How to host a webinar (for free!)

This guest post is by graphic designer Jamie of Spruce Rd. 

Recently, I launched an exciting side-project for Spruce Rd: monthly live-workshops during my lunch break, titled Lunch + Learn. The vision is to share practical design + business tutorials, and a behind-the-scenes peek into freelancing.

I was super jazzed about this project, but I was also overwhelmed about the logistics of webinars. I knew I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a webinar service, so I decided to test out a few free options until I found the right fit. For my last few Lunch + Learns about utilizing illustrator templates for your blog, I tested Crowdcast...and I am so glad I did!

Here's my honest review of the platform...

What works:

  • Free: Crowdcast is a free platform that works with Google Hangouts. Your live webinar will appear on your crowdcast event page, but the backend works seamlessly with Google Hangouts on Air.
  • Friendly user interface: The user interface design is the main reason I switched to Crowdcast vs. Google Hangouts. The design is pretty minimal, uses clean type, and thinks with the viewer in mind. They stripped all of the distractions and created a platform that is easy to enjoy a webinar.
  • Gathers emails: Unlike Google Hangouts, Crowdcast gathers emails of the webinar attendees. This allows you to add them to your newsletter list (if you make it clear their email will be added), and invite those attendees to future webinars. You also have the ability to send an email reminder to the participants as many times as needed before or after the webinar. This is something that Google Hangouts is missing, and Crowdcast has made it very easy.
  • More conducive to interaction: I noticed a tremendous difference between my previous webinar on Google Hangouts, and the one on Crowdcast, in terms of engagement from the attendees. Because of Crowdcast’s friendly design, the viewers were able to chat all throughout the webinar, ask questions or take a poll. I loved this feature, because it can feel a bit awkward talking to yourself, so it is helpful to have a chat feature that encourages the participants to engage in conversation. People even showed up early to the workshop, and we chatted about what we were eating for lunch, introduced ourselves, and started the conversation! 
  • Access to a recorded video: Once the live webinar is finished, Crowdcast keeps the video on the live event page, and also pushes it to your YouTube account. This is a nice feature that allows you to download the video, change the thumbnail, or embed on your site.

What’s missing:

  • Buttons for promotional purposes: If you are promoting a product/course, it can be nice to have a button on the webinar to make it easy for participants to pay for the product, or go to a link on your website. This feature is available on most paid services, but Crowdcast keeps things minimal and does not offer this feature yet. This would be a huge selling point for anyone who wants to sell, because of the ease for users to click a button and pay for the product. You could potentially miss sells because of this lacking feature.
  • Customer support/tutorials: There are no tutorials or support for this app. They are responsive through email, but they do not offer full support. With that said, Crowdcast is really easy to use, so you probably won’t need full support anyways!

Overall, I would use Crowdcast again! The participants enjoyed it as well, which is what matters most. If you want to join me in my next Lunch + Learn workshop on August 6th, you can sign up here!

Jamie is the designer and blogger behind Spruce Rd. She loves helping bloggers and entrepreneurs get noticed through quality branding, and providing them with practical tips + tricks! She loves all things chocolate, Wes Anderson and The Container Store.
Blog | Twitter | Lunch + Learn

Nesha Woolery

I build beautiful brands & websites for passionate entrepreneurs!