This sponsored post is produced in association with Citrix GoToWebinar. 

As a small company with only a few employees, you may find yourself going head to head against competitors several times your size. Other than creating a stellar website, how does a small company create the illusion of being a bigger one? One way is by demonstrating you know the absolute ins-and-outs of your industry through thought-leadership articles and webinars.

James Kemper, president of W.H. Meanor & Associates, is a recruiter in the manufacturing sector. His company, located in Chicago, consists of only three full-time employees. Yet, his firm goes head to head with big names in the recruiting industry all the time — and they often win.

“Sometimes people go with bigger companies for name recognition, thinking they are going to get better support, but what they don’t get is that personal feel,” says Kemper. He added, building brand recognition is critical to smaller companies.

Staying front and center

When it comes to brand building, the challenge for Kemper’s company is to stay top of mind, so that when a manufacturing company needs a recruiter, W.H. Meanor is the first name they think of.

About a year ago, Kemper began writing articles about the manufacturing industry and posting them on his company’s website. These weren’t stories about how to do an interview or write a resume. Specifically, they were articles on how the increased use of technology was impacting the manufacturing sector. Eventually, the firm began hosting professional webinars to go along with its more successful articles.

“It’s not just me talking in the webinars,” Kemper explains. “We go out and find industry experts to speak for us, people rooted in the industry. I manage the production of the webinar and they do the speaking. So essentially, they bring along the industry expertise, and that gives me the exposure I am looking for,” says Kemper.

W.H. Meaner has hosted webinars on everything from how 3D printing technology is revolutionizing manufacturing to workplace issues related to job development. “We keep to our main area of manufacturing, but we have touched on everything from technology advances to the jobs that get created because of that,” says Kemper.

He uses a technology called Citrix GoToWebinar to create the webinars.  The cloud-based webinar platform allows companies to look bigger than they really are — and better compete — by allowing them to create a tier-one online event that looks like it came right out of an enterprise-level company.  Set up is straightforward. It takes about five minutes to get the speakers — who can be located anywhere around the globe — up to speed on how to use the service, Kemper says.

As an added benefit for giving a presentation, W.H. Meaner gives the speaker about 10 minutes to answer questions and promote their own business. That way, they get brand exposure as well, according to Kemper.

Minimizing set up

To advertise an upcoming and get people to sign up, Kemper promotes the event through social media networks, like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. All of that, along with the sending of email reminders, is automated through GoToWebinar.

Of the organization process: “It’s not that difficult,” he says. “Sunday evening, I spend about an hour putting together the schedule for the week of what to send out. Once a webinar is on the schedule, it runs.”

One of the big changes Kemper has noticed after starting the webinar program is now, instead of having to go out looking for new clients, companies are coming to him.

“I haven’t had to do a lot of business development in terms of going out and looking for new business,” he says. “Now people are coming to me, and asking ‘how can you help?’” W.H. Meaner has pulled in six new clients in the last year alone — not bad for a company that only has three employees.

Words of advice

To those interested in putting together a webinar program for their own business, Kemper offers the following advice.

Number one, make sure to pick interesting topics that appeal to your audience and challenge their thinking. Kemper writes one article a week, which he posts on the company website. He gauges the responses to articles and uses that to adjust and fuel ideas for future webinars.

“When I see more people are reading and commenting on an article, then I know I need to focus on finding a speaker in the area who can talk to this,” Kemper says.

Timing is important, and may require some fiddling with to get it right depending where in the world you’re located. “I try and do the webinars around lunchtime, so that on the West coast, it’s midmorning. Also Thursdays tend to work better than Fridays or Mondays when everybody is busy,” he says.

Another thing he has learned is to wait a week or more before posting the archived video of a webinar. This gives people greater incentive to attend the actual webinar itself, knowing that if they miss it, they may have to wait several weeks until the video is uploaded.

And finally, approach webinars with a learn-as-you-go attitude, Kemper says. “Don’t be intimidated by putting together the program or the technology. Sure, you may make some mistakes, but eventually, you’ll figure out what works and things will only get better from there.”

Smart companies who want to grow their business use web tools to reach a broader audience. Webinars and articles demonstrating though-leadership are not just affordable, they’re a powerful way to build brand recognition, demonstrate expertise, and create a lasting impression — even if you’re a small fish in a big pond.

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