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Preview Teleseminars: Avoid These Off-Putting Mistakes

May 26, 2008
When you have a new product or an upcoming event, a free preview teleseminar can do a great job of drumming up excitement about it. In one scenario, you announce a teleseminar session about the topic to loyal fans and followers, they sign up for the call to hear your wisdom on the subject, then they buy because they want to learn more. In another scenario, an affiliate hosts a teleseminar interview with you and introduces his or her fans and followers to your ideas, with the same result. Third, you can post the recording of the call on your site or blog and invite anyone visiting to invite their friends to listen to or download the call, so awareness of the product or event spreads as widely as possible.

In all these instances, it's vital to execute this strategy with due consideration for your teleseminar listeners. Be straight, be fair, be professional. These may sound like common sense principles for marketers, yet I've heard them violated in major ways during preview calls. Getting people on the free teleseminar, then making one of the mistakes below diminishes the effectiveness of this potentially powerful method of getting out the word.

1. Not revealing it's a preview call. Recently I downloaded an MP3 file from a coach who announced a free recording on nine strategies to prosper during a recession. The email promo that propelled me to the download link contained not one peep that the call was a preview for a new coaching program. How do you think I felt during the call when I discovered that the nine strategies were not the actual agenda of the call? Knowing that in advance would have given me appropriate expectations, instead of producing disappointment. If participants know ahead of time your call is going to mix content and promotion, they can listen without being distracted by annoyance.

2. Oversized commercials. Compounding the letdown on that call was the skewed proportion of the time devoted to promotion. It felt like 40-50 percent of the talking had to do with the upcoming coaching program, when it should have been no more than 10-20 percent. Providing loads of content makes people hungry for more, whereas doling it out in small chunks makes people wonder whether your event or product will be similarly scant in value. Make sure you pitch whatever you're promoting at the beginning, someplace in the middle and at the end of the call, but be brief. Have confidence that when you set the context appropriately, the thought-provoking or useful ideas in the 80-90 percent of the teleseminar also sell for you, compellingly.

3. Not delivering what you promised. If your writeup for the session featured seven points, you must give listeners seven points, not three or six. During the call, keep one eye on your outline and the other on the clock, so you remain on track to fit in everything you announced would be covered.

4. Failing to identify yourself. Teleseminar recordings often have a second life afterwards for years not only on your own web site but in the audio players of people who may not remember where they got the content from. I've listened to audio recordings where I had no clue who the interviewer or lecturer was, what he did and where to find him on the web. This greatly undermines the call's promotional impact. Always identify yourself by name and URL both at the beginning of the call and just before you sign off.

5. Dominating the guest expert. If your preview call highlights the expertise of someone people avidly want to hear from, don't take over the call. As the interviewer, you should be talking no more than 20 percent of the time. It's fine to add to what the expert says, even disagree on certain points. But it's rude to both the expert and the listeners to allow the expert only occasional nuggets while you talk and talk and talk.

6. Thoughtless editing or no editing. Everyone understands that a live teleseminar call won't go as perfectly as a national radio broadcast. But when you turn the call into a recording, the first thing listeners should hear is your hello, not all the pre-call "Hi, I'm Fluffy from Toledo" and "beep beep beep beep beep" as callers come on the line. Likewise, if mysterious screechy noises interrupted everyone halfway through, edit them out. One information marketer includes a recorded preview teleseminar as a bonus with one of his products that contains hundreds of distracting echoed phrases due to a poor connection on Skype. People judge the quality of the preview as indicating the quality of what it promotes, so be smart.

7. Awkward length. Your bridge line provider may allow you to stretch your preview call to 90 minutes, two hours or however long it takes you to run out of steam. But keep in mind that a CD holds just a bit less than 80 minutes. Someone who downloads an 85-minute call can't burn it onto a CD. You can't burn it onto a CD, either, without taking the time to chop out a minute here, two minutes there and two minutes someplace else.

By following these guidelines, you show respect for listeners and earn their trust, parleying their participation on the call or their listening to the recording so they become both short-term and long-term customers. After all, isn't that the point of holding the preview teleseminar in the first place?
About the Author
Veteran teleseminar presenter Marcia Yudkin provides hundreds more tips and how-to's in her Teleteach for Profit course, described at http://www.yudkin.com/teleteach.htm . Discover how to plan, promote and deliver profitable teleseminars, whether you're an entrepreneur, business owner or nonprofit.
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