Offering free, live webinars has become one of the most efficient and effective ways for authors to grow their e-mail lists and introduce themselves, their products, and their services to new people. If you’re interested in hosting a webinar to promote your book—or, another type of product, service, or cause—consider experimenting with webinars. Here are the tools that can help you to get started:
- A useful slide presentation related to what you want to promote (including a specific call to action at the end)
- Your website (this is where the webinar actually happens)
- Google Hangouts on Air (this will handle the audio/visual portion of your webinar)
- Chatango.com account (this provides an embeddable chatroom for your webinar participants during the webinar)
- Canva.com (an easy, cheap way to create a nice advertisement for your webinar)
- Facebook’s Power Editor (used to create/distribute a Facebook ad to promote the webinar)
- Mailchimp account (or another e-mail marketing system)
- An external microphone
Now, here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started with hosting and promoting live webinars:
Step 1: Setup “Webinar Registration Page” on your website
- In the webinar description, answer the following questions:
- How will someone benefit from attending this webinar?
- Who is the presenter?
- Setup registration form and auto-responder
- At a minimum, collect registrant’s first name and e-mail address.
- In your e-mail marketing system (I use Mailchimp), add each registrant’s name to a specific list that you created for registrants of this specific webinar.
- As each person registers, they should immediately receive an automatically generated e-mail with a link to access the webinar. (see next step)
Step 2: Setup “Webinar Event Page” on your website
This is where the webinar will actually take place.
- Embed a pre-recorded greeting video to reassure people that they’re in the right place.
- Embed the Google “Hangouts on Air” video frame. Make it as large as possible.
- Embed HTML chat log on your webinar event page. I use Chatango.com, which is free.
Step 3: Schedule a “Google Hangout on Air”
To schedule your “Google Hangout on Air,” you’ll need to set it up via your Google+ page.
Although you’ll be using “Google Hangouts on Air” to stream your webinar, your webinar participants will be watching the webinar via your “Webinar Event Page” on your website. In other words, they don’t have to log-in to Google to participate in your webinar.
So, in Google+, you only need to invite yourself to the Google Hangout because only the host needs to access the Google Hangout from inside Google+. Everyone else will watch the Google Hangout from your website.
Step 4: Embed your “Google Hangout on Air” on your “Webinar Event Page.”
The Google Hangout on Air will be scheduled via Google+ and embedded on your “Webinar Event Page.”
Click the “Links” button. (See image above.)
Step 5: Using Facebook Power Editor, create a “Facebook Ad” to promote your “Webinar Registration Page,” and run it for one week leading up to the webinar.
Your Facebook advertisement’s image should be 1200 x 628px, and text cannot cover more than 20% of the image. You can create a nice advertisement image for $1.00 at Canva.com, using their templates and stock photos.
Facebook will allow you to specify your target group’s age range, gender, location, interests, and behavior. Facebook will charge you each time they “serve” your advertisement, so target your advertisement toward a well-defined group.
Facebook Advertising Expenses
Here are the results from a recent Facebook advertisement that was run by High Bridge Books:
- Spending was capped at $15 per day
- The ad ran for seven days leading up to the webinar
- Total cost = $110
- 181 “unique clicks” on the “Webinar Registration Page” ($0.61 per “click”)
- 40 registrations ($2.75 per registration and new e-mail addresses)
- 14 people showed up to the webinar
Step 6: Using your e-mail marketing program (i.e. Mailchimp, Constant Contact, etc.), notify your e-mail list about your upcoming webinar.
Send this notification to your e-mail list about two days prior to the event.
Step 7: Create a “Webinar Registration” list in your e-mail marketing system, and add each new registrant’s name to the list.
Step 8: Schedule a “Starting Soon” e-mail to be sent to your “Webinar Registration” list 15 minutes prior to the webinar.
Step 9: In Google+, click “Start Hangout” at least 30 minutes prior to the webinar.
Before the webinar begins, make sure that you get a buddy to make sure that your sound/slideshow will be audible/visible for your webinar participants when they arrive.