Promote Your Local Business With Live Skype Presentations

A great technique to promote your business is to hold presentations given by famous or well credentialed individuals. You can easily hold them at your place of business. This technique can be used for authors, local politicians, celebrities, athletes, etc. Anyone who wants a platform to interact and will get customers to visit your store is a possible candidate.

I originally discussed this technique for holding presentations at your local business in my book “Finding Your Place: How to Increase Your Local Bookstores Ranking in Google“. It was written for bookstore owners but it applies to any business that has a physical location. Here is part of that section.

I am sure that at one time or another you have had an author do a signing at your store. The author gives a short talk on their book, answers the audience questions, and signs his or her book that the customer has purchased at your store. It’s a great way to promote a book and a well established practice.

An author signing is great, but it can cost money. The author only has so much time available to travel and attend a book signing at bookstores. And the more famous the author, the less likely you are to book him or her for a book signing. It just isn’t worth their time.

The solution? How about a video presentation using Skype was originally developed with the consumers use in mind, mainly for international calling of friends and family, but many businesses and schools are using it now as a video conferencing tool. Skype is free, online, and uses video, audio, and chat to connect its members. All you need to connect with an author and hold a half to one hour presentation for your customers is a laptop, and a big screen TV or digital projector. The author will need a computer and a webcam. Simply contact the publicist or author directly, and schedule a time for the Skype call. The author never has to leave his home, office, or hotel room. Be sure to schedule far enough in advance so that you can promote it and ensure a big turnout.

Cost to Implement

You probably already have a pc or laptop. In addition, you will need to;

-Install Skype on your computer.

-Have an external microphone ($30) so the audience can ask questions

-Have a digital projector ($300 used, $600 new) and a screen or blank wall to project on to. Or you can use a big screen TV. I recommend at least a 52 inch LCD TV ($850). This is big enough for a large group to be able to view it and light enough to lift up onto a table or stand if you do not have it wall mounted.

-Cables to connect the TV or projector to your computer ($60)

Record the Event

If you want to record the presentation, there is a free program called Vodburner. Download and install.

Equipment Setup

Most of the questions I receive when I talk about this technique are about how to set up the equipment to conduct the presentation.

First, make sure the individual being interviewed has downloaded Skype and knows how to use it. The will need;

* A computer (desktop or laptop)

* A webcam

* A microphone (USB with sound card works best)

* Skype installed

You can conduct a trial run with them if it is their first call with Skype by simply calling them. If you can see their video and hear them in your Skype window, then they are set to go.

On your end you will need to do a little bit more.

If you are using a TV, be sure that the computer you are using has the correct outlets to connect to it, like RCA jacks, USB ports, S-video, VGA, etc. Make sure that you have the right cables to connect the TV to the computer. The same applies if you are using a digital projector.

Set up your computer for an external monitor.

* Right click on the desktop screen

* Select Properties

* Click on Settings

* Click on Display #2

* Check the box “Extend my desktop onto this monitor”

* Click Apply

* Click OK

You should now see the background image of your desktop on the TV or projector, and your mouse pointer should be able to be seen as you move it over to the external monitor/screen.

Next, enable Skype. With your mouse, left click on the upper border of the Skype window and drag it over to the external monitor/screen.

Now, you are ready. Test your setup by video calling someone, either the person being interviewed or another contact.

When you have that person on the line, click on the maximize screen button on the Skype video window and the video of the person you have called should fill the whole screen.

And there you go! You are all set do to a remote interview/presentation.

Be sure you have selected the external microphone in Skype. You can then use it to have the audience ask questions at the end of the presentation. That is lot more effective than trying to use the computers installed mic or the webcam mic if it has one.

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