Webinars are an effective way to reduce your marketing costs. They are cheaper to host than seminars and they can be more effective than email and other forms of digital marketing, says Subhas Fagu, partner with Techlicity Ventures Corp. in Toronto. That is because participation is instant and your audience is qualified.

Webinars also can save you valuable time because they can be executed “with the click of a mouse,” says Javed Khan, chief marketing officer with EMpression: A Marketing Services Company in Aurora, Ont. — leaving more time for you to focus on revenue-generating activities.

“[Unlike seminars], you don’t have to run around finding a venue, preparing and printing handouts and arranging for meals or snacks for participants,” Khan says.

And, Fagu adds, if you decide to use an event-planning firm to promote and facilitate your seminar, your costs will go up.

While email marketing is less costly than seminars, emails are not as effective as webinars because the amount of content you can provide in an email is limited. Also, the lead time for responses can be long and a considerable amount of followup often is required.

A webinar, on the other hand, can facilitate immediate feedback and reduces the time required for planning, execution and followup, Khan says.

Adds Fagu: “Research shows that you usually get better results from webinars in terms of client acquisition at a much lower cost.”

Here’s how webinars can reduce your marketing costs and save you time:

> Reach a targeted audience
A webinar attracts a qualified audience because people who register for your webinar have already shown that they are interested in the topic you have chosen.

“Preparing the content for your webinar probably takes as much time as for a seminar,” Fagu says, “but you save on the cost of preparing handouts because everything is online.”

> Save time and money
Webinars save you time, says Khan, because you can hold them from the comfort of your office. They are also more convenient for your audience, who can participate from wherever they are.

Khan recommends using a service provider to host your webinar. “You don’t have to invest in digital and audio products or do any heavy lifting,” he says.

The host will normally handle registrations, issue reminders to registrants, record the webinar, facilitate playback and sharing, and make the webinar available for a certain period afterward for people who might have registered for the event but did not attend.

You also can post the recorded webinar on your website or use it for other marketing initiatives.

“If you crunch the actual numbers,” Khan says, “you will find that the cost of using a host for a webinar is much lower than renting a venue for a seminar.”

A webinar is scalable, he adds, and you are not normally restricted to a certain number of participants as you would be with a seminar venue.

> Get instant feedback
You can set up a “chat box,” which allows you to interact with your audience during the webinar, Fabu says.

“This provides you with the opportunity to provide participants with instant feedback,” he says. You also can follow up with them at a later date, knowing that these contacts are now qualified leads.

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