(Naomi’s note: The beautiful and endlessly helpful Sue Dunlevie helped me make MY first webinar a raging success. I have harassed her into writing a post for you so that she might do the same for you. Take it away, Sue.)

Webinar tips

Sue Dunlevie
Sue Dunlevie
Guest Author!

Do you know what’s the hardest thing about delivering webinars?

Doing your first one.

In my 5+ years of experience of doing live webinars and teaching webinar-based courses, I’ve discovered that after giving your first one, it’s all downhill from there. You definitely breathe a sigh of relief once that first webinar is in your rearview mirror.

Why Do Webinars?

Doing webinars gives you enormous street cred that you don’t get from just blogging. (ND: Sue’s a blogging teacher. She’s at SuccessfulBlogging.com.) You’ll prove yourself to your readers, and your potential customers and clients, by showing that you know what you are talking about.

But before we start talking about webinars, I want you to consider…

The Teleseminar Alternative

When I first started out, I did teleseminars – and you can STILL happily keep doing them today.

Just get a free account at Free Conference Call or Free Conference Calling and you won’t have to do the extra webinar-related work of creating slides or investing in monthly payments for webinar software.

Besides being simpler to offer and less expensive, teleseminars mean your listeners aren’t stuck in front of their computers for an hour! (For some people that’s a “pro”, for others it’s a “con”.)

Quick tip: Do like Naomi and get a transcript made from your teleseminar for people that enjoy reading. I just found a great, inexpensive service called Trint, who only charges $15 an hour, and delivers the transcript (practically) instantaneously. That’s a terrific price and delivery time – I used to pay between $40 and $60 an hour and would wait a minimum of 24 hours to see my words in writing.

But I’m Ready To Do A Webinar, Sue!

If you’re ready to do your first webinar, let me share my strategy on creating and delivering a live webinar. This is a webinar where you discuss a topic you’re an expert on, and you’re presenting for one (or more) of these reasons:

  • Building your list
  • Promoting a product or course
  • Booking discovery calls
  • Increasing your credibility
  • Joint venturing with another expert to sell a bundle of your products/courses or to just build each other’s lists

You can see the advantages of doing live webinars, right?

I’m also going to show you in this post how to:

  1. Create a kick-butt slide deck
  2. Choose your best webinar platform
  3. Promote your webinar
  4. Make your offer
  5. And use the tips and tricks I’ve unearthed along the way.

By getting the knack of these 5 simple steps, you’ll be an expert on your first (or next) webinar!

Step One: Creating a Striking Slide Deck

Please don’t have your audience die a slow, painful death from PowerPoint.

(ND: Your slide deck is the stuff people look at while you’re running your mouth off. It’s the visual component.)

Your slide deck should emphasize your main points, not be a script that you read from.

I use HaikuDeck to create my slides. It’s easy-to-use and a nice alternative from PowerPoint or Keynote. I also like Prezi, Google Slides, and SlideDog.

But start out easy – try HaikuDeck or stick with trusty PowerPoint or Google Slides.

Here’s a sample of a HaikuDeck slide I created:

Haiku Deck Slide

Here’s a Google Slide I created:

Google Slide

Sue’s Quick Tip: I recommend creating your slide deck right after creating the outline of your webinar. Don’t write a script – you’ll sound best by practicing and riffing from your slides.

(ND: Sue doesn’t write a script, and she gets her audio transcribed after the fact. I ALWAYS write a script, and use it as my transcript. For most people, Sue’s way is better.)

Step 2: Choosing Your Best Webinar Platform

There are many webinar platforms to choose from, each of which has its own pros and cons. Until recently, I used GoToWebinar by Citrix. Although this is a great choice, its cons, (such as a hard-to-use question box and a starting price of $99/month), caused me to look for a different platform.

I tried out a lot of webinar solutions, but ultimately decided on Zoom. It’s half the price of what I was spending and I can also use it for client calls as well as webinars. (ND: Sue had me use Zoom and it’s changed my ****ing life. For reals. I now find using the phone for client calls comparatively archaic. I’m kind of hearting Zoom right now.)

Zoom does a lot of things well. It will register your attendees, send out reminder emails, has an easier to use questions box, allows chat, and equips you to run polls during your webinar.

Sue’s Quick Tip: I’m in love with doing a poll during the opening of my webinars to get people interacting with me. My favorite poll? “Which of these statements describes you the best?”. And then I offer a multiple-choice answer of:

  • Blogger
  • Freelancer
  • Consultant
  • Author
  • Speaker
  • Coach

You can start out with Zoom with a free account that allows you to do a 45-minute webinar or a $14.95 account that will give you unlimited time. Zoom will even be glad to give you a demonstration of their platform, and I highly recommend it if you are going to have 100 or more attendees. Email my Zoom rep and tell him Sue from Successful Blogging sent you and he’ll give you an interactive demo.

Step 3: Promote Your Webinar

It’s key to use smart marketing to promote your webinar. You can:

  1. Add calls to actions and links on your website that take visitors directly to the registration page. You could use a pop-up, a sidebar ad, or even a hello bar message about your upcoming webinar at the top of your website. (ND: I should have used a hello bar for promoting my webinar but, um, I forgot. I blame Christmas.)
  2. Devote a blog post to the webinar. Talk about the subject of the content you will be discussing on the webinar and put hyperlinks to your registration page right in the post itself. (ND: Hyperlinks, plural. More than one. Ideally, make the first one an inline link, like in the middle of a sentence, and the last one a direct call to action at the end. Like: Click here to register for the masterclass. Note: If you actually click those links, you’ll go to the sales page for Sue’s and my blog retreat. Oh, the sneakiness.)
  3. Compose an email to your entire list with the reasons to attend, the problem you will be solving, the date and times to attend live and the registration link. (ND: The more you care about attendance, the more emails you should send. People are busy. My BEST FRIEND emailed me a week after my webinar saying she didn’t know how she missed it. Oy, vey.)
  4. Ask your blogger friends to share your invite. You can ask them join you as a co-host and have them invite their audience to the webinar or they can just share your registration link on their social media channels. Make sure to create a great graphic for each channel using Canva or PicMonkey.
  5. Share on social media. By putting a captivating picture on Facebook and asking what questions your followers have about the topic, you’ll get engagement and even some great ideas of what to include in your webinar.

Sue’s Quick Tip: Instead of using the word “webinar” to describe what you are having, try use a different word like:

  • Workshop
  • Masterclass
  • Training
  • Meeting
  • Group Call
  • Round Table

4. Make Your Offer

You may be asking about now, “When is it time to SELL on the webinar or offer a strategy session?” Don’t worry, I’ve got your back!

  • Make sure to be transparent. Tell them early on in the webinar that there is 1) either nothing for sale (when offering a strategy session or just building your list) or 2) that you’ll be making an offer later on in the webinar.
  • Show, don’t sell.The best way to sell on a webinar is to show them the problem you solve with your product or course rather than “selling” them on it. Make sure to also talk about the results that will get by either giving a case study or showing some testimonials. (ND: You can also show them the product itself. Screenshots and such. Very effective.)
  • Give a reason to buy now. Give an extra bonus or a special price if they buy in the next 48 hours.
  • Following up. Send follow-up emails. I personally don’t like using the automatic follow-ups supplied from the webinar software. So create your own email thanking them, giving them the replay and use your own email service to send it.

Sue’s Quick Tip: Ask them to “hit reply” and ask you any questions they may have about the webinar and the offer your made.

Step 5: Use My Time-Tested Tips and Tricks

  • Use a headset USB microphone that is directly linked to your computer (my fav is the Logitech USB Headset H390 with Noise Cancelling Mic, It’s only $25 on Amazon.) (ND: Sue sent me one of these for my webinar and it was really awesome. I may be breaking up with my Blu Snowball microphone that I’ve had since 2008.)
  • If you don’t have a headset mic, use a landline phone for a stronger connection.
  • Expect something to go wrong. Expecting no errors is like expecting your wedding to be perfect! Try a run-through if you haven’t done a webinar before by asking a friend to give you feedback. (ND: I also made an unholy fuss about this being my first time, including explicitly stating that by coming to the webinar, you would have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch me screw up on my first one. Set expectations and nobody gets mad.)
  • Turn off computer notifications and warn your kids that you are incommunicado for the next hour. (ND: I sent my kid to his father’s house overnight and then went to a wine bar afterwards, which is a nice option for those of you who have it.)
  • Put a sign on your front door saying “Please don’t ring the bell or knock”. This has saved my butt many a time from my UPS guy knocking away and driving my dog to bark his head off!

Wrapping It Up

The best way to get started with webinars is to put one on your calendar right now for 3-4 weeks in the future.

And here are the tasks you’ll need to do – just stick them on your calendar, working backwards from your webinar date.

  1. Create your outline (3-4 weeks before)
  2. Pick out your webinar platform and set up your registration link (2-3 weeks before)
  3. Develop your kick-butt slide deck (2 weeks before) (ND: I did this the day of. I assure you, Sue’s way is much better.)
  4. Write a blog post about the webinar subject matter (1-2 weeks before)
  5. Create your social media graphics (1 week before)
  6. Write an email announcing the webinar with the registration link and send to your entire list (4 to 7 days before)
  7. Send another email to your entire list about the webinar day/time (2-3 days before)
  8. Practice your webinar (1-2 days before)
  9. Put your Do Not Disturb sign on your door, warn your family and turn off your computer notifications (1 hour before)
  10. Enjoy your webinar!
  11. (ND: Wine bar.)
  12. Send a follow-up email with the replay to your entire list

And make sure to let Naomi and I know about your webinar so we can share it on our social media channels!

Your step-by-step blog coach,