One of the easiest ways to connect with your current and prospective customers in real-time is to host a teleconference. This is simply a conference call in which you provide the content and a number of people listen in, and, at your discretion, participate live in the call.There are three requirements for hosting a teleconference. One, you need to have a telephone conferencing service. We use freeconferencing.com, which allows you to have up to 1000 attendees (each pays their own long distance charge). Two, you need to have a topic of real interest to your customers and prospects. And three, you need to have a simple, inexpensive way to promote attendance. That’s the social media connection!
Let’s start by looking at five reasons why you would want to launch a teleconference program.
- Provide timely information and advice to your current customers.
In a teleconference, you can provide up-to-date information of interest to your customers. This information may come from you, your employees, or invited experts that you interview during the call. It might be new sales ideas, new regulatory issues, new opportunities, new threats – anything timely that will attract your customers’ attention. Keep in mind that all of the employees of your customer companies are part of your potential audience.
- Attract potential new customers.
When you promote a teleconference, people from companies that are not currently your customers will sign up. The information you gather from their sign-up will let you know a little bit about them and their company (don’t ask for too much – only what you really want to know) and give you a reason to reach out to them.
- Build your ‘thought leader’ reputation online.
Becoming known as a ‘producer’ is a big step towards thought leadership. You are taking the lead in defining a topic, setting a date and time, and promising a worthwhile presentation. This step alone sets you apart from many of your competitors. Do this on a predictable schedule, and you will become known for it.
- Build an online archive of interviews.
I’ve found that sometimes only half of the people who registered actually attend the call live. But that doesn’t mean they’re not interested – only that the day-to-day realities prevent them from meeting this kind of obligation. Record your calls and make them available on your website. In no time you will have an impressive archive; people who registered but couldn’t attend will download the file, and new people will find the recordings.
- Publish transcripts as white papers.
It’s not hard or expensive to have your audio call turned into a written transcript. I use the service castingwords.com to transcribe audio calls. Their budget service (which means no rush on their side) is only 75 cents per minute, so you can get a 60-minute call transcribed for $45. With minimal editing and formatting required on your part, you can begin to publish written transcripts of your teleconferences on your website and also have them available to attach to emails or other correspondence with current or prospective customers.
So, there are five reasons why I advocate this practice. Now, here’s the social media connection. How will you promote your teleconferences? How will you get people to come? Well, that’s why you need to cultivate a social media presence for your B2B company. You can invite participants through the primary sites: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. The more you do, the more connections you will have and the stronger your reach will become.
This strategy will not work without your efforts to build a social media presence. So, one more reason to get started or to keep it going! What do you think? Have you tried this strategy? How is it working for you? Or what would hold you back?