If you are relatively new to the world of online business and marketing, then you might not know what webinars are, and what they can do for your business.

A webinar, as the name suggests, is the modern equivalent of the old fashioned seminar. You, as the host or leader of the webinar, share your thoughts and ideas with the people who view it and it can include question and answer sessions, polls or other elements, just like a real world event.

The main difference is that because your webinar is on the internet, it is possible to have attendees from every country around the world ‘present’ at the same time, as long as they log in at the same time. The technology is built on the idea of instant messaging, which first appeared on the internet in the late 1980’s, but with the video, audio, and presentation sharing potential of webinars, they are light years ahead of their predecessors.

There are several different platforms and technologies that you can use to host a webinar, and all have slightly different features, but they all allow you to broadcast video and audio to a large number of different people at the same time. Some even integrate text chat, and other forms of communication, so that you can respond directly to your delegates in real time.

The obvious applications for webinars are as training tools, or to share ideas with people around the world. Some people have successfully used webinars as a means to bring electronic courses to a broad range of people, and have built successful businesses out of hosting this type of webinar. Some companies use webinars to connect to their employees, and teach them new systems or about new products.

Webinars have also been used by businesses in more creative ways, however.

For instance, let us say that you own a real estate company, and you have a fair number of investment buyers from all over the world that you know are interested in buying property in your area. Instead of waiting for all of them to be in your area to view the properties you list, you could make a video presentation of each show house, and invite all of your potential buyers to view the properties in the form of a webinar. You’d be able to show all of them the features and benefits of the properties in question at one time, and save everyone involved the time and expense of individual meetings.

Another way that many consultants, life coaches, and other professionals use webinars to boost their business is by offering free webinars, which focus on a specific part of their philosophy, as a marketing tool, to connect with potential clients. In this case, the webinar is free to attend, and any delegates who sign up to attend are encouraged to invite friends to attend too. Using this concept, those consultants can reach dozens or even hundreds of people with their message at the same time, without the cost or effort of sending them emails or having one on one conversations.

Webinars can also be recorded, which means that if you do choose to create a paid program, where you teach students a particular skill, whether it’s ice carving or computer programming, you can create video modules to your courses, where you have practical demonstrations of the skills you are teaching.

Pre recorded webinars can also be content on your site, and while search engines may not index video content (yet) they are a major draw card for visitors to your site, particularly if the video you are hosting offers practical advice about how to do something.

Some people even choose to host a webinar at the same time as a real world conference, training session or seminar is taking place, recording the footage at the event, and streaming it live to people who could not make the event in person.

In essence, a webinar allows you to do anything you would do in a live, one on one or one on many meeting or training session, except over the internet. It extends your reach beyond geographical limitations, and allows you to be in more than one place at any given time.

While it’s still true that there’s nothing quite like one on one, personal contact with your clients, webinars do come close, and if you’re trying to take a local business to the world, they’re an important part of your business arsenal. So why not look into how you can use webinars to boost your business?

Author's Bio: 

Andrew McCombe is the owner of Activate Your Business where they teach new and existing business owners to Start, Grow and / or Automate their business(es) with EASE, so they can live a life of EASE. For more information and to get a free copy of the 10 EASY Steps to Your Perfect Business EBook, visit http://www.activateyourbusiness.com.au