Your Essential Webinar Tools
Hosting a webinar isn’t all about being a speaker who delivers the goods; it’s also about having the right goods to get the job done. I’m talking about the essential webinar tools you’re going to need to make a great first impression.
Let’s talk about some of the tools you’ll need to have in place before you host your first event:
Webinar Software to help you create a webinar
This one’s a given. You can’t actually get people to your webinar if they have no place to go. It would be like trying to hold a live conference without having a physical conference room to send people to. Your webinar software is the location for your event. Like a live venue, you’ll want to pick something that the audience will be comfortable with, that they can reach without too much trouble and that has the facilities and features they’d expect when they arrive.
Two common webinar software programs are Go To Webinar and Adobe Connect Pro.
Email Software in creating a webinar
A webinar without a good follow-up system is a bit of a waste. Don’t miss out on this important tool. Get a program like Aweber so you can collect the emails of your attendees and then follow-up with them by providing the webinar recording, transcripts or any other related and relevant information that you promised to deliver. As long as your attendees are sent what they signed up for this is a completely acceptable way to use their sign-up emails.
Webinars are most commonly recorded in one of two ways: by telephone or by computer microphone. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. For example, using a telephone is usually a more stable connection but the sound is not all that good. It’s a good idea to invest in a high-quality microphone for your webinars. Many podcast hosts and webinar experts recommend the Blue line of microphones, which include the Yeti USB Condenser Plug-and-Play (check Amazon for this and more mics).
Dual Monitors to help you create a webinar
When you host a webinar you may want to share your screen with your attendees. This is problematic if you need to use your monitor to check other things like emails coming in or to send out social media notices, etc. What you can do is set yourself up with a dual-monitor system where one monitor is used for the webinar and a second monitor is free for whatever else you need. One easy way to have a dual-monitor setup is to use your laptop and a regular monitor.
Webinars come in two flavors: screen sharing (using your computer screen) and broadcasting (using your web-cam). If you want to broadcast your face to everyone then you’re going to need a good webcam. There are many common brands out there and Amazon has a great selection of affordable webcams.
Having the right tools for the job is going to make hosting your first webinar much less stressful. You’ll avoid embarrassing technical issues and errors because you didn’t plan ahead and you’ll present your most professional side by having a high quality event.
Choosing Webinar Software
So you want to host your webinar and are feeling a little confused by all the software options? You’re not alone. It’s an important decision, and not only do you have to worry about looking professional and maintaining your expert status, but there can be a significant cost involved as well.
There are three main criteria to keep in mind when choosing webinar software:
1.Features you need based on what you want to achieve.
2.How comfortable you are with the software based on personal testing.
3.A price that fits into your budget.
Unfortunately, good webinar software is not cheap. Don’t make the mistake of looking for the lowest price (or free) options, because chances are you’ll be unhappy with it. Yes, you can get free programs to use but most are lacking in some features that you’re probably going to want or need. And of course your webinar attendees are going to know you’re using free software, so you run the risk of damaging your reputation as well.
In terms of features, here are some that you’ll want to consider as you test out the software and look for the right fit for your needs:
Number of Users
Many webinar programs limit the number of users on the session. The amount of users you can get on a program varies. For example, GoToWebinar typically allows 100 on a webinar but you can pay to have that limit increased. Another popular program, Adobe Connect, also has a 100 user limit. You’ll need to figure out how many you expect on your webinar and choose a program that can accommodate. A good rule of thumb if you are collecting signups is that about 25% of those who sign-up will actually attend the webinar live. The rest will expect (or hope for) a recording they can listen to later.
There are many controls for you to use during a webinar. You may want to mute attendees, you may want to have a co-host and you’ll probably want to record the webinar while you do a session. These are all controls within the program. Compare and contrast different program hosting controls and decide what you’ll need to successfully achieve the webinar results you want.
Phone Numbers and/or Microphone
Remember, webinars are still a fairly new technology in terms of the general public. You’ll need to think about the technical capabilities of your attendees when choosing software. If you’re doing a webinar for a group of seniors they might be much more comfortable with calling a phone number, versus using a microphone. On the other hand, if this is a webinar for seniors who do internet marketing, then you’ll probably want to have a microphone option, too. Most webinar software comes with both microphone and telephone options, but some low cost providers
only allow for telephone connections. Also, consider if the call-in numbers will be long-distance for your attendees and if they will be ok with the cost.
Web Cam and/or Screen Sharing
Will you be doing “talking head” events where you appear on the screen, or screen-sharing events with PowerPoint slides or live, on-screen demonstrations? For something computer related, then screen sharing is your best bet. If your webinar is about applying makeup or preparing a healthy meal, then you’ll want to do a web cam session. Whichever you need, be sure your software choice can accommodate.
Attendee Chat Function
Are you going to be doing a presentation only or do you want audience participation? Do you want your audience to be able to communicate with each other? These are questions to ask yourself when checking out the attendee chat function for the software you are considering. Also, be sure to check if the chat becomes a part of the recording, or if it’s available as a separate file.
Decide your price range. As mentioned before, you can find free software programs but they are sometimes lacking. Most good webinar software runs you about $50 – $100 per month. You pay for it monthly because it’s a ‘software as a service’ type of deal where the software is hosted online and you just send people to it. This saves you a lot of trouble with software installation, updates, bugs, hacking, etc.
This should give you a good idea of what to look for when you get out there and chase down some leads for good webinar software.
Creating a Webinar Signup Page
So you’ve decided you’re really going to host a webinar. You’ve picked the topic and you’ve decided on a software program to use. Now it’s time for you to create a signup page so that people can actually raise their hands to say they want to attend. But how do you create a sign up page?
Well, there are a few details you need to pull together to get a webinar sign-up page setup. Whether you do it yourself or you hire someone to do it for you, here’s a handy webinar sign-up checklist and some information on each piece that’s included:
It’s best to work with what you’ve got here. If you’ve already got a website then creating a page on your website might be a great option for you. If you use Aweber, you may want to use their hosting option to create a link straight to a sign-up form. Another option is to create a single page on an entirely new domain. If you’ve got a domain you’re not using (don’t we all?) and that fits the topic, this might be the easiest choice.
A webinar signup page is much like a sales page. You literally have seconds to convince people to keep reading your page and you want to use that time very wisely by writing a headline that pulls your potential attendees in and keeps them reading, so they can learn the details of your event.
Event Details to remember when creating a webinar
Thing the five W’s here –
• Who is hosting the event
• What is the event about
• When is it happening
• Where is it happening
• Why should they care
All of these details are important, because without them your readers won’t be able to make a decision. If you are recording the webinar (which you should) and are giving that recording away to those who sign up you may want to mention this as well so that your readers decide to sign up even if they can’t make the time. Another option is to leave the date and time OFF your signup page so they have to sign up to get that information. Also, don’t forget to include the benefits – What will they learn? Why is it important? And how will it help them?
A very basic of all details is exampled here;
You are invited to view our panel of experts on Wednesday, May 9, in this live, online marketing seminar. For more information and complimentary registration visit: webinar.ShaluSharma.com
Date: Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Time: 12 noon Eastern, 9 a.m. Pacific, 4 p.m. GMT, 5 p.m. UK
Duration: 1 hour
Submit your questions LIVE to the experts during the webinar!
During the webinar, viewers will:
- Learn the basics of onine marketing
- How to create a website for affilialte marketing
- How to optimise their website for greater visibility
- Shalu Sharma, M.B.A.
- Johnny Walker, M.D.
- Dick Tator. P.hD.
One of the reasons many people host a webinar is to build an email list. In order to build your email list you need an opt-in form. An opt-in form is simply a place where people enter their name and email to sign up for the webinar. You’ll need a program that easily allows you to create the form. Aweber and Mail Chimp are two popular programs. Both allow you to easily create a form, copy a bit of code, and paste it into the appropriate page. Once you ‘ve done that, whenever someone enters their name and email address, they’ll automatically be added to your mailing list.
Call to Action
It’s not good enough to just create the form and hope people will sign up. Your headline get them interested, your copy and details lead them to the form and then a good call to action will get them to sign up. Don’t be subtle here – tell the reader exactly what to do: “Enter your name and email address to sign up today” or “Enter your name and email address so I can send you the login details” both work well, and leave no doubt what the reader is expected to do next.
When in doubt, keep it simple! You don’t need to go crazy with a lot of information on your sign-up page. As a matter of fact, too much information may confuse your potential attendees and have them leaving without signing up at all. Don’t clutter up your page with ads, other offers, or links to your website or blog posts. Remember, your one and only goal on the sign-up page is to get attendees to your event. Once you get them there then you can start working on your next goal.
Planning Your Very First Webinar
Congratulations on making the decision to host your first webinar. If you’re someone who really enjoys sharing information verbally then you may have just found your new favorite way to market your business.
You’re probably feeling a bit nervous, but that’s ok. It’s totally normal but here’s a secret – most people won’t have a clue that you’re nervous while you’re speaking on the webinar. So just go with it, nervous or not and give it your best.
Of course, hosting a webinar takes planning and a greater effort than some other marketing initiatives. The first part of this effort is to figure out three key things: why you are doing a webinar to start with, what you expect to get out of hosting a webinar, and what action you intend for your attendees to take when the webinar is over. When you can answer these questions, you’ll be well on your way to a successful webinar.
Let’s get in into some more detail on how to work these things out before you take any steps towards setting up your webinar:
Why Are You Hosting a Webinar?
If you are just hosting a webinar because someone told you that you must be hosting webinars, then it’s time to take a step back. One thing you really should know is that there is no one method that you must do, it’s all a choice. If you choose to host a webinar is should be because you think you’ll enjoy it and you think it will benefit your business. Life is too short to do things you hate – especially because someone else told you to.
Enjoying the webinar is great, but you must have a main reason why for your business. Are you launching a new product and want to explain the benefits of buying it? That’s a great reason to do a webinar. Do you need to offer training to your sales team or affiliates so they can go get more customers for you? Another great reason to host a webinar. Do you want to build an email list for your business so you have a constant source of potential customers? Yet another reason you could do a webinar.
The reasons you could host a webinar are nearly indefinite. Just get clear on your why so that it propels you through the process with decision and direction.
What Do You Expect Out of Your Webinar?
This ties into your reason for doing the webinar but let’s take it a little deeper.
For example, if you are doing a webinar to promote a new product you are selling do you expect people to buy right from the webinar? If so, you need to know that as you create the webinar, get the software and write your presentation so that you can create a situation where what you want can actually happen. Don’t put all the work into your webinar and just expect people will look you up and then buy your product. You need to make it clear, make it easy, give incentives and let them know what you want them to do. That’s where the call to action comes in:
What Action Will Your Attendees Take?
Imagine you have a great turnout for your webinar, and the attendees are highly engaged during the entire event. You deliver real proof that you know what you’re talking about, and give lots of great tips listeners can put into practice right away. Do you think if you ended the webinar with nothing but a thank you and a good night that they would be clamoring to find the link to your product and buy it right away? Without a strong call to action, probably not.
Your call to action doesn’t need to be pushy or arrogant, annoying or brash, but it does need to exist. Simply decide what action you will ask your attendees to take, then at the end of your webinar, tell them what to do next. Of course, you will be hinting at this action throughout your presentation, so by the time you tell them what to do, your attendees will be ready to take action.
Planning your first webinar shouldn’t be stressful or confusing. Simply focus on these three items, and the rest fill fall into place.
Making the Most of Your Webinar with a Strong Follow-Up
Anyone who’s a participating member of a good relationship knows that you need to put just as much work (or more) into the relationship phase as you put into the dating phase. The same rules apply to marketing your business via webinar.
Many people are under the assumption that all you have to do is get the most people you possibly can to the webinar and then you’re work is done. Not true. Getting people TO your webinar is the start of the process, not the end. The next – and even more important – step is the follow up.
Your attendees have already signed up with your autoresponder so they can be notified of the event details. This makes it really easy for you to follow-up with them about relevant information. In fact, getting them on this list is one of the primary reasons to host a webinar, so let’s make the most of it.
There are a number of emails that are expected as a part of the follow-up series, and that you can schedule to go out automatically. Your ‘follow-up’ emails start from the moment someone signs up to attend your webinar, not when it starts. Meaning, the moment they get on your email list they expect something from you. It’s now your job to deliver it and prove your value in this relationship.
Let’s go over a typical two-part follow-up system for an event and why each part is just as important as the next:
Part 1: Pre-Event Emails
Before the event be sure you send out emails to tell your attendees that they are in the right place. Put yourself in your attendees’ position as you write these emails and figure out the questions they are going to be asking as they discover what you have to offer. Questions like:
- Did my webinar sign- up go through?
This can be solved with an email that says:
‘Webinar Sign-up Success!’
- What is this webinar all about?
This can be answered by including information in your initial email about what is included in the webinar. Don’t be afraid to repeat information they’ve already seen as not everyone reads everything the first time they see it.
- Will there be a recording?
Many people will want to sign up for your webinar but may not be able to make the live version at the time you’re offering it. Tell them on your signup page and through the follow-up emails if a recording will be made available to them.
- Is there something to buy?
Don’t think people are not on to webinars and that many marketers use them to buy something and don’t insult their intelligence by trying the old ‘bait and switch’ method. If you’re doing a preview call, tell them. If you’ve got an upsell, let them know. You can make this a plus and have them anticipate the great thing you are going to let them in on during the webinar.
Part 2: Post-Event Emails
As I’ve already mentioned the post-event emails are very important. Your webinar is like the first date and after that it’s up to you to call them back. What you email out post-even is going to rely a great deal on the purpose of your webinar, but here are some things that you may want to include:
- Webinar Recording
As mentioned, many people look for a recording when they sign up to attend a webinar. If you provide this it’s a great way to add more value and have a point of contact without going for a hard-sell. If you have a product to sell now would be a great time to add your promotional copy in and let them know that now is the time to take action.
Some people also offer a transcript of their webinars to appeal to the learners who like to read versus listen. Again, this is another chance to promote your call to action – and don’t forget to include affiliate links in the transcript itself, where appropriate.
- How to Get More Info
Ideally, the people who signed up for your webinar will become part of your ‘tribe.’ They will continue to get information from you based on the value they are looking for and will become your leads for your next products and events. By offering updates, new information, and answering questions in your follow-up series, you’ll have a better chance of keeping them on your list and happy.
Everyone’s follow-up system is going to be different. The important thing is that you have one and that you spend the proper time to cater it to the group who you’ll be hosting. This makes your attendees feel valued and they will, in turn, value you. The art of great follow-up is a pretty simple thing to do once you think about it but the rewards can be great. So go ahead and create a webinar and don’t be put off.