By Susanne Rieker

If you want to start hosting webinars but have no idea how, this post is for you. Webinars allow you to share a live video with your audience, which is a great way to get closer with your tribe and also to explain a topic in more detail.

How to set up your first webinar – where to start & what tools to use

#1 Choose your webinar platform

The platform is the technology you use to host your webinar. You can use YouTube Live (formerly Google Hangouts) for free or a premium platform like GoToWebinar or WebinarJam. So far I’ve only used GoToWebinar, they are pricier but well established and used by some big webinar specialists. I didn’t want to worry about the technology and was happy to pay for a solid solution. If you decide to use GoToWebinar, the starter package will set you back 109$ a month (you can cancel monthly) and you can have up to 100 participants attending your webinar live (which is plenty when you’re starting out).

If you can’t afford that, you can use YouTube Live for free, though you will have to figure out more of the tech stuff by yourself. But it seems pretty straight forward and I want to give it a try in the future. Click here to see how it works.

No matter what platform you choose – you’ll need to spend some time with it to familiarize yourself with all the options. Running a test (or more) before the big live event is super important!

#2 Set up your webinar registration

The tool I use and recommend for your webinar registration page as well as to host the replay is Leadpages. Leadpages is an amazing tool if you’re serious about growing your email list – I use it for my sign-up forms, landingpages, thankyou pages, and more. And it’s great for webinars too! The prices start at 17$ monthly and I think it’s well worth it.

Leadpages has ready-made templates for you to choose from for your webinar registration page. You simply choose your favorite template and then customize it with the easy drag-and-drop builder.

To connect your GoToWebinar webinar with your Leadpages registration page, you have to add your GoToWebinar account in “Integrations” in your account settings in Leadpages. Then in the drag-and-drop builder, you choose GoToWebinar under Integrations.

If you use YouTube Live you can use Leadpages to host your webinar as well. Here’s a great video explaining how it works. You’ll then send out the link to that page to your webinar subscribers.

Here’s an example of a Leadpages webinar registration page I used:

Webinar registration page

#3 Connect to your email marketing provider

Okay, now people can sign up for your webinar, congrats! But you also want their email addresses in your email marketing tool, to be able to send them reminders and add them to your email list.

To connect subscribers from your GoToWebinar webinar to either ConvertKit or Mailchimp you need to set up a zap through Zapier. Click here to see how it works for Mailchimp.

If you use Leadpages and YouTube Live, you need to connect Leadpages with your email marketing provider through the integration options.

#4 Prepare your webinar presentation

You can speak directly to the camera or you can prepare a presentation that you share on your screen (or do a mix of both). I prefer PowerPoint, mainly because I used it so much in my professional life and just know my way around, but you can also use Keynote if you’re on a Mac, or even Canva (*affiliate link).

I recommend keeping the design of your slides simple. Choose a font that’s easy to read in a big font size and a light background. When you use images make sure you have the copyrights.

Webinar slides examples

#5 Prepare your emails

You’ll need at least the following emails:

  • Thank you email you send out after someone subscribed to your webinar
  • Reminder one day before the event
  • Reminder one hour before the event
  • Last-minute reminder 10 minutes before the event
  • Thank you for attending and here’s the replay email (if you decide to offer a replay)

You can add more emails for your sales pitch if you’re selling a product through the webinar.

Write them all out and set them up in your email marketing tool. If you use Mailchimp, you’ll want to set up a new list for your webinar and then send out these emails to this list.

#6 Get a camera and microphone

For your webinar presentation, you need a webcam and a microphone. Don’t simply use the microphone built into your computer, instead invest in an external microphone like Samson (what I have) or Blue Yeti (the most popular microphone for bloggers). How you sound will greatly impact the success of your webinar.

You don’t need a special webcam if your computer has a built-in webcam.

#7 Test, test, test

Before you’re about to go live and present your idea or topic to your audience, you want to ensure that your webinar will run as smoothly as possible. Make sure your presentation, emails, and all of the apps you want to use are correct and working.

And that’s it, everything you need to set up your first webinar. I hope you’ll give it a try and experience for yourself how webinars can help you grow your tribe and connect to your audience on a much more personal level.