Doing Webinars: Live Or Pre-Recorded?

There are two ways to do a webinar: doing it LIVE, or pre-recording it. Which should you do? In this episode, I walk through the basic process of doing both.

Episode #152 | Episode Date: March 12, 2016

Okay, so we are going to continue talking today about webinars. We actually began a series of episodes about webinars last time and today we are going to continue on that topic. And the topic that we are going to talk about today is the LIVE Webinar versus the PRE-RECORDED or aka Evergreen Webinar.

Now just to get the terminology right; here, right here at the beginning for people who might be new to this…

A Live Webinar is one that you are delivering where people are there and you are talking to them. So basically it is just like doing a live event except that you are doing it electronically, over the webinar.

The other option here is the Pre-recorded or the Evergreen webinar… And the Evergreen webinar is where you have actually Pre-recorded the thing and they show up and the event goes off as if it is a live event except that you already made it.

So it is kind of going to the movies. You have a scheduled time to show up, but obviously it is not a live play; they recorded the movie in advance. So it is very similar to that. So that is really the “how” the two things work and we are going to talk about how each of them work, here. And then I am going to talk a little bit about how they compare and kind of which way you might want to go with them.

So, let’s talk about the Live Webinar first, because this is definitely the one that most people think of. And in fact, a lot of people, when they are new to a webinar, it can be a little daunting to think about the idea of doing one because there are so many moving parts and so much involved.

Live Webinar

Here’s the basic process that goes into doing a Live Webinar. Now, we are going to go over this in a bird’s eye view here, but we will talk about more details, later.

The first thing you got to do is to decide which topic it is going to be for your webinar. So, obviously there is a little bit of brain wracking that goes along with that, to figure out what would be a good topic. Now, I am not going to get too much into choosing good topics; honestly, there is really not some kind of a science to it. You just have to know your audience and know what would be a hot button for them. What would get them really interested, and think about it from the perspective of a headline; like, everything that will go into writing a good blog post headline that is going to draw them in, that will entice them to click; all that psychology that goes into really killer headlines all needs to go in to the title of your webinar, as well. It is all the same thing. I mean, we are talking about content here, it is just delivering in a different format. And so, you need to know your audience, know what is interesting to them, what would really get them going “Oh, my gosh… I think this is going to be a really valuable webinar.” And then you come up with a really good headline for it. And there you go. So that is where and how you get your topic.

The next thing to do is to go and create your presentation. So, this is typically going to involve some slides or PowerPoint, Keynotes, something like that. There’s a lot of different ideas out there about how to create compelling presentations. A few little pieces of advice, first of all… Try to keep it a little less textual and more about imagery and videos if you want to work that in. Generally speaking, text slides are a lot more boring. Visual slides just communicate better.

So what I have done; and I have done my share of textual slides, this is something that I am working on myself, but with image based slides you just find a theme-matic image, maybe one that will get it an emotional reaction; maybe make them laugh a little bit, but something that has a point enticed to your presentation. And then you can use a little “notes” field inside the PowerPoint or Keynote to kind of remind yourself what you are going to say when that image pops up on screen. And by doing that, you are kind of hitting them on two different mediums… you got the visual component and you also have the audio component. And by selecting good images, you can actually really communicate your point this way.

The other thing about your presentation is that you want to have a lot of slides. You don’t generally want to keep one slide up on the screen for a minute or two or something like that. You want to have a lot more because you want to go quickly through them. You need that image to rotate. If you ever noticed modern television or modern movies and see how often they change their camera angles… Go watch a reality TV show sometimes, if you can span them; because they are quite annoying, but see how often they change the camera angle and bump things around. They do that on purpose. And that is because of short attention spans. And so the way that you can handle this in your webinars is just to simply have a lot of slides. You would probably have as much as 80-100 different slides in your presentation and you are going to rotate through them. So that is how that works.

Now, once you create the presentation; and we’ll talk about that more in detail a little bit later in another episode, you are probably going to want to run through that presentation a couple of times. You can record it if you want. Maybe the recording will come out spectacularly and you can use it; but do some run-throughs. You don’t want your first run-through of your own slides live in front of a bunch of people so I will encourage you to practice.

The next thing you need to do if you are going to do this Live Webinars, you got to set up the logistics for it. You got to go out there and research webinar platforms. Most likely, for live… gotowebinar really is the best game in town. Unfortunately, it is not cheap. A lot of people use Google Hangouts or various systems that tack on to Google Hangouts like Webinar Jams or Easy Webinar. These things work, too. You just got to keep in mind that with those types of systems that there is a delay that is fairly significant. I have heard some people say it is about 40 seconds.

So if you are doing Q&A or something like that, you need to keep that in mind, it could be a little weird. But you need to deal with those logistics. You got to set up your registration pages and there is many ways to do that. You can use Lead Pages, Optimize Press… pretty much any landing page creator out there would create these pages for you. Hook it all up, you are going to have to put them on to an email list for your registrations…

You are going to probably want to have an autoresponder set up on that list of some kind… So there’s a lot of moving parts there; I’m not going to lie. We will talk on what those moving parts are, coming up on a future episode.

Now, obviously once you set up those logistics, you are going to need to test those logistics many times and make sure it all works. So you are going to start subscribing multiple email addresses, make sure that it shows up on your webinar system as a registration, makes sure it ends up on the list; all that stuff.

You also need to choose a date and a time for your Live Webinar. Now, a lot of these is going to depend on your audience as well. You will see a lot of people out there discussing various “best times” to do webinars. At the end of the day, there is really not a best time, because every audience is different. Now, generally speaking, if you have a group of people who, say, work during the day… Well, if you do a webinar in the middle of the day, it might prove difficult for them.

Generally speaking, if you do a webinar on a Monday, you are going to have a lot less people paying attention because they are coming back from the weekend and they are trying to deal with putting out fires, it might come up with their jobs, whatever… So you’ll find a lot of people will tend to do webinars on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Fridays; it is just because people are kind of like wigged out over a stressful week, chill out, maybe have a beer or something like that, and they are probably not going to be in the mood to hang out with you on your webinar. So, generally speaking, Fridays are not the best time. Sometimes, weekends can work pretty well. Now, again, it all depends on your audience; who you are trying to reach.

Now when you come up with that date and that time, go ahead and announce it. Now, how you are going to word out about this Live Webinar that you are going to be doing? Well, you are obviously use your email list. Now, of course if you don’t have an email list, you might feel like “Well, that sucks!” Well, there are other ways… There is Social Medium; so use your Twitter account, Facebook, any connections that you might have. You could actually plan out a series of maybe guest appearances on people’s podcast, just basically present yourself as a guest; guest posting… But actually, your most predictable way to do this is using paid advertising. Because paid advertising will allow you to place your message right in front of the right people and you don’t need anybody’s permission, you don’t need anybody’s graces on you to be nice enough to post your stuff… You just do it. You pay for it and you send them right into your webinar. Now, obviously if you don’t plan for monetizing that webinar with an offer, then I don’t know if I would use paid, but at the same time, it is totally up to you. But that is a real predictable way to get it out there and keep in mind that you are building your list as you do this because everybody who signs up for your webinar is going to be getting onto your list.

You are going to have this lead time before you will officially announce the Live Webinar and when you actually do it. And generally speaking, during those few days that are leading up to your webinar, you want to send out reminders about the webinar. So you got a couple of different things. You got the people who have already registered; you got to keep them engaged because if they register for a webinar and that webinar is not taking place for about a week or so, well, they are going to kind of lose interest or plain forget about it and you don’t want that to happen. So you are going to have to keep them engaged by sending them stuff, teasing that webinar, setting them some launch content kind of a thing… And keep them engaged. But then you got the other people who are out there who are not yet register and you need to keep hammering them. You know, that is just what you got to do. If you got an email list, you got to probably send out a few different emails talking about this upcoming webinar.

Oh, the funny thing, too, is generally while you are doing all that, you are probably checking your RSVP count for your webinar, like a lot. Like, you log in to gotowebinar and you’re checking out and see how those numbers are going up. You can either be deflated or inflated by that, it will all depend on what kind of reactions you are getting. This is just some of the little behind the scenes things that always go into doing these Live Webinars.

So let’s get to the day of your Live Webinar…

Generally speaking, you are probably going to want to show up a little early. You know, 10 to 15 minutes before show time, hop on to that webinar and kind of make sure everything is working, make sure your mic’s working. In fact, you probably want to do that early, if you have never done a webinar before. Maybe just schedule a webinar for yourself and then show up and make sure things are working. Maybe have your friend of yours log in to the webinar and be like, “Hey, can you hear me?” You know, just test things out. But the day of it… show up 10 or 15 minutes early and actually go live before show time because you are going to have people who are kind of siphoning early and they are there for the webinar. And you can greet them by name, you can ask them where they are from… You are just generally kind of getting them warmed up a little bit here.

Now, this is a really great thing to do… It actually helps engagement throughout your webinar as well. Generally speaking on this, you are probably be going to be a little bit nervous about how many people are showing up. This is just part of the Live Webinar experience. You might be surprised how few people show up. These days, I have probably have only about a third of the people who register for a webinar actually show up. It is just kind of the way it works this days. It used to be upwards of about 50%. These days I am finding it is more like about 30-35%. Now you could do some things to increase attendance rate with the stuff you do before the webinar but this is just kind of the numbers the way they are working. So I don’t want you to be deflated by that; just go for it. Just go for it.

So let’s move on… You are going to actually now do your presentation. Just like you practiced before. And it is a live thing, you know? If you screw up, or you kind of go… “uhmmm” or something; I mean, I do that on this podcast, move on with it! It’s live, they are not expecting perfection, then just be cool. You’re just kind of hanging out with them; you are delivering some value. Okay?

Now, if you are going to be making an offer on this webinar, you are going to need to transition into that offer and sometimes people get a little wigged out on how to make that transition because it is like it is now going into “sales mode” and everything just kind of changes and they kind of clam up; I’ve done it many times, but… So it is normal to be nervous about that. I can tell you that your first few webinars you are probably going to seem a little awkward when you go back and listen to them. It is totally fine; it is part of the process. You’ll get better at it. The way to get better at webinars is to start doing lots of webinars. 🙂

Now, at that point, you are generally going to do some Q&A or something like that, and you are kind of see what happens. If you made an offer, you are probably going to be sitting there looking at your emails and see if anybody bought. If that kind of thing stresses you out if nobody buys or very few, do and that would actually really affect your ability to be present on the webinar and you know that, then just do not look at it. Okay? And look at it after the webinar is over.

You want to deliver some good value. Because one thing to keep in mind with any webinar that you do is that it is always great to make sales right there at the time of the webinar. And that is obviously preferable. But in a lot of cases it is not going to happen and that is okay because you are really after the long game here. Every person who attended that webinar was a lead and they are a helluva lot more qualified as a lead than they ever would be if they came in via any other standard lead magnet.

So these are great people; they might buy from you later. And not only that… There are things that you can do after the webinar is over to make sales after you hang up on them. And we’ll talk about that more a little bit later.

So, anyway… That was a really quick (well, it wasn’t really quick) but you can tell, there is a lot to doing a Live Webinar. They are great… They can grow businesses like crazy, and I recommend that you do them, actually. But the funny thing is, when you start doing more webinars, you might be easy to think that, well, every time you want to do a webinar you are going to have to do all that stuff I just said all over again. And really, it is not really true. If you are going to repeat the same webinar over and over again, you can rinse and repeat all these stuff. You are basically just hitting replay on a campaign that you have already created.

So the most work is going to be the first time that you do it. But if you deliver that same webinar later to a new group of people; which I recommend that you do, I don’t think that you should spend all this time creating a webinar presentation just to deliver it once… I think that you should be looking at the long game here. So you are going to rinse and repeat much of these stuff and just basically hit replay.

The other thing too, is even down the road, if you end up creating a new webinar presentation, a lot of these stuff can still be reused. You could take the same emails and just reword them slightly. You can take the same RSVP page and just change the wording on them. But a lot of that framework has already been done and you are basically just kind of copying it.

So let’s look at a few Pros and Cons of doing a Live Webinar here….

The Pros & Cons Of A Live Webinar


You obviously would get instant feedback on this, which is great. You are going to do those Q&A’s… You are probably going to get people submitting questions while you are actually just delivering your content. And it is totally up to you whether you want to stop and answer those questions right then and there or not. But even if you don’t, take note of what those questions are because you might want to then go back and tweak your presentation so that those questions are not occurring.

The other thing is that you can react in real time to people. If people have questions about your product offer, you can respond to them right then and there. All these add up to making it a true live event. It is basically as if you are in front of the room talking to them except that you are doing it from the comfort of your own computer. And it is great. The engagement level on these webinars are much, much higher than you are ever going to get with a blog post or probably even a video and it is because it is a live set up and they committed to being there.


Now there are a few Cons that go along with Live Webinars as well… First one is, obviously, you got to be there. If you scheduled this thing at 8 or 9 o’clock at night and let’s say that time comes around and you’re just not really in the mood to be in your office; well, you got to be there anyway because you have got people showing up. I’ve been there. I personally do not like having to work at night. I don’t appreciate it. 🙂 But sometimes, a night time webinar is the one that works best for the people who are invited to my webinar. So I have to suck it up and come into the office after I put the kids to bed and knock out some great stuff. I mean, it is just the way it goes. So it doesn’t really matter what your mood is, you got to do it.

The second one is that repeating the same webinar over and over again in a live environment can get kind of repetitive. Because from your perspective you are basically saying the same thing over and over again. Now, obviously it might come out a little different every single time that you do it, but basically you have that capacity of getting bored with your own content. And so that is something that you are going to have to be careful of. Because if you are getting bored and you are talking like… oookaaay… it will all come through and they will hear it and it is going to affect their engagement.

Pre-recorded Webinar

Let’s move on into the Pre-recorded Webinar or the Evergreen Webinar. This is not going to take us long because we just covered a lot of the bird’s eye view of the various logistics and behind the scenes things that go into the Live Webinar.

Now, a Pre-recorded Webinar is usually going to start out the exact same way because… I don’t recommend that you go straight to an Evergreen Webinar. I think that you should deliver any webinar that you do live, preferably several times and get it right before you take it to evergreen, okay? You know, if you have never done a webinar before and you just go and you record an internal video or a screencast and you just make that your webinar; I mean, it is fine… It might be comfortable for you because you feel like you are avoiding the live crowd; I got that part of it. But at the same time, you haven’t really perfected your game yet. You haven’t got any of that live feedback and know what the questions are and the hitches that you might need to deal with for people. And for that reason, you might have to deliver it live several times and really perfect it before you take it to an Evergreen status.

So, every time that you do the Live Webinar, record it. Because you will never know which one of those things is just going to knock it out of the park and that recording will become your Evergreen Webinar.

So after all these, let’s say you are going to go Evergreen…

Well, you would have to buy a webinar system that will actually do Evergreen Webinars. The one that I use is called Easy Webinar. And it is a great system. I like it. It tacks right on to WordPress. As of this recording they are actually really close to releasing a brand new version which I hear is going to be a SaaS version (Software as a Service) so it is not going to be dependent on WordPress anymore; I think it is going to have a lot of improvements inside of it, but that is Easy Webinar. Another one that is really well-known out there is called Webinar Jam. There’s Stealth Seminar… There is a lot of these bad boys out there. Pick one that you like. I use Easy Webinar; I am not going to sit here and say it works for everybody or it is the best game in town, but it is pretty damn nice, really. And I like it… Working for me. So that is Easy Webinar.

Now, once you have got one of these systems in place, then you are going to have to set up the webinar in the system. Now, so you are going to choose all these settings… You are going to create some emails that are going to go out to new registrants, you are going to choose a schedule… Now, this is an important one, because when you choose the schedule you have to realize that it is going to be happening on automatic. So in my case, I think I have got my webinar going 3 times per day. One in the morning, one in midday and one in the evening. I also make it so that the webinars take place in the user’s time zone. So, I’m sitting here over in Florida in United States, so every time I put out something and I had to deliver it live, I have to do it based on Easter Time because that is where I am at. But what if somebody is sitting over in Europe and they want to attend my webinar? It becomes kind of inconvenient. That means I’ve got to stay up really late or something like that. Well, if I am doing an Evergreen Webinar, I can make it based in their time zone so if they choose 8 o’clock at night, it will be 8 o’clock at night to them no matter where they live. So that is fantastic, it is really, really convenient.

I do recommend that you have at least one of your options for your webinar schedule be very soon after the person actually registers. Maybe within an hour if maybe so. Because the thing is, you will have people out there who would want to take advantage of that instant gratification. And so, I think that might be something you want to test out is one of your webinar schedule time be really, really quick and practically right away and let them go through it.

So when they RSVP for this time slot, the system is going to take care of all of those reminders and everything that we already talked about for the Live Webinar. It is just that in this case it is all going to happen in automatic, like an autoresponder. So, all takes place relevant to them and also relevant to when they scheduled. The system will keep track of the date and the time that they picked and all the emails and everything will be relevant to that.

Now, when the time comes that they are to show up for the webinar, they are going to show up at the URL that the system gives them. It will be in their browser. It is not going to be in some software program kind of like how gotowebinar works. It is going to be in their browser and you can make that page look like a number of different things but it is going to be basically with an embedded video on it.

Now, here is the thing about this… is that some of the cheaper systems out there that do Evergreen Webinars, it really literally is just an embedded video and you hit play or maybe it auto plays. And to me, that kind of takes away a lot of the event nature of it because they quickly find that they can just pause it, they can move ahead… And that is not much difference between that and going to YouTube. So a good webinar system will enforce it. And Easy Webinar can do this.

What I prefer is that when they go there, it will start at the correct time. If they show up early, it will not start yet. It will start automatically at the scheduled time. Even better, even if they show up 5 or 10 minutes late, well guess what… the video starts to play about 10 minutes into the presentation. So it is Live… I am basically telling them they have got to be there on time if they want to see the entire thing. Just like a movie… If you go to the movie theater and you are late, well you just missed the beginning. It is no different. That is the way it is here because I want this to be similar to a live environment.

So the webinar is literally going to go throughout the day just like this in their time zones and you my friend, are not there. And that is what makes it so fantastic. It is happening all the time. Probably as I am recording this podcast, I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody out there is actually attending my webinar. And that is a really cool thing. And at that point, it all comes down to how you leverage that. This is the beautiful thing about Evergreen Webinars, is that they are scalable. They can scale up for leverage because it is not dependent on you or your schedule or anything that you might have going on. I mean, hell… I like to go camping in my RV. I don’t want to be sitting there constantly doing webinars. That is what I love about Evergreen Webinars.

Now, keep in mind… with Evergreens, is that generally, they don’t convert as well in terms of sales; generally speaking. You can do well with them, but the average that I have seen and I have also experience is that it generally does not convert quite as well. But the percentages are still so pretty damn respectable. And the other thing, too is that generally you can make up for it with volume because you are not going to have as many people attending every single display of the webinar but because it is happening so much, you have got a very scalable funnel there. And so you are going to have a more of a steady stream of people going to the webinar rather than this big spurts that you are going to get with a live one. So you have more volume and therefore, it makes up for it. And it is also just plain easier to do. You set this thing up and then it runs. And the great thing is that you could treat this then like a true funnel; a true sales funnel that is automated. Just like you have like somebody gets a front-end offer then it comes to a sales page, blah-blah-blah… with this, it is the same exact thing except it is actually simpler. You don’t have as many steps to it. Instead of delivering a lead magnet and then a front-end offer, whatever… You are going straight from a webinar probably to a higher ticket thing. So there is a lot higher monetary potential to this… It is easy.

I love the fact that you can just simply record the metrics and work it and see how many people showed up, how many people didn’t… You track that on a week by week basis and you are constantly looking at the numbers where the weak points are and you go and you perfect the funnel in order to get certain parts of those metrics up. If you have an automated webinar funnel and you find that you have a below average attendance rate then you can put some things automated before the actual webinar to increase the attendance rate. So you just find where the system breakdown is by looking at the numbers and you can perfect this funnel and make some good money with it.

Alright, so… we are getting a little long-winded here on this one, but that is pretty much the gist of my take versus the Live Webinar and the Pre-recorded Evergreen Webinar.

So next time, on the next episode we are going to talk a little bit more about the Evergreen Webinar. I am going to go in to a little bit more of the details in terms of how to actually set on up.

Until then… I do want to leave you off here with the invitation to go and download the 60 minute webinar plan which is a PDF but it is basically a chart. It is like a flowchart graphical thing that I put in PDF that will give you a basic outline of a 60 minute webinar presentation… The basic structure of how it is put together. And so if the idea of putting together a webinar presentation gives you that blank slate syndrome where you really don’t know how to even get going on it, this can definitely help. It is a 60-Minute Webinar Plan and you can download it for free.

Once again, thank you so much… I hope you found this one valuable. If you haven’t gone and reviewed this show in iTunes, I would highly appreciate it by the way, just search out coffeebreakblogging inside of iTunes and post your honest review of the show… Let me know how I am doing here and I would really appreciate that.

See you next time! 😉