Deciding on a webinar provider means you are a committing to one webinar platform for the long haul, or at least until your contract is finished.
Making this commitment shouldn’t be taken lightly, as a poorly researched decision could be the difference between a positive experience that enhances your brand’s reputation to a negative experience that hurts your reputation and does not generate the intended results. Sure, destroying your brand’s reputation might be an extreme example, but it has happened and will if you don’t choose your webinar provider wisely.
Picture this: you spend thousands of dollars promoting your webinar with the intention of driving targeted prospects and hoping that these folks convert into a customer at some point. You found the right prospects, and many of them were able to make this webinar, yet when it is time to go live your audio doesn’t work. Or there are glitches with seeing the screen, your host’s webcam keeps freezing, or maybe your attendees can’t even find their way into the webinar room! All of these scenarios are technical issues that can happen with a webinar provider.
As you do your research, you want to select a webinar provider that highlights your brand and what you have to say. If you pick a platform that is lackluster and doesn’t allow you show off your brand in a positive way, you’re not during yourself any favors.
Before you ask a webinar provider the crucial questions I detail below, you must first determine what your goals are in creating webinars that you will share with the world.
Sample Webinar goals:
- Increase brand awareness
- Connect with existing customers
- Share thought-leadership
- New avenue for producing leads for a sales team
The questions you ask a webinar provider should highlight your own webinar goals to ensure you are picking the best platform to highlight the goals and objectives you select. The sample goal questions I stated above are common reasons companies decide to start a webinar program. These sample goals might even match your own webinar goals. If that’s the case finding a robust webinar provider that can help you achieve these goals is key. I am going to assume for this blog that you began the journey of producing webinars with all of these goals in mind. Therefore you require a robust webinar platform to help you achieve these objectives.
Through clarifying your goals and with a little bit of thoughtful research, along with asking the right questions, you’ll no doubt be able to select the best webinar provider for your company.
With that, here are the top 20 questions you must ask a webinar provider to determine if they are the right fit before signing a contract.
What does your onboarding and ongoing training program look like?
Training is a critical element, as the quality of your webinar will reflect how well you know the platform. Having a deep dive training of the platform will help to eliminate any silly technical errors or features that might be confusing.
What ongoing support do you offer?
This is similar to the above question, but what happens when you have an urgent question about your webinar platform, and you also happen to be live on a webinar? Does your webinar provider offer 24/7 support? Is the support outsourced? Or is it in-house? What is the typical turnaround time for any technical issues or bugs? Knowing the answer to these questions will greatly reduce your frustration level with a new webinar platform.
What custom branding opportunities are available with your platform?
If branding is important to you, this is a really big question! Some webinar providers offer custom landing pages or room layout options. How much of the platform can you customize to show off your company’s logo or messaging? Having these types of features available will also greatly enhance your lead generation abilities.
What audio options are available during a live session?
If you have a preferred audio option, such as dial-in – this will be an imperative question. Your webinar provider may only offer VoIP. Asking this early on in your research process will help to eliminate providers that are not a good match.
What unique features do you offer and how do they differ from your competition?
Asking this question to a potential webinar provider provides an opportunity to see how honest your sales person is. Will they give you accurate information on their competition? Or will they avoid the question altogether?
What type of reporting and analytics are available?
If connecting with your existing customers is an important goal, having visibility into the reporting and analytics of a webinar are key! You will want to see what customers are interacting with the webinar, and what questions they may have asked. If a question they ask implies they are an unhappy customer, this is a perfect opportunity to reach out to them outside of the webinar to try and resolve their issues.
What security options do you offer?
It might be beneficial to you if a webinar provider has different security access levels. For example, maybe you want a speaker to be a host, but you don’t want them to have access to certain features for fear they could mess with an important element of the webinar. Or maybe you are a government agency, and you need to ensure your webinar provider is Fed Ramp certified. Whatever your reason, make sure you get a full debrief on a provider’s security options.
Is your platform mobile and browser friendly?
Your webinar attendees are likely busy people and on the go – with that, you need to ensure they can access a webinar from any kind browser and any device. From mobile phones to tablets.
What webinar recording capabilities are available?
After a live webinar, how can you re-watch the webinar recording? Will a recording be saved automatically? Or will you have to manually press record for each webinar? Is this recording saved on-demand and you can access it anytime, or will it automatically delete after 3 months?
And finally, ask how the webinar recording works with their audio options. Sometimes a webinar provider can have advanced technical set-up functions to ensure the live webinar screen integrates with the audio to properly record.
What does your social media integration look like?
If you’re hoping to use webinars to generate brand awareness, having social media capabilities will be important. To double down on your brand awareness opportunities, you can have webinar attendees tweet their favorite statistics or quotes directly from the webinar provider to greatly increase their social media engagement with a webinar.
What lead generation opportunities do you have?
Some webinar providers promote their customer’s webinars on their behalf! This is a great value add for those wanting to increase their lead generation efforts. Additionally, having the ability to create registration pages will be key as well for webinar promotion.
How does a webinar registrant get into the live webinar?
Understanding the user experience of a webinar attendee before picking a webinar provider is crucial to making a good impression. Make sure you fully understand how a webinar attendee signs into a webinar for each webinar provider you are researching. Would they have to download a plugin? Will this plugin take 5 minutes to download? If so that is a poor experience, and they are more likely to be late for a webinar. Or perhaps they just have a URL to sign-in to webinar and have instant access. This would be a good experience!
What are the video options of the webinar platform?
We cannot escape videos, are they are everywhere today, and their use cases keep increasing! Videos are often used in webinars, and even if you don’t have a need right now for being able to play them, you’ll want to understand your options for the future when you are more likely to use one. Can you integrate YouTube with the webinar platform? Do they offer HD video? These are some examples to check out!
How much attendee engagement is built into the platform?
Interacting with webinar attendees is important to ensure they are paying attention and understanding the content they are listening to. Ask what engagement opportunities are available, such as chat, Q&A, polling, etc.
Are there opportunities to send a reminder, follow-up and thank you emails for webinar registrants?
Nowadays there is so much noise that you need to utilize any opportunity to be in front of a prospect or client. Having an easy way to send webinar invites and reminders will go along will in ensuring your webinar registrants attend! Also, maybe they don’t have a built-in email option, but they might have integration options available to use your existing email programs, like MailChimp or HubSpot.
Do you have any e-Commerce integrations for attendees to pay to attend?
There are many use cases for having webinar registrants pay to attend a webinar. Maybe they are getting a training they couldn’t get anywhere else. Regardless, having the ability to use webinars to generate extra revenue for your business is a great option!
What third-party integrations are available to enhance the webinar hosting and attendee experience?
Marketers use so many platforms nowadays to tackle marketing initiatives, HubSpot, MailChimp, Salesforce, etc. it will be helpful if you can integrate your webinar platform with your other tools for optimizing reporting and visibility into your marketing activities.
What are common technical errors your existing customers complain about?
I love asking this question! You’ll throw the sales rep a curveball, and they probably won’t have an answer ready for this and are more likely to answer honestly. You might hear about a technical situation you never considered, regardless this is an excellent way to get some real, honest feedback.
What is a common reason someone is no longer a customer?
Like the above question, another opportunity to get some honest feedback on the webinar provider.
What does your future product roadmap look like?
Every software company should always be working on innovation and to enhance their existing platform and offering for customers. They might have a feature coming down the roadmap that really interests you and could be the reason you go with that webinar provider. And it’s also a way to see if there is open communication at the company, all sales reps should understand what is going on with the product they sell – this question will be a way to learn about the culture of the organization.
Use this list as your starter list and make sure you incorporate other questions that apply to your goals and objectives for starting a webinar program! Don’t be dazzled by funky features and a strong sales pitch – make sure you get to the meat of the webinar provider to ensure after you sign on that dotted line, you don’t have buyer’s remorse.
To host powerful webinars you’ll need a robust webinar provider that can accommodate ALL of your needs. BigMarker is a leading webinar tool for marketers, educators, and everyone in between. Start a free 14-day trial today or send us a message if you have any questions about webinar hosting on BigMarker.