Webinars for Newbies (The Complete Guide to Getting Started!)

Oh heeeey there, buttercup! What’s up?

You know what’s kind of funny? At this time last year, I never believed I would be doing live webinars. (And I certainly didn’t think I’d be writing a blog post about them!) I was intimated by the tech stuff, nervous about broadcasting live and scared SH*TLESS at the thought of trying to “sell” anything. But then … something magical happened. I kept hearing about how webinars can be absolutely amazing for business, so I tried doing my first ever webinar back in April and guess what? I FELL IN LOVE WITH THEM.


I had so much stink’in fun doing it, (not to mention I also made money which was kind of nice- not gonna lie), and now I’m officially hooked.

Me + Webinars = going steady. And I’m pleased to announce that our relationship is going great!

So what the heck is a webinar, exactly?

If you haven’t done a webinar before, they are live video events that you broadcast to your audience. Sometimes people call them live workshops (that’s the term I actually prefer to use most of the time), but they really are interchangeable. A live webinar and a live workshop = pretty much the same thing. Webinars are usually used to teach your audience how to do something specific, and sometimes include a lead into something that you’re selling at the end (but they don’t have to! Webinars can be given without selling anything, too.) Webinars can be simply you talking to your camera, you doing a presentation with slides (and screensharing) or both!

Why the heck are they freaking awesome for business?

They are freaking awesome for sooooo many reasons (which is why I literally had to FORCE myself to try doing one!) Are you curious to know why? Ehhh? GOOD! Because I’m gonna tell you why even if you’re NOT curious. Webinars are fantastic because …

- They are a WONDERFUL way to connect with your people. When people get to see you “in person” and hear your voice, it just helps people get to know you better on a whole new level! And that really helps with building trust, which is totes essential if you want to sell anything online. (Also … I can’t believe I just said the word “totes.”) 

- They help you to stand out. Why? Because you can really showcase your unique personality when you’re talking and interacting during a live event! And not only that, but while there ARE lots of people doing webinars, there’s even MORE people who are NOT doing them. 

- They help you to build authority in your niche. Writing a blog post about something is a great way to help develop some authority in your niche, but doing a live presentation about it just adds a whole ‘nother level to the mix! Don’t feel like you’re a qualified expert in your topic? Well guess what- you only need to know a little more than the person you’re teaching. (Have you heard that before? I have, and it’s true!) I’ll bet my last cup of coffee that you know more in your area of expertise than a total beginner does right? There you go. You can teach them something!!!

- They are great for building your e-mail list. You know what’s perceived as high value to many people? FREE video trainings, baby! Doing webinars where people have to sign up to your e-mail list in order to attend is a wonderful way to build that ever so important e-mail list. And you know what’s even BETTER for growing your list even FASTER? Doing a joint webinar with someone else! That way, you can either combine your two audiences OR present to their audience. Either way, you’re getting yourself in front of lots of new people! (Can I get a “yee-haw?”)

- They are the bomb diggity for actually making sales. If you're selling something, doing a quality webinar on something that relates directly to what you're selling is the perfect way to lead into your paid product! I say "quality" with emphasis because you want to make sure that you are giving people lots of actual free VALUE by attending your webinar, even if they don't purchase. Because luring people in for a low-value presentation where they really don't learn anything unless they buy your product = a little sleazy. And kind of a waste of time! 

Have I convinced you that webinars are totally awesome yet? ... Maybe just a little? You don't HAVE to do webinars to run a successful online business, but they definitely help. So if you are feeling a little adventurous, (and maybe also a little scared sh*tless like I was), want to connect with your people and start making money with webinars, I challenge you to try doing just ONE to see how you like it!

Oh! And did I mention that you can start doing webinars on pretty much zero budget?

And I'm gonna make it easy for you by sharing this handy little guide. ;-) (Full disclosure: the tech part is NOT scary, even if you're slightly tech challenged like me!!!) Alright! Ready to get started on planning your first webinar? Let's do this!

1. Get your equipment ready. 

I've got some good news! You don't have to break the bank in order to put on a webinar. (Unless you want to of course ...) But really, it's all super simple! At bare bones minimum, you'll need:

  • A built in microphone on your computer
  • A built in camera on your computer

Probably one of the MOST important things for webinars is making sure that the sound quality is good, because if you sound garbled it will a.) be hard to understand you and b.) be annoying for people to listen to! (And you don't want that, right?) So if you invest in nothing else, invest in a microphone. I use (and highly recommend!) this one right here, and it's just $79. I've also heard great things about the Blue Yeti microphone!

If you want to up the production quality even more, some other things you could invest in would be ...

  • A lighting kit. If your place of living is rather dark like mine is, your video will be really dark and grainy looking. I bought this kit right here for just $45!
  • A backdrop. Don't want people seeing your cluttered space? Look extra professional with a backdrop, baby! I've seen people create custom backdrops by making tapestries in Society 6 and they turn out great!
  • A webcam. Make your video even better quality with a handy webcam like this one! 

And ... that's really all there is to it. Not scary at all right? Riiiiight?!

2. Choose your webinar topic.

Do you think that you don't have anything interesting to say or teach? Perhaps you're thinking, "mehhh ... I don't have anything that people would find interesting ..." If this describes your thought process then I have news for you: YOU'RE WRONG. Yep, sorry to be so blunt about it, but it's true.

You're one of a kind, you know something that others don't AND you can teach it in a way that others can't by relating it to your own personal experience and story! There's always going to be people who know LESS about a topic than you, and there's always going to be people who are interested in your niche (no matter how small, weird or seemingly "boring" your topic is!) 

Okay, end rant. Bottom line: you DO have something to offer! Even if you think you don't. :-) Ehem! So when choosing a topic for your super fun webinar, here's a few tips to help you choose something that will be the best fit for you:

- Your topic should be related to your brand, your purpose and whatever you're selling (IF you're selling anything!) So for example, all of my webinar topics are related to helping people build profitable blogs and businesses because that's the whole purpose of my business. And when I want to sell a course at the end, I make sure that the topic I choose relates directly to my course! That way, I know that if someone signed up for my webinar, they're probably also going to be interested in my paid course since they're directly related.

- You can gage interest for new ideas with your webinar topic! Have a mind-blowing, earth shattering idea for a new course that you might like to create? Do a webinar on the topic first so that you can make sure people are actually interested in it before you waste a millisecond of your time creating it! And not only that, but you can see what types of questions and feedback you're getting from people during the webinar, which is perfect fuel for your course content creation. (Yes I know ... brilliant.)

- Choose something small and specific. You know what people LOVE? Small, actionable steps that they can put into action right away! You don't need to teach a crap ton of stuff during your webinar, in fact you want to think of something small and specific to teach so that people feel like they learned something (without going into overwhelm) that they can put into action immediately after your webinar ends!

- Think about different types of trainings! Do you have a popular blog post that you can turn into a webinar? A frequently asked question on a tech training or something that you do every day (but that other people might not know how to do?) Can you preview content from an upcoming course, program or service? SO MANY JUICY IDEAS!!!

3. Choose your webinar title.

When it comes to choosing a title for your webinar, your title is one of THE best ways to get people to register! (Or to NOT register, if your title sucks ...) So in other words, your title is super important!!!! (No pressure, hehehe.)

To help you out, I've created a handy cheat sheet with tips and examples so that you can come up with a title that grabs people's attention, entices them to sign up and makes them quiver with excitement! You can grab your cheat sheet below, yo.

4. Choose a day and time for your webinar- make it real!

Ohhhh yeah, now that you've chosen your topic it's time to get it on the calendar, baby! Choosing the best day and time will really depend on your specific audience, so make sure that you think about them when choosing! For example, does your audience work a 9 - 5 job? Then choosing a weekday at 1pm might not be the best time to choose. Where does your main audience live? What's the time difference?

For me, I have a Facebook group and I just straight up asked people what days and times would work best for them. Even though I did my first webinar on a Saturday morning, surprisingly many people said that weekday early afternoons or evenings would work best!

5. Set up your 3 pages.

Alright, here comes some of the techie stuff, but don't panic!!!! You can do this. Deep breaths. So when you do a webinar, you need to create 3 types of pages; a registration page, a thank-you page and a live page for your actual event. So for example ... here's a peek at the registration page that I used for people to register for my recent Pinterest webinar ...

After they registered here, they got taken to a lovely thank-you page where they could SHARE the Pinterest workshop with their friends (woo hoo!) I also let them know what to expect just so that ... ya know ... they'd know what to expect!

These are the two pages that you'll need to create first so that you can start spreading the word and getting people signed up! For this you are going to need two things: something to create your pages on and an e-mail marketing provider (like Mailchimp or Convertkit!) so that you can have an e-mail with the details autosend when they sign up (and to grow your e-mail list!)

I create all of my registration pages and thank-you pages (and as you'll see soon, my live event pages), using Leadpages. Using Leadpages makes it really easy, and the two pages you see above were created with already made templates- I simply plugged in my info and brand colors!

Once people sign up for your event, on the day of the webinar they will watch it on a "live page," something that looks like this:

Just like my other pages, I use Leadpages for my live event pages too! (And once again, it's really easy because they have pre-made templates that are all ready to go!) And in order to get the live video on the page, I embed a Google Hangouts on Air video onto the page. (Psssst, Google Hangouts on Air is totally free!) The live page doesn't need to be ready until shortly  beforehand, so I usually get everything created and set up a day or two before the event.

Not feel'in Leadpages? Other ways and places that you can create your pages include:

- Webinar Jam. I've never used this platform before, but I've heard great things about it! 
- Your own Wordpress or Squarespace site. Yep, you can get crafty and create separate pages on your website to use as a registration page, thank you page and live page! To create your live page on your site, you could create a password protected page on your site and then embed a Google Hangouts on Air into it- this would be a totally FREE version of setting up your first webinar! 

If you'd like to add a chat box to your live webinar page (for free!) then you can use Chatango, it's what I currently use and I really dig it. (Plus it's super fun to see people interacting with each other and asking questions!) 

6. Set up your e-mail stuff.

So remember above how I said that you'll need an e-mail marketing provider in order to send people an e-mail with all of the info when they register? So if you don't use one already, now's the time! Mailchimp is a great option if you're just getting started (and is FREE for the first 2,000 subscribers) and Convertkit is great if you've got over 2,000 subscribers and/or want more advanced automation and tagging features.

Now buckle your seat belt because you're gonna want to do a few things in regards to email! Like these things ...

  • Sign up with your e-mail marketing provider (if you haven't done so already!)
  • If you're using Mailchimp, create a "new list" for the people who sign up for your webinar- that way you aren't bugging EVERYONE on your list who didn't sign up with reminder e-mails! If you're using Convertkit, create a new "tag" for the people who sign up for the very same reason.
  • Link your e-mail list/sign up to your registration page. Now when someone registers for your webinar, they are on your e-mail list and will receive your webinar-related e-mails! Which leads me too ...
  • Write a "thanks for signing up!" e-mail and remind them of what they'll learn and include the exact day and time of your event. (And don't forget to configure it to autosend immediately after someone signs up!)
  • Write 2 - 3 reminder e-mails and schedule them to autosend both the day before AND on the day of your webinar! Remember how you created a separate list/new tag JUST for the people who signed up for your event? Write 2 - 3 reminder e-mails just for them that include a link to the live page and schedule one to send the day before the event, and 2 to send the day of. (I like to send one e-mail an HOUR before the event, and another one to send 15 minutes before the event!) 

7. Promote your webinar!

If you're worried that zero people will show up, that's totally normal. (I worried about that too!) But think about it this way, what's the worst case scenario that could happen? You start the presentation and there isn't anyone there. At that point you can start laughing to yourself and give your presentation to your pet (or imaginary friend) instead! There. You've just given yourself GREAT practice.

But in reality, that worst case scenario proooobably won't happen! Why? Because you're gonna promote it, baby! A week or two before your event, make sure to spread the word by doing things like ...

  • Announcing it (where appropriate) in Facebook groups where people who would be interested in your topic hang out!
  • Mention it in a blog post
  • Put links to your registration page around your site in multiple places
  • Let everyone on your e-mail list know
  • Announce it on social media (multiple times in the days leading up to the event!)
  • Targeted Facebook ads (I actually haven't tried this method yet, but I know that they work great for some people!) 

Don't worry, you've got this! People will show up, and it will be awesome. And remember, the worst case scenario is that you will get in some amazing practice for your next one instead!

8. Plan your actual webinar content- woo hoo!

Now that you've got people registering for your webinar, you better start planning it eh? You can plan it out so that you're simply talking to the camera (with your face showing) the entire time, you can do a slide presentation OR you can do a combination of both. (I personally love doing both!) 

Aaaaand if you're wondering if webinars have a basic structure to them, then the answer would be yes! Yes they do. Webinars are generally 45 minutes to 1.5 hours long (because anything more than that and people start getting antsy and leaving! And you don't want an empty "room" at the end of it all, right? Because that would be sad.) Here's the basic "format" that I usually like to follow ...

  • I generally welcome people for the first 2 - 3 minutes and make sure that people can hear me (while also waiting for last minute stragglers!)
  • For the next 5 - 10 minutes I introduce myself and share briefly about my story (because some people might be wondering why the heck I'm qualified to teach them something!) and I also love giving people an incentive to stay until the end (like a Q&A after everything, for example.)
  • About 10 (sometimes 15 minutes in), I start my main presentation. This is where I switch to screensharing with my slides (I love to use Keynote for Mac to create them!) Generally the "meat" of the presentation should be about 25 - 30 minutes. Remember, you don't want to overwhelm people with too much info! AND if you're planning on selling something when you're done, you typically want to do that about 45 minutes into the webinar before people leave. Focus on giving people as much value as possible during your presentation! You want people to leave with not only value, but with something they can put into action! (Even if they don't buy from you.) You simply CAN'T give away too much free value! So let that value rain like a bucket of candy being thrown during a parade, baby.
  • IF I'm selling something, I'll spend about 5 minutes after the main presentation talking about whatever it is that I'm offering. (Usually I offer a juicy, limited time bonus as an incentive for people to sign up!)
  • After I've done my presentation (and perhaps mentioned a product that I'm selling), I'll do a Q&A. This part is seriously my favorite because it's so much fun to interact with everyone!

9. Do your webinar and be awesome!

Alright I'm not gonna lie, the night before my first webinar I couldn't sleep because I was so nervous that I was literally nauseated. I was wide awake at 2am trying not to puke all over my cat-patterned blanket!

But once I started, the nerves went away and it was an absolute freaking blast. It was so much fun being able to not only teach to a large group of people (from all around the world!) but to see everyone excitedly interacting and asking questions.


So, my dear creative bundle of joy ... will you probably be scared and nervous? Yes, you probably will be. But guess what? That's totally normal and gets WAY better with practice! Just focus on being yourself, giving value and interacting with your people. Hell, you can even pretend that you are teaching just ONE person instead of a group. (I love to do that sometimes because it seems way less "scary!")

10. Grab your webinar goodies + crash course!

Yes, I've got oodles of free stuff to get you started! (I just love the word "oodles," hehe.)

  • 9 emails over 9 days packed with tips and info
  • A 1.5 hour video training on exactly how to plan a profitable webinar
  • Your ultimate webinar prep checklist (so that you don't forget anything with all of the moving parts! Plus, checking off things is super satisfying.) 
  • Tips on how to engage your live audience (so they will stick around til the end, ask questions and have FUN!) 
  • Tips especially for introverts to help get over the fear of broadcasting live. (Woo hoo!)
  • How to create webinar titles that rock cheat sheet. (Because your webinar's title is one of the most important ways to get people to attend! It needs to be GOOD, baby!)
  • Plus MORE exclusive tips and video trainings delivered to your inbox!

There now, webinars don't seem COMPLETELY horrible and terrifying right? Remember, I NEVER thought I would do them (ever!) and now they are seriously my favorite. You won't know how you feel about them until you try doing just one! :-)

Are you thinking about doing one? (Dooooo it!) Do you have any questions? Let me know below, yo! And if you'd like to find out the 8 different ways that you can make money with webinars (half of which don't require selling anything in your presentation) then be sure to check out this post!

And now ... time to go take a hot shower because my hands are freezing and my zebra print Snuggie ain't doing it's job! (Yeah you read that right ... I'm super refined working in my zebra print Snuggie!)