Hosting a webinar for beginners might seem like a scary topic. But there are a lot of benefits of a webinar to consider. It's a great way to grow your email list and connect with your audience. And it's a great way to sell your online course or other digital products or services. There's a long list of the benefits of a webinar. We'll talk about that here, plus we'll talk about how to set up a webinar for success.
Let's dig in!
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Let's dig into the benefits of a webinar, how to host a webinar for beginners, and how a webinar works!
What is a Webinar?
So before we talk about the benefits of a webinar and how to set up a webinar, we've got to be clear on what exactly a webinar is.
“A webinar is a video workshop, lecture, or presentation hosted online using webinar software. Often business-related, these sessions can be used to share knowledge, ideas, and updates with people around the world. Webinars can also be leveraged to build and nurture relationships, build authority around a brand, or demonstrate a product.”q2.com
Basically, a webinar is when you stream live video (you can also do an automated webinar where it's pre-recorded, but I talked about that in this post on how to create an automated webinar) onto a page where registrants have access, and you use slides to teach about a topic, and optionally, to pitch your own product at the end.
“What makes webinars effective is that they’re a two-way form of communication where the attendees and presenters give, receive and share information with each other, in real time.”venngage.com
Hosting a webinar is a great way to grow your email list, connect with your community, and (optionally) sell your products.
Everyone should consider doing them.
But I get that the first time hosting a webinar is scary (believe me, I know). The first time I hosted a webinar I was up for literally the entire night before worrying about it. And in the end only about 50 people showed up, and I wasn't even selling anything, so it was fine.
But man was I nervous.
What topics can webinars be about?
A webinar can be about any topic you can think of. As long as you know there's an audience for the topic, it can be a webinar topic.
Calltheone.com has a list of 15 popular webinar topics, and psst…they're not all about making money online (a common myth when it comes to webinars):
So as you can see there are benefits of a webinar for a wide variety of topics.
There's a myth that only people who teach people about how to make money (like, a webinar titled “How to Use Facebook Ads to Have a 5 Figure Launch”) can get benefits from webinars.
That is just not the case.
I encourage you to try hosting a webinar, even if you feel a little weird about it. The worst that can happen is that no one shows up. And that's probably not going to happen.
Does a webinar have to be live?
No. There are such things as “automated webinars” or “evergreen webinars” (they mean the same thing).
Automated webinars are beyond the scope of this article, but you can check out my long post on how to set up an evergreen webinar funnel right here.
What goes into a webinar presentation?
It can vary, but in general, these are the approximate rules:
- Introduce yourself, introduce your webinar topic, tell the story of how you got from where they are to where you are now (15 minutesish)
- Teach (30 minutesish)
- Pitch your product (optional) (15-30 minutesish)
Do I have to sell something when I host a webinar?
Nope! Webinars are a great way to sell things like online courses, so a lot of people (me included) use them for that.
But you can totally use a webinar just as a list-building tool and not sell anything. People will probably be grateful because they're so used to getting pitched on things at the end of webinars.
How Does a Webinar Work?
There are a few steps of a webinar:
- Promote your webinar registration page so people can sign up (you can make your registration page on your webinar platform or with tools like Leadpages and Elementor).
- Have your email autoresponder send a series of emails to registrants warming them up for the webianr and remining them to show up (ConvertKit is great at this).
- Prepare webinar slides for your presentation (I use Canva for this, but you can use PowerPoint or Keynote if you prefer).
- Get familiar with your webinar platform so that you're not seeing it for the first time on the day you're hosting a webinar. Run a quick test webinar (no one will see it) just so you understand how everything works.
- When it's time to go live, hook up your microphone and webcam (if you're showing your face), pull up your slides, and go live!
How do I handle the webinar chat when I'm hosting a live webinar?
Depending on how many people you have in the chat and how engaged they are, it might be going at a mile a minute and there might be lots of questions.
It's very difficult to monitor the chat while you're doing the webinar.
So what you should do is hire a VA (or even just ask a friend or family member) for the purpose of monitoring the chat during the webinar.
Your VA will create a Google Doc, shared it with you, and whenever someone in the chat has a question, your VA will paste it into the Google Doc.
That way, at the end of the webinar, when it's time for questions, everybody gets their questions answered.
The alternative is to try to monitor it yourself, and if you have very low attendance that may be ok, but for an active chat it's really very difficult, especially when you're a webinar beginner.
10 benefits of a webinar (even for webinar beginners)
Webinar Benefit #1: Webinars are a great way to grow your email list and your reach
One of the biggest benefits of a webinar is that it can be used to grow your email list. Everyone who signs up will be added to your list, and people love to sign up for this stuff (if you promote it correctly).
You can easily add dozens, even hundreds, of people to your list with a webinar.
This is important, because your email list is absolutely crucial as a blogger (new or experienced). Your email list is the best way to connect with your audience. Way better than social media.
Social media has a reach of only 0.58%. Compare that to email, which will reach 85% of inboxes and has a 23% average open rate. (Source). That's a BIG difference.
There are lots of ways to grow your email list, but hosting a webinar is a great one.
Webinar Benefit #2: Webinars are a great way to sell online courses or other digital products
One of the most important benefits of a webinar is that hosting a webinar is a great way to sell online courses, or other digital products.
According to OptinMonster, between 20% and 40% of those who attend a webinar become qualified leads. And more excitingly, between 2% and 5% of webinar attendees will buy from you (and in real life, I can vouch that it can be much higher).
Selling your online course (or other product) on a webinar is one of–if not the–best ways to sell. Hard stop.
Webinar Benefit #3: Webinars establish you as the authority
Another one of the benefits of a webinar is that webinars are a great way to establish yourself as an “authority” on your topic.
By showing people that you can teach a whole hour-long class on this subject in an informative and interesting way, you're showing people that you really know what you're talking about. And this leads to all sorts of good things like increased traffic, increased email subscribers, and increased sales.
Hosting a webinar is simply one of the best ways to establish yourself as an authority
Webinar Benefit #4: Webinars allow you to engage with your audience
One of the main benefits of a webinar is that it lets you engage directly with your audience.
“Webinars are another way to create a community of content with other people in your space. Webinars are proven to drive traffic, and provide a good reason for people to fill out a sign-up sheet and enroll in your email program. Plus, webinars are a very tangible way to show that you can provide worthwhile content to subscribers.”addthis.com
During a webinar you'll have a live chat open where people can talk amongst themselves, but also to you. You should take advantage of this!
There are lots of ways to interact with people during your webinar:
This is one of the few times when you can really interact with your audience in real time. It's a great way to build your following.
Webinar Benefit #5: Webinars have an enhanced branding value
Another one of the benefits of a webinar is that webinars have enhanced branding value.
Webinars are a great way to increase your “brand awareness”:
In basic terms, brand awareness concerns how many people know about your business and what it has to offer. The better your brand awareness is, the more people are likely to engage with your business. Hosting a webinar is a proven method to help your business to improve its brand awareness levels.myownconference.com
Hosting a webinar really puts you–and your brand–out there. A big benefit of a webinar is that it can seriously boost your brand awareness.
Webinar Benefit #6: Webinars provide high-quality leads
Another one of the benefits of a webinar is that it can grow your email list with high-quality leads.
People have to enter their name and email to sign up for your webinar, so hosting a webinar is a great list-building tool.
Plus, the leads you get are likely to be of a higher quality (meaning that they're more aligned to the topic of your blog and more likely to buy from you). Signing up for a webinar requires more of a commitment than signing up for a PDF freebie, so it shows that these people really are interested in the topic.
I've hosted webinars that have grown my email list by hundreds of leads before. This is a major benefit of a webinar.
Webinar Benefit #7: Webinars build trust between you and your audience
One of the benefits of a webinar is that webinars build trust between you and your audience.
“Webinars are the best way to build trust with an audience of prospective clients and customers. That’s because they give the entrepreneur the opportunity to reveal their true convictions, showcase the extent of their expertise, articulate their approach to the field, and most importantly let the audience know who they are.“medium.com
Webinars allow you to speak directly to people on a topic that you're an expert in. This makes you look great, and naturally builds trust.
Hosting webinars also gives you the chance to interact directly with the audience through the live chat during your webinar, another great way to build trust.
People walking away from a quality webinar are much more likely to feel like they know, like, and trust you than people who just downloaded on of your PDF freebies.
Webinar Benefit #8: Webinars allow you to learn about your audience
One of the benefits of a webinar is that it allows you to learn about your audience.
The live chat is your friend during a webinar.
Use it to take polls and ask questions, like:
“Tell me in the chat if you've ever done XYZ before!”
“Tell me in the chat, do you prefer X or Y?”
Additionally, people can use the live chat to ask YOU questions during the webinar. This is a fantastic way to know what your audience is thinking, what they're worried about, what they don't quite understand, and what they WANT to learn about.
Hosting a webinar is a great way to learn about your audience.
Webinar Benefit #9: Webinars are a cost-effective way to reach a lot of people
Another benefit of a webinar is that it's a cost-effective way to reach a lot of people.
You'll need to pay a monthly fee to your webinar provider (like Easy Webinar, my preferred webinar platform). But aside from that, there's really no additional cost to hosting a webinar (unless you decide to run Facebook ads, which is optional, but may make sense).
You can easily registered dozens, if not hundreds, of people for just one webinar. And all you're paying to reach those people is the one monthly fee from your webinar platform.
Hosting a webinar is a cost-effective way of reaching a lot of people, and that's a major benefit of a webinar.
Webinar Benefit #10: Webinar content can be repurposed into other kinds of content
Another one of the benefits of a webinar is that webinar content can be repurposed into all sorts of other content. This is good for a few reasons:
“[C]ontent from webinars can be repurposed into a multitude of formats. Not only are repurposing strategies a smart use of a marketer’s time, they’re also beneficial to a company’s target audience because different personalities and buyer personas prefer different formats of educational material. Even though people who attend your webinar may enjoy in-depth presentations that include audio and visual components, other individuals will respond to text alone, picture representations, or bite-sized chunks of information. Ultimately, repurposing content doesn’t just save you time and resources, it makes it easier to connect with every person in your target audience.”smartbugmedia.com
Repurposing webinar content saves you time and effort, and can be great for your audience as well.
There are lots of ways to repurpose webinar content…
The list goes on.
4 Disadvantages of Hosting a Webinar (& How to Overcome Them)
Webinar Disadvantage 1: Webinars can have technical problems while you're on a live webinar
It happens to the best of us. Whether you're a beginner with webinars or you've done them 100 times. There's always a chance of a tech malfunction.
And nothing's worse than knowing that 100 people are staring at their screens waiting for you and you're just frozen.
While you can never 100% guarantee that you won't have a technical glitch, you can reduce the odds by choosing the right webinar platform (I recommend Easy Webinar) and by familiarizing yourself with the webinar controls before it's actually time to go live.
And if something does go wrong…well, there's not a lot you can do. Try and fix it, but if you really can't, you'll just have to send everyone who registered for your webinar an email apologizing and setting a new date and time for the webinar.
It happens to the best of us, so don't let it get you down. People will get over it.
Webinar Disadvantage 2: Show-up rates are often low
The average show-up rate for a webinar is about 33%. (Source).
I know that probably sounds discouraging as you're learning how a webinar works. You worked hard to promote your webinar, and now only one-third of people are going to show up? It's lame, I know.
You can raise your show-up rate by sending registrants a series of emails prior to the webinar telling them what benefits they'll get from the webinar and just plain reminding them to show up.
But you're never going to get everybody.
The good news is, about 25% of webinar registrants will watch the replay. (Source). So while you don't get the benefit of a webinar in the form of the live chat with this 25%, you're still getting your message through.
If you combine those that show up live and those that watch the replay, you're not up to 58%. Well over half.
That's not so bad, right?
Webinar Disadvantage 3: Webinar participants can get distracted
The typical webinar is around 60 minutes, give or take. For some people, that's a long time to sit still and pay attention.
So you might have people that are looking at other tabs or just listening to you in the background as they make dinner or wash the dishes or do whatever else people do.
Other than trying to make your content as engaging as you can, there's not much you can do to force people to sit still and listen for an hour. So that's one disadvantage of hosting a webinar. And definitely not a benefit of a webinar.
Webinar Disadvantage 4: Live webinars can only be watched at one particular time
There are lots of benefits of a webinar, but one disadvantage is that live webinars can only be watched at one particular time.
When you create a checklist or an ebook as a freebie for your email list, people can access that 24/7, whenever they feel like it. But your live webinar necessarily is only occurring at one time.
There are a couple of solutions to this.
- Offer a replay. Even if you make it a limited time replay, this will still get a lot more people to watch your webinar.
- Offer your webinar at two or three different times. Of course you're never going to get everybody, but giving people a couple options makes it more likely that one of them will work.
You can also consider creating an evergreen webinar, which is something I've posted about extensively.
Webinar Disadvantage 5: Webinars can be intimidating for beginners
You've read all about the benefits of a webinar, but if you're a beginner, this thing may still sound kind of intimidating.
And I feel you. I was SUPER nervous for my first webinar. And my second. And my third. But at some point it really did get easier.
I can't say that I have zero nerves before a webinar now, but it's a lot less than it used to be.
Just remember that people aren't expecting you to be perfect. If you get a little tongue-tied or move onto the next slide too early, it's ok. People won't even remember it tomorrow.
Webinars for beginners can definitely be intimidating, but practice makes perfect. And pretty soon you'll no longer be a “webinar beginner.”
And then you can take advantage of all the benefits of webinars.
How to Set Up a Webinar
Wondering how to set up a webinar? You need a few things:
- A webinar platform to host the actual webinar (I recommend Easy Webinar or Crowdcast).
- A registration page creator and thank you page creator (if you aren't using the ones your webinar platform provides). (I recommend Leadpages or Elementor).
- A microphone and webcam (if you plan to be on camera).
- A slide deck creator (I recommend Canva or Keynote/PowerPoint).
- A promo graphic creator (I recommend Canva).
- An email service provider to send promo and follow up emails (I recommend ConvertKit).
Best Webinar Platforms + Tools
Picking the right webinar platform is very important if you want to get all the benefits of a webinar. There are a lot of options out there, with varying price points, and varying features.
You should check them out. But I'll tell you my top two:
Easy Webinar is what I use for my webinars. I use it because in addition to its live webinar capabilities (which all providers will have), it's also got great automated webinar capabilities.
I use automated webinars as a major part of my business, so this was important to me.
However, if you're only running live webinars and not automated webinars, you may find that you can get all the benefits of a webinar from Crowdcast, which is cheaper than Easy Webinar (but does not have the capability for automated webinars).
I've used both platforms and they're both top-notch.
Email service provider
You can't just have people sign up for the webinar, have them watch the webinar, and then forget it. You won't get the benefits of a webinar that way.
You need to be sending people emails before AND after the webinar and then you need to add them to your regular email list.
First, you need to email your list a few times to promote the webinar. That's a good way to get signups.
Second, once people have registered, you need to send them a few emails before the webinar to remind them to attend.
Third, after the webinar, you need to send people a series of emails promoting your product (assuming you sold a product on the webinar).
And fourth, after all the webinar stuff is over, they just become a part of your regular email list and you'll be emailing them all the time.
So, what does that mean? It means you need a high-quality email service provider that caters to bloggers.
My choice? ConvertKit.
ConvertKit is the best email provider for bloggers. There are a lot of reasons, but there are just a few:
- Automation. You can set up complicated funnels that are 100% automated. After you write the email, you can set it and forget it. ConvertKit will be sending out hundreds or thousands of emails for you every day and you don't have to lift a finger.
- ConvertKit's email opt-in forms look great and are easy to embed into blog posts. The forms that you've seen in this blog post are ConvertKit forms.
- ConvertKit also provides landing pages, and their templates are great. You can even make an Instagram links landing page.
- Segmenting. ConvertKit makes it super easy to segment your audience based on how they signed up and how they've been tagged. For example, I might tag everyone who signed up for one of my freebies about Instagram as “Interested in Instagram.” So then next time I'm running a webinar about Instagram, I'm going to make sure to send those guys some extra emails.
- There are a lot of ways to customize ConvertKit emails.
Side note: If you're interested in really branded, customized emails, check out my mini-course, Customizing ConvertKit. I'll give you a fully custom-coded email template and all you need to do is change the colors, fonts, and links (and I'll show you exactly how). Make gorgeous emails! Check it out right here.
Microphone + webcam
You should invest in a quality microphone and webcam (if you're going to be showing your face) to get all the benefits of a webinar.
Yes, your laptop has both of these things. But the quality is not great.
Even if you don't plan to show your face, at least invest in a nice microphone.
For a microphone, I recommend the Blue Yeti. It sounds great and it's easy to use. It's what I use for all my webinars and videos.
For a webcam, I recommend the Logitech C920x. It's easy to use and creates a great video.
Webinar slide creator
When you're hosting a webinar, you will, of course, need some way to create your webinar slides.
You have a few options:
I used to make my slides in Keynote, but I have since moved over to Canva and it's SO much easier to create.
I now create all of my slide decks for hosting a webinar and for my courses in Canva.
It makes it really, really easy to add images, shapes, and text.
And you can create some pretty great webinar slides, even if you're a total webinar beginner.
Just as an example, here's a snippet from the introduction of one of my webinars:
Registration + thank you page creator (if not using the default ones)
When thinking about how to set up a webinar, you need a page for people to register for your webinar and you need a “thank you” page where they go once they submit their name and email.
If you want to do that, that's fine, but be aware that on some webinar platforms the design options for these pages are very limited. I use and love Easy Webinar for a lot of reasons (it's where I run my automated webinar funnel for my signature course, Break Into Blogging), but its registration pages are…not so much).
Just so you can see how powerful Leadpages is, here's a webinar registration page I built on there (I just built it for this example, so don't try to sign up for an actual webinar).
So whatever method you choose, make sure when hosting a webinar that you gave GREAT registration and thank you pages.
Webinar promo graphics creator
When hosting a webinar, you're going to need to do some promotional work first.
You'll likely want to post about it on Instagram, Facebook, or whatever platforms you're on.
(I'm a template junkie and I'm a member of all three 🙄…you wouldn't believe how many Canva templates I own. If I have this business until I'm 101 years old, I'd probably still be set).
Here's just one example (made using a Pixistock template):
So find some templates you like, and start promoting!
Webinar workbook creator
This one is optional when setting up a webinar.
But some people (including me) like to provide a workbook to go along with the webinar. It just makes your webinar seem a little more valuable and will help at least some people focus more on the webinar and not on the other 13 tabs they have open in Chrome.
You can create a workbook like this in lots of different places, like:
You might also want to make the PDF fillable (meaning that they can type directly onto the PDF). I always do this because it drives me crazy when people don't.
If you have the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, you can do this with Adobe Acrobat.
But if you don't use Adobe products, you can also do it for free at pdfescape.com.
So now that you know the pros and cons of hosting a webinar, what do you think? It's normal to be a little apprehensive about hosting a webinar, especially for webinar beginners, but it gets better! The main benefits of a webinar are (1) they will grow your list FAST and (2) they are a GREAT way to sell your online course or other digital product.
So have you ever hosted a webinar? Or is it still too a little too scary?
Leave a comment and let me know! I ♥️ hearing these stories (and maybe I can help!) 🙂
More online business tips you'll ♥️:
- How to Use an Automated Webinar Funnel
- The Best Tools for Course Creators
- How to Fix Beginner Blogger Mistakes
- How Canva Can Help Your Business or Your Blog