it didn’t happen. Instead, to accommodate global health concerns, it switched to a digital-first format. We were able to sit down and talk with Cyrill Maag, Head of Performance Marketing and Demand Management SAP Switzerland about how they set up this year’s virtual experience. Here are the tips they had to share:

Plan the Experience in Advance

The marketing team from SAP Switzerland planned the event for more than six months. However, two weeks prior to the event, they received the disappointing information that there was to be no social gatherings bigger than 1,000 people. That’s when the team decided the best way to transform this event was to go digital.

Some good news: the contract with the event organizer, flights and hotels for speakers were still honored, Maag said, and so the team was able to use the space to pre-record everything at the venue. With producers on-site, the team recorded all presentations and planned to live stream it through the ON24 Platform. With only five days to get all the recordings set up and hosted, the marketing team not only created a uniquely branded experience, but they were able to have eight parallel live-streamed sessions all in different languages.

While stressful to pull off, the event was an amazing success and the team was able to reach and engage just as many customers digitally as they anticipated in person. More importantly, everyone realized the value and potential for this event content to drive demand and business all year round, well after the event.

Provide An Easy Access Content Hub

SAP wanted to make the attendee experience seamless, so it provided a one-stop-shop event hub powered by ON24 Engagement Hub where attendees could RSVP once and gain an all-access pass to sessions. Once the live day event concluded, all session content was automatically switched to on-demand access so attendees could easily re-watch sessions and find sessions they missed, all while capturing data that rolled up into existing reports.

Develop Strategy for Repurposing Sessions

The team knew there was great potential to drive demand and convert prospects with targeted session content post-event. In the months after the event, the SAP team re-packaged and bucketed sessions by hot topics and languages, and re-promoted to different segments and personas in their database via email based on their interest areas.

Know Your KPIs and Understand Data Flow

 For the team, it was important to closely track event performance and make the most out of the leads. They were pleasantly surprised to see the amount of data that the ON24 Platform provided and how it could be easily fed into existing marketing ops processes to its MAP and CRM. Using this data, the SAP team nurtured and converted attendees by using repackaged event content and engaged other target contacts in its database.

  • Initial Digital Event Metrics
    • Quantitative
      • # of Registrations
      • # of Attendees
      • Conversion Rate
    • Qualitative
      • NPS Score – How likely are you to recommend this event to others?
      • Attendee Survey Feedback
  • Business Impact Digital Event Metrics
    • # of New Leads
    • $ Amount of Business Pipeline Generated

Maag is certain that hybrid in-person/digital events will be “the new normal” going forward. In the future, they will have more time to prepare and will have more of an opportunity to optimize the digital experience for engagement. For Cyrill, a digital component will always be a part of his event strategy moving forward because it allows him to engage a larger, more diverse audience and drive more leads year-round.

If you want to check out the SAP masterpiece, just click here.

How SAP Spain Took Its In-Person Conference Virtual and Tripled Attendance

SAP Concur Day 2020, one of the many events SAP hosts each year, was weeks away. Gloria Abadin, Senior Field Marketing Manager, who headed SAP Spain’s version of the event, plotted and planned the event for months. But five days before the event, SAP decided to cancel the event due to the heightened pandemic. 

SAP moved quickly and sent a cancellation email to its 300 registrants. The good news — they informed the registrants this event will still be held virtually at a later date.

Gloria and team were now on a time crunch and needed to find a way to salvage their event. If not, they’d lose 60% of the budget allocated for the event. The team brainstormed ideas, researched different options and planned to host the conference — including all keynotes and sessions — in an ON24 Engagement Hub.

Here’s how Gloria’s team did it all in only two weeks:

Organize Speaker Recordings

Gloria had time on her side. Before Spain enforced its shelter in place order, she brought all of her event speakers to the would-be event site and recorded their presentations as if they were live. Her team captured hours of recordings on the ON24 Platform. Each recording would play simulive, which gives the audience the experience of a live event while giving them the chance to ask questions to experts via Q&A chat.

With simulive, SAP Spain could provide the audience with a better experience emulating an event as if it were in person. The speakers were on stages and the breakouts sessions were recorded with virtual in mind. SAP Spain did everything it could to make audiences feel as if they were actually at the conference.

Building it all on the ON24 Engagement Hub

With the move from physical to a digital-first experience in motion, Gloria and the team had registrants signing up for the virtual event. The 300 or so attendees who previously RSVPed for the in-person event were automatically registered for their digital event thanks to SAP’s Marketo and Salesforce integrations with ON24. Saving the team a lot of time.

SAP promoted this event for another two weeks, giving them more runway to get more registrants. By going virtual, SAP doubled the number of registrants they originally had. Had. When it comes to event attendance, figures triple. SAP Spain went from a venue limit of 130 customers and prospects to almost 400 live attendees actively engaging with their content and messages for at least two hours on the day of the virtual event.

Digital Component for all Events

Gloria never expected she’d have to cancel a full-fledged conference she’d been working on for months. Going through the process of bringing her biggest event online, she now understands more than ever the importance of digital events and how they can be a great compliment to her physical event strategy.

Because of the success of SAP Concur Day 2020 (she has more than 700 registrants watching these recordings on-demand) she now plans to create hybrid events — incorporating both physical and virtual aspects — in the future. For SAP Spain, digital will always be a part of its event strategy. After all, Gloria and her team will continue to see great results by promoting its on-demand and simulive sessions year-round, allowing the team to capture and engage viewers anytime and anywhere.