The 2018 National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Virtual Forum, Opioid Crisis: No Community is Immune, was live streamed from the NASW national office in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, November 14, and Thursday, November 15, 2018.
Now, before we dive deeper into details about the event itself, did you know that 85% of opioids are used by US citizens? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, every day nearly 200 people in the United States die from overdosing on opioids. The addiction to opioids has become a serious national public health crisis that affects people of all walks of life and is a very real and relevant topic impacting the social work community.
For our clients at NASW, it was critical to reach and engage with their members to discuss how social workers are an integral part of the collaborative multidisciplinary approach in working to respond to the current opioid epidemic.
So you might be thinking, how? How can the largest membership organization of professional social workers, with over 120,000 members nationwide, reach and engage with their community from remote locations? Well, here is where the wonderful world of live streaming and virtual forums came into play for NASW.
We had the opportunity to speak with two key players from the association, Richard Loomis, Conference & Event Planning Manager, and Rafaele Vitelli, Director of Professional and Workplace Development, each weighing in on their virtual conference experience and the relationship that has evolved between NASW and CommPartners.
To start off the conversation, we wanted to get some background information on why the association chose to take the virtual route and how this type of event fit strategically within their organization.
“As an association that is committed to positioning as the premiere source for social work and related health care profession, NASW saw the live streaming of virtual forums and conferences as a key component in providing our community with high quality content while also allowing the association itself to extend its reach and footprint,” said Loomis.
They also spoke on the fact that not only does live streaming allow the association to extend its reach, but it shows the members that they are taking innovative approaches to provide both flexibility and value to their membership. Audiences can tune in from their phone, work, or even their own home office. This provides a great advantage for the members because they are able to save costs on travel and hotel, but still receive the same high quality content as a site based conference.
The virtual forum itself consisted of 4 plenary sessions and 8 breakout sessions where the audience had the opportunity to engage and ask questions through a live chat. In preparation for the event, NASW handled the content side and CommPartners handled the operation and technical side. This was the fourth event that NASW and CommPartners have collaborated on and the relationship continues to grow.
Loomis shared his thoughts on the partnership and how CommPartners contributes to the success of the programs, “The partnership with CommPartners has been phenomenal and in place for a long time. We have worked with the team on multiple events and the company does not fail to deliver. Over the years, we have formed friendships with the colleagues at CommPartners and when you have that relationship and trust in each other it contributes to a successful program.” said Loomis.
To conclude the conversation we touched on a few highlights from the forum, one being the remarks from the President and CEO of Addiction and Policy forum which provided outstanding context to what was being addressed, said Loomis. Overall, both Loomis and Vitelli agreed that putting together a virtual event takes time and effort to ensure success. The association received very positive feedback from the attendees with many requests to continue hosting virtual forums. Loomis said that their members can certainly be expecting two more virtual forums in 2019.
About CommPartners Live Stream Services:
CommPartners helps organizations grow their event attendance and revenue and create highly interactive webcast solutions. We’ve produced thousands of webcasts over the past eight years, from small single camera programs to multiple camera, multiple location productions. What separates CommPartners from other providers is we professionally manage every aspect of the event; we do all of the heavy lifting for you. Our team of experienced event planners manage every detail and our experienced multimedia technicians handle all of the technical details. Our webcast platform offers dual encoding, redundant back-up streams, mobile friendly, and offers attendees active engagement opportunities to help them be an active participant.
Click here to find out more about CommPartners live stream services.
Guest blog by our partners at WebMechanix
Creating a webinar that sells is one of the best ways to generate revenue online. There’s no better way to get in front of your target audience and wow them.
So, are you sure you’re fully optimizing your webinars for conversion? The truth is everything from promotional emails, to how you hook attendance, to how you present your offer ultimately affects your sales.
After extensively researching webcast and webinar best practices, and drawing from our own experience, we have found some powerful ways to optimize webinar sales.
Today, we’re sharing the top six webinar tips and tricks that have the highest impact on the bottom line.
The class is in session…
1. Prepare and Practice
WebMechanix marketing manager, Clare French, has conducted countless webinars over the years. She highly recommends making sure you plan and practice beforehand.
You’ll want to outline the marketing automation plan for your webinar follow-up process early. Nail down the dates you’ll have your slides and other content emailed to your attendees, and have your sales and support teams follow up personally with prospects and customers afterward.
Many platforms have a practice mode for presenters to sync up just before the event starts. Taking a few minutes to make sure everyone is on the same page about the technical set-up and behind-the-scenes communication is invaluable to the attendee experience. There’s nothing worse than a presenter fumbling through the presentation because they don’t know the basics of the tool.
Schedule at least one practice run 3-5 business days before the event. Doing it earlier allows more time to make changes and regroup once more if needed.
Always give “housekeeping” tips at the start of a webinar to let attendees know how to communicate with the presenters. These tips should set the precedence for when questions are answered (in the moment versus at the end), and gives you the opportunity to set expectations about following up with attendees.
2. Use Organic (and Paid) Social Promotion Beforehand
Your webinar is a one-time, live online event. It’s powerful because you get to interact live with your audience. Squeeze all the juice out of it by filling as many seats as you can.
When it comes to webinar promotion best practices, be sure to get all the presenters and partners to promote the webinar on their social and professional profiles beforehand. Also, if you have the budget, use paid ads on Facebook, LinkedIn, and even Instagram.
3. The Magic is in the Q&A
Out of our six webinar marketing tips, this simple tweak may yield the most to your bottom line.
Make sure you answer attendee questions and interact with them during your webinar. That’s the beauty of a live event. Otherwise, you may as well do a pre-recorded presentation.
Tim Paige of LeadPages, world record holder for most webinars conducted, tripled revenue and increased attendee stick rate, the percentage of the event an attendee stays, to an impressive 98%. He did so with one tweak: answering questions during the presentation rather than at the end.
When answering questions, keep it natural. Make sure you don’t destroy the flow. Answer a handful of questions at regular intervals during your webinar. Mention the inquirer’s name and the question out loud before you answer to re-engage attendees.
4. Measure Yourself Against Benchmarks
Webinar engagement metrics (based on CommPartners clients) typically look like:
- 50% attendance rate for free events; 65-75% for paid or credit events
- 75-80% participate in polls
- 5-10% participate in the chat
- 50-60% download presentation slides
By using benchmarks, you can effectively gauge the success of your webinar optimizations. If your live events aren’t performing as well as you’d hope, benchmarks can help you can identify potential issues and adjust. Stats can give great insight into how you can improve your webinar engagement and stick rate. For example, considering using emoticons and interactive behavior to help with stick rate.
5. Provide a Real Phone Number
At the end of your webinar, offer a number for people to call with questions. You often can’t answer everything on the presentation and prospects may only think of a good question after it’s over.
Russell Brunson, the founder of an eight-figure SaaS company, was already implementing a ton of webinar tips and tricks. Then, he tried something new that increased webinar sales by 25%. At the end of his webinars, he offered a Google Voice phone number to call and leave questions — and he called everyone back with an answer.
If you have call center capacity, consider experimenting with a live phone number to answer questions immediately. There’s a reason why infomercials do this: it works. Creating a webinar that sells depends as much on the quality of the follow-up process as the event itself.
6. Double Down on What’s Working
After you have a few webinars under your belt, you’ll notice specific parts of the process that catapult results and others that peter out. To sculpt the perfect webinar, double down on what’s working.
If storytelling balloons attendance, duration, and sales conversion, do it more often. If sending three emails instead of four before the event leads to more attendees, send three. If a tweak to your Facebook ad doubles conversion rate, scale up your ad budget.
This tip may sound more like common sense than an effective webinar tip, but common sense isn’t always so common. With all the moving parts to hosting a webinar, it’s easy to forget about doing more of what’s working when there’s so much to juggle.
Every part of the process has room for optimization.
Pro Tip: If you change your Facebook ad creative to focus on the solution you offer rather than your personal branding and face, it performs better with a cold audience. Your face doesn’t convert as well because they don’t know who you are yet.
By implementing these six webinar tips and tricks, you’ll see higher attendance, more engagement, and a more extended attendee stick rate. And all of these tactics together help you create a webinar that sells.
Since webinars can get confusing with all the moving pieces, focus on these fundamentals, and you’ll be on your way to a sales-optimized webinar process with a lot less headache.
What’s your favorite part of a webinar?
As a webinar production company, CommPartners has over 25 years of experience providing webinar and webcast hosting services to clients. If you’re looking for someone to host your webcast, or need general help with webinar management, fill out our online contact form or give us a call at (800) 274-9390 to see how we can help.
The truth is that all subject matter experts don’t always make great speakers. Additionally, some people can deliver a killer in-person presentation but fall short when presenting to a virtual audience. We’ve compiled a few webinar presentation tips that will help ensure that your webinar speakers are equipped to deliver an amazing and memorable presentation experience:
Our Top 6 Webinar Presentation Tips for Speakers
- Deliver on the expectations of the learner – provide solutions, education, and inspiration. Leave your attendees with key takeaways and action items. But be sure to make it entertaining – tell stories, speak to personal experiences, include video or bold imagery. Case studies or real-world scenarios also work really well to help illustrate points.
- Encourage speakers to have personality and add energy. It can sometimes be awkward when you have to present to your computer screen and you don’t have an in-person audience to infuse natural energy. Consider having another person in the room so the speaker feels like they are talking to an audience. Standing up to present (with the right headset to ensure audio quality) can also help ease a presenter who is more used to in-person events.
- Speak the language of your audience. When preparing your webinar presentation, know who is on the webinar – their role, industry, department, etc. If you have a varied audience, that is okay, but be sure to acknowledge that on the live webinar and set the expectation that some of the content may not be completely applicable. This is also a great way to encourage post-event follow-up if you are unable to address specific audiences.
- Remove the fear of presenting. Presenting can be scary and doesn’t always come naturally. Layer that with a presenter that isn’t all that tech savvy and we may have a recipe for disaster. Consider having another voice to help moderate and make the presenter more comfortable. Always have a training session on the technology before the live presentation to reduce fears about how the webinar platform works, or consider hiring an event production company so that presenters can simply focus on delivering content. Lastly, always do a thorough sound check – bad audio can ruin the best presentation.
- Create a slide deck that encourages engagement. The following list includes our favorite tips on how to prepare a webinar presentation slide deck that people will pay attention to:
- Include polls, breaks for questions, or even encourage attendees to openly use the chat window to share ideas. If the speaker is comfortable they may even address some comments on the live webinar.
- Know the flow of the presentation and your story.
- The webinar should address ONE thing. Don’t try to cram too much into a webinar, you will lose your learner and will simply run out of time.
- Avoid cobbling together a presentation from old decks – start with the narrative first, then build the presentation.
- Leave time at the end for questions and conversation. This can be a great way to infuse the participants own personal experiences around the topic.
- Rehearse – but not too much! Know your narrative in and out, but don’t rehearse to the point that the delivery feels rigid. Rehearsing will also help boost the confidence of the presenter. Comfortable, interactive, and confident speakers top the list of how to ensure your next webinar will be a success.
Need Help Managing Your Webinars?
As a webinar production company, CommPartners has 25 years of experience helping to enhance and advance our clients webinars. We hope these webinar presentation tips will help your speakers deliver an outstanding and memorable learning experience! If you’re looking for someone to manage your webcasts, fill out our online contact form or give us a call at (800) 274-9390 to see how we can help.
Want to talk about how you can take your webinars to the next level? Explore our learning management system, Elevate. Give Meghan a call at 443.539.4851 or email email@example.com for more information.
At the 2017 Higher Logic Super Forum, I along with an association colleague, facilitated a session on the virtues of developing an integrated approach for bringing together online community engagement and an LMS in a single offering. During the session, we discussed how associations typically have these areas configured as unique components. In reality, both provide opportunities for learning. Since an online community engagement strategy is usually focused on facilitating peer collaboration, and the learning management system (LMS) provides expert content, it’s natural they come together to support the stakeholder experience in a synergistic way.
A key connector in this relationship are live online events and webinars. Traditionally, live events and webinars have been positioned on their own through a registration and authentication page provided by the webinar vendor or a separate catalog of programs. A better, more engaging approach is to promote and provide access to these events within a private community.
Here are 5 considerations for using live, online events and webcasts to increase the impact of your online community engagement strategy:
- Registration will feel like a continuum of existing collaboration. Participants who have already been invested in the topic can now be encouraged, in an intuitive way, to take the step to register and participate in online discussions.
- Participation from new and non-engaged members is encouraged with an integrated approach. Live, online events and webinars are tangible ways to draw participants to specific areas of your Web presence. Offering them through a dedicated part of your LMS gives users a reason to create a profile and begin to participate in other social learning and online community engagement opportunities.
- Leverage interaction before and after an online event or webcast. Participants should be able to see who is attending, exchange ideas, and engage the presenters before the event. Afterward, users can continue any conversations that may have been cut short (which happens often!) during an hour program.
- Integrate results from live event and webinar attendance with other participation metrics, providing a complete picture of online community engagement. Host organizations will appreciate having a central repository to evaluate participation outcomes.
- Award badges or ribbons for participation or achievement from webinars in the same area where recognition is provided for other activities. Providing recognition will further encourage participation in future live, online events.
We see webinars and live events becoming much more collaborative and transparent. Bringing them into your online community is a natural way to build participation and provide synergy with your other educational objectives.
If you have interest in learning more about integrating events and webinars with your community contact us online, or email Meghan Gowen at firstname.lastname@example.org.