A Tale of Two Webinars: How 3 Tweaks Made a $20k Difference

In the past two weeks, I hosted my first two solo webinars.

Almost identical content.

Greeeeat feedback from both.

The first brought in $0 while we were live (with 279 people). #ouch

The second brought in over $20k when we were live (with 240 people).

What did I do differently between rounds 1+2?

I made THREE simple changes (+ learned more than one super-valuable lesson in the process).

Let’s talk about ’em.


As much as we like to pretend we’ll make the right decisions in the right time, it’s human nature to take alllllll the time we’ve got to decide.

We need deadlines.

I totally knew this (I am a world-class procrastinator), yet for round one I didn’t include any extra bonuses because:

1) I’m kind of over the whole “everything’s gotta be urgent” thing + like to pretend we don’t need it anymore.

2) I’ve already included SO many bonuses with A Course About Copy – I just couldn’t think of what *else* would feel GOOD + scalable to throw into the mix without feeling crazy.

Prayed for some divine guidance this week, came up with a bonus package that felt REALLY fun + easy to deliver and adds MEGA value for my dreamies, offered it with a deadline, and BOOM. Decisions made easy.

TAKEAWAY: Procrastination is real. Try adding a time-sensitive bonus that adds great value, feels good and scalable to YOU to help THEM hop off the fence and cross that decision off the list – one way or the other.


Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 5.15.47 PMI’ve collected hundreds of screenshots of wins, shares, and stories from my ACAC students over the past year, which is a) fantastic, and b) totally overwhelming.

I didn’t know how/where to tie them in on my slides, and since I was scrambling to finish them (literally till four minutes before we went live), I just ran out of time.

Big mistake.

The main (almost only) difference in the slides for round two was that I sprinkled in REAL results + relatable stories from my actual customers.

Having them “with me” for backup clearly gave me (+ potential new customers!) an extra boost o’ confidence, which made it easier for them to say “YEP. I’m in.”

TAKEAWAY: Include screenshots + friendly faces of folks who have gotten tangible wins from working with you, using your product, etc. The social proof is in the pudding.


Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 5.18.04 PMI am super comfy with live public speaking (taught it at the college level for years + spoke in front of thousands on a daily as a park ranger before starting my biz), so I was *okay* winging it the first time.

That said, it was a WHOLE lot more enjoyable the second time once I’d gone through it once (to see what felt too stiff, too long, out of order, etc.).

Preparation is my #1 prescription for communication anxiety..and that is something I learned from the top scholars in the field in my TCU days.

Having more time to style up the slides + phrase the headers + bullet points in a more conversational way gave me a welcome boost of confidence.

TAKEAWAY: Don’t wait until the last minutes to be ready. Set a fake deadline for yourSELF if you need to, and finish the presentation at least a day or two ahead of time. Sleep on it. Run through it OUT LOUD in full time at least once or twice before game time.


Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 5.23.53 PMNot gonna lie.

Finishing that first webi, refreshing my inbox (twice – ha!), and seeing ZERO new sales in my inbox threw my confidence for a LOOP.

(Waaaiiiit…they said they loved the content! Aren’t webinars supposed to convert like magic?!)

In that VERY real cricket phase, the “What did I do wrong?!” feeling was reeeally tough to swallow.

So here’s where I’ve gotta get personal for a minute.

Many of us mamas talk about how much the creative process is like pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

Exhilarating, exhausting, scary, messy, and beautiful all at the same time.

To extend that metaphor – this “webinar that launched a’ ZERO sales” felt like a creative miscarriage.

It was a jarring reminder that just like with healthy pregnancies – even when you’ve had “successful” launches before, nothing is guaranteed.

And it’s okay to be honest about that.

NOTE: I lost two pregnancies last year. Please know I’m not trying to compare the emotional + physical pain of miscarriage with webinars and launching. Not the point, and I’m not trying to get too deep right now. Just go with me on this one!

Sharing the tough stuff before you know the outcome can be scary.

But it can also be a BEAUTIFUL opportunity to build real, meaningful connection and offer hope to those who have been, are in, or will be in the same boat one day.

I feel ESPECIALLY responsible for keeping it real about webi #1 with YOU, because:

a) that’s kind of the whole point of this “smart, authentic communication” thing, and

b) (if you’ve been hanging here with me for a while) you’ve heard about my first big launch(es) – and the crazy six-figure launch of last summer.

Now that you’ve heard the tale of the webi that launched a ZERO sales…you know I’m not joking when I say biz puberty is real.

I’m totally thrilled about all the 50+ (!) new dream students who have joined the ACAC fam this month (+ the many more who will join us in the hours, days, and months to come), but at the end of the day, the biggest win of all was that I didn’t crawl into a hole and give up after round one.

I took a breath, hit the reset button, made these tweaks, and gave it another go.

And THAT, my friend, has made alllll the difference.

So that’s the story.

Simple shifts, BIG lessons, and a very real deadline.

NEXT DAY UPDATE: Within 24 hours of sharing this post (the last day of this particular promo period), we added 25 new dream students to the A Course About Copy fam.  This tale o’ two webis got a huge response on FB, because it was refreshingly funny – honest – humbling – embarrassing – inspiring – educational…insert adjective here :) I like to see all of the above as proof that we don’t HAVE to fake it til we make it. Sharing it as we learn it keeps things a whole lot more interesting.


Have you hosted your first webinar (or two)? Got any good tips to share?

Have you ever launched to crickets then made a shift (or three) that made all the difference? Do tell!

Either way, I hope these tips help you keep sharing with confidence.

I think there’s a reason Jiminy was a cricket. Those little fellas sure can teach us a lot ;)

To the wins, the flops, and the lessons from each,


P.S. If you liked this post + want to help me spread the word by using the links below to share it with your buddies, I would greatly appreciate it! The webi link will expire tomorrow, but these lessons learned are most certainly evergreen.



  1. Michelle

    Thank you Nikki. This just proves to me once again that a few small tweaks in copy can make a huge difference. Your bonus tip is also priceless.

    ‘Take a deep breath and try again’ can be applied to all areas of our lives!

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Absolutely, Michelle. Thank YOU for helping me remember to take those deep breaths! <3

  2. Rachel

    Thanks for sharing and keeping it real!

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Happy to, Rachel! Felt so good to get this off my chest…was just waiting to be able to share it with some lessons learned :)

  3. Laurel

    Always love your candor and presentation, Nikki!

  4. Shannon

    Nikki, this was super helpful – thank you for sharing. I’m about to do my second launch (and the first was a rush during holiday), so I appreciate any helpful tips :)

  5. Sally Hoffman

    Nikki, you are the greatest, most honest, up front, real, cute, humorous, kind person I have ever dealt with. It just keeps getting better and better. You are so transparent with us and that help me realize that we all fall off the curb once in awhile, getting back up and moving forward is the key to being a champion!!! Hugs and many thanks sent your way for your truth and honesty.

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Hugs right back, Sally! Thanks for always being so sweet + supportive :)

  6. Patricia

    Nikki, thank you SO much for this – I’ve been going through something similar with my launch – three part videos series – one sale!! (AHHHAA) everyone loved the videos.. I was sick for days and emotional wreck but I’ve learned so much from it… I’ve been watching you, your development and the magic you have been creating and its such an inspiration… I decided to extend my cart opening by a week and do a webinar this week something i’ve never done! I will be using all of these tip to prepare for it… Much love & congratulations xxx

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Sounds great, Patricia! YES there is allllllways something to learn. (All for our highest good, right??) Once we get over ourselves we can step back and look a bit more objectively ;)

  7. Jess

    Brilliant post Nikki! I have really been procrastinating planning my first webinar and so glad to see these tips from you! Will definitely be setting a “Jess” deadline to keep the ball rolling ;)

  8. Kristen

    Can I just say that I love your honesty? You have been real from the get go and that is why I’m still such a follower. I’ve put myself on a course diet for now but I will be the first to sign up when my fog lifts. Thanks Nikki!

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Why yes. Yes you can. Thanks for the love, Kristen :) We will save you a seat!

  9. Lillian De Jesus

    Hi Nikki,

    Wow! Thanks so much for being humble and letting us know how your 1st webi experience was. Also I must say I’m truly sorry for your loss, I know how it feels as it happened to me twice too although not in the same year. Like you said take a deep breath and try again. That works in all areas of life.

    So happy for you!

    Take care,

  10. Self Made Dame

    Thanks for being so transparent, this post was super helpful for me for my upcoming first webinar! :D

  11. Linda

    I feel so grateful for your willingness to share these vulnerable parts of your biz practice and for the awesome tips. Tip number one is really something for me to think about as I am preparing videos right now. I also have a live presentation coming up and though the slides are done, practice could be had. I always love being able to do the second, and third time around, but there’s no getting around the first!

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      There you go then, Linda! Your homework is to do at least ONE full run-through and report back here so I can congratulate you when it’s done ;)

  12. Debra Rogers

    Thanks for this Nikki. You’re awesome.

    I was one of those people who joined after the 2nd Webinar. I knew I was going to take ACAC at some point this year, but something just clicked after the second Webinar that made me say, “The time is now, not 6 months from now.”

    Thanks for sharing your journey this past week. I think many of us try something and if it doesn’t work, we say, “Oh well” and move onto something else. This is an amazing lesson to try again and to keep putting your message out there!

    XO – Debra

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Thank you so much, Debra! Thrilled to welcome you to the fam this week :)

      And absolutely – this was a huge lesson for me. Glad it’s resonating with y’all too!

  13. Amy

    You are so freakin’ amazing, Nikki. Thanks for sharing what must have been a painful lesson. Wow! I’m so looking forward to joining ACAC one day. Keep up the inspiring work and thanks for all the fabulous content you share!

  14. Sue Bates

    what a wonderful article thank you so much for sharing!! Very good lessons for all of us:) I really find it inspiring to read real stories about other people’s businesses. Will be fun to meet you at off the charts:)

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Thank you, Sue – glad you could make it to the Q&A last week!

  15. Marinda

    This is a much-needed share, Nikki. My first webinar was a total flop! Even though I have done all the research and intellectually understood all the components of a good webinar, it was too overwhelming for me to implement on top of a fear of public speaking. For my first webi, I just had the “meat” of my content and a CTA. Nothing else but nerves.

    The second time I included a short introduction and did a better job of setting expectations—but in the end what I ended up realizing was that the topic I was talking about didn’t excite ME, so there was no way it would have excited any of the few folks who showed up live. The topic was just something I knew a lot about and thought I could make some cash to then do what I really wanted to do. BIG NO-NO.

    My lesson was twofold:
    • Sometimes your own fears can bully you into a different path, it’s much more subtle than other people telling you what you’re supposed to do to be successful (turns out webinars don’t even make sense for my current biz!)
    • Always start with the WHY; a bigger message that contributes to society.

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      “the topic I was talking about didn’t excite ME, so there was no way it would have excited any of the few folks who showed up live.”

      GREAT point, Marinda! I used to tell my public speaking students that when they were choosing topics for their talks: If you’re bored talking about it, we’re bored listening to you talk about it. You’ve got to find something that energizes you in SOME way :)

  16. Ricki

    I love this, and it came at JUST the right time for me. I literally wrapped up a 3-webinar series last week–and also, ONE sale. And this is for a course I’ve taught 3 times before and even sold out on one occasion!! I was totally stumped. I hadn’t planned to provide another webinar, but I might just do so and see what happens. So great to know that (a) it happens to the best of you and (b) it can get better. :)

  17. Maria

    Big hug. Thanks for being brave and sharing this with us. Here’s to learning from the successes and the not so successful moments in business and life.

  18. Angela B. Hall

    The universe needed me to read this today. I just started a prelaunch and although I’ve had some interest, it feels like no one cares and I just wasted a lot of time that I could have spent watching Criminal Minds reruns.

    Thanks for sharing

  19. Laura G. Jones

    Fantastic takeaways, Nikki. Love how honest you are, and I hear you on the business comparisons – both puberty AND business.

    One of the top traits of successful entrepreneurs is to be able to separate their business from their self, especially when things go rough. I like to think of business as a game where we’re just trying to learn the lessons we need to get to the next level.

    I’ve seen a lot of webinars use case studies very successfully. That might be a nice way to add on to #2. Thank you for sharing your experience so honestly!

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Thanks for the encouragement, Laura! Case studies can definitely ease the doubts, add the social proof, and help everybody feel more comfortable in the process.

  20. Jeannie Spiro


    Oh boy do I have stories about the webinars and teleseminars I’ve hosted (and ones my clients have done) that have completely bombed.

    In full disclosure I work with coaches, consultants and small business owners helping them design client converting webinars, teleseminars and live presentations. I used to host webinars where barely anyone showed up or they’d leave before they heard my offer (or immediately after without buying) but once I figured out the formula to hosting them my conversion rate started to go through the roof.

    It took me a lot of time and practice to figure out how to create revenue generating webinars but everything you’ve said is spot on. Webinars can’t be winged, they need to be planned, strategically designed to set up the offer, captivating (visually and verbally) and they must be practiced.

    Having spent most of my corporate life selling from stages I figured I could step right into webinars (I figured if $800 million of business is being sold from webinars every year then it couldn’t be too hard), turns out I had a lot to learn.

    Anyway, now I’ve got my webinars down to a science, host them regularly and have kicked it up a notch by even doing evergreen webinars. It’s worth sticking with it as you know, they can be insanely profitable once you figure out how to create ones that convert.

    Thanks for letting us behind the scenes to share how you were able to transform the process but most importantly show that a one time failure doesn’t mean it can’t create massive success!

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Fantastic, Jeannie! Sounds like you’ve got a great system down.

  21. Angelique Duffield

    Love your bright, fun sidebar graphics Nikki.

    Thank you for another honest + inspiring post. So refreshing when many people make it sound like they are an overnight success. Truth is, business (and life) is full of bumps in the road, twists, turns, dark corners, yellow brick roads, and all the stuff in between.

    Webinars with crickets? Check.
    Hangouts on air interviews (live on air AND to a classroom of social media students) that dropped out when Google crashed? Check.

    Systems now put in place for a more stress-free process and to give more value to listeners with onboarding sequence and follow-up? Check.

    Like anything else – practice. Enjoy the ride. Hang in there.

    If it doesn’t go well? Use what you learned as a stepping stone to success.

    PS. I used this article as an inspiring example in my “let go of perfection-itis” blog post.

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Thanks for the kind words, Angelique! (And I see your biz name – so your love o’ my sidebar is extra-appreciated. I have way too much fun creating those ;))

      Beautiful share. Revisiting this post myself after a big workshop this week! There’s ALWAYS a great lesson in there when we’re willing to look for it.

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