The Savvy Sisters are excited to have Amanda Mitchell as our Guest Poster for thisweek. Amanda is a freelance writer with expertise in teaching small businesses how tomaximize technology in their everyday business.
Admit it. When you hear the term conference call, the first thing that comes to mind is a boring meeting, with bored people sitting around a table, talking about some boring business topic. Well, conference calls don't have to be boring, and they don't have to be pointless exercises, either. If you've never considered using conference calls for lead generation, you should. They can be one of the most effective ways to get people excited about the products or services your company provides, and get them motivated to join in that success. Sound too good to be true? It's not. It just takes some planning and a little know-how.
Using conference calls for lead gen is similar in function to using webinars for lead gen, however webinars often have both audio and visual components (slides, screensharing or video), whereas a conference call is just audio. Of course, the following tips can be applied to running a webinar.
The first thing you must do is decide what the conference call will be about. There are two approaches you can take in selecting a topic. You can keep your topic similar to what you talk about at trade shows; what are people interested in? What are the most commonly asked questions about your business by those who want to join it? Address common interests, answer frequently asked questions, and the topic of your call will practically write itself.
The second approach is to choose a topic that compliments your product or service, and simply teach your attendees about it. Use the last couple of minutes of the call to sell. It is important that you have a call to action in mind. What do you want attendees to do - register for your newsletter, download your whitepaper? Make sure to point this out.
Before you start publicizing your call, you need to find a conference call provider to host your call. There are a lot of conference call services out there, but they're not all created equally. There are three main things to look for:
- Find a provider that can host a large number of callers. You may have to pay a little more in order for more people to attend, but it's worth it in the amount of leads you'll generate from just one call.
- Be sure the conference call service offers the ability to record calls. When your call is successful, you can continue to make it available to future prospects by converting it to an MP3 file and offering it for download on your Web site.
- Your conference call provider must offer good customer support. Before you just sign up online, call the provider and speak to a customer service representative. Their ability to answer your questions, and the manner in which they address you and your needs will be a important indicators of how they'll handle an issue should it arise. If they can't be bothered to answer a few simple questions, and they treat you rudely, you can bet they wouldn't be too concerned if there were a problem during your call.
Find a provider that meets these three requirements, and you can rest assured your call will go smoothly.
Now how do you get people to attend your conference call? Well, when you're working a trade show booth, you most likely have a certain script you use to pique the interest of those passing by. The conversation progresses from there, with them asking questions and you providing answers and offering more information. When hosting a conference call, you'll get people interested via social networking sites, your business blog, word of mouth, and whatever other channels you have at your disposal.
One of those means, and probably the most valuable and effective one, should be an e-mail list. Assuming you've already built a solid e-mail list, now is the time to pull it out and put it to good use. Just don't overdo it. Remember that people can be sensitive about the amount of e-mail they receive, and some are quick to unsubscribe from lists if they feel bombarded. Send the first e-mail announcing the conference call about a month out. Send a second one as a reminder a week or two out. Then send a final one a day or two before for the procrastinators.
A great way to encourage people to sign up to attend your conference call is to offer bonus materials. Create a short e-book with more in-depth information on your topic, and offer it to the first hundred people who sign up for the call. Then in that last push to get people signed up, offer a discount off one of your products or services. People love to feel like they're getting something extra.
When asking people to sign up to attend your conference call, don't go overboard by asking them for too much information. Remember, you're offering them something to get them interested in your business. You don't want to turn them off by trying to get too personal too early. A first name and an e-mail address are really all you need to get someone to attend your call, and to generate a solid lead you can follow up on later.