Ask almost any entrepreneur about the best way to grow their business and chances are they will say getting out on the sales floor and rubbing shoulders with their customers is at or near the top of their list. Webinars allow business owners to digitally interact with shoppers who aren’t even in their store, establish themselves as experts in their field, and increase sales.

The less digitally inclined may ask: “What is a webinar and how can it help my business?” Business experts say they are an effective and inexpensive way to rapidly build a business.

“A webinar is a LIVE, interactive seminar done online. It’s a way for you to captivate and engage an audience. It’s a venue for interaction where you can gain valuable insights from your audience or help them come to valuable insights of their own. Webinars are a great way to capture leads, increase sales and, my favorite, provide an additional revenue stream,” Jill Schiefelbein, a professional speaker and business communication expert, tells Entrepreneur.com.

Schiefelbein says her favorite webinars fall into three categories.

Lead-generation or sales webinars collect information from registrants that can be used for sales team calls.

For-profit webinars generate revenue immediately by charging customers for participation. These webinars are usually informational and on a single topic so participants can glean knowledge on something that is vital to them.

Multi-module webinar, or a webinar series, can be used by product or system trainers to get face-to-face with their customers and users. These webinars can be used by a variety of retail industries to educate customers. They can also be used to demonstrate new products, as do-it-yourself project instruction. They are also incredibly useful for doing business-to-business or solution sales.

Paladin Data Corporation uses webinars extensively to educate customers on the latest updates and integrations for its software and systems.

Webinars can be used to improve search engine optimization, and they can be integrated with your customer relations system. They can be used to host virtual events, get visibility for new product launches.

Webinars can also be used in a store to unveil new products or offer DIY tips or ideas which enhance customers’ shopping experience. Or they can be posted on a store’s website to attract interested shoppers. No matter how you use them, webinars can help grow your business and spread your message.

Brian Bullock

Writer