What is a teleseminar?

What is a teleseminar? (image credit: Thinkstock/violetkaipa)

Teleseminars are large conference calls with hundreds or even thousands of participants which enable you to talk to prospects, customers or staff en masse.

They can be thought of as your own private radio station where you're the host.

When participants dial in, their lines are automatically muted so they can hear you and any co-hosts you invite, but you can't hear them.

Many people use teleseminars for sales presentations, company-wide announcements and investor relations updates.

With Buzz Conferencing, teleseminars can be recorded so that those who can't attend in person can listen later and, like all our services, we make no charge.

Why are more people taking this approach to marketing their products?

In summary, they are simple, cheap and very effective.

Teleseminars require nothing more than a standard telephone so there’s no expensive equipment to buy. You and your participants simply dial a phone number and you’re connected.

With Buzz Conferencing, there’s no charge for the service. Everyone just pays their phone company for the cost of the call in the normal way meaning you can reach large audiences for next to nothing.

As with talk radio, listeners feel very closely connected with presenters so a high level of affinity is created, quickly leading to the ‘know, like and trust’ relationship needed for effective sales. 

Buzz Conferencing’s founder, Pete Bennett comments:

"People can listen as they do other things. Companies that do product launches do informational teleseminars to talk about the product or interview those that have used it; people then listen on the phone, put it on speaker and digest it in the background while getting on with other things.

This non-invasive, yet influential method of communicating the plus-points of a new product can really pay dividends. Listening to an event like this doesn't demand hours being blocked out in the diary.”

What makes a good teleseminar?

When it comes to putting together your own session, Pete has plenty of advice.

"Remember to think of your teleseminar as your own radio station," he says. "With that in mind, try to do the same things as they do on the radio and paint word pictures rather than rely on people's imagination."

Preparation is vital, as it's unwise to go into a presentation and simply 'shoot from the hip'. Structure is an important element of any teleseminar to ensure it has a purpose and doesn't end up confusing or boring an audience. You are representing your brand and want to give a good account of what you are trying to sell.

"A killer technique that more people are using is to send out a downloadable worksheet before the seminar where there are the components that are covered within the seminar but blanks left in the paper," Pete recalls.

"This makes the seminar interactive by the host asking the participants to consider aspects and write their answers down on the paper. It's a great way of getting engagement and personally I have had great conversions when doing sales calls in this way."

In terms of maximising your audience, it's a good idea to send reminders, either by email or text message. While people may always have the best intentions when it comes to dialling in at the right time, in reality many of us are quite disorganised and could do with an occasional nudge!

To ensure you get the most benefit from the event, keeping the presentation or discussion concise is vital. That said, you should also allow time for a question and answer session at the end, specifically for product or service-based discussions, as often the best feedback can come out of this part of the schedule.

There are a number of ways of handling the Q&A from a technical point of view. You can give participants the ability to un-mute their lines or ask them to email questions in during the call. We recommend the latter method for very large calls as it keep the level of noise down and has the advantage of allowing you to filter questions and remain in control.

Although it is recommended to record teleseminars, this can restrict the amount of feedback or involvement they give at the live event. Aside from nerves, knowing it will be recorded in advance means that often individuals may opt to just listen to the recorded version at a later time rather than feel the need to join on the day. Because of this, there is certainly an argument for only making participants aware of the fact it has been recorded after the event has taken place.

To maximise the benefit from your teleseminar, be sure to provide a call to action at the end. By either directing them to a particular page on your website or giving them a hotline phone number to call. It also helps to put a time-limit on any offers to provide a sense of urgency as one the teleseminar is over, people may forget to take action without such an incentive. 

What advantages do teleseminars have over webinars?

Some organisations use internet based webinar (screen sharing) and Voice over IP services like Skype.

The problem with these is that they require both you and everyone else taking part to have a fast and reliable internet connection. Sadly, even nowadays the line quality can’t be guaranteed.

"A lot of the internet services, technically brilliant as they are, tend to turn into a bit of a science project when it goes wrong and you can damage your brand by having an unreliable connection.

There's nothing stopping people from taking part in a teleseminar. They already have all the equipment they need, just a phone, there's no cost involved and within five minutes of now, anyone can start running one even if it’s their first time."

One of the main advantages teleseminars is that your audience don’t have to be glued to their screens. Your listeners can connect from their mobiles phones and listen whilst out and about. Everyone these days has an mp3 player in one form or another, meaning people can download the audio and listen to it while jogging in the park or on the way to work. They're not just tied to their desks like they would be when participating in a webinar.

If you haven't tried it yet, why not have a go? It could be the catalyst your business has been waiting for.