If you are thinking about using online teleconferences for your business, a great marketing tool by the way, you should really think about long-distance charges before you begin.
The online conference call has become a big deal among businesses and Internet marketers, and for good reason. It can be used for many purposes, and it offers almost as much functionality as you would have at a live event – without the travel. It is also much less expensive than a regular conference.
Think about your customers and what some of their biggest concerns are, usually one of their concerns are related to money. At least if you are in the business of Internet narketing.
Think about the price of long-distance calls for a second.
This can be prohibitive not only to the company, but also to those who call in. It is a valid concern, because many would-be callers may be hesitant to participate because they fear that their phone bills will skyrocket.
Fortunately, there are several possible solutions to this problem.
Here are some options to consider:
Use voice chat. This saves both the presenter and the participants money, because there is no need to make a phone call. The audio is transmitted over the Internet connection. Many online conferencing programs come with audio chat, so you don’t incur any extra costs when you use it.
There are some drawbacks to this approach, however. Participants will need a microphone and speakers to participate fully, and there is no guarantee that every participant will have those. Users with slow Internet connections may also have trouble listening and being heard.
Use Skype. Skype is a program that is free to download, and it has a voice chat client. If your conferencing software doesn’t have voice chat, Skype will provide a way for you and your callers to communicate with one another. The same drawbacks that apply to the voice chat component of online conferencing software apply here.
Get VoIP. VoIP is a good option if you want to use a phone line but are concerned about your own long distance costs. VoIP providers can afford to offer free long distance because they transmit voices in a way similar to that of an Internet connection. If you prefer traditional long-distance, many long-distance providers are now offering unlimited long-distance for a flat monthly rate.
Offer a toll-free number for your callers to use. There are affordable conferencing options that allow you to offer your callers a toll-free number to use. A quick online search will bring up some options. Keep in mind, however, that such services often put a limit on the number of callers that can participate, or charge extra for more than a specified number of callers.
I am actually not sure how the toll-free number works for people outside your country. To me, the toll-free number is something that I have only experienced in the US. Would it apply to me as I am living in Norway?
Long-distance charges shouldn’t be an obstacle to having a successful online conference. There are lots of options out there to reduce your costs, as well as costs to those who call in. By using these options, you can allocate your budget toward other aspects of the conference and give more callers the opportunity to participate.