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FEBRUARY 2011 I STREETWISE SELLING I BY KENNY SMITH I DOWNLOAD PDF
Webcast Selling

Webcasting presents a unique opportunity to interact with clients and generate leads

Your customers are using social media to make personal connections and share experiences. Webcasting is an excellent way to reach out to them. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs are now using webcasts to deliver messages, generate leads and grow market share.

Recently, I attended a DJ competition that drew roughly 80 people to a small venue. One guy upfront was hosting a webcast using a laptop with a camera. I logged in from my computer to watch it and was blown away to see 750 other viewers. They could converse during the webcast by using a chat function, and they had plenty of comments and questions, keeping the host busy.

Getting Started
You can set up your own webcast channel using a computer and webcam. There are lots of websites that offer this service. (Currently, I'm using Ustream.tv.) Many charge for premium services, such as HD quality and ad-free broadcasting, but you can use the basic, free version and upgrade later. Just get started.

Build your audience by promoting your show on your website and in-store. Hang a poster, and invite all of your customers. Ask them to join your social media pages, if they haven't already. Along with e-mail blasts, Facebook and Twitter pages are excellent mediums for sending out invitations.

Advance scheduling lets you promote the show's air date. Also, send a reminder notice with an attached link on the day of the show. And add searchable tags to your webcast to elevate your page rankings online.

Set the Scene
Preview your broadcast before you go live. Lighting and camera placement is crucial, so spend some time arranging yourself and your set. Check the camera frame, and make sure everything you want to see is visible and distractions are removed. If you're using a fixed camera, tape some marks on the floor, and stay inside them. Also, sound quality is just as important as the video image. A mixer and microphones will vastly improve the sound over what you'll get from a webcam mic.

Before you go live, rehearse the show. Don't wing it. "Ums" and pregnant pauses can lose an audience. Avoid reading from notes or cue cards — try setting up a monitor behind the camera. Not only will you relax and sound more confident and professional, you'll give your audience something real and entertaining.

Use a designated driver to monitor the show and incoming chat during the broadcast. The ability to interact with your audience is what makes hosting a webcast different from anything else. Lively chat makes the show more successful, so it's important to have a competent person at the helm.

Now, try embedding your logo or info, so it shows up on the screen continuously during the show. Or, create a 10- to 15-second flash ad to play at the end. You may have staff who already know how to do this.

Get Ahead of the Competition
With the growth of social media as a viable marketing platform, webcasting will only become more popular and sophisticated. Manufacturers are even offering webcasting tools, such as the Roland VR-5 AV mixer and recorder, as well as iPhone teleprompting apps. Don't miss a golden opportunity to promote your store, products and services like never before. MI

Kenny Smith is an industry veteran and consults both retailers and suppliers. Find him at kennysmithsalesguru.com.

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