There are two primary types of online events:
A teleseminar is a live event conducted by phone, typically by hosting an interview with an industry authority or by delivering some kind of educational content yourself, and usually with a live audience listening in and asking questions.
A webinar is a presentation delivered online with both an audio and visual component (usually slides or a demonstration of some sort). Webinars can be available for replay at a later date and can be delivered for free or as a paid event.
Benefits of Online Events
Hosting a teleseminar or webinar can be a great way to demonstrate your authority in your field, attract new audience members, build your mailing list by registering attendees, and cultivate community with your existing audience. You can offer them as a free promotional tool (require email registration so you grow your mailing list), or charge for attendance.
For paid events, both teleseminars and webinars can be used to host online conferences and summits, where multiple speakers are featured over a series of days. Some also use these for delivering online courses.
How to Host Your Event
1. The first step is to decide on your format and topic.
- Will it be a Q&A with a guest, will someone interview you, or will you be the sole speaker leading a lecture?
- Will it be a series of events conducted as a summit or online conference?
- Will it be based on a topic you already speak about at live events?
- What questions do you find yourself answering often? These can be valuable in building new content.
- You could also create a list of potential topics and survey your audience to find out what most appeals to them. Tool: https://www.surveymonkey.com/.
- Can you do something unique and hold an open Q&A with the audience for an hour? Get creative!
2. Decide if the event will be free or paid.
- Free events are great because you can require people to register to attend and build your mailing list as a result. This is how most should get started with teleseminars. If you’re in the process of building your audience, free events can be a great way to cultivate that relationship.
- Paid events require that you have an engaged audience that is willing to invest in learning from you. This works best for those who already have an audience established.
3. Write a compelling title and description of the event, with sales copy that makes your target audience excited to participate.
4. Sign up for a hosting service such as www.freeconference.com or www.instantteleseminar.com (a paid option, but my personal favorite). Both offer recording features. For webinars, www.GoToMeeting.com is one of the most popular choices.
5. Set up a registration page. There are several ways to approach this.
- One option is to create an account with www.eventbrite.com, which is an easy-to-use tool for event registration management. There is no charge to manage free events and they charge a small transaction fee for paid events.
- You can also create registration pages via https://www.leadpages.net/.
- A free option for WordPress users is a plugin called Optimize Press.
- You can also create a Facebook event, provided you know your audience is already using Facebook.
- If you’re charging for your event, you would use a shopping cart service for a registration page on your existing website. Options include Paypal, 1shoppingcart.com, or e-junkie.com.
- A newer option that is getting lots of rave reviews from online marketers is Ontraport.
6. Once your event is set up, promote it in as many places as possible. Promotion can begin a month or more in advance, though you’ll likely find you get the best response within two weeks of the event, and especially in the days leading up to the event (because we’re all procrastinators!). Here are some to include:
- Create an event on Facebook and promote to your fans and friends. Be sure to include a link to the registration page.
- Announce your event via all of your social media networks and repeat several times before the event takes place.
- Post to www.craigslist.org events section for several cities.
- Announce to your mailing list, and remind them the day before the event (when many will likely sign up!).
- Also post to any other sites where your target audience is located. This can include newsletters, message boards, classifieds, forums, online groups, and any place that can bring exposure for the appropriate audience.
- Share details in your blog.
7. Prepare to deliver your event.
- Start with a practice session. If you’ve never hosted an event before, you’ll want to be sure and practice dialing in, setting the recording, and leading the event. You should also be sure you have the right amount of material to deliver in the time you’ve allotted for the event.
- Create a script for your event so that you have a strong opening and closing message. For the opening, you should welcome people and lay out the guidelines. Will you be taking questions during the call or at the end? Let them know what to expect.
- Consider how you want to address the audience. Allowing questions at any time can disrupt the flow of the call. I recommend muting the line during the presentation and then opening up the line for questions a couple of times during the call or once at the end.
- If you have a guest on your event, you will need their bio to read. Try to keep it to a paragraph or less and ask for clarification on names or titles that are hard to pronounce.
- Keep an eye on the time so that you can meet your goals before time is up. It’s usually better to finish early than late since listeners may have other commitments at the top of the hour, and you can always leave extra time for questions.
- Sometimes the audience is shy and won’t ask a lot of questions. Be prepared by collecting some questions in advance that you can address without them.
- Your closing script should thank them for attending and invite them to take a next step—like buy your book or your online course.
- Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a lot of participants on your first event. This will grow over time so keep at it!
Hosting your own online events can provide tremendous exposure for you and your guests—which can also provide guests incentive for participating. These events also give you a reason to reach out to peers and industry professionals as you invite them to participate, helping you to build alliances. Be sure to asks your guests and your participants to help spread the word about your events.
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