I put on my first webinar for my niche, and at the risk of sounding dramatic, it was a *total disaster.*
Wednesday last week, I had a big plan to put on a webinar I called the “SEO Lunch & Learn: 5 SEO Basics Wedding Professionals Need to Know.”
I never really thought about doing a webinar, but my friend Ali encouraged me to do it, and I knew it would help with my big 12-week goal to grow my email list.
Honestly, I wasn’t too nervous about putting it on except for figuring out the technology. I got so many responses to my So… I Guess I’m Doing A Webinar? post suggesting different platforms that I pretty much got paralyzed until last week. Over the weekend, I was like “Ok, just choose SOMETHING.”
I settled on WebinarNinja because they were one of the few webinar-specific platforms that offered a free trial. To me, choosing a dedicated webinar system felt like the safe and (hopefully) foolproof choice.
Webinar Day – Argh
The day of the event, I had my co-worker Nancy jump into a test webinar with me. We did a full tech run-through of cameras and microphones and slides and chat and all the things. It didn’t go perfectly, but I thought we got all the kinks worked out.
1:00 rolled around, and it was time to push the Broadcast button and deliver. I was right on time, so pumped up, and delivered an awesome introduction.
Which, apparently, no one heard.
A minute or two into the webinar, I saw the chat start flying.
“Are you talking? I don’t hear anything.”
“Me either, I just see the slides.”
“Has this started?”
I started frantically typing into the chat ‘I will figure this out!!! Just a second!”
I had to re-start the whole chat software, re-upload my slides, and restart the broadcast. It probably took all of three minutes but feel like an embarrassed eternity.
The Replay – Ugh
I thought I delivered what was a pretty good webinar. 30 minutes of SEO content, timing was good, information was good.
But… I got a couple comments that the audio quality was still terrible. Someone said they liked the content but just couldn’t follow it.
OH MY GOSH WHAT HAPPENED NOW?
I watched the replay and realized my audio was dropping out for 2-3 seconds every single minute. It really was a mess.
I later found out that a huge backup of my hard drive was being uploaded to offsite storage during the webinar. I’m guessing that this affected my bandwidth and made the audio drop repeatedly.
So ultimately, I’m really disappointed in the delivery of my first webinar. Here are a few lessons learned that I hope help you if you ever want to put on a webinar for your target client.
3 Lessons Learned From My First Webinar
1. You Need to Set Your Environment Up for Success
You can’t anticipate everything, but you can try and you can test.
I wish I would have jumped on a video call with my co-worker right before the webinar to make sure my video quality was good. We may have been able to catch the issue. But you don’t know what you don’t know.
A few things I’ll be doing before my next webinar:
- Closing all my applications and restarting my computer
- Making sure I don’t have offsite backups or big processes running on my computer or Wifi network
- Locking up the dog if she’s being crazy barking at chipmunks
- Getting into the webinar system early
- Having my co-worker join so she can tell me right away if my audio or video isn’t working
- Explaining to my co-worker exactly how I plan for the beginning to go so she can tell me if something is off (like—”I will start right at 1pm and you should be able to see me on camera”)
- More deep breaths
2. Even Good Webinar Software Can’t Save You
I thought a software made just for webinars would make this more foolproof. But not really.
I shouldn’t have used a fancy webinar system as a crutch for good planning and testing. If I wanted this to go perfectly, I should have decided on a system earlier and tested it more.
I have decided to continue my SEO Lunch & Learn series monthly, but I am going to let my free trial of WebinarNinja run out. Instead, I’m going to spend more time researching and setting up Google Hangouts on Air. If $50/month isn’t going to get me foolproof delivery, then I am not going to pay for it.
At some point, I might return to something like this (maybe Zoom or Go To Meeting?) if I have a bigger audience and need Q&A, automatic replays, chat, and more professional delivery. But since my webinar series is free and I’m not trying to do a “SIX FIGURE LAUNCH” or something, I think I can get a decently comparable experience giong the cheap route.
3. People Are Actually Pretty Forgiving
I thought everyone would be like “Forget it!” when the first part of my webinar didn’t work.
But actually, everyone stayed on. People in the chat even tried to help me figure out the issue and cheered when they could hear me. It was awesome.
People realize you’re human. I made it pretty clear in my invitation to the webinar that it was my first one, and I’m glad I did, because I think that helped the audience to have realistic expectations and to cheer me on.
Turns out, strangers on the internet can actually be pretty kind.
Interesting lessons to learn. Some people online are kind and forgiving. 😉
— Sara Dunn (@Sara11D) March 14, 2018
This is probably the most important lesson I learned, and I hope it will ease some of my stress about the “perfect” delivery in the future.
So—Will I do this again? Actually yes!
I had a pretty good time doing it and it doubled my tiny email list, so I’m going to do an encore of the same webinar this week. This should give me a replay I can use in the future (and more practice).