MeetingBurner Rolls Out New Platform Enhancements

As many of you have noticed, we’ve been rolling out some new features and performance enhancements over the past few weeks. Here is a list of the most recent changes to our online meeting and webinar platform.

New Features Added:

  1. Meeting recordings titles are now editable – You’ll see a pencil icon next to the title of each meeting in your archive of recordings. Simply click it to edit the title.webinar recordings titles
  2. Save preferred conference numbers - Do you always use your own conference line? That information can now be saved and easily selected for future meetings.
  3. New email formatting - The emails that are sent to your meeting participants have been enhanced to look cleaner and more readable, especially when people reply to them.

 

Recent Performance Enhancements:

  1. Phone numbers updated – To improve quality we have switched the primary conference number to 949-229-4400. For added security, the existing 949-202-4265 will continue to work and is a great backup option. PINs did not change.
  2. Connection fix – A small percentage of meeting rooms experienced momentary connection issues (participants saw a brief reconnecting message before being brought back to the meeting room). This should no longer happen.

 

More updates are on the way and we’ll be updating you with the specifics soon. What we can say is that your webinars and meetings will run faster and smoother than ever.

Stay tuned!

John Rydell.

About John Rydell

John Rydell is a seasoned entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience starting and growing technology and telecom companies. John currently spends his time as the President of Networx Online, a CRM-in-the-cloud business that provides online marketing solutions for network marketers. John is also President and co-founder of the sales automation tool PhoneBurner.com, as well as the popular free online meeting provider, MeetingBurner.com. You can connect with John via Linkedin or Google+.

MeetingBurner’s Black Friday Special. . .

Black Friday is just around the corner.

I like cheap socks and buy-one-get-one-free lattes as much as the next person, but this year I’m excited for deals of a different sort.

The folks at Link Assistant are aggregating a collection of deals specifically targeted to internet marketing.

If you’re looking for SEO services, PR and social media tools, or anything else to grow your internet business, you might want to bookmark this page – and check it out when you wake up from your Turkey hangover to see our MeetingBurner Black Friday special.

John Rydell.

About John Rydell

John Rydell is a seasoned entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience starting and growing technology and telecom companies. John currently spends his time as the President of Networx Online, a CRM-in-the-cloud business that provides online marketing solutions for network marketers. John is also President and co-founder of the sales automation tool PhoneBurner.com, as well as the popular free online meeting provider, MeetingBurner.com. You can connect with John via Linkedin or Google+.

2 Killer New Features for MeetingBurner

We want to let you know about 2 exciting new features we’ve just rolled out for our Pro and Premier members.

#1 – Custom Registration Fields

You now have the ability to fully customize the fields you’d like displayed on your meeting registration pages. Do you want to know the country of each registrant? No problem. Want to collect a full mailing address? Easy.

But you can get creative as well.

Ask registrants if they currently use one of your products… the number of employees in their company… their social media platform of choice… the best date for a sales demo… their shoe size! It’s all fair game. Create custom fields with checkboxes, text fields, or date selector – and decide which to make mandatory.

Setup instructions

  1. Schedule a meeting
  2. Click “manage” next to the meeting in your dashboard
  3. Click the “registration” tab
  4. Click “add custom fields to your registration page”
  5. Check the boxes next to the fields you want displayed or click “manage custom fields” to create new ones
  6. Name the new custom field (the text you want displayed), select field type (ie. text box, checkbox), and click “save changes”
  7. Your custom fields now appear on your “form fields to include list”


#2 – Custom Event & Follow-up Emails!

This is a great new marketing feature we’re very excited about.

You can now send customized and personalized email messages to:

  • All event registrants
  • Everyone who attended your meeting
  • Everyone who did NOT attend your meeting

Have you ever wanted to send an event teaser email, or provide registrants with information, or materials to use during your event? Now you can. All within MeetingBurner. Our fully customizable templates and personalization codes make it a breeze.

Setup instructions for Pre-meeting messages

  1. Schedule a meeting
  2. Click “manage” next to the meeting on your dashboard
  3. Click the “# Registered” link
  4. Click the “compose email” button
  5. Choose a design template and pre-written email or write your own
  6. Compose or edit your email with our HTML or Plain Text editor
  7. Send!


They say “success is in the follow up.”

That’s why MeetingBurner also gives you the opportunity to send custom messages to those who do – and do not – attend your event! This is the perfect way to thank participants and sell more products and services. It’s an easy way to send non-attendees a recording, or invite them to a replay or future event.

Setup instructions for Post-meeting messages

The process is basically the same as the above, however since the meeting has already occurred it’s in your meeting archive rather than your upcoming meeting dashboard.

  1. Click the “My Meetings” tab
  2. Click “Meeting Archive”
  3. Click “Participant Summary” next to the meeting you wish to follow-up on
  4. Select attendees, non-attendees, or both and then click “Compose Email”
  5. Follow the instructions above to compose and send your email

Marketing to your registrants is a great way to get more out of your events… and now it’s easier than ever.

Let us know what you think of these new features in the comments!

The 70 word email that got Calacanis to respond (and invite us to LAUNCH)

Earlier this week Jason Calacanis emailed his list “What my auto-responder would say” in which he suggests exactly HOW to break through the noise and get him to respond.

Just for fun we’re sharing the strategy we used to get Jason to respond to MeetingBurner, and ultimately invite us to the inaugural LAUNCH conference.

Here it is in all it’s glory:

Subject line:

“now with 86 second demo (and a bulldog)”

Content:

“Jason -

We put together a quick demo for you – first time shown outside of our team.

100% committed to launching exclusive at LAUNCH.

In a player:
http://meetingburner.com/preview/

Direct link if on iPhone / iPad:
http://meetingburner.com/preview/meetingburner.mov

Let me know if you think this might be a good fit and if we should hit
your formal app – keep bugging you because of that email newsletter
call out.”

Not that this needs much of a breakdown, but a few points:

  1. We didn’t take his initial silence for an answer – the email was our third attempt.
  2. We kept it SHORT – 70 words in total.
  3. We wrote a hard-to-miss subject line – (Jason likes Bulldogs. Who doesn’t?)
  4. We made a short, custom video demo for Jason.


And it worked!

The first 10,000 or so users of MeetingBurner came directly from the press coverage at LAUNCH.

PS - Go sign-up for a FREE MeetingBurner account right now to hold your online meetings & webinars in style!

John Rydell.

About John Rydell

John Rydell is a seasoned entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience starting and growing technology and telecom companies. John currently spends his time as the President of Networx Online, a CRM-in-the-cloud business that provides online marketing solutions for network marketers. John is also President and co-founder of the sales automation tool PhoneBurner.com, as well as the popular free online meeting provider, MeetingBurner.com. You can connect with John via Linkedin or Google+.

MeetingBurner’s Facebook webinar promotion tool and other NEW features

Boy, are we excited!

And not just because the McRib is back.

Today, MeetingBurner is rolling out some significant updates and new features – one of which is completely unique to our platform that can drastically boost exposure and attendance on your webinars!

The response from our beta testers has been fantastic.

The MeetingBurner Facebook Webinar Promotion Tool:

We know that many of you host webinars and online meetings to build your list, establish thought leadership and brand loyalty, and sell products to attendees. This exclusive new feature is geared to aid in this pursuit.

We’ve integrated Facebook Connect directly into our registration pages. Now, every time a participant registers for a meeting via Facebook, meeting notifications are automatically posted to their Facebook timeline and friends’ news feeds – creating viral exposure and boosting registration!

The posts include your webinar title and link directly to your registration page so you expand your reach with each and every person who registers! This setting can be activated on a meeting-by-meeting basis.

It’s a simple idea, executed and integrated beautifully – view a photo walkthrough.

This feature is available for all account levels.

Full Voice over IP (VOIP):

In response to your requests, we are now fully VOIP integrated! To complement our dedicated conference bridges and Skype integration, you and your participants can now meet using just a microphone and headset.

This feature is available on Pro and Premier account levels.

Aweber Integration:

While webinars are often one-time events, they represent a great opportunity to grow your list and build ongoing relationships. Our integration with Aweber’s email marketing platform allows you to pass registrant information directly into email campaign lists for updates and automated follow-up. MeetingBurner is also integrated directly into Constant Contact’s Eventspot service.

This feature is available on Pro and Premier account levels.

Website Registration Widget:

Wouldn’t it be nice if your web visitors could register for a webinar directly from your website? Our widget makes it easy. Post a webinar registration box on your website by pasting a simple HTML snippet.

This feature is available on all account levels.

Operational and Stability Updates:

Our programmers have been hard at work developing and implementing operational and stability updates to improve performance system-wide.

These updates are all LIVE!

Let us know what you think of the new features in the comments!

Recordings + Autopilot Meetings = More Leads and Sales

meetingburner autopilot offer

Recording your webinars is a very wise decision.

There are simply too many great ways to use your recordings to let them just float off into the cloud. Like what for example? You can…

  • Give them to registerees who are unable to attend your event
  • Post them on Youtube and Facebook for additional exposure
  • Provide them to attendees who may need to review the content
  • Promote them in email campaigns to future subscribers
  • Leverage them as giveaways to generate opt-ins
  • Embed them on your site for long-tail SEO and traffic generation

…just to name a few.

BUT let’s not forget why webinars have risen to such popularity in the first place.

It’s because they’re LIVE!

The live aspect of webinars is what drives value, attendance, and urgency. It’s what maximizes lead generation and sales! People who attend a live event are far more engaged, watch longer, and are more likely to act than those who simply watch (and sometimes fast-forward through) a recording.

There’s just one problem. You can only do so many live events.

That’s why Autopilot Meetings are so powerful!

Autopilot Meetings give you the opportunity to record your meeting today and replay them in a “like live” environment again and again in the future. Unlike a recording, attendees will:

  • Have to register to attend at a fixed day and time.
  • Join the webinar to get your content, deal, etc.
  • Be in a live MeetingBurner meeting room with other attendees.
  • Be able to take advantage of an actual offer with genuine urgency.

Get more bang for your buck! Utilize our Autopilot Feature to drastically boost the results you get out of your live events, with minimal additional effort!

 

P.S. Code CVD = 20% Off MeetingBurner Pro and Premier (ends 11/1/12)

A story of two front page hacker news posts and why one converted 20x higher

Of our two blog posts that made the front page of Hacker News one converted 20x more users to sign-up for MeetingBurner’s Free Online Meeting & Webinar service.

The two articles in question are:

And here’s how each performed:

Friends & family post Boring business post
Unique Visitors 11,215 14,217
New Signups 30 772
Conversion Rate .27% 5.4%

 

So why did one preform 20x better than the other?

First – Tell visitors exactly who you are, and ask them to sign-up in your first paragraph . . .

More of your visitors will read your first paragraph than any other part of your posts – so make sure to tell them what you do and hit them with a call to action!

  • In our “I hired my friends & family” post we make no mention of what MeetingBurner is.
  • In our “boring business” post we have a link to the MeetingBurner signup page, and then use a quote to illustrate that we’re working in the online meeting space.
  • And in THIS post I’ve tried to apply this lesson by hitting you over the head in the first sentence with this line “signup for MeetingBurner’s Free Online Meeting & Webinar service”!

So don’t miss that opportunity to center the visitor and give them a call to action.

Second – Link like crazy and weave in your CALL TO ACTION . . .

The more links you put in your story, the more people will click them – simple right?

Third – Keep it short and sweet . . .

My favorite quote is attributed to Mark Twain (and others) – “If I’d had more time I would have written a shorter letter”. High quality content in a distilled format wins.

  • In our “I hired my friends & family” post we ran 1,359 words.
  • In our “boring business” post there are 560 words.
  • And in THIS post there are 559 words.

Fourth – Include a P.S. (that has a call to action in it!) . . .

As copywriter Michael Fortin says using a PS is “like the second headline” – meaning this is your second opportunity to make your case and provide users with a call to action – especially page scanners that

  • In our “I hired my friends & family” post we did not use a PS or a call to action to close the article.
  • In our “boring business” we ended with a P.S. and a strong call to action.
  • And in this post. . . get ready for it.

P.S. – We’re building MeetingBurner to be the best online meeting & webinar platform in the world – get your free account right now and give us a try!

P.P.S. – Please discuss over at Hacker News.

John Rydell.

About John Rydell

John Rydell is a seasoned entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience starting and growing technology and telecom companies. John currently spends his time as the President of Networx Online, a CRM-in-the-cloud business that provides online marketing solutions for network marketers. John is also President and co-founder of the sales automation tool PhoneBurner.com, as well as the popular free online meeting provider, MeetingBurner.com. You can connect with John via Linkedin or Google+.

I hired my friends and family, and I’d do it again

John, Paul, Kevin, Rachel and Dave

Not too long ago I searched Google for the phrase “don’t do business with friends.”

Back came 1.4 billion results littered with warnings and tales of woe.

Eager then to explore the other side of the coin, I deleted the word “don’t” to search for “do business with friends” and – as if pleading with me to reconsider – Google Suggest appended my query and served up results for “never do business with friends” instead.

Point taken.

Ironic perhaps from a company founded by budding Stanford friends Sergey Brin and Larry Page…but clearly, conventional wisdom is that doing business with family and friends is a risk that’s just not worth taking.

Here’s why I believe the conventional wisdom is wrong.

Over the past 10 years I’ve been building profitable businesses that have now generated over $50 million in sales. Not only have family and friends been a part of that success, I believe they’ve contributed enormously to it.

In fact, it’s hard for me to envision having built such a versatile, highly cooperative, and expansion-minded team, any other way.

This became especially clear during the launch of MeetingBurner, which was quite possibly my most ambitious project to date.

We set out to develop a faster, better platform than our billion-dollar competitors GotoMeeting and Webex – and we did it with a remarkably small but cohesive team built around close family and friends.

And I do mean close! The core team includes my brother, my brother-in-law, my cousin, my close friend, and my wife (we just celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary, and we’re still going strong), all of whom were critical to the success of the project.

Looking beyond MeetingBurner, my team also includes my uncle, several more friends and even a few former customers. In all, more than a quarter of my current staff is made up of family and friends.

The benefits: Why I do it

There are so many good reasons to work with people you’re close to.

First and foremost, these are the people that you know the best. You know their strengths and weaknesses better than anyone you’ll ever interview. While many great interviewees end up being mediocre employees, I find the opposite is true for friends and family. They’re more likely to meet or exceed expectations than fail to live up to them.

I also find that they tend to be in it for the long haul. By and large, they relish the opportunity to take on more and more responsibility for a greater share of the success, and are eager to grow within the organization rather than leveraging the position as a stepping stone to something better.

The other benefits are more personal in nature. When you consider how much of your life you spend working, I believe we ought to enjoy it with the people we know and love. And who better to share in your struggle and success? Money can be a divisive issue within a family and nothing washes away familiar feelings of jealousy and rivalry like riding in the same boat.

The rules: How you do it makes all the difference.

Just to set the record straight, I do understand the risks of working with friends and family. I simply believe that if you respect these risks, and take the proper actions to mitigate them, you’re likely to have a rewarding experience.

In other words, how you do it makes all the difference. Deciding which friends and family to hire, and how you’ll structure your partnership can be the difference between walking a tightrope without a safety net and crossing a steady bridge.

With that, here are 10 rules to live by…

1. Charity never. Mutual benefit always. Hiring or partnering with a friend just to be nice or because you feel bad, IS bad! Not only is nepotism a great way to anger and offend your loyal crew, but there are so many better and more lasting ways to support the people you care about. Work with someone you care about only if your personalities are a good fit, and both parties are highly qualified to fulfill their roles and financial obligations. Then structure a deal that makes the partnership rewarding and mutually beneficial.

2. Don’t look for favors. My Dad is an excellent attorney whose services would undoubtedly benefit me and my brother as well as save us a ton of money. He’ll always be a trusted advisor, but never our attorney. It’s worth the added expense to have an attorney who treats us with the priority of a paying customer, and to afford that same courtesy to my father and the clients who rely on him.

3. Don’t talk anyone into working with you. The last thing you want is for a friend or family member to come to work for you and learn later that you were over-selling the opportunity. Be honest and upfront, and proceed if they’re as excited by the opportunity as you are.

4. Set expectations. And put it bluntly. Like any working relationship, there should be no mystery as to what is expected of either party and who is working for whom. Hammer out the details in writing so that responsibilities are crystal clear to both parties, and fully agreed upon.

5. Exit strategy. Partnerships don’t always work out. That’s why it’s absolutely critical to have a plan for what happens when they don’t. I was eager to work with my brother-in-law for a long time, but he had a successful business in Arizona. Finally things aligned, but before we shook hands we determined a list of circumstances under which we’d have to part ways, and agreed exactly what would happen if those circumstances came about. Be 100% clear on what is going to happen if you fail, and write it down! When necessary, involve spouses as well to ensure that everyone has the same expectations.

6. Start with a trial run! Years ago, I hired a great salesperson who was also a good friend. We had every reason to believe that things would work out, except for the fact that sometimes, they just don’t. So we set up a 90-day trial period with an out for both of us. When we reached the end of it, it was clear that the partnership was not meant to be. Having the trial-run in place made it easy to end the working relationship, and easy to maintain our friendship. I’ve since hinged every close working relationship on a similar trial run.

7. No drama. No resentment. Even if it’s not work related, if there’s drama in your personal relationship don’t start a working one. Resentment and frustration over one thing has been known to bubble up over another.

8. When in doubt, don’t. It’s normal to have reservations about working with someone you’re close to. Strange hunches and lingering doubts are different. You should only hire or partner with someone when you go into it feeling good, hopeful, and excited.

9. Be open. Before you start working together, openly voice your thoughts, concerns, wants, and needs. And once you begin, both parties should be open and communicative about how the relationship is working out. Don’t let things fester. It only makes things worse.

10. Hire Slow/Fire fast. Take your time deciding if a friend or family member is a good partner, and be deliberate when laying out expectations and a game plan. But when things go bad, end them fast. Job changes are life-disrupting events. It’s best to fire people early in the relationship while it’s still a period of transition. If you don’t like someone early on, it never gets better. It just gets harder.

Closing “Arguments”

My businesses have been able to grow faster, transition smoother, and operate better because my family and friends have been a part of them. More importantly, the ability to work so closely with people we’re close to has enriched our lives as well.

The pervasive warnings on the topic aren’t unfounded. They should be taken seriously. But like so many things in life, it’s not what you do, but how you do it that makes all the difference.

John Rydell.

About John Rydell

John Rydell is a seasoned entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience starting and growing technology and telecom companies. John currently spends his time as the President of Networx Online, a CRM-in-the-cloud business that provides online marketing solutions for network marketers. John is also President and co-founder of the sales automation tool PhoneBurner.com, as well as the popular free online meeting provider, MeetingBurner.com. You can connect with John via Linkedin or Google+.

MeetingBurner Partners with The Startup America Partnership

MeetingBurner is proud to be a startup.

In fact, our vision from day one has been to go toe-to-toe with our bigger, better funded competitors, and win customers over simply by building a product that better meets their needs.

That’s why we’re genuinely excited by our new partnership with The Startup America Partnership – an organization committed to helping young companies succeed and drive growth and innovation in our country.

In addition to helping startups acquire customers, recruit top talent and attract investors, Startup America also helps its member startups – now nearly 9,000 of them – connect with their local Startup Regions.

We think that’s pretty cool.

We also think it’s cool that they use MeetingBurner to hold their own educational webinars, featuring influential speakers like:

 

  • SEOmoz CEO Rand Fishkin
  • Rebecca Corliss (Head of Social Media at HubSpot)
  • Eric Jackson (CEO CapLinked/PayPal),
  • Jason Best & Sherwood Neiss (founders of Startup Exemption and two of the key guys who pushed the Crowdfunding bill through Congress)
  • Ingrid Vanderveldt (Entrepreneur and Dell’s first Entrepreneur in Residence)
  • Don Charlton (CEO The Resumator)
  • Tristan Walker (Andreesen Horrowitz/Former BD at Foursquare),
  • Tony Tjan (Founder CueBall VC firm/HBS Author)

Startup America members get 25% off MeetingBurner Pro and Premium accounts, plus discounts on all sorts of other business growth tools. To learn more visit http://www.s.co/

Autopilot Replay of our Tips and Tricks Webinar

By Popular Demand!

Break out the popcorn.

Due to repeated requests we’ve decided to replay our MeetingBurner Tips and Tricks Movie (okay webinar) on Thursday 8/2 and Tuesday 8/7.

Here are the times you can register for:

Thursday August 2nd

Tuesday August 7th

If you are interested in our Autopilot feature (for “like live” replays) this is the perfect opportunity to see it first hand. Here’s what else we cover:

  • Newbie to Expert - the easiest way to practice using MeetingBurner
  • Success Tips - tips and tricks for making your meeting successful
  • Feature Overview - how to use and get the most out of MeetingBurner’s features

There’s also a limited time special offer (a pretty awesome one, I must say) at the end of the webinar, so if you’re contemplating an upgrade definitely check this out.

Hosted by
Chris Van Dusen CMO of MeetingBurner

P.S. Would you take a second to “like us” and follow us on Twitter?