When I landed myself in this online marketing journey to help fellow creative entrepreneurs get found with Google, I immediately learned webinars are powerful for business! I was lucky enough to be a student at Lewis Howes’ Creative Live Class all about starting a Profitable Online Business. We learned that webinars were a powerful tool to pre-sell any course, to include selling courses that have yet to be created. When I returned home after my 3-day class with Lewis Howes, James Wedmore and Derrick Helpurn, I launched my first SEO boot camp, designed specifically for photographers.
I used webinars to pre-sell my boot camp earning $3,500 from my first boot camp. I could not have not done it without the help of webinars! If you are looking to build your email list, expand your brand or sell your online courses, you would be silly not to try using webinars for your business.
I will be honest- I get butterflies every time I host a webinar. Regardless of the jitters, I now that I’m providing value to my audience. Helping other business owners is my calling. There is power in sharing personal stories. By sharing my journey, education, knowledge, and expertise, I am empowering other creatives to be able to grow their businesses too. Throw fear to the curb and let’s do this thing.
Here is my ultimate beginners guide to hosting successful webinars for your creative business.
WHAT TO DO BEFORE THE WEBINAR
HAVE A GOAL IN MIND:
Before choosing your webinar topic, you need a goal in mind. Why are you running webinars? Is it to grow your list? If so by how much? Is it to expand your brand and authority? Is it to grow your social media? If so, by how much or is it to pre-sell a course. If so, what is your income goal? How many students would you like to sign up? Conversion rates can vary. We will talk about this in the pitch section. Last but not least, what is your attendance goal? Is it 30? Is it 50? Is it 100? Lately, I have exceeded my registration goals. You should also have an attendance goal in mind. Hubspot says attendance rate is about 25% of those you can attend live.
CHOOSE A TOPIC:
Picking a topic can be one of the hardest parts in hosting webinars. Naturally you want it to be phenomenal, but there is a fear that you might be giving away too much information. Every time I’m gearing up to do a webinar, I feel stuck and think what can I share without completely giving away my course content?
Mariah Coz, the queen from Webinar Rockstar, suggests that you give away about 10% of your course material. So if you have a module in mind, think about which part of your content is ideal for sharing in the webinar that you are using to pre-sell your content. You want to share the why portion and save the how for your paid course. How is your unique knowledge and expertise that you will be teaching in your course. But don’t get me wrong; it is incredibly important that you share actionable steps to help people in your audience accomplish a task. Your webinar needs to be helpful, leaving your viewers with action plans and steps, but you don’t have to give away ALL the steps. You can pick a couple of resource tools or way to do something, and you can leave the complete step-by-step for your course. If the course you plan to sell later has 7 modules, can you do a webinar on one module? Share tools, resources used? Think about a topic that you can speak of for days and days.
In summary, you can share an outline of your content with one or two actionable steps that they can use now, but also, leave your audience eager to learn more through purchasing your course. Please don’t do a webinar on fluff, really give great content where your audience will leave encouraged but also enabled to take the next step Click To Tweet towards the result they want to achieve even if they don’t purchase your webinar. They gave you their email list in exchange to learn something valuable so provide value always!
You can come up with a great webinar topic by identifying pain points that your audience struggles with. Click To Tweet Think about the types of questions your audience most frequently asks you. What kinds of things keeps them awake at night? You can quickly find out what your target audience needs help with just by asking them. You can ask in a Facebook Group, on social media, on your blog, or even in your email signature. Facebook polls are another option to find out what you audience interests and needs are. Try a few methods. Stop guessing and just ask people what they want.
Next, it’s time to choose a name for your webinar: You can do some keyword research, but I love Tiny Blue Orange advice: “Don’t spend a ton of time on the name.” Get something that you like and can make a hashtag for — it comes in handy for promoting, and for live tweets during the webinar.
You can also use Co-Schedule headline analyzer to come up with a cool high-converting webinar topic title. I love Co-Schedule and wrote a blog post on how it can help you get found here.
FIND THE TOOLS: 5 Webinar Hosting Tools.
Here are 5 top picks to host webinars-
1. WP Webinar System Plugin– My biz BFF Erica H. Vincent uses this free webinar plugin and loves it. This program is cool because it is free and you can use a WordPress page to have a webinar registration page, and it has a chat feature too. As per Erica, “ I like it because it is a plugin that is done for you. It’s a set it and forget it type of plugin. It sends out the reminder email sequences the day before and another email reminder one hour before going live. It also creates three pages for you- the registration page, a thank you page, and the live page. Once you have the pages set, everything is ready to go. Then when you create additional webinars that you want to display live, you just have to change the graphic, but everything else is the same. I love how I can export the people who sign up to my MailChimp. Lastly, I love how I can house the live page right on my site so that I have the stats, analytics, and spikes in my engagement directly on my website the day of the webinar. You can also customize the colors and add a trailer on your welcome page.”
2) Anymeeting- This is what I am currently using. It is not the cheapest software but I have gotten used to the interface, and I love that I can upload my slides/pdf in the actual presentation. I also like the chat feature in Anymeeting and the fact that it records the webinar for me and automatically sends it to my audience. I have used GoToMeeting before, but I prefer Anymeeting. I feel that Anymeeting has more features, and it’s less expensive. Another neat feature is the ability to add notes during the webinar. These notes are then sent to students after the webinar has concluded. There’s also a private notes section that is only viewable by me. Anymeeting also allows an inclusion of another host or speaker. They allow for a test run of the webinar before going live which I strongly recommend doing! You will be nervous the day of the live webinar. It is better to get the techy doubts out of the way and familiarize yourself with the system before going live. You need to be as comfortable as possible during the webinar. Right now Anymeeting works for me.
3) Webinar Jam- I have not used this software myself but lots of mentors I follow use Webinar Jam, and I do really like the interface as an user. I LOVE how you can add a buy now button during the webinar and during the replay too.
4) LeadPages- Technically if already are using LeadPages you can use LeadPages to create your webinar sign up and have your webinar live there and also host the replay. Caitlin Batcher, an awesome Social Media Strategist rocks her webinars and she said she likes using the LeadPages for replays because it is super simple set up and there are no distractions.
5) Crowdcast. After binge watching Lauren from Elle & Co design who does these weekly webinars called Elle Chat, I saw she was using something called crowdcast. I do love the interface of it via the phone and desktop and plan to research this tool. It is a paid system but looks like it will be great for live summits and great if you plan to sell your webinars later.
6) Webinar Ally – Another WordPress Plugin which has a one time fee of $27 only. They state: “ WebinarAlly focuses on the webinar delivery piece, so you can host a variety of webinars (say a free promo webinar or a webinar delivering a Q&A inside a paid program) all on your own website. With other tools, your webinar is hosted on their website and servers, so you don’t have as much flexibility in terms of branding and design.WebinarAlly does not have all the automated emails and opt-in pages built in, because we chose to focus on the “webinar delivery” piece. But the good thing is that you can easily create your own opt-in (you can use PopupAlly Pro to do that easily) and follow up process in your email system (Mailchimp, Aweber) and pre-schedule everything ahead of time.”
Choosing a Landing Page.
Having a landing page for people to sign up for your webinar is key. Anymeeting has a main one, but I prefer using LeadPages for my Webinar registration page because I can brand it. LeadPages has excellent templates, even pre-made templates for webinars. All you do is add your brand’s colors, the text, date, and important info. I love this template that shows the timer you have til the Webinar date.
Creating Graphics for your Webinar Presentation:
Now you have a topic, a goal, and the proper tools to make your webinar kick butt! Now it’s time to make it pretty. Your first visual identity will be on the landing page. You want to stick to your style, colors and feel. Will you have a freebie included with your webinar? How about a checklist, a mini guide or a workbook? I have started to include extras for webinar attendees, which makes them feel special and introduces them to a better experience of my brand.
I used to use plain ol’ Google Docs to make PDF’s but now I’m customizing my freebies better with Apple Pages. (A big thanks to Regina for introducing me to Apple Pages. She had a great post and webinar about it. Check out the video here.)
Next, you will want to create a graphic ad for your blog post. I suggest the vertical graphic because you can pin it, and it can then help you to capture sign-ups via Pinterest. You can create mini versions of this graphic for Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and Canva is a great free tool for stepping up your visual identity and brand your webinars.
The graphics for the webinar should be in presentation mode, so you can use Keynote, Powerpoint or even Canva. If you choose to usa Canva’s Presentation template, please note that they only allow up to 30 slides, so you will have to download more presentations if you have more than 30 slides (most of you should have more than that). Canva Presentation is just a PDF, and you can scroll through the pages, so it does not have effects like Keynote and like Powerpoint.
One thing I’ve learned in the last three years of hosting webinars is that a simple and clear approach is much better than making your slides super high tech and filled with graphics. Your slides should serve as an outline for you to base your main topics of off and should serve as a visual platform for your users who are listening in. To have just one sentence on one slide helps at times. Sometimes, I make my slides before I create my webinar content, as they will serve as my organizational outline and talking points. One thing I just learned about is creating custom brand icons, which are great for visuals for your slides. Check out this fabulous Elle Chat on how to create brand icons here.
Think of your webinar as a blog post, too: have a beginning, a middle and an end. Tell them what you will be speaking about, then talk about it, and then summarize what you just spoke about.
Tip: If you plan to pitch a course or product, do it before you do your Q&A session in order to keep folks on ‘til the end or longer, so they don’t miss out on the Q&A section.
Remember to be consistent with your brand colors, icons, logos and feel. I used to use Keynote for my webinars, but lately I have been using Canva, and Canva Presentation works great. What I also love about it is that once you create one template, you can just copy it and change the text images for your next webinar. This way, when attendees come to following webinars, they feel right at home because your brand is on point.
Promoting your webinar:
Promoting the webinar is my favorite part because I love all things marketing. I suggest you give yourself 2-3 weeks to promote your webinar well, and some may even do a month of promotion. I do feel that over 30 days, people will forget they have signed up to something, but you should test out what works best for your audience. Your first step is to create a graphic with the title and have text with the registration link page and info. Then, email the info with graphic to your email list. Make sure you give them a chance to share with their friends, too.
Lead Pages is great for that, as it allows you to create a thank-you page with sharing buttons. Then you also want to blog about your upcoming webinar because this way you can pin the blog graphic and get more clicks on your post. Later, if you wish to make this webinar an opt-in for replay, or even sell it, you have that evergreen pin.
Facebook groups are a great place to promote your webinars, too. By now, you are probably participating in many Facebook groups related to blogging and to your niche. If you are looking for the best Facebook groups for creatives, check out this blog post here. Each group has its own promotion day, so respect the rules and post about your upcoming webinar when allowed.
Last but not least, you can create a Facebook Ad, which now allows for an Instagram ad to promote your free webinar. Facebook ads can convert really well for free webinars and can be a great way to get folks registered. Make sure you create a custom audience using the filters, so you can target down on the ideal audience you want to attend the webinar.
On Webinar Day: How to make your webinar great?
If you haven’t done so, you definitely should test out the webinar platform and your webinar presentation you plan to use so you feel comfortable on the day of the webinar. Many of the webinar platforms will let you test it ahead of time, so grab a friend and do a test run. You will be nervous as you start, but knowing your way around the software will help to ease the nerves, as you won’t face as many tech issues. As folks are arriving, greet them, welcome them via chat or via your voice, and tell them you will start shortly. Also, ask where they are tuning in from, and you can ask questions on what are they most excited to learn today. Then it’s time to start your webinar. I basically used the template that Lewis Howes provided us in the Creative Live Class, which is: intro, share your story, and share why you are an expert on the subject matter. Make it short and to the point, and a maximum of 15 minutes. I also always do a Twitter giveaway, so I create a hashtag and tell them to post anything they’re learning from the webinar, or a tip or photo of their notes. Share 30-45 minutes of content, then have 15 minutes of Q & A. I don’t recommend you having a huge pitch, but if you dom, pitch a special.
The best tip is to be yourself because people are there to learn from you, so your authentic voice must show up and be present. Don’t rush it (something I still struggle with) and remember to have fun. The more relaxed you are, the better your content will flow, and yes, that is easier said than done. But it does come with practice. It won’t be perfect. There will be tech issues… there always are, so be on lookout in the chat. Many times, though, the issue is on the user’s end and they just should refresh.
If you have someone who can co-host with you or help in chat, that will leave you less nervous and able to focus more on delivering your presentation and answering questions. Engage with your audience by checking in on the chat, asking them if they are excited to learn about the next tip, and asking them to type in a fun word like cheer, pop, fizz, or a saying you usually use. Ask questions via the poll sections. Most webinar software allows for you to pre-ask questions via a poll format. I love using this feature, and I also love showcasing the results to the audience, as I can gauge the industries, backgrounds and needs of those attending live. For example, if I see most attendees are photographers, then I can give more photo examples, as well as not forgetting about the non-photographers. I can add on a bonus tip of a tool I was not planning on doing, based on the results showing me they’re interested. And by constantly asking questions, the audience will tell you in the chat and have questions about your topic. The last tip I have about hosting your webinar is to be an open book, answer all questions, and answer them well.
Post Webinar to-do list.
#1 Send out a survey and a thank-you email. One cool feature I love to use is post-webinar surveys. When you first schedule your webinar, some platforms will allow you to add in a survey that gets sent to the live viewers immediately after the webinar. I strongly recommend you send out surveys, as this will give you insight on how to improve your webinar skills and help you create new upcoming blog post or webinar ideas. These can also serve as mini testimonials for promoting your other webinars.
#2 Send out a replay email. Send the replay link as soon as the recording is ready, and set an expiration date. Limiting the replay time will make your audience eager to be on your next webinar and be more committed to watching the replay on set desired time. It will help you be taken more seriously as a webinar presenter, too. If you are pitching a special offer along with webinar replay, send reminder emails afterward. I typically send 2-3 emails to that list to remind them of the offerings and replay that will be going down.
#3 Thank your audience via social media. I would also publicly thank viewers for watching via Twitter, and post a thank you on your Facebook business page.
#4 Now it’s time to decide what you will do with this webinar.
Option 1: Use it as a future option for a free video course?
Option 2: Monetize the webinar. If you do plan to monetize the webinar, I recommend you add a special bonus workbook, pdf, homework or even a bonus video lesson.
Option 3: Include it in your paid e-courses later. I’ve added some of my past webinars which are no longer available as bonus material for my Get Your Blog Found In 30 Days class.
#5 Revisit goals and lessons. Now that you’ve survived your first webinar, it is time to revisit your initial goals. Did you meet your attendance goal? Your registration goal? Your sales goal? Also, take note of what worked and what did not. How can you improve? What did you love? What did your audience love? Were you surprised by anything or anyone? Is the platform you tried out for hosting the webinar truly the best one to suit your current needs? Take notes on Evernote or start a Google Doc file so you can revisit later and create your own Hosting Webinar Guide.
So how many webinars are you committed to hosting this year? What was the best tip you learned?
Want a free Webinar Check list Plus a free video on how I create my slides for webinar on Canva? Sign up here”