Best webinar software
With air travel one of the major contributors to global warming, and the cost of travel and accommodation, getting attendees to seminars is more challenging than ever.
The solution is a webinar, where a workshop or presentation is provided directly to a wider audience using the internet.
It is possible to do this using YouTube, but webinar portals and applications enable a more interactive experience. Here the audience can interact with the presentation and presenters, ask questions and provide feedback.
Managing large numbers of virtual attendees requires planning and coordination, and webinar solutions have different approaches to the management of participants.
Here are five of the better webinar solutions that can get people together from any part of the globe for a lecture, discussion or information exchange.
- Also check out the best video conferencing software
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All the webinar options
Instead of just offering webinars, Livestorm has three different flavours available that allow for conventional pre-organised, on-demand and automated seminars to be provided.
Webinar content can be created beforehand and uploaded, presented live or be a combination of those scenarios. And, you can co-host with another company if you want to mix things up a bit.
Attendees can interact with the presenters, ask questions, be asked questions with polls. And, all the interaction can be recorded, and the reaction to presentations is available through analytics and reports after the event.
What has attracted many to Livestorm is that the data generated by a webinar can be funnelled into a wide selection of apps, including Zapier, Hubspot, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics and Google Analytics.
Those wishing to experience Livestorm can do so using a free version of the service that limits the webinar to a single meeting, 4 participants, 10 registrants and 20 minutes in length.
Livestorm offers two paid solutions, one for Webinars and another for meetings. Webinar Premium costs $99 per month paid annually. And, for that investment, you can have unlimited webinars, unlimited moderators, 4-hour events and up to 100 attendees. These attendee numbers can be boosted to 250 or 100 for $99 or $209 respectively.
Automation for the nation
The solution offered by EverWebinar is heavily focused on selling and specifically using the webinar model to present a sales pitch.
Therefore, it is focused on delivering on-demand webinars that have been finely crafted to deliver the best possible sales pitch and clinch the deal with it.
The best process to evolve a webinar is to use the sister product, WebinarJam. This is a conventional webinar site, and it can stream a live event or pre-recorded presentation.
Once you’ve given a live presentation that generated the sales, you can then convert that into the Everwebinar format. And, use the same content repeatedly.
Because those viewing the content will need to register ahead of time, they’re more inclined to think that the presentation is live, even if it isn’t.
The other important advantage of this methodology is that it enables webinars to be run in remote time zones from where the content is hosted.
Pricing is complicated if you want to use EverWebinar alongside WebinarJAM, as that costs $479 a year for a Basic Plan, and EverWebinar is on offer currently for $497 per year.
Meet and greet the Zoho way
Zoho is an amazingly successful brand that has solutions for CRM, project management, helpdesks, collaboration and marketing.
Among the application, stable is Zoho Meetings, a product that many would conclude is exclusively a video conferencing offering. But it’s much more than that, and one of the best features is the ability to host webinars.
Used in this way, Meeting offers many of the classic webinar features including a sophisticated registration solution, email notifications and reminders, Polls and Q&As, phone dial-ins, multiple presenters and post-webinar reporting.
It also uses Chrome and Firefox extensions to schedule and start webinars, and the only technical requirement to view is a capable browser.
As this is a Zoho solution, we expected great integrations, and Meeting interacts with both Zoho CRM and Zoho Campaigns for promotion. These connections allow webinars to drive sales opportunities and process them using the other Zoho tools.
Webinars are charged a monthly fee based on the maximum number of attendees. A webinar with 25 up to attendees is priced at $15 per month if billed annually, and $19 if paid monthly. The biggest option is 250 attendees, costing $63 per month billed annually.
The origins of ClickMeeting are videoconferencing, and it can be used for that purpose effectively. However, it also can be used to host webinars and has a raft of functionality dedicated to that purpose.
Hosted webinars can have a bespoke pre-event engagement, including a waiting room before the start of the presentation where extra information can be offered to attendees.
Polls and surveys can be used to maintain the engagement of those watching, even if the content isn’t live. You can freely mix live events with pre-recorded ones and have segments of both.
For live webinars, a whiteboard can be active during the presentation or afterwards for a Q&A session.
One aspect to ClickMeeting that has enhanced its reputation is that it can be used to monetise webinar content using the platform’s integration with PayPal to manage funds securely.
What many like about ClickMeeting is that the pricing model doesn’t care about the number of attendees. The lowest tier plan is MyWebinars, and that costs $25 a month with annual billing or $30 with monthly billing.
That plan includes two presenters and standard definition video, but for $35 a month with annual billing, the MyWebinars Pro tier includes four presenters, HD video and access to Facebook & YouTube Live services.
A one-stop-shop for massive webinars
For a while GoToWebinar by LogMeIn was indeed, the go-to solution for webinars.
The features available include pre-webinar processes, real-time analytics, lead management, the sharing of notes on mobile and audience interaction.
One very useful feature is the ability to share an installable application, enabling a webinar for using that tool to get everyone ready to use it within the webinar.
All the attendee facing parts can be rebranded, including the registration pages, emails and the web interface. But, this functionality is mostly limited to logos.
Despite some shortcomings, many companies like this tool, even if some think that it needs a revamp on the administration side of the system. And, others have complained that you can have audio or videos issues if you use the web interface and not the dedicated desktop application.
Pricing on GoToWebinar is also a possible stumbling block, as this is one of the more expensive options. The basic tiers are Starter, Pro and Plus, that cover 100, 500 and 1000 participants respectively. And, these cost $89, $199 and $499 per month if billed annually. Pro level or higher is needed to record presentations.
An Enterprise tier is also available with quoted pricing that can handle 5,000 attendees for those with big webinar ambitions.