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How to give a CRE webinar

08/19/2014
Michael Griffin, real estate technology blog, ClientLook CRM

Want to use technology to differentiate your services and generate new prospects? Then give a commercial real estate webinar to showcase your expertise, highlight your success and build your business. It’s a lot easier than you think to invite your audience and host an event. Here’s how you do it.

Build your list

You need an audience for your webinar. The first thing you need to compile is a list of email addresses. This could be clients, prospects, owners, brokers, vendors or anyone else that you’d like to invite. Organize this list in a spreadsheet.

If you have contacts in something like Outlook or ClientLook’s commercial real estate CRM, then simply export those records to Excel. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel here.

All you really need is an email address for each person, but a contact name and company would be nice too. If you want to be really thorough, then create a “Nickname” field in your spreadsheet. Use this to address someone named “Robert” as “Bob”. It will make your invitations more personalized and more effective. Don’t worry about duplicate records. We’ll take care of those later.

Schedule your webinar

Webinar tools and web conferencing systems are super easy these days. They include products like GoToMeeting, Webex, Adobe Connect, etc. We’ve used GoToMeeting for years. It’s reliable and constantly evolving. Their mobile tools are phenomenal.

If you don’t have a subscription to one of these services, then you’ll need to get one. One important consideration is to ensure that you subscribe to a plan that allows enough attendees. At ClientLook, our plan handles up to 1,000 attendees, which usually accommodates our audiences. Don’t overbuy, but make sure you won’t have to turn people away by hitting your attendee limit.

Schedule your webinar within your web conferencing system. Limit your session to an hour, and require people to register in order to attend. Why? This is ultimately about lead generation and you want the names of your attendees.

There’s an art to choosing the right day of the week, and even the best time for your webinar to maximize attendance. Opinions vary, but we’ve always had success with mid-week 8:30 AM pacific time webinars.

Once scheduled, get the website address of your signup form. Here’s an example of the signup form for an upcoming ClientLook webinar. We’ll use this website address in a later step.

Select an email marketing platform

We want to be able to advertise our webinar via email to everyone on the list. Once you’ve got your list, then you need to move those contacts into an email marketing platform. There’s lots of them, like Mailchimp, ConstantContact, iContact, etc. We use Mailchimp. It works great, but if you already have a solution, then use that.

Import your contacts into your email marketing platform of choice. If you already maintain an email marketing list in one of these services, then move on to the next step.

Build your invitation

One of the key ingredients to the success of your webinar is the format of your email template. It must be informative, brief and impactful. It should contain a description of your webinar along with the website address to your signup form as described above. You’ll design this template in your email marketing platform and send it out to your list.

Expect that most folks will read your message on their mobile device. Therefore your message must be “responsive,” so that it adapts automatically to the software or mobile device on which it is viewed. Blow this part and it will kill your response rates. Here’s an example of a marketing email that’s worked well for us. Before sending, we’re able to confirm that it looks great on a mobile phone:

    

Invite your attendees

Use your email marketing platform to send out your invitations. Again, there are optimum days of the week and times of the day to send invitations. You want to maximize your open rate and click throughs. Assume that you’ll need to send out your two or more times for it to register with people.

Mailchimp is great because it has a feature that computes the optimum time of the day to send a mass email based on the open rates of the selected recipients. We’re still experimenting with this, but so far it’s been working well.

Give your webinar

Be prepared in advance of the big day. Make sure your presentation is bulletproof. Practice so you can stick to the allotted time. Speak clearly and try to be entertaining and even memorable.

Avoid slides with animation, since they don’t always trigger properly to larger audiences due to bandwidth constraints. Have a contingency for pitfalls like a lost Internet connection, dropped phone line or dry mouth.

Because of the large audience size, we normally have all the attendees muted. It’s  too distracting otherwise for both the attendees and presenter. We make great use of GoToMeeting’s internal chat feature for “live” discussion, though. Attendees are able to ask questions during the presentation that get answered by other staff members. Common questions are answered at the end.

Try it out and let us know about your experience..

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By: Michael Griffin

Chief Product Officer, Xceligent, Inc. 

Connect with Michael on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mgriffin

Find out more about ClientLook here: http://www.clientlook.com/

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