Yesterday, I had the opportunity to present at the 2019 Higher Logic Super Forum, on the topic of community-based learning. At the start of the session, I discussed the difference between training and learning. I suggested that training tends to be one dimensional or instructional, in support of a specific process or job with a singular path towards the end goal. Learning can be described as a multi-dimensional approach, that links educational experience and work performance. It focuses on personal qualities and situational decision making. Too often online education programs that fit well into the learning space are structured as training. The problem is, there is little space created for engagement, conversation and sharing of ideas and this leads to minimal learner to learner or learner to instructor engagement.
A way to address this situation is to create space for sharing of ideas, reflection and connection among participants. This was one of the initial goals when we formed a close partnership with Higher Logic to bring learning and community together as a single offering. While we have had some success achieving this on a macro level with an integrated user experience (UX), a single menu structure and seamless integration, we have not had great progress on a content level.
In my talk yesterday, I made the case that if you are offering online learning that is enhanced from a collaboration among participants, an integration of your community and LMS on a program level makes a lot of sense. Here are three benefits of integrating discussions within your online course, virtual conference or webinar offerings:
- Your community members have already taken time to set up their profile and participate in the community. They can now leverage that presence to engage fellow learners in a more focused way. Adding online education to their participation makes them more active and creates synergy between the two platforms, therefore increasing participation.
- Satisfaction with a course will be enhanced when there is the opportunity to share ones ideas or thoughts with other learners.
- Adding discussions provides a continuum of what is learned. It provides participants the opportunity to continue with the topic once the course is completed.
Recently, CommPartners enhanced its integration between Higher Logic’s Community and CommPartners’ Elevate LMS. Is it time for you to make this a priority in 2020?
If you have questions on how to move forward with community based learning, contact Meghan Gowen, VP of Client Development at firstname.lastname@example.org
The CommPartners Approach to Onboarding Your LMS
Last week, I was speaking with a colleague who had just returned from an all-inclusive vacation in Mexico. During our conversation, I asked what some of the highlights from her trip were. The response I received sparked a thought about the true value that comes with genuine customer service.
Now, you would think that the first thing she would tell us about is the delicious food or beautiful beaches, but to our surprise, there was something that she thought stood out above those luxurious details. What stood out to her the most was every time she and her husband asked for something, the staff responded with “It’s our pleasure.” This made them feel valued for choosing to invest their time and money into this resort. It’s our pleasure, conveys a feeling of appreciation.
At CommPartners, we quite often discuss how grateful we are to be involved in the association community, surrounded by an amazing group of people, who we value and feel so fortunate to work with and support. We know education is a core component for most associations and what we do matters a great deal.
A learning management system is a significant investment, both financially and strategically, that can take months, even years, to make a decision on. Once the decision is made, the client and LMS provider come together to create a unified partnership and shared mindset, determined to fulfill the client’s overall vision. The onboarding process that follows is a critical time where expectations are confirmed and a foundation for working together is set. This is where “It’s Our Pleasure” comes into play.
Like any first impression, the first moments of the onboarding process are a sign of what to expect down the road. The first thing you notice is the tone of the communication. How professional and courteous is the project manager? Is this person responsive? Is he or she clear about what to expect, and with follow-up communications. Is this person detail oriented? These are all critical elements?
Just as important, is if this person has a positive attitude and is enthusiastic about your project? Do you, as the client, feel appreciated for the decision you have made and the faith you’re imparting on your selected provider? Are you truly in this together?
At CommPartners, we have gone to great lengths to support and empower our onboarding staff who in turn are giving and generous with their time and spirit. They recognize how critical it is that you are welcomed properly to our organization and that we are simply not just saying thank you for your business. Actually, it’s our pleasure to serve you.
As 2018 winds down, all of us at CommPartners want to express our gratitude to our clients, partners and extended community for your collaboration and friendship over the past year. This was our 25th year in business. Where has the time gone? It’s been fun to look back and see how technology and online learning has changed and how our company and all of us individually have evolved. We’re proud of our history and our evolution as an organization. We feel fortunate to work with so many wonderful clients over many years. These relationships make our jobs so enjoyable and rewarding. We are extremely blessed!
Recently Barbara Bouton, Vice President, Professional Development from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Association provided us the following quote:
I truly think CommPartners is the best company I’ve had the privilege to work with in my career. I value each of you and am proud of the work we’ve accomplished together – especially the innovations!
What Barbara said reinforced our sense that what’s most important is the relationship between our team and our client’s staff and the commitment to stick together to seize opportunities and meet whatever challenges arise.
So as we celebrate 2018, we take pride in our clients’ success and all you have accomplished through your education initiatives.
The Year’s Highlights
- We celebrated five years since Elevate LMS was developed. It takes this period of time for a SaaS solution to fulfill the promise you envision when it’s first created. This year we experienced over 100% growth in new client placements. We are thrilled to welcome so many new organizations into the CP Family.
- We had our first user conference in 2018 that occurred in the spring in Washington DC. The conference included keynote and breakout sessions, trainings, one on one consultation and exhibits. Thank you to our presenters, partners and attendees for making this event a success.
- We established our Advisory Board to receive feedback on new ideas and development and provide clients an active voice as we move forward.
- We created a new administrative portal in Elevate that makes creating, managing and tracking education programs simple, fast and convenient. Our team was determined to support our clients with the most intuitive and user friendly admin available.
- EventCenter our proprietary webcast software was redeveloped with a new design, attendance checks, interactive features, high quality VOIP and enhanced multimedia.
- Our Higher Logic Partnership continued to evolve allowing our mutual clients to bring together community and learning in a unified presence. We are now building the next generation of our integration to support further engagement and bring together content from thought leaders and peer sharing of ideas.
- We established a partnership with BadgeCert to seamlessly provide and assign digital badges from learning activities in Elevate. We feel this will be an important to benefit to our clients as they incorporate digital credentials into their education offerings.
- The National Credentialing Institute was unveiled by our friends at Limitless Association Resources. CommPartners will be hosting this new site which is created to provide associations with assessment-based, professional development based on industry best practice for current and emerging industry professionals.
- We created our own community called CommPartners Connect. It supports the opportunity to collaborate around important topics in online learning and events.
- We welcomed five new staff members to the CP Team.
CommPartners’ first client 25 years was the National Association of Home Builders. This year NAHB selected CommPartners and our Elevate platform for their LMS. We’re grateful to reestablish our partnership with NAHB and all of our clients who continued to depend on us to support their online learning and events.
May each of you be blessed with good health and happiness in the New Year.
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.