I have been wanting to hold a webinar for ages. For one whole year to be exact. At the beginning of 2014, I caught the webinar bug. That was when I first became fascinated with webinars and what they can do for your business.
Amy Porterfield, the queen of Facebook advertising was the one who I wanted to be like. She has mastered the art of presenting webinars that hook you from the beginning and make you stay till the end. The fact that she has a charming personality adds to it but the medium she credits her business success to, is webinars.
Come to think of it, webinars are great because they are the closest thing to attending a live workshop and being in the same room with the presenter. You get to hear them live and ask questions if you want. Webinars can be video-based where the presenter talks straight to the camera, or they be a slide-based presentation or a combination of both. They have become the hottest thing to build you email list. They are rated very highly by attendees and by those who watch replays as a tool that gives them great value.
But what about the presenters? How do they like it? The people who are pros like Amy, Lewis Howes and others love it. But there are countless others, like you and I, who want to present but are too scared to do so.
Firstly there are mindset issues to deal with. Why are you scared to present in the first place? These vary greatly and is another blog post altogether. Then there is fear of unknown. Not knowing what it takes to hold a successful webinar can keep you stuck and unable to move forward, so in this blog post I am going to teach you everything you need to know in order to do your first webinar. No more, no less.
#1 Know your purpose
Before you want to start, think about why you want to create this particular webinar.
Webinars are great for accomplishing many things. They are fantastic for getting in front of your audience and creating rapport. They are great for building authority and trust. They work really well for building your email list.
You can use webinars to sell a product or service. You can also use webinars platform to launch an ecourse or group coaching program. For most people who are just starting out, I would advise to keep things simple. Start your webinar to create a deeper relationship with your audience and build your email list.
Do not complicate things by trying to sell on a live webinar. Firstly, you will find only few people attending it live (not your fault but that’s just the way it is) so it not worth it. Secondly, it takes some serious skill to conduct a sales webinar and convert people into customers.
For now just concentrate on delivering high quality content and make them pitch-free.
#2 Identify your audience
Decide who this webinar is for. What do you want them to get out of the webinar? What will they learn? What are some of the takeaways they will leave with? Spend some time honing your audience. The better you understand your audience, the more relevant your presentation will be.
For your first few webinars, I highly recommend that you create them for your own email list and I will explain this next. So think about your ideal customer/client profile you have created in your business and create a presentation that they will find useful.
When you have a clear picture of the person most likely to find value in your webinar and attend live, your inner confidence skyrockets. You create and present knowing that you can add so much value to this person’s life.
#3 Create an irresistible title
What do you do when you want to write a headline for a piece of content that you want to do really well? You spend time coming up with the right headline. You create a benefit-laden or curiosity-invoking headline.
In your webinar, you want to put time into this aspect, as well. This is hugely important. Your headline will grab your readers’ attention. It has the power to hook them in and make them read the rest of the copy on your sign-up page. You want it to be as compelling as possible.
For a webinar, I recommend a straight, benefit-laden headline. And make it really specific. You want to tell your reader exactly what they will get out of it.
#4 Create a high converting sign-up page
This might not be the task you need to worry about the most while you are trying to present your first webinar but still it is important. Plus, it doesn’t really take that long to do a good job and the benefits are huge.
Firstly, think about headline of your webinar sign up page. You can ask a question that gets people to think about their pain points, or you even modify your title of the webinar. Something similar to a headline on a sales page.
Again, the job of the headline is to grab the attention of your ideal audience – people who are most likely to find the information useful and make an effort to attend the webinar live or watch the replay.
You want it to be specific enough so that you discourage freebie seekers. These are the people who like to sign up to email lists just for the purpose of collecting freebies and then don’t even open them. Think of these people like hoarders – people who have the fear of missing out. These will also bring your conversions down because they were never really interested in the first place.
Add some bullets to explain the benefits of attending and a clear call to action.
#5 Promote to the right people
For your first webinar, promote it to the people who already like you and are likely to forgive any rookie mistakes.
Promote to your list and send more than one email. People are busy and it is always good to remind them. Be upfront with them and tell them this is your first webinar and they will appreciate the honesty.
Promote on your Facebook page and also in any Facebook groups you are on. Do not invest in Facebook advertising at this stage. Get some experience of running webinars first.
#6 Create a stellar presentation
This part of the process might take you the longest. From at least 3-4 hours to a few days, depending on how big your topic is. Which brings me to the first point: Choose a short topic for your presentation.
Trust me, not only is it easy to fill seats with highly specific topics, it is much easier to plan and have people stay till the end. If your presentation goes overtime, and it most likely will, you start rushing and you want to avoid that from the beginning.
The ideal duration for an educational webinar is 60 minutes. Allocate ten minutes for the introduction, about 40 minutes for actual teaching and 10 minutes for Q/A. You can ask people to send you questions in advance. If you don’t have any questions, you can either finish a little early or be more relaxed with your teaching. Both are fine.
Structure your information well. Take people from point A to point B in a logical sequence. Add examples to make your points clear. Give them actionable items or steps they can start putting to use immediately. You can also give them a worksheet or a PDF to take notes on. You can send them the slides of the presentation after, it’s totally up to you.
#7 Think of it as practice
Now I want you to take the pressure off yourself. If you are doing a webinar for the first time, or even if you tried it once and it didn’t go as planned, try to think of it as a practice run.
Do not promote it too heavily. Do not run Facebook ads. I’d rather have you make any rookie mistakes with people who already love and support you. If you have an email list, promote it to them. This will also tell you if your idea is good and may spark some product ideas as well. Remember that this is your first time and things may go wrong. A lot of people report having technical difficulties. But if you know what you are doing, you can fix those easily.
People are disappointed that only a handful of people turn up (if they are lucky). People have known to present to an empty room because they promised to send out a replay. Don’t be disheartened. As your reputation builds, you will find more people attending your webinars live. Just breathe. This won’t make or break you.
#8 Do a test run
Before you actually present, I want you to test things out before. You are probably using the platform of your choice for the first time. Test that all the emails go out. The worse thing that can happen is the people don’t get the reminders and don’t turn up even though they really wanted to.
Test your registration page is working. Ask a family member to hop on a different computer or a tablet and test that everything works by setting up a test webinar. If you are using Google hangouts, go through the process of starting a hangout, embedding the code on your site and starting the presentation.
If you are doing video, make sure that the lighting is good. That your camera is slightly above eye level and practice looking into the camera and switching between video and slides.
#9 Get support in place
There is a number of technical things involved in setting up and running a webinar. If you are not very techy, instead of driving yourself insane trying to figure this out on your own, get some help. People now offer webinar set-up service. They also test everything for you. The best thing is that you can hire them to sit on your webinar.
They will look at the live questions that come in and let you know while you concentrate on delivering your presentation. This is especially handy because there is a lag between when you ask the question, when your attendees type in and when you actually see it. They keep an eye out for questions so you don’t get distracted. This is super helpful when you are new at this.
These people will also alert you to the fact is something goes wrong. For example, sometimes people stop seeing the video or complain that they slides are fuzzy. They’ll tell you so you can inform them that they either refresh their screen or just wait to see if it sorts itself out.
#10 Start on the right foot
Start the webinar on time. You don’t want to keep people waiting who turn upon time. You can and you should turn up at least 5-7 minutes early to set things up. You will see people already coming in and do your sound/video check then.
Introduce yourself. Welcome people and ask where they are coming from. Tell them you plan to start on time but wait a few minutes to allow people to come in. If you have a support person, they will let you know if there is any issue. If not, you are ready to begin your presentation.
You might think that it will feel a bit weird talking to your computer and it might but as soon as you start seeing those live messages come in where people start saying hi and where they are from, you know this is happening in real time.
Take a deep breath and start presenting. Don’t be afraid to tell people this is your first webinar. Wanna know what happened when I told people I was nervous? I got messages like ‘you are doing an excellent job, keep going’, and ‘you are doing just fine’. Phew!
So, what about me?
As I said in the beginning of the post that I have been wanting to do this for ages. So did I take my own advice or am I just saying like this to pump you up? Of course I did! I will be presenting my fourth webinar this month. They have not been perfect but I am getting better as I do more and more. People have given me fantastic feedback as well.
Enjoy and have fun. You have practiced this. You have the support. You know your material. You have people cheering you on. So what am I saying? I am saying you got this! Let us know in the comments below if you still have any questions, or maybe advice of your own!