Have you ever attended a webinar and said to yourself, “I wish I could do that.”?
If you're a solopreneur, service provider, or creator, chances are you've considered hosting a webinar, only to find yourself overwhelmed by everything you have to do to get it planned, set up, and promoted.
You know you need to find the right webinar tech, decide on a date, and get people to show up, but where do you start?
Great question! And, whether you lack the confidence, know-how, or you just hate technology, we've got you covered.
In this post, I’ll be sharing everything you need to know to plan a successful webinar.
So where should I start?
How to start your webinar planning
Most people think you start off by selecting a webinar platform. Don't believe me?
Try to find a Facebook group where someone isn't asking for webinar tool recommendations. You can’t because this myth has spread like wildfire. And few know it, but this is the quickest way to get stuck.
While you'll want to find and use the right webinar software for your needs and budget, I don't recommend starting with this step. Instead, I suggest starting off by imagining your ideal webinar. If you're not sure where to start, try asking yourself a few questions.
- Will I invite a co-host or host it solo?
- Will I interview several co-hosts or panelists?
- Will I allow attendees to unmute themselves and ask questions?
- What day works best for me?
- Which time works best for my community?
- What does my community want to learn?
- Am I selling something?
- Do I want to create a place for my community to congregate and ask questions?
These questions will help you create a firm foundation, get clear on your goals, and iron out the logistics. It's essential that you get clear on this piece first, especially your intention.
If you get stuck on the why behind your webinar, check out this post on the benefits of webinars. You can move on to the tech when you have answered these questions.
Pick the right topic
There are so many ways to do this incorrectly. But you can skip all those wrong ways by asking your community what they want to learn.
You can do this by using one of the survey tools listed later in this post. I’d suggest giving your subscribers three to five topics that align with their top pain points based on what you know about your audience. This will limit the types of responses that you receive.
From there, take it a step further and invite them to co-create the webinar with you. You can do this by sharing the survey results and asking them which topic (webinar title) resonates. Then, you’ll have enough information to start creating copy for your webinar registration page.
Use the right tools
Every webinar needs three to six types of tools to go off without a hitch: a webinar platform, a landing page tool, an email service, a payment processor (if you're selling something (i.e., the webinar itself, a course or group program), slide deck, and survey tool.
Now that you know the types of tools you'll need for your first or next successful webinar, how do you find the best tool for your business? For that, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions:
- What type(s) of tool do I need?
- Do I have a budget?
- Will I manage it directly or hire an assistant?
- Do I have the time to learn a new tool?
- What learning/training resources are available?
- What key features do I want for each tool?
When you know the answers to these questions, you’ll be closer to finding your ideal solution. Want a list of free and paid tools? Read on.
Key features to look for in your webinar platform: The replay is embeddable and shareable, is high quality, able to host enough attendees, and offers screen sharing.
Landing page providers
Key features to look for in your landing page provider: Customizable templates, ability to add to your site, and simple design.
Key features to look for in your email service platform: Intuitively utilizes forms, tags, automated emails, personalization, and integrates easily with your other tools.
*Free here means there isn't a setup or monthly fee.
Key features to look for in your payment processor: Easy reports to access income and expenses, easily integrates with other tools, and accepts credit cards and Paypal.
Slide deck resources
Key features to look for in your slide deck resources: Look for designs that are on brand, easy to customize, and in the appropriate format (i.e., Powerpoint, Keynote)
*These tools offer free and paid options
Key features to look for in your survey tool: Easy access to entries, shareable link, multiple fields, and offers custom redirects to thank you or confirmation pages.
Setting up your webinar
A typical webinar has at least five phases: Setup, Promotion, (Day of) prep, Live webinar, and Follow-up.
The setup phase refers to the processes you'll need to plan your webinar and set up the tech. Give yourself enough time to get everything in place. After you’ve found the perfect date, count backwards four to eight weeks out. Then, begin setting everything up.
During this stage you’ll:
- Determine a date for the webinar
- Select a co-host (if applicable)
- Get clear on the tech
- Set up your registration page
- Add the confirmation email to your email service
- Create the event inside your webinar platform
At ConvertKit, we use a handy worksheet my teammate, Isa, created to keep track of each stage and help the team stay organized. Here’s a little screenshot so you can see what all goes into that spreadsheet:
During this phase, the top question tends to be, ‘What day should I host my webinar?' The best way to answer this is to talk to your community, followed up by testing different days to answer this question. And, if all else fails, stick to the research which shows that Tuesday – Thursday tend to have increased live attendance rates.
In the second phase, you'll focus on promoting the webinar. You can share the registration page with your list or on social media. If you have a co-host, invite them to share the event too. Our visual automations editor makes it easier to promote your webinars to your community.
(Day of) prep
During the day of prep, get ready to:
- Send out your final invite
- Hop on social media
- Get in the right mindset
- Arrive 20-30 minutes early for your final audio and webinar platform test
During the live event, you can share your screen, a deck, your face, or a combination of all of them. It's essential that you deliver on what you promised. You can also have a VA or someone one on your team hop in the chat to engage your community or ask questions.
During the follow-up phase, you will:
- Share the replay
- Send thank you emails
- Remind people to buy or ask them why they didn't buy
This stage is the most critical stage whether you're selling something or just trying to build trust by offering your community more face-to-face time with you.
Make sure people show up
There's nothing more troublesome than stepping out of your comfort zone to host a webinar only to show up on ‘the day' and hear crickets. Talk about a shot to your ego. Thankfully, you can avoid empty seats at your live webinar by following these steps.
You may think that this is a no-brainer, but it's possible to get so caught up in the technical aspect (or caught off guard by life) and forget to share your upcoming event with your friends, family, colleagues, and social media following.
When you're promoting your webinar, think of the theory of six degrees of separation. It's the idea that “all living things and everything else in the world are six or fewer steps away from each other.” Your webinar should not be your best-kept secret.
Mix-up your social media posts, varying between text and images. You don't have to be a graphic designer to create shareable images. Don't over think it.
Open up a tool like Canva. Find a template. Make sure the image is the appropriate size for whatever platform you decided to share it on. Then, start sharing.
It's not enough to tell everyone about your webinar or share it across social media. You have to be strategic. Think back to your ideal customer/client avatar(ica). Where does your ICA hang out?
Once you have answered that question, go forth and promote your webinar in those places.
Your video-based ads and posts are more likely to generate clicks and traffic to your blog posts, landing pages, or webinar registration page. So try using video to promote your webinars to get more eyes on your landing page.
Webinar what? What's that?
Webinar directories are free or paid forums that allow you to post and share your webinar with various audiences. Some, like Eventbrite, will market the event for you. My favorites include Webinara, All Conferences, Eventbrite or TellOnline.
With inbox overload on the rise, it's no wonder why creators and entrepreneurs are wary of sending too many emails.
Don't let this get you down.
If people are going to unsubscribe, they will unsubscribe whether you email them too much or not. Instead, send more than one email inviting your community to your webinar. Three tends to be the magic number, with the third one going out to your list the day of the webinar.
Don't skimp on reminder emails either. Send at least three to make sure people remember your webinar and show up live. Uses these emails to create excitement and tease them about a special bonus exclusively for those who show up live.
Get to your webinar planning checklist today
When it comes to webinars, think of them as marathons, not sprints. They are processes, not just one strategy. It doesn't have to be a daunting task.
If that doesn't work, try using a checklist to break these phases down into manageable pieces. Using a checklist will allow you to tackle a few items each week so you can save time, gain confidence in the process and reduce overwhelm.
Want to get your hands on our 8-week webinar planning checklist? Download your copy below.