Web Conferencing as a Benefit for Your Blog’s Subscribers

Email list not growing?

Many great bloggers have only the vaguest of ideas on how to grow their subscriber list. Maybe you need more community features like private web conferencing.

Stupendous Sign-Up Incentives

On every blog I visit I am tired of seeing yet another tired old single page PDF as a sign up incentive. It doesn’t seem like a good deal to me. I give you my email address, you give me your free PDF that you ran up in two hours and then you blast me with affiliate offers day and night until I get so annoyed that I unsubscribe.

Google Hangouts

My email address is worth a lot. If I am going to give you the right to send me emails I need some heavy persuasion. I need to see ongoing benefits from being a subscriber. I want awesome.

What do I mean by awesome?

I want to feel a connection. I want to belong to a community. I want ways to interact with the community and you, the community’s leader.

Engaging Emails

I want emails that I read from choice that include free eBook download links, white papers and original research. I want emails that contain information I would pay for. I want invitations to community webinars, Twitter chats and competitions.

Webinars

I have attended many webinars. Most were thinly disguised sales pitches. You need something different, something unique to your community. Webinars are generally one or two marketers talking to a large group of prospects. Let’s examine that model for a minute.

One presenter monopolizes the attention of 1,000 people through their computers to try to persuade them to buy something. It sounds like an evangelical preacher on one of those awful free TV channels. At best it’s video spam.

This kind of web meeting is hardly going to drive people to sign up for your blog. You need something that is clearly going to benefit the subscriber.

Community Webinars

What kind of online meeting would you be interested in?

I would be looking for genuine conversation, live questions answered, genuine give and take between everyone involved which is hosted on a great video conferencing service.

Google Hangouts on Air would work for up to ten people and as long as you were prepared to put up with the technology limitations. The video on Hangouts on Air is not good. Another point is that the meeting is done using a live YouTube URL, so others can see it if they have the URL.

ClickMeeting.com would be perfect for this scenario. It allows 25 video feeds (as against the 10 that Hangouts allows).

ClickMeeting Form

Imagine Google Hangouts on steroids. Think video-conferencing rather than the video lecture that online meetings usually are.

A good web conferencing provider has several modes of operation:

  • Listen Only – The usual online meeting format
  • Presenters Only – Only your 3 or 4 presenters are in on the discussion. Useful for final pre-meeting discussions that you do not want to broadcast to the whole audience
  • Q & A – One person at a time speaks as the microphone is passed to different people
  • Discussion – Allows audience members to talk to each other

It is the discussion mode that is most useful in your community building efforts. Most online meetings don’t offer this option.

Meetings can be recorded, embedded in your website or downloaded to a Dropbox account.

Overcoming the Disadvantages of Video-Conferencing

You need to be honest. The camera never lies and any lack of openness on your part will be obvious to everyone.

You can only invite limited numbers, usually up to 25. To be realistic though, 25 invitees are the most you would want on a community-building video-conference call anyway. If the object is to build relationships then that happens best in small groups.

If you have large numbers of subscribers who are interested in a video call then segmenting is the answer: Try to group similar people on each call. You could do this on the basis of how long they have been subscribers or on location. Location-based segmenting has the big advantage that you will have fewer time-zones to try to accommodate.

Alternatives for Large Numbers

You could run traditional web meetings with a large emphasis on audience participation. If you make it clear that there is nothing for sale you are likely to overcome the audience cynicism that has developed over time and get a better response.

If you want a conversation between 100 or 1,000 people then Twitter chats are an option to consider. In fact it is a good idea to run regular Twitter chats in addition to your video-conferencing calls.

Over to You

What is your thinking on using webinars to build blog subscribers? Is this something you have tried or thought about trying? Use the comment box below to share your take on the subject.

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