,

Teleseminar Series: Pricing Options

 

 
Should you charge for your teleseminars? And if so, how much? That depends on your goals. If your main purpose is to promote a product or service, or to build your audience, you may decide to offer your expertise for free, thereby maximizing the number of people who participate.
 
The benefits of hosting a free teleseminar:
  • You'll get more registrations.
  • It's easier to implement. You won't have to worry about processing payments or integrating a shopping cart with your sales page or email service.
 
The drawbacks of a free teleseminar:
  • You won't make any money upfront.
  • It can be difficult to get your speakers to mention your call to their list if they won't be making any upfront money from it.
  • Sometimes, something offered for free is perceived as having a lower value than something that comes with a price tag.
 
If your main goal is revenue generation, you could charge a fee for participating in your call. Then again, you could opt for having it both ways: You could offer free participation in the initial call, and then charge for access to the recording and/or a transcript of the call. This way, you maximize the number of people you get to add to your list, but you'll also raise some revenue as you allow them to self-sort into buyers and non-buyers.
 
The benefits of hosting a paid teleseminar:
  • You'll make money with each additional person who signs up to attend.
  • Your speakers will be more likely to promote the call if they can earn a commission (i.e., if they receive a percentage, typically 50%, of any sales generated through their affiliate link).
  • Your teleseminar might be perceived as more valuable if people must pay to gain access.
     
The drawbacks of a paid teleseminar:
  • The more you charge, the fewer attendees you are likely to have.
  • Implementation is more complicated, as you'll have to set up a way to take and process payments as well as process affiliate commissions in the event that you're offering an affiliate program.
 
If you're just starting out, you may want to go with a free teleseminar. That way, you can work out the kinks, figure out the technology, and focus on learning the ropes without the added stress of dozens of people expecting a top-notch, glitch-free experience. And, of course, you can focus on the teleseminar and won't have to worry about how to set up your shoppingcart. Then, once you've figured out how everything works, you can start charging for your premium teleseminars.
 
Only you can know what will work best for your situation and your business. Take a look at the pluses and minuses of each model, and choose the one that feels right for you.
 
 
,

Teleseminar Series: Inviting an Expert

 

 
One of the easiest ways you could host a successful teleseminar is by inviting an expert. Having an expert take part in your teleseminar has a number of advantages:
 
  • You don't have to rely on your own expertise – your expert will be there to educate your audience.
  • You'll achieve expert status by association. Think of Oprah: She isn't a weight loss expert, but because she has interviewed dozens of them, she is seen as a health and fitness guru in her own right (even in light of her ongoing battles with her own weight!).
  • You can bring new expertise to your audience. Offering an added perspective to your audience raises your value in their eyes. You become a “connector,” someone who knows all the right people.
  • You can get in front of new prospects. Many experts have audiences or lists of their own, and their “tribe” will follow them to your sphere of influence. If they like what they see, they will stay a while – and maybe even buy something!
  • You can do soft-sells on affiliate products. If you are an affiliate for a book on, say, cheerleading, you can bring the author in front of your audience for a Q&A session. Then, when the author mentions her book, you provide your affiliate link and get a commission for every book your audience buys.
 
So what do you need to watch out for when you're selecting an expert to interview? Here are several factors to consider before issuing an invitation:
 
  • Are they a good fit for your audience? Don't invite the cheerleading expert when your list consists of survivalists and expect to get a warm response.
  • Are they personable and good at public speaking? Few things are more painful than listening to a poorly prepared, poorly skilled public speaker – even in an interview setting. Have a screening phone call or listen to other interviews with your prospective guest before you issue an invitation.
  • Do they have something valuable to say? Make sure you're spending your time – and your audience's time – wisely by offering something unique, interesting, educational, or entertaining.
  • Do they have a large list? This isn't a must-have, but it definitely helps if your speaker has a large audience of his or her own and is willing to promote your teleseminar.
  • Do they have products or services to promote? If you are hoping to earn commissions by promoting their products or services, find out how their affiliate program works, and if their products or services are right for your audience.
 
When you are first starting out, the top tier experts, such as those with New York Times best-selling books, those with their own talk shows, and those in the million-dollar-plus income bracket, can be hard to reach for a relative unknown. Don't let that stop you from asking, though! You never know when someone will say “Yes,” so don't say “No” for them.
 
Get in touch with them directly or through their publicist (contact information is typically available on their website). Write a polite, SHORT email saying who you are, why you think your market would be a good match for their area of expertise, when you'd like to speak with them, and how long it will take. Then tell them what's in it for them, for example exposure to an enthusiastic new market or a share of the proceeds. Finally, send it off, and start thinking about who else you could invite if your first choice isn't able to participate.
 
It's really not a complicated process. Choose someone you would like to hear from, write them a polite note to invite them, and then move on if you don't hear back or if they can't help at this time. A “No” isn't a “No” forever; it's just a “No” for today. So keep asking others until you get a “Yes.”
 
,

Teleseminar Series: Planning for Success

 

In order to pull off a great teleseminar, you'll need to plan for success. Sure, there are things that can go wrong, but if you plan your teleseminar well, most of them can be avoided. Let's review what you need to do to ensure your teleseminar will go as smoothly as possible:
 
  1. Choose a good topic. Choosing a topic for your teleseminar is much like choosing a topic for a blog post. You don't want something too broad, or you'll have no focus. And you don't want something too narrow, or you will run out of things to say. Instead, you want to balance your need to cover new ground with your need to keep the length and breadth of your teleseminar manageable. For your first go-round, I suggest keeping things tight and focused. You should also plan keeping your call to an hour or so. Any longer and you may burn yourself out or run into more problems than you're prepared to deal with!

    Start by brainstorming a list of possible topics for your teleseminar. When it comes to scope, ideal topics are suitable for magazine articles rather than books! In short, go through your list of topics and decide for each one whether it is so broad you'd need a book to cover it, or if you could do it justice in a magazine article. Then make a list of your top picks.

    Can't pick just one? Remember, you can always hold another teleseminar — and you should! Right now, you're just getting ready for the first one, so select a topic you feel comfortable with.
     

  2. Decide on an expert. One of the greatest advantages of teleseminars is that you don't have to be the expert; you can interview someone else with more experience. You can also hold a dialog between the two of you, or you can do the whole thing yourself. It's entirely up to you.
     
  3. Pick a day and time. Next, you need to pick a day and time. It's easy to drive yourself nuts trying to find a day and time that works for everyone in your target audience. Just realize that no matter what you do, you simply won't be able to pick a time that is convenient for everyone! Instead, pick a time that works for you, and go with it. You can always make the audio available later if you like.
     
  4. Decide on whether to charge or not. Are you planning to charge for your teleseminar? You'll want to decide upfront whether to charge or not, and what you should offer as upsells. In a later blog post, we're going to cover fee vs. no fee teleseminars in more detail.
     
That's it! These are the key decisions you need to make before you get started because they will affect a lot of your other activities. Just keep in mind that they're not necessarily either/or decisions. There are a range of options you can select, so let's discuss those in greater detail, starting with inviting an expert in our next blog article.
 
,

Teleseminar Series: What Can Teleseminars Do for You?

 

From the day the first caveman tried to convince his cohorts how great saber-tooth tiger tasted once it had been cooked over a fire, humans have been “selling” their ideas to each other. The practice of sharing with and educating others hasn't changed. We just have a whole lot more options when it comes to choosing the medium.
 
With the ready availability of low-cost (or no-cost) long-distance service and conference call lines, teleseminars have become increasingly popular. Instead of spending thousands of dollars traveling to give an in-person presentation, you can meet your customers and prospects right where they are, without even having to change out of your pajamas. Here's what you can do with teleseminars:
 
  • Introduce new products
  • Get known in a new market — and get to know that market in turn
  • Explain how a product or service works
  • Interview experts and share their knowledge with your audience
  • Answer questions about your area of expertise
 
In addition, teleseminars can help you do the following:
 
  • Sell more. By presenting a sales presentation over the phone, you offer much more interactivity and a stronger personal connection than you can through a website or direct mail piece.
  • Create products. The calls themselves can be turned into products or classes. You can sell access to your live events, or you can record them and sell them later as CDs or audio downloads. And that's just for starters.
  • Get to know your audience. Being able to interact with your audience in real time allows an unprecedented level of market research, right in the moment.
  • Establish yourself. If you interview experts in your area, you will quickly be seen as an expert by association.
  • Build your list. Teleseminars are popular ways to introduce yourself to a new market. It's easy to invite people to your free events — and as they sign up, they become part of your list.
  • Create trust. Trust is crucial when you want to do business online. And one of the best ways to build trust with your audience is to interact with them directly. As they hear your voice live on the call — and as they ask questions and get answers right then and there — you become "real" to them and they'll be able to bond with you. This is something that's much harder to accomplish through sales letters and emails.
 
But what about skills? Don't you have to have some kind of “chops” to host a teleseminar? Stop wondering! If you have enough experience to start a business, you have enough experience to produce and host a teleseminar. In my next blog post I'll show you how. 
 

Blog Traffic Generating Strategy 10 – Create a Freebie to Give Away

 

If you've ever gone to a trade show and come home with a suitcase full of squishy balls, highlighter pens, and t-shirts that you'll never wear, you know the power of the freebie. And when that freebie is actually useful and valuable, the power is even greater. That's why by giving away a valuable piece of quality content on your blog or website, you can not only demonstrate your expert status in a very tangible manner; you can also lure people to your site and encourage them to become part of your community.
 
 
Of course, as with any marketing tactic, there are some do's and don'ts to be aware of:
 
DO create something of quality. Giving away junk – unedited PLR, a flimsy report full of errors, or other disposable content – won't win you any fans. You don't have to write a 100-page report, or a series of 20, one-hour videos; but whatever you do create should be VALUABLE. The information you provide should stand alone in its own right, but it should also make people want more from you.
 
DO think outside the box. “The short report” is a common giveaway for online businesses, and they can be very useful. But what about a series of short videos, or a special audio interview? A top-ten list or a template of some sort? A blueprint or a mind map? An iPhone app or a free consultation? A set of inspirational stories? Get creative: The more unique your offer, the more attention it will gain.
 
DON'T deliver before opt-in. Your goal, when people visit your website, is to capture their information so you can continue to communicate with them even after they leave. Typically, this means getting them to opt-in to your email list. Don't give away the goods before you've gotten, at a minimum, their email.
 
DO follow up. The delivery of your freebie should be just the first step in an autoresponder series to keep your visitors interested and engaged. Feed them into a series of email messages, newsletters, etc., to keep them coming back for more.
 
DO encourage them to spread the word. Ask new subscribers if they know of anyone else who might be interested in your freebie, or encourage them to forward the giveaway so others can enjoy it. Your goal is to get that freebie into as many hands as possible, drawing attention back to your site.
 
DO reuse the content you create. If you record a series of videos, turn them into a special report to distribute to your affiliates, or break apart a short report into articles or blog posts. Never let any content you create do single-duty; make it work over and over again for you!
 
If you offer a unique, high-quality freebie, and let people know how they can get a copy, your work will speak for itself. You may even find that your content goes viral and becomes the next “must-have” giveaway, driving tons of qualified traffic to your site. 
 

Blog Traffic Generating Strategy 9 – Join in or Host a Blog Carnival

 

Blog carnivals might bring to mind lion tamers, elephants, and pink popcorn balls, but in actuality, they're pretty tame. In a nutshell (a peanut shell, of course!), a blog carnival is a group of blog postings on a particular theme. Numerous website owners and bloggers post content on that topic at a particular time – usually the same day of the week – and include links to each other's posts, or to the blog carnival host. It's an easy and fun way to share traffic and develop relationships with like-minded bloggers and business owners.
 
Hosting Your Own. It's very simple to organize your own blog carnival; you simply pick a day and theme, and publicize it through your normal social media channels, inviting others to take part and explaining the concept to them. Sometimes the themes are very narrow (“30-Minute Recipes” or “Social Media Horror Stories”) or broad. You can make your carnival open (anyone can participate) or closed (only people you invite can join in). Typically, participants include a link at the bottom of their post, linking back to the hosting blog so readers can find the rest of the posts in the carnival.
 
When hosting a blog carnival, you may want to use a free linking tool such as LinkyTools (http://www.linkytools.com/) or MrLinky (http://www.misterlinky.net/) that will allow participants to easily add themselves and their posts to your carnival link list. If your blog carnival goes well, you might choose to make it a regular event, occurring every first Monday of the month, or even more frequently. If it becomes a regular event, you might consider creating a blog button that participants can add to their site for more visibility.
 
Joining in the Fun. If you'd rather test out a few carnivals before you start hosting, you can find lists of carnivals by topic on a number of sites such as BlogCarnival.com. Or google “blog carnival YOUR NICHE,” such as, “blog carnival parenting,” for a list of individual carnival opportunities. To be a good participant and get the biggest results from your efforts, here are a few tips:
 
1.    Stick to the guidelines. Read the theme and deadline information carefully to make sure you're meeting all the requirements, including the links you must include at the bottom of your post. Participants can be rejected from carnivals, and you don't want to spend a few hours creating a perfect blog post, only to find you didn't follow the directions!
 
2.    Think about your title. Some blog carnivals have dozens of submissions, and you want yours to stand out. Usually, the list of participants includes only your blog name and post name, so an evocative, descriptive title will get you more readers.
 
3.    Do your best work. Your carnival submission may be the one and only time some visitors may be introduced to you, so show your stuff. Don't toss off a half-baked post unless you want half-baked results. First impressions count!
 
4.    Thank the organizer. Carnival hosts are not paid, so go out of your way to thank them for their work. A simple email telling them you appreciate their efforts will go a long way towards developing a good relationship with them – which may result in a different partnership further down the road!