Hosting a Webinar – Planning, Finding the Right Service, Holding the Webinar

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ConferenceHi there ๐Ÿ™‚ Are you considering doing a live webinar? I have been, for a while. Not the salesy ones – I hate those! They are in fact nothing but a sales letter read aloud. No, I was thinking more about an informative webinar.

And when I needed a one-time-offer for my latest book, my good friend Mike suggested that I did a webinar. And I, stupidly, agreed ๐Ÿ˜‰

Secretly, I probably hoped that nobody would buy this OTO, but when the first customers ticked in, I knew that I was going to do it. And I got VERY afraid.

I have good news for you, though.

Holding a webinar is neither as difficult as you might think, nor as easy as you might think. Hopefully, my experiences can spare you some pain and make it a fun event for all involved.

Planning a Webinar

Make a plan first. This will probably seem obvious to you, because without a plan, you’ll be messing around, not knowing what to say or where to go.

So write down a plan for what you want to talk about and in which order.

Only jot down the main lines, not everything you’re going to say. Yes, you might say a few “uh” and “oh oh” along the way, but that’s better than sounding like an electronic device reading from a book.

When you know what you’re going to talk about, it’s time to find a webinar service that will do what you want for a faire price.

Find a Webinar Service

I can only speak from personal experience, of course, but this is how I found a webinar serviceโ€ฆ eventually!

My first choice was GoToWebinar or GoToMeeting, since I’ve already been a participant in webinars that used this service, and even though I once had problems connecting, and another time couldn’t hear a word that was said, before I logged back in, I knew this to be working fine.

Their prices are a bit on the high side, but I prefer to pay for something that works than getting something that doesn’t work for free.

Then a good friend and fellow marketer told me that GoToWebinar/GoToMeeting wouldn’t allow me to record from a Mac.

Tough blow!

Fortunately, she knew a lot of places for webinars that I hadn’t even heard about, and from what I saw, Meetcheap looked best.

It was cheap, they claimed it was stable, and you could record your webinar even from a Mac.

So – I was ready for the big day, now.

But when the big day arrived (we were going to do a sandbox webinar first), and I joined Meetcheap, I could use their built-in browser to go to Amazon, but I couldn’t use Amazon’s search function. I don’t know why. I simply couldn’t click and write in the form field. Mac problem? No idea! But I had to switch plans fast.

Next on my list was AnyMeeting. They were free, unless you wanted to remove the ads.

Before I was going to pay anything, I wanted to test their service.

I invited the participants to join my sandbox webinar, but I discovered afterwards that one couldn’t join, and he was very annoyed by the ads.

I recorded the webinar, but you cannot download the video. It will be shown on AnyMeeting’s site with ads (I don’t know about this if you pay for access, though).

The person who couldn’t join the webinar, couldn’t get access to the video either. And it took more than one day to process the video. I was really worriedโ€ฆ Would it be there or not? I had promised a video of the webinar, but if the service screwed up, there would be nothing I could do about it. So I was very nervous, until I got a message saying that the video was available. Phew ๐Ÿ™‚ Now to figure out a sneaky way to download it.

I liked that you could paste a list of email addresses to the persons you were going to invite, and that you could invite the same persons for other webinars if needed.

Their user-interface was easy to figure out and to use, and except for forgetting to start the recording (my fault) I didn’t experience any serious problems.

One thing, though. Because of Mac’s Java settings, I had to use Safari to run the webinar, and for strange reasons Safari wouldn’t load the Amazon page while running the webinar, so I had to open Firefox as well. Running two browsers takes bandwith, and I already had too little, AnyMeeting told me.

The sound in the video is weird. It’s not like my voice at all.

Luckily, a participant told me that you could record webinars on GoToMeeting on a Mac, so I signed up there. I wasn’t certain how many participants would show up – it could easily be more than 25 – so I chose the free trial of GoToWebinar. (See below.)

Try GoToMeeting free for 30 days or Try GoToWebinar free for 30 days!

Holding the Webinar

My advice to you? Make a checklist.

I had one, but forgot to look at it at the beginning of the sandbox webinar.ย 

The second time – the “real” webinar – I remembered it, but when I started the recording, for some reasons my screen was no longer shown to the audience, so I talked in the dark for 8 minutes, before I discovered my mistake.

The third time, I remembered, but almost forgot to use the checklist, and I managed to hit “Record” without blackening out my screen.

If you’re nervous before your first webinar, I recommend that you do a “sandbox” webinar for a few participants. This will take the stress out of the event. If everything doesn’t go as planned (and it will not), then there’s no need to panick, since this is just a sandbox, where you’re supposed to play around.

Then learn from your experience: What went well? What went not so well? What was disasterous? Can you do it better the next time?

Okay, so now let me ask you a question: If you’re considering hosting a webinar, what is holding you back from doing it?

6 thoughts on “Hosting a Webinar – Planning, Finding the Right Service, Holding the Webinar”

  1. Excellent points about having a checklist. I try to have a list for everything, but with the unfamiliar territory of webinars where anything can throw you off at any point, a list is a must. Why don’t I do webinars? Kids! They’re always around and when I finally get them to bed, I have no energy to do anything.

  2. I really enjoyed the Webinars and learned a lot. I hope you’ll do more soon!
    And don’t worry about technical difficulties – it happens even to the pros. For example, I was on a SourceWave webinar recently where the first day they couldn’t hold the event at all because of technical difficulties and then Becker forgot to show his screen too. But it’s no big deal, most people understand and enjoy the info anyway ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Hi Britt

    I am a women from Denmark and I have been very inspired by you for a couple of years where I have started to earn money online. I had been considering to hold a webinar with some specific topics about children because I have som special knowledge about some selten issues.

    So this long article with all the nice advices will inspire and assist me when I am going to hold the first webinar…

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