Next week I’m running an online training session. It’s the first time I’ve run an ‘paid for’ webinar in this way and as I was working through my options I thought you might find it interesting to see what choices I considered and what my final set up looks like.

As with most things involving technology there are lots of ways to achieve the same result and one of my bug bears is seeing people paralysed in their businesses by not having the tech all perfectly working. Hopefully you will be able to see from this that, particularly for smaller numbers of people, there is often a quick and simple solution.

The background

I wanted to run a GDPR Workshop but with clients all over the country it wasn’t practical to do it in person. I decided to charge for an online workshop so location wasn’t a problem. I’ve outlined 3 different ways this could be set up, depending on where you are in your business and the type of webinar you want to run.

Whatever solution you go with there are some basics that you will require to get this systems up and running.

You will need:
– a way of describing your webinar (usually this is the sales page but could just be an email)
– a means of people paying you for the webinar (a payment handler)
– a means of telling people how to attend the webinar (typically by email but could be from our own email address or using an email marketing tool like Mailchimp)
– a means of hosting the webinar

Option 1 – Super Simple and very hands on

The very simplest way of ‘selling a webinar’ is to send an email to the people you already know might be interested describing the webinar. They can then pay you either directly into your bank or via PayPal and once payment is received you can send them details of how to access the webinar (the registration link) This is pretty much what I did for my ‘pilot’ to which I had just 6 attendees so the manual process of sending emails was not too arduous. It would be difficult to manage for people you don’t know as you don’t have a sales page for the webinar which you can share on social media etc. It also means that you need to be pretty vigilant for emails coming through. We have come to expect a pretty instant response to signing up for things and I know with my manual process for the pilot I was chased by people who had not received their confirmation email which may not be the customer experience you are after.

Option 2 – Automated but less personal

Some webinar software lets you charge for people to register for the webinar. My webinar software (Webinar Ninja) allows this and I nearly went down this route for the main webinar (where I am getting lots more sign ups and I needed it to be much more automated).
The sales page would have been hosted by the webinar software, connected to my PayPal account and after payment the users would have been registered for the webinar and sent all their reminder emails from the webinar software. I like this solution as it only involves 2 different software providers (PayPal and Webinar Ninja) but I wanted to be able to easily interact with people on the webinar for this particular training and Webinar Ninja doesn’t do that so well. If you don’t want to use Webinar Ninja then WebinarJam and Demio also allow you charge for webinars.
This is a quick option to set up as it has less moving parts than the next option and would be a good solution for many people for their first paid webinar.

Option 3 – Ninja Solution

Once you start to get more established in your business then you will probably want more control over your branding than you get with option 2. While it’s great to have everything in one system it does mean that the sales page and nurture emails will be limited to the formats provided by your webinar system.

In this set up you will use a dedicated landing page, either on your website or using a 3rd party provider such as lead pages to host your sales page. This will then connect to your payment processor which could be PayPal again or Stripe (which has favourable rates to PayPal and allows you to use discount codes/coupons but is a bit more complicated to set up). Once the sign up is completed you will use an integration to add the attendee to your email list (Mailchimp, Active Campaign, ConvertKit etc) and start sending them the details of the webinar.

As you can imagine this option has a lot more moving pieces and requires more time to set up than options 1 or 2 but it does deliver a more bespoke experience.

What I actually did!

I pretty much went for option 3. I had a sales page on my site, took payments via Stripe and then sent all the details from ConvertKit. I tested it several times before it went live and fingers crossed, at the moment it looks like it is working nicely.

Takehome message

If you want to try delivering a paid webinar then it doesn’t have to be complicated. If you work with people across a large area then it can be a struggle to get enough people together to run a physical workshop and a paid webinar can be a great way of delivering a workshop at a reasonable price that people can access from home. Please don’t let the tech be the bit that puts you off…

If you would like any help setting up a paid webinar then drop me a line. I love talking through the options and we can make sure you have a great system ready to support your delivery.
Next week I’ll be looking at the different webinar systems that are out there and sharing which ones do what best (in my opinion anyway!).