This year I have attended a TON of live webinars! Being a huge nerd, these are great for free information—as long as you know when to jump off if you don’t want to hear the sales pitch. (I’m super susceptible to buying, so I have to really watch out. I also HATE it when the sales part sneaks in, so I prefer up front sales if there will be a pitch.) Live webinars are a great way to learn information for free online. I wanted to see if I could create a live webinar in WordPress.
If you are a content creator, running your own webinar can be a great way to build your list, connect with your audience, and share your expertise. Many people successfully use them to sell products and make multi-six-figure incomes through this medium.
I plan to run once-or-twice monthly live training webinars right here through this webpage (sign up to receive emails with the dates of the live trainings!) and I thought I would show you how you can set up your own live training right on your own WordPress site.
Why would you want to set up your webinar?
First of all, a lot of webinars require software downloads or other annoying hoops to jump through. I have become very tired of having to sign up and set up a whole program on my computer for one webinar. I just don’t want to do it. Why make it harder on your audience? These are also COSTLY. Some more than others.
If you want simple and streamlined, running a webinar through your own site is a perfect solution. It’s free and doesn’t take a lot of code know-how, just a lot of small, simple steps.
The Basic Set-Up
Step 1: Create a page on your website in WordPress without sidebars. (That layout option is just after the draft box.) Whether this page is in the nav bar or not is up to you. I have mine visible and invite people to sign up to learn more about free live training. On the night of the training, if someone stumbles onto the training, great! Generally I push the sign-up page before a webinar rather than giving a link to the live training page itself. (More on that later.)
Step 2: Set up that page an hour before. You can type a few words up top, but I want people to jump right into the webinar so I keep it to a sentence or two, welcoming them to the webinar with the name of whatever I’m training.
Step 3: Set up chat with a free chat service like Chatango or Chatroll. (I use Chatango.) You can pick your width, so know the width of your page. I choose 300 by 350. You can go ahead and embed the chat in the page while in the “text” view. (If you do this too far in advance, it will disappear, so I usually do it about an hour before I’m going live, then I test just before.)
Step 4: Set up a Google Hangout on Air. Once it is live, click on the little links icon on the bottom right of the page. Use the embed code and copy and paste that just before the chat code on your page. I like mine centered so I use the <center> code before and </center> after.
Step 5: Start the hangout a few minutes beforehand. Mute the video, but keep an eye on the page so you can see what people are saying in the chat. I toggled back and forth between the webinar page and the screensharing slides. TRY TO HAVE FUN!
If you need a visual, I created a video of exactly how I set this whole thing up.
A Few Tips
- You should talk to your web host and make sure your page can handle the traffic. If you plan to have thousands of people, you should first of all be making enough money to use Leadpages or another program. (Leadpages would be my preferred non-free medium for webinars!!) Second of all, your site may crash if that many people are chatting and live-streaming on your site for an hour. I upgraded my hosting before my first webinar. I use BlueHost (sign up here—it’s affordable with great support!) and upgraded to the cloud for $20 a year. It totally handled the live webinar like a pro.
- Realize there will be something like a 30-second delay with Google Hangouts. If you want to watch the chat, just keep this in mind, but don’t freak out about it. You can ask people to type questions into the chat box and then talk for 30 seconds or so while you wait for your audience to hear and type in questions. It may freak you out if you watch the video itself (which, by the way, should be muted!) but it’s going to be okay. People on the other side won’t notice if you don’t keep bringing it up.
- Have a moderator. For my first two, I traded favors or paid friends to monitor the chat and text me if there were issues. I used Crowdcast (a free webinar service) the first time and things froze up in the chat, so my moderator texted me questions for the Q&A part. Once I switched to having the live webinar in a WordPress page, this issue was gone. (Another reason to trust your platform over someone else’s platform.) The third time I felt comfortable enough to handle everything myself, but the safety net of a moderator to keep an eye out on the chat while you are screensharing, to field questions for you, and to let you know if there are any bugs is a GREAT idea.
Creating a Sign-up Page
A really important part to this whole process is the sign-up page and the thank-you page. You will want to have the whole thing work like this:
- You share the sign-up page with a form embedded right in the page.
- People sing up with that form.
- They are redirected to a thank-you page on your site with a pre-written Tweet they can click-to-tweet that will share news about the webinar and send people back to the SIGN-UP page.
This gives your webinar maximum share-a-bility. You probably want this unless you are planning a small, private webinar or doing a test-run. I use a Tweet-This box. Have a separate email list set-up for this kind of training.
If You Are Selling a Product
First, do what you will, but DON’T HAVE A DOUCHE-Y SALES PITCH. By this, I mean, don’t tell people they will receive free training and then stop in the middle to say that people have to pay to get the FULL training. I hate those webinars and it breaks my trust instantly with that creator and that brand. If you don’t plan to give the full training, say that up front so people don’t waste an hour getting half-training. I see why this works, but it just lacks integrity.
Another thing I hate (as I mentioned at the beginning of the post) is when the sales pitch comes so seamlessly in that you might get lulled into listening for ten minutes to a pitch for something you can’t afford. BE CLEAR ABOUT WHEN THE PITCH STARTS. That’s my personal thing. I just feel like it’s smarmy when you sneak it in or give half-training just to sell something.
Leadpages has a great feature where a BUY button pops up in the middle or whenever the pitch starts. We can’t quite code that in WordPress, but you can just embed that buy button below the chat and video. Have it lead right to the cart, not to the information page. You should be sharing all that people need to know in the webinar itself if you are selling something. Make buying easy.
You can choose to keep the replay up for a limited time or forever. I keep mine unlisted but send out the link to the replay that night after the webinar. I’m not sure the full percentage, but I had like 15-20% of people who signed up attend. My guess is that’s average. I often sign up, but know I’ll be watching a replay. Send this out that night.
If you are selling a product, you will want probably three follow-up emails total, the last one being right before your product or course goes up in price or is no longer available. Without scarcity like that, people generally won’t buy. I had like three people buy my latest course in the last hour it was on sale. It’s human nature.
I got this whole idea from Mariah Coz of Femtepreneur. She now uses Leadpages, but in her Webinar Rockstar course (which I LOVED) talks you through doing this on Squarespace. This training was inspired by her course and also by what I’ve observed by people using Leadpages for their webinars. Also check out this post from Amy Porterfield with the tweaks that made a HUGE financial difference to her webinars.
Have you ever wanted to run your own webinar? Shoot me an email if you have questions and sign up if you want to hear about my next live training!