A webinar is a fantastic marketing tool for website owners who have some traffic on their website but feel that they don’t yet have a “community” behind their site. It allows people to get to know you through a live video presentation where you can also pitch your products or services at the end.
When I do a webinar, I do it for the primary purpose of building a community. A webinar allows for real-time audience interaction, people can see video of you live, and you can respond to questions. This is one of the most engaging forms of media.
I only do a webinar if I feel like it will be an effective way for me to teach a new concept or technique to my audience. I want everyone who comes to the webinar to feel like it was worth their time. If I happen to have a new product or service available, I pitch it at the end of the webinar. Sometimes the payout for that mention can be worth several thousand dollars from a single webinar. But again, my main purpose of doing webinars is to build the brand and be helpful to users.
The Webinar Host I Use
I have spent thousands of dollars and tried just about every webinar hosting platform in existence–both paid and free.
GoToWebinar was my webinar host of choice for quite some time (and I paid an arm and a leg for it), but their platform limits how many attendees you can have, and doesn’t let you show a video of you while you’re presenting (it’s more like a powerpoint). Those two negatives made me look for something else.
Now, I do all of my webinars with Google Hangouts on Air. This is an absolutely free service from Google and their webinar platform is actually quite robust. You can embed the video onto a page of your site, do video of multiple presenters (up to 10), you can have unlimited attendees, show your screen, etc. And the best part is–it’s free!
Frankly, I don’t see the need to use anything other than Google Hangouts. It works every time.
Making Your Webinar Look Good
To make your webinar look good, the most important things are that you (1) Dress professionally, (2) have a nice background, and (3) use good lighting.
Dress professionally: When I use the word “professionally” I do not mean that you need to wear a suit and tie. In fact, depending on your industry, that could make you look unapproachable. But I do recommend not looking like a scrounge either. For me, I usually wear a collared shirt and jeans. I think as long as you don’t have big graphics or logos on your clothes, you should be fine.
Have a nice background: The attendees of your webinar will make quick judgments about the quality of your webinar by how the video looks. If you have old gym clothes strewn about your bedroom in the background, I guarantee it will affect their impression of you. For me, I find that a bookcase usually looks nice for just about any webinar.
Use good lighting: Personally, I use a light kit for my videos (see my recommendations on the video setup page), but if you aren’t ready to invest in something like that, you could do what I did in the beginning. Simply get a desk lamp and point it at the white wall in front of you. That will spread out the light from the desk lamp and create a nice soft light on your face.
Make Your Webinar Sound Good
Do not use the microphone on your computer for a webinar. It is already difficult for webinar attendees to not get bored while staring at you through a computer screen, and poor quality audio can make that happen even faster.
A simple USB microphone like the Audio Technica ATR 2100 would be an excellent choice for webinars or podcasting (read my full audio setup recommendations here).
One More Resource
If you do webinars frequently, you might check out Stealth Seminary, which I heard about from a recommendation by Amy Porterfield. What it allows you to do is record a webinar once, and then schedule it to run at set times in the future. That way you can record the webinar and then continuously drive people to a webinar that you don’t have to attend!