Why should an edtech company run a conference or webinar programme

[Guest Blog] Why should an edtech company run a conference or webinar programme?

Author: Terry Freedman

Terry freedman is a freelance ed tech writer and consultant. He blogs at ICT & Computing in Education, and tweets as @terryfreedman.

 

Running a conference, a webinar or a series of webinars, can be a very useful marketing tool for a company. Yes, it can be somewhat time-consuming and labour-intensive, but bear with me while I lay out the potential benefits. I’ve arranged them in the categories of current customers and clients, potential customers and clients, PR and ideas.

Current customers and clients

It’s easy for existing clients to forget what their suppliers can provide. This may sound unlikely, but if a school, say, buys their information management services from you, they may not realise or may have forgotten, that you also provide a data privacy audit service for example. Or perhaps part of your portfolio is that you keep clients up-to-date on changes in legislation or, better still, deal with those changes for them automatically.

You never know when your clients have been looking around, thinking about reducing their costs. Therefore reminding them what else you do, or can do, for them is never a bad thing. Running a webinar series or conference provides opportunities to do this, whether by product placement or indeed actually using your product to run the event.

Potential customers and clients

Continuing with that last point, running an online event gives you the chance to show off your product. Suppose, for example, that one of your products is a speech-to-text converter, or that one of your services is providing sign language interpreters. One of the current deficits of Zoom is that it does not provide automated closed captions, meaning that hearing-impaired people lose out. Imagine what a great advertisement it would be if your webinar or conference sessions in Zoom used your product or service to make them accessible to hearing-impaired participants.

In short, an event can be useful in generating more leads. 

Alternatively, your product or service could come to the attention of a company that provides a complementary service. There may be opportunities to work together on a particular project – opportunities that might otherwise not have presented themselves.

PR

Events can also be a means of giving to the community, showing that you’re a leader in your field and sharing good practice. As well as enabling participants to benefit from the information provided by the speaker or panel, you might also provide opportunities for participants to network with each other. Doing so could help your event be regarded as a “must-attend” occasion.

Ideas

You never know if one of the participants, who is not a current customer, will ask if you provide such and such a service. In this way, the conversation and networking opportunities afforded by running an event can help you get ideas for products or services.

Another idea is to charge companies for “exhibition space” on the event website. This can be quite lucrative in its own right.

Concluding remarks

If the sessions are recorded, they can be made available afterwards (privacy considerations permitting), perhaps to current clients only. Alternatively, one of the sessions could be made available more widely as a “taster” of future events and/or your product or service. Thus the potential benefits to your company of running an event can last beyond the event itself.

In the next article, we’ll look at a few ideas for making an event successful – or not!

 

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Terry Freedman

Terry Freedman is an independent educational ICT consultant and writer, having had a long career in Education, including teaching, advising schools and inspecting. He publishes the ICT and Computing in Education website at www.ictineducation.org, and the Digital Education newsletter at www.ictineducation.org/diged. You can follow Terry on Twitter @terryfreedman.

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