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Ahh, running a webinar. Is there any phrase that strikes more fear into the beginner entrepreneurs heart than presenting, and possibly even pitching something paid, to a live crowd of people? Not only that, but having to figure out the technology as you go is enough to turn some of you off this amazing list building tool forever. And then there's the cost, which for some platforms is upwards of $50 to $100 US a month. Seriously, that's outrageous, especially when I'm going to teach you how to host a webinar for free 😜.
There are several reasons why you might want to host a webinar, like:
- you want to grow your email list fast
- you want to launch your in-person programs or services
- you want to launch an online program
- you want to partner with someone else, pitch their program, and collect affiliate sales
I didn't start doing webinars in my nutrition business until I was ready to sell online programs, and even then I only used them as part of my launch process. For example, when I was launching my 8-week Mama Mojo program, I did a few different webinars about how to get rid of menopause and PMS symptoms. My course was going to teach them how to balance their hormones by eating whole foods, doing gentle detoxes, and a few other lifestyle changes.
During the webinar, I taught them the physiological reason why they had hormone issues, and then covered all the steps that they would have to take to re-balance those physiological systems that were more than likely out of whack (liver, adrenals, stress, digestion). I essentially taught them in an hour what my 8-week course taught them, but since it was so much information (and since people like to be hand-held when making these changes), I introduced them to my already done-for-them program that included all the meal plans, grocery lists, and step-by-step instructions so they didn't have to think about it. At the very end, I asked them to click the link to purchase it.
I already knew that my program worked, since I had been running one-on-one clients through it for upwards of 5 years at that point.
I had a launch goal of $10,000, and my course was $497, so I would have to sell 20 spots to get to my goal.
The secret of online launching, though, is that on average only 1-3% of people on an email list will purchase a product you have for sale. So, if I wanted to have $10,000 in sales from my $497 course, I needed to aim for a list size of at least 675 people ... and that's if my conversion rate was 3%. It would have to be just over 2,000 people if my conversion rate was 1%.
I decided to host a free challenge (that was wildly successful, details are all over here), but I could have also built my list fast with a series of webinars.
Back then, I also never thought of hosting a webinar and pitching my one-on-one programs at the end! Since I started this side of my business doing training for holistic health practitioners, I've hosted several webinars and pitched my Biz Strategy Sessions at the end, and every single time I've sold at least a few spots and generated income.
I wish I would have used webinars like this in my holistic nutrition biz when I was still practising to fill up my spots and start a waiting list!
I no longer take one-on-one clients, but I'll definitely be using webinars for my new website focusing on nutrition and essential oils.
If you want to start doing webinars, a quick Google search will reveal that webinar hosting software can be insanely priced. Some of the more affordable ones start at about $33 US a month ($397 US per year) for unlimited attendees, but there are also ones for $45 US a month for just 100 attendees, and go all the way up to $429 US a month for up to 2,000 attendees.
If you can get 2,000 live attendees at a webinar, you're probably not reading this article. Nonetheless, if you're going to invest $397 a year into a piece of software, you better damn well use it.
But what if you just want to try out webinars to see how they work? What if you're not sure? Is there a way to host a webinar for free when you're just starting out? There sure is!
Here are 2 ways to host a webinar for free, plus 1 other option that's super affordable and does double duty:
Up until a few months ago, this was my "I have this all figured out" go-to option for hosting free webinars. Once it was set up the first time, I could duplicate it within 10 minutes for any additional webinars.
Then, like with anything tech-related, just when I got comfortable with it and everything was running smoothly, Google went and changed Google Hangouts to YouTube Live Streaming and things got a tad more complicated (or at least not as intuitive as they used to be). Thanks, Google.
Plus, there are literally no online help guides that show you how to easily host a Google Hangout webinar.
If you want to host a webinar with Google Hangouts, you can go two ways:
1. Host the video within YouTube, but it will be very hard for people to ask questions or comment.
2. Host the video within your own website.
I opt for #2 every time. Your website has other valuable info on it (hopefully), and you can embed a chat box and have a link to your paid offerings on the same page. That way, instead of trying to share some clunky link to your sales page, you can say "Click on the button below to see the details/book your time with me".
- Free with a gmail or Google Plus account.
- You can host it on your own website and have full control over what the viewer sees.
- The webinar video page can double as a replay page with no changes.
- No software needed on the users end, they just go to the website address that you give them and can start watching right away.
- Isn't intuitive to set up.
- You have to have a website or LeadPages to host your webinar if you want your viewers to be able to ask questions.
- One way interaction, meaning viewers can only see and hear you, and not the other way around.
Who else loves Facebook Live as much as I do? I love that I can hop onto my business page, into one of my private groups, or even onto my personal timeline, and share whatever is on my mind. I don't care how fast you can type, you can't type faster than you can talk.
Plus, who isn't on Facebook?
Your potential clients are on Facebook, your current clients are on Facebook, and your immediate network who can make referrals to you are on Facebook.
FB Live isn't the best platform for webinars since you can't share your screen and your fancy presentation that you made unless you point the device that you're hosting your FB live video on to show your other device or computer that has the presentation going ... but it is free.
Whenever you get something for free, you have to be willing to give up something.
FB Live would be the absolute entry-level software for hosting webinars. It doesn't have to be perfect the first time, it has to be done, and you can totally do that with FB Live.
- Free with a Facebook account.
- Almost everyone in the civilized world has FB, so there's no excuses from your attendees that they can't download the software ... they're already using it.
- It's easy for the viewers to ask questions while the webinar is happening live.
- I find FB Live is sometimes choppy, which sometimes is due to your internet connection and sometimes is just due to FB. You don't want your video pausing in the middle of your webinar!
- In order to collect email addresses (the ultimate goal, NOT Facebook likes), you would have to have a sign up page hosted elsewhere like MailChimp. People can sign up and then they will get sent the link to a private Facebook group or event. They will then have to join the group or say that they're going to the Event, and then show up at the time of the webinar so you can present to them. So, a few more steps that they have to take instead of just clicking on a link. The more steps someone has to take, the less likely they'll actually take them.
- It doesn't look as professional as other options when you're presenting from a PowerPoint. You have to make sure that your camera on your device that you're FB'ing from is facing the PowerPoint.
- Unless you're keeping a sharp eye out for comments as they come in under your video, you can' t scroll up to see the questions once more get asked. You could have another device up and going (i.e. watching yourself) so you can see the questions, bringing the total devices to 3 (one to record yourself and the video, one to show your presentation if you have one, and one to check on the questions).
Zoom is a paid video conference software ($14.99 US a month for up to 50 attendees) that I use extensively for my one-on-one mentoring sessions and essential oil team trainings. This is software that I'd be using anyways, even if I weren't using it for webinars, so I consider it double duty.
There is a free version of Zoom, but it only allows video meetings up to 40 minutes long and you can't record them, which means that a replay won't be available.
The $14.99 US a month Pro option that I pay for only allows 50 attendees, however, I find that only about 10% of people who sign up for a webinar attend live, so you shouldn't have a problem with the room size until you get upwards of 250 to 500 people signing up for your webinars. If the room reaches capacity, then the rest who couldn't attend will be able to watch the recording.
- The live room has everything you need out of the box, including a chat box, ability to share your screen, ability to see the attendees names, and the ability for the viewers to connect with you via video (yes, this means that if they have a question, they can ask it live on camera!). This is truly two-way interaction software.
- If attendees can't be at a computer or don't want to stream the video over their mobile device and use up all their data, they have the option to call in (and interact with you) with a phone number. This option is only available with the Pro option, and international numbers are available so your attendees can call a phone number in their country and be less likely to have long distance charges.
- The attendees have to download the free software before the webinar starts.
- There's no ability for you to put a big call-to-action button below the video, but you can put the link to your sales page in the chat box.
- It's not free if you want to have webinars over 40 minutes long and be able to record them.
- For the replay, you will have to manually upload your recording to YouTube or other video host platform (like Vimeo). You can either share the link to the video on these platforms OR embed the video on your own website so you can create a branded experience and have a sales button below the video.
If you're newer to webinars, getting started on the tech side can be scary. You don't want to make a big mistake with a live audience watching, right? Well, stop making excuses and start learning the tech stuff so you can get out there and make a difference in the world!
I recorded a free training session called "How to Host a Free Webinar"!
This webinar includes:
- A complete walk through of all 3 free (or nearly free) webinar platforms from above - Google Hangouts, Facebook Live, and Zoom.
- How to set up your sign up page to collect email registrations in MailChimp and ConvertKit.
- How to share your screen and presentation slides.
- Embedding a free chat box into your WordPress or SquareSpace hosted webinar page.
- Uploading your webinar replay into YouTube so you can use it again and again.
Ready to get over your tech issues? Click the button below 👇🏻
So are you ready to get out there and host your first (or next) webinar? I promise it's not as scary as you think it's going to be!
I wanna know: by what date are you hosting your next webinar? Share below and I'll hold you to it!