Whether business is conducted in a traditional office setting or in ones living room, clear communication and the sharing of documents will always be an important element. Web based conferencing has become business as usual even in small businesses and non-profits, but hosting a conference or meeting using the Internet can be intimidating to people who are unfamiliar with the available programs that can make the process much easier. This blog will explain some of the free programs that are quick and easy to understand and use.
Grant Cardone’s book, the 10X Rule–A Blueprint for Success
Grant Cardone’s new book, The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure, illustrates how people underestimate their ability to generate the momentum to meet their social responsibility to be as successful as possible.
1.To be successful, you need to adjust your thinking so that you believe you can attain goals beyond your dreams.
2. Be willing to do 10Xs more work than anyone else to attain your goals. If a competitor made one call, Cardone made 10 calls.
3. Don’t waste time with negative thinking. Use your fear as motivation and run into the fire.
4. Successful people continuously set new goals and move toward higher achievements. They are always moving forward.
5. Everyone has a duty to be as productive as possible, whether that is making money or volunteering and making a difference in that way. The point is to always be moving forward.
6. Take responsibility for everything in your life.
7. Take action to make you life as successful as possible, don’t make excuses.
8. Don’t blame or complain about other people or use them to make excuses for your lack of success.
9. Stay focused on the future, never regard the impossible.
10. Big thinking, massive actions, expansions, and risk taking are essential for growth.
Small Business Marketing
Web conferencing is becoming easier every day. There are so many companies with free components that are user friendly, any business person can schedule a conference with confidence.
However, succeeding in business today requires more than expertise in ones field. It used to be that being an excellent plumber meant that you would have a good share of the market, because your business would grow by word of mouth and personal referrals.
With the advent of the Internet, everyone became a salesperson, whether they wanted to or not.
Few people leaf through the yellow pages these days to find a local business. They take out their cell phone and search through Google, Bing, or Yahoo. The business or trades person who is in the top three to seven places in the search receive the most calls.
Google data indicates that between 40 to 60% of all calls go to the top three businesses in a search.
Before the mobile search became so prevalent the top 20 businesses would show up and customers could shop between them. When a person searches on a mobile phone, Google funnels between 3 and 20 sites, that are in different order than the organic searches, into the phone first.
Statistically, people still research companies as often on their PC as they do on a tablet or mobile. The difference is that approximately 60% of the potential customers on a PC make a purchase or monetary commitment, compared to 80 to 90% on a mobile.
All businesses need to have a mobile friendly website.
Many beautiful expensive websites are inconvenient for mobile customers. Some businesses do not have any website. Customers have come to expect a website and will often take the lack of a website as reflection of the professional attitude of the company. When I took over the SEO work for Bend Roofing Service, their website was unresponsive. It did not have the informative content that Google expects these days. The first thing I did was recreate their website using Weebly. Weebly has a simple format that allows the owner to quickly add blogs and coupons. This really increased the amount of customer contact. They had been missing the whole mobile market.
Making a site visible on Google requires more than a great website.
The content or wording needs to be completely original. Pictures should be sized correctly. Local businesses need to also sign up with Google business, Google Plus and Google Maps, Yelp and Bing. These steps ensure that people can find them. It also allows customers to post reviews to encourage more business.
Another important component necessary to move your small business to the front page are backlinks to your company.
Backlinks are created when another website specifically mentions your company and links to it by impending the URL to your website in its content. Google considers sites that have a vote of confidence from other well-thought of sites more weighty and puts them closer to or on the front page.
Google also considers Google reviews, when placing not only the website, but also the ads, if the company decides to run Adwords.
One book a local business person would definitely want to read would be Adapt or Die: Small Business Marketing in a Google World: The Ultimate Marketing Guide to Making a Massive Difference in Your Business. by Abdul Farooqi, a young entrepreneur who has ranked businesses to the top of page one in all sizes of markets and niches. A local business, Boise Valley Tree Trimming, had been in business for 15 years, but their website was buried on page 15 of Google. Now they are on page one receiving new unique customers versus just the word of mouth referral customers they had been receiving.
If it seems overwhelming, you may decide to hire someone to do this work for you. Internet entrepreneurs who specialize in strengthening a companies Internet presence are called SEOs or Search Engine Optimizers. Do not hire a company like Dex or any other company who wants to charge you for an ugly website and a quick listing. Judge by the individual not by the company. Ask for examples of their work and be specific about what you expect. Do you just need a website? Or do you want to rank on page one Google?
The work and expense varies with your requirements.
The higher price tag for ranking higher in Google, should pay for itself with increased business, if you have chosen your SEO wisely.
Join.me-Free Web Based Conferencing for up to 10 Participants
This free version of Join.me is a simple web based conferencing tool that can be used for up to 10 people, which is a great feature, since most of the free programs are limited to 4 participants.
The free version includes screen sharing, file transfer, Internet calling, share control, up to 5 video feeds and up to 4 white boards for Ipads. Continue Reading…
Freeconferencing.com- Free Phone Conferencing with Screen Sharing
My friend at Boise Valley Plumbing came to me with a unique problem. He needed to be able to meet with his staff when he was out of town taking care of his other businesses. As I began to look at the different conferencing softwares, Freeconferencing.com really stood out. It is a free website that allows you to conference with up to 1000 people at once using an ordinary phone.
No download is necessary and sign up just requires your name and email address.
On the home screen there is a participant log in and a host login. For demonstration purposes, I will be using the host login.
This screen is the entire sign up process.
No download is necessary, unless you want to do the screenshot element.
When you log in, this is the screen you will see. go to your email and they will have sent an entire manual to your email.
This is the actual email a client received after they signed up.
The email takes you step by step through how to set up a conference call and how to set up the parameters for your conference. This would be important particularly if you are hosting a large group of participants.
There are a variety of commands that the host can use to organize the participants and ensure that the meeting goes smoothly.
The participants also have a set of commands.
Host Conference Preferences–as you can see, the learning curve is definitely higher than the programs for smaller groups.
You get the idea….there are actually about three more screen shots, but I am going to show you where all this information is found on the website itself.
When you log into freeconferencing.com you are taken to your dashboard. Under the account tab you will find all the conference instructions. How to set up the conference and how to plan how it will run.
The preferences tab allows you to select the tools and formats that will frame your conference.
Under web-based commands, you will find the commands referenced in the email. Using the button on the right, you can download these in a PDF to hand out to participants and for your own reference.
When you are ready to begin your conference, move to the conference view tab. You will see the phone number that both the host and participant call and the codes that they will have to enter to participate.
Below the numbers and codes is a small envelope symbol. This is what you use to invite others to join you in the conference call. Click on the icon and the screen Invite Others will appear.
Although other programs allow you to send emails through the program, with freeconferencing.com you will need to copy the message and paste it emails that you send through your personal email account.
Now you are ready to begin.
When you turn on live conference, you will see additional options such as recording. You will also see the names of the participants as they sign in.
You can see that I have clicked the screen sharing screen on the right. I was prompted to download a small program and then was able to select to share my desktop and open programs.
Using the Broadcast pull over found on the right next to the screen sharing, I can upload a pre-recorded file to show the participants.
You can access recordings of your previous calls under the tab of Conference History and Recordings.
Finding a free program that can be used to host a group as large as a thousand people is amazing. The learning curve is higher than with other programs with a hefty set of instructions.
However, they are provided through your email as well as on the site itself. The option of printing the steps and commands as a PDF makes the site much more user friendly.
Once in the actually conference area, the directions are straightforward until you try to use the screen sharing and broadcast options. Those are a bit tricky and require planning and preparation.
I actually used two computers to make sure my screen sharing was working. I think this program can be used at a very basic level when quick communication is the focus.
Some time investment in learning the commands and planning the screensharing would be necessary to actually use this in a more formal conference setting.
Given the FREE element of the website, this is definitely a program that could be used by a small business, non-profits, schools, and other venues where money is a concern. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars. (Because it is FREE)
AnyMeeting.com-Simple and Free Video and Audio Conferencing
For simple small group web or phone conferencing you can’t beat anymeeting.com’s free account. Signing up is as simple as registering your name and email address. You do not need any hardware or additional wiring as the conferencing is all web-based. Live assistance is available to help with any immediate problem or emergency to avert disaster that may arise.
You will be given the choice of three different plans. Businesses are given the option of a 14 day trial to try the pro upgrades.
For the purpose of this article, I have chosen the free option.
After the simple registration, I was prompted to download the anymeeting application executive program. I could also download the email@example.com, which is a program that allows me to invite participants more easily.
Up to 4 Attendees
This is the sign up screen. There is a reminder that this free edition allows you to meet up with 4 attendees.
In the bottom left is a help box with live assistance. This is a great touch, because when you have three other people waiting for a meeting to begin, you want any technical difficulties ironed out quickly.
Simple, Basic, Inexpensive
Anymeeting.com is inexpensive compared to other packages, but it doesn’t have as many tools as some of the programs.
Given its simplicity, though the presenter can put together a professional looking presentation with little time investment.
Creating a Profile
Once you are signed in, in my account you have an opportunity to create a profile with photos, descriptions, social sharing URLs, etc.
There is also a simple phone conferencing tab that can be used when you need a quick phone conference. Just text or email the phone number and code to the three other people you would like to participate in the conference–more are allowed with an upgrade.
Participants call in and log in their pin after the prompt. When everyone is on, the call can begin. There is a mute/unmute feature to weed out background sounds.
After logging in you will be prompted to launch anymeeting or download the application. After downloading hit the launch button.
Launching a Meeting
After launching the anymeeting application, there is a choice between starting an immediate meeting, or scheduling an upcoming meeting. The presenter can choose between a web conference or a video conference. In web conference, the participants either see the anymeeting screen, or the active desktop screen. Video conferencing engages the webcam, so the participants can also see the presenter.
Schedule Upcoming Meetings
This is the Schedule screen. You can schedule and plan the meeting and send out emails to participants from this screen.
Going to the Meeting button, you also have chance to email participants and give them log in information.
Managing the Presentation
This is the screen from which you run your presentation. As each participant logs in, they are listed on the left side. I am the only participant for this example.
You can mute or unmute each microphone from this dashboard. If one participant forgets, the presenter can mute from here.
If the presenter decides to use the webcam so the participants can see him or her, they click on the video camera.
Clicking on the monitor icon begins showing the active desktop for illustration purposes.
To end meetings, the presenter must click on the meeting icon on the right. Otherwise the meeting continues without you. This is convenient, if members want to continue the discussion after the presenter signs off.
Overall, I found this program to be convenient for a busy person who is more interested in contacting their customers, colleagues, clients, etc. and sharing information, than making a presentation that has arrows, thematic elements, and other stylistic choices.
I love the small learning curve and practicality of the program. I also appreciate the live chat option that I would not expect in a program with this price tag.
Anymeeting.com gets a thumbs up from me. Check out the website here.
Using Skype for Business Conferencing
Whether you are video conferencing using your in your airport limo or sitting at your desk having a cup of coffee, you can be connected to your business, clients and colleagues. Skype is a face to face computer program that provides a way for individuals or small groups to video conference on the web using computers, tablets, and mobile devices and the Internet. Skype was conceived in 2001. Originally the name represented Sky peer to peer–skyper, but that domain was taken, so they shortened it to Skype.
More Web Conferencing Basics
The web conferencing host is the person who has organized the meeting. Their computer is the base computer on which the software, slide show, or screen shots will be show.
IM/IMing/Instant Messaging, in a nutshell, means to message someone on the Internet in real time. You type something, hit enter, they read it. They write something, hit enter, and you see their reply. This format is used by companies like AT & T for their chat support. It is also used in Facebook instant messaging and other forums. Some forums, like Facebook, have an indicator that lets you know if a person is online. The benefit is instant communication . The drawbacks are that you can only communicate with someone online. Also, miscommunication can happen when a person is typing a message without the filtering that is more likely to happen when we talk face to face.
Integrated audio, visual, screen shots, etc. all work together and are synchronized. This is an advantage because when a business person DIYs a web conference, they have to make sure everything is working together. A company that integrates everything allows the business person to focus on the content for their meeting. Disadvantage? It is not free. Continue Reading…
Web Based Conferencing–the Basics
As with all business areas, a specialized vocabulary has sprung up to identify the different elements of web conferencing options. This page will try to explain some of the common terms you will encounter when researching and comparing different conferencing options.
Affiliates are web conferencing companies that may offer to make you an affiliate, if you share the word about their great program with your associates. This means they will either pay you a certain amount per shared customer, or provide you with some free or reduced services. It usually not like the Affiliate Marketing you see advertised on the Internet. This is more temporary and on a case by case basis.
Annotation Tools are not to be confused with the word annotation that referred to how we gave sources credit when we wrote research papers or compilations. Now it is used to refer to highlighting, drawing or writing over web pages or documents being shown on the screen during web conferencing. Just like Sports Center can circle the football as it soars through the air, presenters can draw arrows to the specific information they are talking about–all in real time. Continue Reading…