Webinars are one of the most effective ways to connect with your audience and give them high-quality, educational content. When customers see your face or even hear your voice, you go one step further in building a strong relationship.
While webinars require less time and effort than creating an e-book or report, they still aren’t easy. You need to plan, practice, and promote your webinar so it reaches the right people.
Creating the content is only half the battle. You also need to find the right technology that helps make your webinar a success, and doesn’t add extra work or stress for you (or for your attendees).
What is a Webinar
Before we jump into what webinar software is best for you, let’s quickly cover exactly what a webinar is. Typically a webinar is a live meeting presented online. I say typically because some webinars are recorded or made available on demand. Many freelancers and entrepreneurs launching products or building their platforms have utilized on-demand webinars in the sales funnels to nurture leads and close sales.
Webinars are meetings, presentations, demonstrations, discussions or individual sessions where one person (the presenter) is sharing information with another person or a large number of attendees.
At first, webinars can be intimidating for both the presenter and the attendee – but don’t worry, with the right software and a little planning a head of time, you can use webinars in your sales and marketing process, too.
[bctt tweet “Marketers rated #webinars as the 2nd most effective #B2B content marketing tactic.”]
Without further ado, here is our mini guide on how to choose the right webinar platform:
7 Questions to Ask When Considering Webinar Software
Before you start researching specific webinar solutions, answer these seven questions:
1. Who is your audience?
If you’re targeting an older demographic, go for an easy-to-use webinar platform that doesn’t require installing an add-on or plug-in. If you’re going for a younger audience, look for a platform that is compatible with mobile and connects to social media.
2. How many attendees?
Do you need to accommodate 500 people or 50 people? Do you think most people will want to listen in live or just watch the recording later? Get a feel for your audience size before investing in a webinar platform.
3. What’s your budget?
Most webinar services cost between $20-$1,000 each month. When looking for a platform, make sure to evaluate the “nice to have features” and the “must-have features.” The price may also be dependent on the number of attendees allowed to listen live. If you aren’t sure of the number, start small and you can always increase.
4. Do you plan to have guest speakers?
Will you be the only one speaking at your webinars or will you have guest speakers? Will you have more than two people presenting during one webinar? If you plan to have multiple people, make sure your webinar service has an admin console that allows you to assign different presenters.
5. Do you need to record the webinar?
In my experience, only one-third to one-fourth of registrants will actually attend the live webinar. Many people register just to receive the recording and watch it on their own time.
6. How much audience participation do you want?
Some webinar platforms allows attendees to communicate verbally or via a chat box. Or, you may want to add a poll or survey during the live webinar.
7. What kind of integrations do you need?
Most webinar platforms allow you to manage invitations, registrations, and reporting in the tool itself. But, you may want to send your emails through your email marketing system or sync attendee lists with your CRM tool.
Overview of 5 Different Webinar Platforms
- GoToWebinar: Created by GoToMeeting, the popular meeting and screen sharing tool, GoToWebinar offers HD video recording, archived recording, full reporting features, polls and surveys, and full attendee registration services. Cost: Starts at $89 per month for up to 100 attendees.
- Cisco WebEx: Part of the Cisco family of products for remote work, Cisco WebEx offers branded registration and invites, lead generation tools, polls, chat, and the ability to display five panelists at a time. Cost: $89 per month for up to 100 people.
- Adobe Connect: Adobe’s webinar service offers complete mobile collaboration, video conferencing integration, breakout rooms to focus discussions, recording, Microsoft Outlook integration, and more. Cost: $104 per month for up to 100 people.
- ReadyTalk: ReadyTalk has a suite of products for audio and video conferencing, webinars and events, and more. ReadyTalk includes sharing options, social promotion tools, customized branding, follow-up emails, and more. Cost: $119 per month for unlimited webinars.
- AnyMeeting: Perfect for small businesses, AnyMeeting offers screen sharing, phone support, Facebook and Twitter integration, and is mobile friendly. Cost: $18 per month for up to 30 attendees.
Or, if you anticipate having a smaller audience, you can use Skype for free for group voice calls and screen sharing of up to 25 people or Google+ Hangouts for up to 10 people in a video call.
How Other Marketers Are Using Webinars
Marketers rated webinars as the second most effective B2B tactic in the Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report. And their effectiveness doesn’t stop there; webinars are a powerful strategy for any industry. They add value to your brand, educate your audience, and fill the funnel. And, with the right webinar platform, technology will help make the webinar a breeze.