Whatever the reason, from self-isolation to quarantine, you have the need to bring your offline classes online. This post will help you set up a low-cost tool called Zoom so you can deliver your classes easily online. Plus you have the option to record them and turn them into an online course at a later date.
As you plan your online classes, you’ll need a variety of tools to help you support your students virtually.
One of the most popular virtual meeting services, among small business owners, is the free service offered by Zoom. If you aren’t familiar with Zoom, we will be walking you through the basic steps to help you create your own virtual training room. This will help structure the process in a logical order of steps that people will take to sign up for your online training. Let’s get started with opening your new Zoom account and looking under the hood.
Setting up Zoom is easy and intuitive if you have set up another video conferencing or webinar training service in the past. It may even look familiar to you if you have attended a Zoom webinar or other webinars, in general. The point is that getting things set up and using the tool isn’t rocket-science. You can do this yourself or have an assistant do it for you, if you feel uncomfortable with tech tasks.
Go to https://zoom.us.
On the next page, enter your first name, last name, and password twice. The password should be at least 8 characters long and be a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Once you have completed this step, you will be logged in automatically.
You will then see your personal URL for the service. That link is the gateway to the classes you host.
With the free service, you can host up to 100 people for a limited number of times per month, for 40 minutes at a time. This is applicable to meetings with 3 attendees or more. You are allowed unlimited personal meetings with 1 or 2 people.
Once you are feeling confident that Zoom is the right choice for you, go onto one of the three paid tiers of service. The next tier up will give you up 200 seats. You can also pay for more seats if you need to. https://zoom.us/pricing
The other tiers of services are for larger companies who will have more than one host (minimum of 10, and 100 for the 2 tiers), with pricing equaling the monthly fee for those tiers (currently around $20), times the number of hosts. On the webinars tab, it states you can have up to 10,000 attendees.
But if you are just starting out, begin with the free option and you can always upgrade to the small business tier paid option if you need to.
Note that it does not offer webinar recording with storage in the Cloud unless you have a paid level of service. Otherwise, it will store your recordings onto your computer for you to access as needed. Some media files can get very large, so be sure you have plenty of space on your hard drive, or remember to move them to Dropbox or OneDrive straight after.
Depending on size and length of the video, you might be able to upload it as an Unlisted file to YouTube and then embed the video in a page at your site for interested parties to view the recording if they missed the live broadcast. The important thing is to be able to make the training accessible so anyone who missed it can see it, and to be able to edit it if you wish.
On the left-hand navigation menu, choose My Meetings:
Meetings will be listed according to start time, topic, and webinar ID.
Click Schedule a New Meeting:
On the next page, you will see at the top:
Enter your title and description.
Next, toggle or click to set the specifics of your webinar.
Note date, duration, and time zone. Be careful around the time the clocks change if you live in a location that uses Daylight Savings Time.
Aim for at least a few ahead of time, in order to give you the chance to promote your class, especially if you have a large number of seats to fill.
As the pink box states, you have a limit of 40 minutes, but the toggle is only in 15 minute increments, so you will really only get 30 minutes, not 45, with the free plan. It is possible to create a good class in 30 minutes, but timing will be tight and it will leave most viewers wanting more (which can be a good thing in some cases and frustrating for them in others).
If you check the box for recurring meeting, you will see:
In most cases, you will not be having a recurring meeting. However, if you were using the system for coaching, for example, this might be a useful feature, with a weekly or monthly coaching call being booked in. Again, the paid service will give you the chance to host more classes that are longer in duration. But for the moment, we are just setting up your first one.
Your next choice is what your participants will see when they sign into the Zoom room:
This should be turned on for host, with a welcome slide showing on the screen. There isn’t any need to show their computer screen to them unless you really want to surprise them with your first slide. A welcome slide, however, tells them they are in the right place.
Note: Try to get into the room early and start promptly. The clock is ticking in terms of Zoom’s parameters, and people are busy (as are you).
Next, choose how they can access your audio:
For most webinar hosts and users, “Both” is the best option.
Note that if they are not dialing in from the US, you need to click edit and can add other countries as needed. For this reason, you may want to have someone manning the help desk to assist with last minute registrations:
Zoom will provide the right dial-in numbers with the international dialling codes in their invitation. Or your participants can just listen through their computer.
Next, choose your meeting options:
If you click “Require meeting password,” a box will open up:
Insert the password you wish to use. Write it down so you don’t forget.
Enable join before host – This lets them enter the room before you. If you will make it a point to be early, or don’t want them to see the first slide you will be showing, leave this box unchecked.
Mute participants upon entry – This is a good option because a lot of people have all sorts of things going on in the background and it can be very frustrating for people on the call to listen to chatter, dogs barking and so on when they are trying to hear the class.
Use Personal Meeting ID – This will be included as part of the invitation they will be sent and adds an extra layer of security if you want to make sure the people logging in have registered. This is important if you have a limited number of seats and don’t want people who actually registered to get turned away, which can be very frustrating and disappointing.
Enable waiting room – A waiting room will allow you to control when your audience enters the webinar and sees your first slide. You can hold them in the room until you are ready.
Record meeting automatically – Recording the class on the local computer is always a good idea so you can offer those who missed out a replay, and use the recording for various other marketing and sales purposes.
When you are finished, click Save.
On the next page, you will see a page that recaps what you saved, and offers additional useful information.
You will see name, description, and time, with these choices:
Add to your calendar of choice as needed.
Next, you will see:
With your own customized data.
All the way to the right of the “Join URL” field, you will see:
Click on the link and you will see:
Note the phone number sections will also be customized with your ID, which they will have to enter in order to get into the room.
Copy the invitation and paste it as needed, such as into your email marketing platform broadcast email to invite people on your marketing list to attend. Edit it as needed, such as adding your description of the online class, and then click send. (More on this in a moment.)
The rest of the page will show the options you chose on the previous page. If you want to make any changes, click:
Now your meeting is all set up.
Your only other important step in the interface is when the time comes, you will click the button next to your meeting data to start the meeting and begin presenting to your audience:
There is also a link if you wish to delete the meeting:
Once your meeting looks exactly the way you wish, you will be able to start inviting people. Unfortunately, there is no built-in feature for doing this through Zoom, so you will need to create a registration funnel through your email marketing platform and then drive traffic to it. Let’s look next at how to build an effective registration funnel.
Several popular email-marketing platforms are available to small business owners. This helps to connect with your target audience. They include Active Campaign, Aweber, Constant Contact, and others.
We use and recommend Active Campaign so that you can use the system as a CRM as well.
To make things easy in the long-run, you’ll need to create a new mailing/registration list for people that want to register for your online class. The principles will work the same for most other platforms. If you already have an email marketing platform that isn’t Active Campaign, read through it to make sure you have all the items you need to create in order to have an effective funnel.
STEP 1: Create Your New List
Log in to Active Campaign or your other email marketing account. In Active Campaign, look at the left of the screen for the list tab:
Click and you will see all your lists. On the right, click Add a List
In Step 2, you will name your list. This will be visible to anyone who subscribes, so be strategic about what you name it.
Subscribers will also see your description in various locations, including when they unsubscribe, so write one that is an accurate description of what they will learn and the benefits of being on the list.
When finished, click Add
On the left hand menu you will see the forms tab. Click on the tab and you will be taken to the forms section .
At the top on the right you nee to click on
you will then have a popup appear like this
This is where you will give your form a name. Decide on the type of form (most people use the inline form).
The action taken is next, you can add a tag, subscribe them to an email list (in this instance that’s the one you will choose)
Option lets you choose the list you want the person filling the form out to go into, when you click the dropdown it will list all of your email lists and you can choose the appropriate one.
If you want to add more than one action then click on
So you may want to add them to a list and add a tag.
When you have completed this part click on
You will now be taken to the form editor. This is where you can check your form settings and customise the look of your form.
The first tab you see is the fields tab. All of the elements on the right are drag and drop. for example, if you required the telephone number to be added you would click and hold over the ‘phone’ element and drop it in the form where you want it to be
The style options allow you to change colours fonts and other elements such as the size of the text.
The last one is the options, this is where you can set the message they receive once they have submitted the form. You can also check the action here, in this example the will be added to the list 111test
Once you have created you form you will need to make it avaliable for people to sign up to. To do this the next step is to click on this button on the top right of the page
This will take you to the next stage which gives you 4 options The first option is to embed your form using code on your website, this can be a bit more difficult and may need your web developer to do this for you. Although it takes no coding ability to use this it can be tricky to know where on your site to insert the code.
If you do choose this option then you would highlight and copy and paste everything within the box.
The next option to share your form is via a link. This is great for personal invites or if you are sending out emails Although this is under the integrations section its more of a sharing option. Simply copy the link and send out
Your 3rd option is to use the active campaign free plugin for WordPress. This is a simple way of connecting your forms and for the plugin to add the code where you want it. If you have some understanding of plugins on your WordPress site then this is a good option over using the embed code. If you are unsure please do check with a developer though that it won’t cause any conflicts on your WordPress website.
Your 4th option is to add your form to a facebook page. Great if you have a big facebook audience.
you don’t have to choose just one of these ways to share your sign up form, you could use a combination and at any point you can go back into your form and grab the integration to use wherever you need to.
Next we move onto creating your welcome sequence
Go to the automations tab on the left hand side and click, you will be taken to the automation section where you want to click in the top right hand corner button
A box will pop up and ask you which type of automation you want to create, for the purposes of this being new to you will the ‘start from scratch’ option is the best option. click on that option then click
To automate your email welcome you need to tell Active campaign , what needs to happen to start this automation process in motion. This is know as a start trigger. You will click on ‘subscribes to a list’ then click continue
This is where you can choose the list you want to connect the automation to. select your list and click ‘Add start’
you will now be prompted with the following options. Here you will choose ‘send an email
As this will be your first email in the automation this is what you will see.
Thats normal, just click on the ‘create an email’ link that is highlighted in blue to get you started. The first thing you will do is give the email a name. This name WILL NOT be shown publicly its for you to see in your automation flow only. If you are going to send out more than one email in the sequence you may want to number them or describe the contents of the email Once you have decided click on the ‘Create button’
your next step is to choose a teplate, to get you started a basice welcome email template may be easier however they can be customised after you choose so don’t panic if you think its not exactly how you would like it to look. In my example i will choose the welcome email template
The sender details are next. These can be changed at a later time , if you know these now it’s best to add them so you don’t forget to change them before you set the process live.
The email editor will now open up for you. This is where you can add in your email text, images and links. you can personalise the message that you want to send for each individual receiver.
On the right hand side you will see lots of options to add elements to your email , change colours , fonts and font sizes. Use your time to make this look and feel how you need it to. don’t be overly complicated with your design, simple is best and gets read
Once you are happy click ‘next at the top and it will open up the campaign summary.
The campaign summary runs through with you, the sending details are correct, you have tracking on if you wish. It passes the spam checks according to Active campaign and also allows you to either preview the email or send yourself a tst version via email. this is really useful to ensure it looks good when sent.
When you are happy click
The welcome email is very important, but it is the bare minimum to send out. Sending a few general follow up emails about the topic of the class can keep them interested and looking forward to the event. Let them know if they need to prepare anything or take the opportunity to give them more information.
To add another email you click the ‘Plus’
Then you will be taken back to the beginning of ‘add a new action.
Remember in between each email you can add in sending delays in hours or days otherwise they will all be sent at once. (More about that over here )
The page with the form that you have just created is commonly referred to as a squeeze page or a landing page with it’s only purpose is to encourage a visitor to subscribe. Try to make it as easy as possible for subscribers to join and give them a strong reason as to why they would want to.
Here are a few examples of very succesful opt in pages
Name your confirmation page the same as the URL you gave when creating the settings for your form, such as: www.thebusinesssuccessdojo.com/email-confirmation-page
Copy and paste the data about the online class. You can also add a countdown clock set to the time the class is going to take place,
On the left, enter the exact details of when the class is to take place.
Carefully and thoroughly, test your online class setup step by step to make sure it is functioning properly. Subscribe to it yourself, using an email address that you look at often so you will be able to see if each message you send out is going out correctly.
Check the confirmation email and the welcome email. In addition, check the confirmation page and edit as needed.
If you’d like to change something, go back into your list to edit it, save the changes, and test again. When you’re sure that it’s correct, you’ll want to start driving traffic to the sign-up page, which is the beginning point of your online class success
Congratulations! You have now learned how to create the system for your online class using a variety of tools and by following the best practice tips. Now all that remains is to take the steps to get your funnel set up fully and deliver your first profitable online class.
Kevin Arrow is the CEO of the Online Visibility Academy where ethical entrepreneurs can train in digital marketing skills
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