You’ve heard that hosting webinars is a fantastic marketing and sales strategy. But for some reason, you’ve been hesitant to give it a try. Maybe you haven’t had the time to plan and promote a digital event. Maybe you break out into a cold sweat every time you even think about being in front of a camera. Or maybe you thought webinar hosting was an expensive endeavor and out of reach for your company.
If you’re concerned about how webinars will impact your company’s budget, don’t be!
In this article, we’ll show you how to host a webinar for free. By the end, you know exactly how to plan your content, which webinar platform to use, the top webinar marketing strategies, and everything else you need to know about webinar hosting.
We have a lot of great information to share, so let’s get started!
The Benefits of Webinars
Before we show you how to host a webinar for free, let’s talk about why you should. What makes webinars hosting so beneficial? Is this marketing strategy they worth the time and effort it takes to pull off? In a word: yes!
There are numerous benefits to host webinars, but we’ll focus on the top three:
1. Build More Trust
At the end of the day, people buy from companies they know, like, and trust. How do you become thatcompany for your target audience? Start with webinars!
Webinars can humanize brands and let consumers put faces to corporations and engage with them on a profound level. They also allow organizations to showcase their expertise, industry knowledge, and skillsets to their target markets, thus building consumer confidence.
2. Get Quality Leads
Generally, webinar attendees register for digital events by providing their email address. This makes webinar marketing an effective form of lead generation.
But the good news doesn’t end here. The folks who register for webinars tend to be higher quality than leads generated via other means. Why? Because they’ve already indicated that they’re interested in your company and its products just by registering.
3. Make More Sales
Lastly, webinars can help companies quickly make more sales without expending extra energy. If your webinar content addresses a common problem and presents your brand’s products as the solution, why wouldn’t your attendees make a purchase?
Obviously, the selling part of your webinar needs to be handled with class. But when done properly, webinars will help your organization boost sales.
5 Steps to a Killer Webinar
Now that our why is covered, let’s get back to how to host a webinar for free.
Fortunately, the process isn’t that difficult at all. If you follow the five steps we’ve outlined for you below, you’ll be able to host amazing webinar events. All that without spending a single penny of your hard-earned money.
Let’s dive in!
1. Plan Your Content
First things first, you need to plan your webinar’s content, i.e. the subjects, details, and information you’ll cover during your event.
To do this, you need to understand your goals.
Why are you planning to host a webinar? Do you need to boost your lead generation efforts? Are you hoping to promote a specific product or service and make more sales? Maybe you simply want to humanize your brand for your current customers.
All these goals are at your fingertips; you need to understand what your aim is before you begin planning your content.
Next, you need to make sure that you understand your target audience. What do they want to get out of your webinar? How can you provide useful and/or entertaining information to them? What kind of information are they looking for?
The key to understanding your audience is thorough research and buyer personas.
If you’re not familiar with the term, a buyer persona is a fictional character created to represent a specific segment of a target audience. Proper buyer personas should include demographic information like gender, age, occupation, and income level, as well as psychographic details like hopes, fears, and daily challenges.
When both your goals and your audience are fully understood, choosing a webinar topic is easy.
For example, let’s say you own a clothing brand and the goal of your webinar is to promote your new line of women’s apparel, while your audience is looking for winter fashion tips. Your webinar content could revolve around current fashion trends and showcase specific articles of clothing that your company sells — including pieces from your new women’s line.
See how that works?
2. Choose Your Platform
The next step is to choose your platform. How will you host your digital event? What tool will you use? There’s plenty of options available for you. Each of them falls into one of three categories: live video streaming, video conferencing, and professional webinars.
Let’s take a more detailed look at each of these options:
Live Video Streaming. The easiest way to host a webinar for free is to use a live streaming platform like Facebook Live or YouTube Live. The benefits include easy use, nearly unlimited participant counts, and simple event marketing. If your business already has a substantial following on Facebook or YouTube, getting your followers to tune in to your webinars will be a lot simpler! But the truth is, these platforms weren’t actually created to host webinars. They were made to stream events in real-time. As such, they don’t have the high-end features that full webinar platforms have.
Video Conferencing. Next, we have video conferencing apps like Google Hangouts. Again, these tools canbe used to host webinars, but they weren’t designed to be used this way. They’re better suited to hosting digital meetings. Still, if you’re determined to use Hangouts for webinar purposes, you’ll benefit from its easy to use interface and built-in chat capabilities. Fun fact: customers of Google’s pay-to-play G Suite product get access to slightly upgraded webinar features and can integrate their live events with Google’s other apps such as its email and calendar tools.
Professional Webinars. You could use a professional-level tool like ClickMeeting to host a webinar for free. Here’s the thing about professional-level tools: they cost money to use. At least, they usually do. But ClickMeeting can be used for free for the first 30 days. It will give you access to high-end features like screen sharing, polls and surveys, on-demand webinars, numerous integrations, and even live streaming to Facebook or YouTube (so you get the same benefits as the first option listed above.)
If you plan to host webinars on a regular basis, invest in a top-end app like ClickMeeting.That way you don’t have to learn a new service down the road.
The tool you use to host your webinars will depend on your goals.
If you have a large Facebook or YouTube following and just want to host a one-off event, a social platform might be perfect for you. But if you plan to make webinars a focal point of your business marketing strategy, we recommend a professional-level tool like ClickMeeting that has all the bells and whistles.
3. Market Your Event
Now that you know what your webinar’s goal is, its target audience, and the platform you’ll host it on, you can start marketing it. This step is critical!
The best content created for the right folks won’t benefit your business if nobody knows about it. You have to spread the word about your webinar so that people show up and attend your event. Fortunately, marketing a webinar isn’t much different than marketing anything else.
Use these three strategies to promote your event effectively:
Social Media Marketing. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram give you amazing access to your company’s target audience. Use it! Announce your webinar on social at least two weeks before your event is scheduled to happen. Then post updates and reminders leading up to the big day. Pro Tip: don’t post about your event, engage with your audience regarding it. If they comment and ask questions, respond to them. Social media is more effective when it’s used to start conversations rather than as a digital billboard.
Email Marketing. It’s old-school, but nothing beats email in terms of ROI. The latest numbers tell us that every $1 invested in this strategy brings a return of $44. In other words, if you’re not marketing your webinars with email, you’re missing out! So, schedule a few messages to send to your subscriber list and invite them to your event. Just like with your social media posts, you should start promotion via email two weeks before the actual event. That way your subscribers have a better chance of clearing their schedules and attending.
Paid Advertising. If you have some extra cash to spend, paid advertising can be a wonderful way to market your webinar and boost attendees. Avenues like Facebook Ads and Google Adwords give marketers incredible access to their unique audiences. Target the folks your webinar content was created for and watch as attendees start lining up. Obviously, there’s a little more to it than that… But a strong paid advertising strategy can do wonders when it comes to webinar marketing.
Ultimately, the way you market your webinar will depend on the kind of event it is and the audience it’s for. But the three ideas above will work for just about any promotional strategy.
4. Deliver Your Information
At this point, your content is planned, you’ve chosen the perfect webinar platform, and you’ve marketed the beans out of your live event. All that’s left to do is host that thing!
This is an exciting time. All your hard work is about to pay off. But we definitely understand if you’re feeling nervous — especially if you’ve never hosted a live webinar before. But don’t worry, hosting webinars isn’t that difficult.
Follow these best-practices and you’ll be able to host with expertise:
Script Your Webinar. To cut the stress, prepare a webinar script and keep it handy during your live event. A basic outline of the topics you want to cover and a few bullet points for each is all you need.
Engage Your Audience. Treat your webinar as a conversation rather than a speech. To do this, ask your attendees questions throughout the event. Even simple queries like “Let me know in the comments if all this is making sense” can boost engagement.
Practice Beforehand. The first time you’re live on camera doesn’t have to be the first time you run through your material. In fact, it shouldn’t be. Do yourself a favor and practice your presentation beforehand. This will make you feel more confident.
Have Fun. Try to enjoy yourself. What’s the worst that can happen? Your attendees won’t care if you fumble over your words from time to time. But they will care if you look like you don’t want to be there. Have fun with it and you’ll do great!
Presenting during a live webinar may seem scary, but it’s not. With a little practice, you’ll find your groove and learn to deliver your content with confidence and style!
5. Follow Up Effectively
Just because your free webinar is done doesn’t mean you are. To take advantage of webinar marketing, you need to follow up with your attendees and integrate them into your company’s world. This is usually done via email marketing.
Following up shouldn’t be optional. But how you follow up completely depends on the original goal of your webinar and the content you delivered.
For example, if your webinar was aimed at boosting sales, you could offer your attendees another chance to buy in your follow-up email. If your goal was to raise brand awareness, you could include social media links and a “Follow Us Here” CTA.
But every follow-up message should have these four things in common:
Send Promptly. We suggest sending your follow-up messages within 24 hours. This strategy helps to ensure brand-recognition. If you go too long without contact, your attendees may forget who your company is.
Say Thank You. Your attendees could have done a million other things with their time but they chose to spend it with you. The least you could do is thank them for it. Let them know that their attendance was appreciated in your follow-up email.
Recap Your Event. After thanking your attendees, remind them of the topics you covered in your webinar. You don’t need to go into amazing detail here. Just a quick recap of the key points that they can refer back to in the future.
Ask for Feedback. Finally, ask each recipient for their feedback. What did they think of the webinar? Which parts did they enjoy? Which can be improved upon? The more feedback you get, the better prepared you’ll be for future webinars.
You put a lot of hard work into planning, marketing, and hosting your webinar. Don’t drop the ball at the very end. Finish strong and reap all the rewards of your efforts.
Let Webinars Supercharge Your Business (For Free!)
There’s no doubt – webinars will help you build trust with your target market, generate more leads, and make more sales. And now you know exactly how to take advantage of them without having to fork out a wad of cash!
Remember to follow the five steps we outlined above:
- Plan Your Content,
- Choose Your Platform,
- Market Your Event,
- Deliver Your Information,
- Follow Up Effectively.
And don’t forget about ClickMeeting. If you’re looking for a professional-level for free webinars tool that’s both powerful and easy to use, ClickMeeting is the way to go. Our platform will give you access to custom branding features, automated webinars, event polls and surveys and chat boxes, and a lot more.
Give it a try today for free and see for yourself.