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Frequently Asked Questions
Why I do webinars and how I run them
- Help for SPI Webinars
- Why Webinars?
- Hosting Webinars
- Webinar Technology
Help for SPI Webinars
Why can't I hear anything?
Facebook Live video starts muted by default—I’m sorry about that! Right-click on the video to unmute it.
What is the difference between a webinar and a livestream event?
Livestreaming is a general term for any live video event. The term “webinar” is the combination of web + seminar; typically a webinar is an online event where the host or expert is teaching attendees a class on a specific topic.
Why should I host a webinar?
Webinars are essential tools to add to your online marketing toolbox, especially for online business owners. They allow you to connect with an audience, build authority, and get that face-to-face, human interaction that is often so crucial to running a business. I explain why webinars are so important, and demo my favorite (WebinarNinja), in SPI TV Ep. 49.
How do webinars help my audience?
Not only do you get to connect with your audience on a more human level, you also have the benefit of sharing your knowledge in a more interactive environment. If you put in the effort in building your webinar content, you’re going to teach them a lot, which is exactly what you want!
Webinars are also a great opportunity for your audience to ask questions live. Any time you’re teaching a live class, leave time to take questions. It will help your audience connect with the material better, and it will show you parts of your presentation that may have been unclear. It may also help you uncover topics for future webinars.
How have webinars helped Smart Passive Income?
I hosted my very first webinar in 2010. The subject was SEO and Keyword Research. I’ve learned a lot about webinars since then. When I first started SPI, I wanted to help other online businesses and their owners. That is still the goal. Webinars have helped me do that better by giving me another platform to connect with and provide value to my audience.
What should my webinar be about?
Think about what you know that can help your audience with a problem they are having. Is there a specific tool you’ve mastered that you think would benefit your audience? How about a fresh take on a niche topic? Or a fun, thorough “how to” tutorial on a new piece of software you use for your business? The options are endless. But remember, it’s about solving a problem for your audience!
What if a user can’t make the webinar?
If you have users that have signed up for your webinar but can’t make it for whatever reason (it happens!), no need to worry. All of the webinar platforms I’ve recommended in the Webinar Technology section will allow you to record your webinar. You can post the video recording and your slides online afterward.
However, it’s good to emphasize to your attendees that experiencing a webinar live is a much better experience. You want them to take advantage of the opportunity to interact with you and ask questions in real time.
How often should I host a webinar?
You should host a webinar whenever you have quality, helpful information to share with your audience. The last thing you want to do is host a webinar unprepared. You should:
- Feel good about your grasp of the information and your ability to teach it
- Feel comfortable taking questions on the topic
- Feel confident that the topic will truly help your audience
It’s okay if you feel nervous about hosting a webinar. I still feel nervous before speaking in front of people—but I know that I have information that will truly help my audience. Focusing on how helpful I can be and how well I know what I’m talking about allows me to overcome my nerves.
Before you schedule an ongoing series, put your focus on providing one webinar that is full of value for your audience.
How do I promote my webinar?
View your webinar as you would your other product launches. First, share it with your core audience with announcements on your blog, social media, and especially to your email list.
Next, look for opportunities to share it with related networks, through guest posts or interviews on other podcasts/video blogs. Share it with the other influencers you know whose audiences need to know the topic you’re teaching.
Depending on your webinar topic, it may be a good opportunity to test out some Facebook advertising. I cover Facebook advertising for webinars in SPI Podcast Session 097.
What tools do I need to run a webinar or livestream event?
The great news is that you truly can get started with just a webcam or a smartphone. For beginners, I feel it’s important that you spend the majority of your energy on providing valuable content, rather than fussing over cameras.
Below is a list of the equipment I recommend, but you don’t necessarily need all of it right away. Watch SPI TV #48: How to Get Started with Live Streaming Production to learn more about these recommendations.
For more advanced setups, including multiple cameras
Recorder: Blackmagic Design Ultrastudio MiniRecorder (HDMI to Thunderbolt)
Software: Wirecast by Telestream
Where can I get more advice on choosing a camera?
In addition to the cameras listed above, check out Caleb Wojcik’s website. Caleb is my videographer and I trust his advice implicitly. His website is packed with gear recommendations, free advice, and detailed paid courses to teach you how to shoot and edit video.
Which platform should I use?
There are a variety of online video platforms; which one you should choose will depend on your audience and your goals for the event.
The most important question to ask yourself is what your audience is willing to do and where they’re willing to go. If you primarily interact with your audience on Facebook, then Facebook Live is a great way to connect directly with them where they already are. If you have an active YouTube channel, try using YouTube Live.
For on-the-go, spontaneous video sharing with your audience over social media, I love Periscope. Hear why in SPI Session 177.
If you communicate with your audience primarily through your email list, blog, and on your website, then consider setting up a special page on your site (like this page) specially for live video streaming. Many live video platforms will offer you an embed code so that you can add the live video directly to your own webpage. YouTube Live, Hangouts on Air, and WebinarNinja all offer embedding.
YouTube Live and Hangouts on Air are both from Google and are slowly becoming the same platform. They are a good option if you need a free, embeddable video platform. My track record with Hangouts on Air is mixed; I’ve had some great experiences and I’ve had some times when the platform completely refused to launch. Always do a test before an important live event.
When you need additional features not offered by free services (or want a more reliable platform), I highly recommend WebinarNinja. Their platform is easy to use, integrates with ConvertKit and other email services, has interactive chat and polls for your audience, and allows you to offer paid webinars. This is the platform you’ll see me using on this page. Watch my walkthrough of WebinarNinja.
You may have used GoToWebinar to attend live events online—especially if you’ve worked for a large corporation. The downside of GoToWebinar is that it requires attendees to download software in order to attend your live video event. Because of this higher barrier to entry, these platforms are best left for paid classes and events where you have an audience that is committed to attend. Personally, I have found that WebinarNinja is both easier to use (for me and my attendees) and offers everything I needed from GoToWebinar. This is why I recommend WebinarNinja instead of GoToWebinar.
Before you commit to a particular platform, make a list of the features you want. Features you might want include:
- Embeddable video
- If not embedding on your website, ability to share an event link in advance
- Ability to restrict attendees to invitation only
- Live chat for attendees
- Ability to add additional presenters
- Ability to let attendees ask questions live
- Ability to kick out disruptive attendees
- Integrates with your email service provider
After you’ve made a list of features that you need, then you can begin evaluating the different platforms to find the one that will work best for you.