One of the best product promotional strategies for your business is a live webinar.

But running a successful live webinar that puts money in your bank account requires following a proven 4-phase blueprint.

Today, with the help of Mike Filsaime and Andy Jenkins, I’m going to share with you some tips for the first of those phases: Preparation for the webinar.

The crucial point covered in this article isn’t content creation or your sales message, but the mechanics of running the live webinar and publicizing it.

During preparation, you will decide how you want to present your content. The available tools vary, depending on the webinar service you use. Some support running pre-recorded videos, slide presentations ( using PowerPoint or Keynote), sharing your computer screen or even showing yourself on a webcam. Your service allows some of these; a few allow all of them.

If possible, start with a webcam view so your audience gets to see you. After your introduction you can switch to slides for your core presentation.

Consider which presentation tool works best for sharing your message. Some niches work best (and attendees are most impressed) using a particular tool. Don’t try to sell Ginzu knives with a PowerPoint presentation.

The mechanics of presenting a live webinar to a mass audience may be best handled by Google Hangout On Air. This free tool is based on a lot of good engineering. The user experience is first rate.

Unlike other webinar services, that cost upwards of $500 a month (we paid $800 per month for one big name webinar service) and have a lot of limitations, Hangouts are backed by Google and YouTube, so you don’t need to worry about servers crashing and recordings failing. And best of all, as we said, they are free.

However, there are some serious limitations with Hangouts, too, particularly for marketers. One of the biggest limitations is that you’re limited to just 10 active participants. Other people can watch your stream, but there’s no way of interacting with them. This makes running Q&A sessions, polls, or a any kind of group chat very hard. And there’s no way to share a clickable link with them to purchase anything.

That’s bad, since audience interaction and participation significantly boosts sales. Without that, a marketer has no more than a television performance, just like back in the 60s. Because of this missing feature, as much as they hate parting with their money, many marketers pay the expensive fees for other webinar services and limp along with the limited technology of big expensive webinar software.

But, now there is a solution to the limitations of Google Hangouts, so you can take advantage of their strengths without being stuck in an interactivity void.

Andy Jenkins and Mike Filsaime, who are known for creating many tools and opportunities for marketers, have built software that provides the marketing tools found in other webinar software in Google Hangouts. With their new WebinarJam. software, you get the low cost and reliability of Google Hangouts along with the interactivity features of the expensive platforms.

You re getting all of the marketing power, and, considering Google Hangouts do all the heavy lifting, more affordable than you might imagine.

Once you’ve prepared your content and selected the technology the platform (such as Google Hangouts) you’re using your your webinar, the next phase is Promotion. Tomorrow’s article will tackle that issue.

In the meantime, you may want to watch Jenkins and Filsaime explain the issues with Hangouts and their solution here: WebinarJam.

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