In a recent article I talked about why you should be doing webinars and a few options for the technology. Each has some advantages over the others but basically there are going to be 2 gold standards moving forward in 2014. For high engagement webinars where you want to be able to actually unmute audience members and speak with them one-on-one, GoTo Webinar is the obvious choice. The biggest problem with this platform is the cost.
The other main platform moving forward is going to be Google Hangouts. They have the cost element under control, since it is free for the platform. This is a relatively new technology and up until the last few months I would not have recommended it since it was not all that stable. Google is continuing to improve this though and I imagine within a few more months Google Hangouts will be just as reliable as any other platform.
Remember though, this is a new piece of technology to learn and there will be a learning curve. Better not to “learn on the job” with this one. I have seen so many people schedule their first hangout, publicize it and then fall flat on their face since they really had no clue how to use the platform. Do yourself a favor and do a couple of dry runs before trying a hangout on air to your audience.
So what is the biggest problem with Google Hangouts? I’m pretty sure that the technology and reliability will continue to improve but the real problem lies in the marketing side. One of the main reasons I want you to do webinars and hangouts is that they are great lead generation tools for building your email list. This is where out of the box hangouts fall down. If you already have a tribe and just want to invite them to a hangout you won’t be as concerned about having people optin to your email list first.
There are several ways to accomplish this goal, ranging from just setting up a basic optin form from your email autoresponder and sending people a link to your hangout up to setting up a complete marketing funnel. If you have been reading my stuff for awhile, you will know which one I recommend.
Right now, there are quite a few products coming online to help with the whole google hangout marketing funnel, from setting up an optin page to hosting the hangout on a page that you control and setting up the replay page. Some of them also will take care of the emails for you.
A tool I have been using for awhile is called Easy Webinar Plugin, this is great if you are a WordPress user. It allows you to do a lot of things you can’t do with a traditional hangout, including setting up a signup page, live event and replay page and even automate webinar and emails that go out before and after the event. A new feature is being able to track who actually shows up to the webinar, which is really cool since on average only about 20—40% of the people that signup will actually attend the webinar live. To see it in action, check out this webinar.
Even if you are not a WordPress user, lots of times I recommend that my clients setup a domain with WordPress on it just to be able to use tools like this.
Not to worry though, even if you know you never want to have a wordpress site, I do have another suggestion.
Probably my favorite online tool of 2013 has been a tool called Leadpages. The biggest strength of leadpages is the simple templates that are already setup. You just have to edit a couple of things and your pages will be up in minutes. If you have registered for any of my webinars in the past 6 months, usually this is the tool that I use. It integrates directly with your autoresponder and GoTo Webinar, and they even have 2 different templates for hosting Google Hangouts.
In this video is the demo of my favorite template that is already setup on leadpages.
If you want to learn more about Leadpages, check out this webinar.