free webinar hosting platform trial tips

8 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Free Trial on a Webinar Platform

February 20, 2017

by — Posted in Best Practices, Webinar Hosting Guides

Having a webinar program as part of your marketing or customer success initiatives is a big deal! It means you are making a concerted effort in getting in front of your prospects and clients to speak to their needs and provide quality information. Making the decision to have a webinar program is the easy part but selecting a platform to start your free trial can be difficult. To help optimize your search we’re sharing our top tips for making the most out of free webinar hosting during your trial.

Before you choose a software, make time to research all the best webinar solutions on the market. There are a bunch of companies out there offering free webinar hosting as part of their trial period! With a little bit of research, you’ll no doubt come away with a list of 3-4 webinar platforms that stand above the rest. Once you have your top pick, you need to start a free trial to really dig into the experience of how it would be to manage a webinar on that platform, but also to see what sort of experience your attendees will have.

Note: if one of your top picks doesn’t offer free webinar hosting during their trial period – run far away! Any webinar software company worth a dime would feel comfortable showcasing their product and letting a prospect go for a free test drive before signing on the dotted line.

 

Our Top 8 Tips for Making the Most Out of Free Webinar Hosting During Your Trial:

  1. Develop a comprehensive checklist for your ideal webinar platform usability functions and features
  2. Make a list of pros & cons during your test drive
  3. Plan for a live webinar during your trial
  4. Test the Audio Capabilities
  5. Review if the engagement features are really… engaging
  6. Spend at least 5 hours working with the free trial
  7. Actively engage other end users and hosts in your trial
  8. Schedule a training or demo of the webinar software with the company

Let’s dive deeper into each of these tips for actionable steps in making the most of free webinar hosting during your software trial! Keep in mind that you want your webinar to be successful, follow these tips and you’ll certainly find the best platform for you to host a very successful webinar!

#1) Develop a comprehensive checklist for your ideal usability functions and features

Before you start a free trial, take some time to think about what is important to you in a webinar software. What are your must-haves and nice-to-haves in a webinar platform? Coming up with this list will help you to look at each webinar platform fairly and not get caught up in an overly zealous sales pitch or fancy features, that might not actually do much for you.

When working on your comprehensive checklist come up with 5-10 features you need to check and compare against other webinar software solutions. For example, if having customizable landing pages is important for your marketing promotion efforts, add that to the checklist!

We recommend that you create an Excel spreadsheet for comparing your top platforms. With this spreadsheet, you can then easily see which platform has more of the features you are looking for!

 

#2) Make a list of pros & cons during your test drive

As you work through your free webinar trials, it could get fuzzy on all the nitty gritty details in each webinar platform. Along with your comprehensive checklist, you need some detail to refer to as you are making your final decision!

What features backup your reasoning for wanting to go with a particular webinar platform? Why was that feature better? Having this detailed pro and con list will provide that comprehensive overview. And if you’re not the one making the final decision on the webinar platform purchase, your boss will be impressed with your thorough review and reasoning for picking the webinar software you did, and make it easy for them to decide as well!

#3) Host a live webinar during your free trial

The best part of your trial period is the free webinar hosting! What better way to test out the software than to produce an entire webinar from start to finish on the platform? This will help you to take a hard look at the pros and cons outside of the features listed on a webinar software’s website. During this exercise, you might run into issues or bugs you didn’t consider would be a problem during the planning and execution of a live webinar on this platform.

Using our example above of customized landing pages, say you are testing two webinar platforms, and both say they offer this. The only way to know what webinar software has the better landing page option is to test it out thoroughly. Just building a test landing page isn’t enough to learn if the landing page looks good and works as it should. Creating a real landing page and sharing that is the best way to see if the experience is a good one for the registrants who sign up for your webinar. That will give you some real, concrete takeaways!

Considering you haven’t fully vetted these webinar platforms yet, I wouldn’t recommend that you send your webinar invite out to the entire country, instead plan to hold a small webinar to be able to test out the experience with a small sample of just 5-10 attendees.

Best Practice: I would still test your landing page a few times yourself before pushing it live (if you use this example as part of your testing)! If you find your tests not going well after a few tries, it might be a good idea to abandon the trial if it is not salvageable. You can always start another trial on a different software to try their version of free webinar hosting!

 

#4) Test the Audio Capabilities

Audio is something many people don’t think about, yet during the live webinar is said to be the biggest headache if it doesn’t go right. If your participants can’t hear the webinar speaker, or if the audio is poor quality… it will not be a good time! It is not unheard of for people to tweet a company complaining about the poor quality of the webinar, and that is not a good look.

When testing out your free webinar hosting trials, make sure you get all the details on how to best use their audio capabilities and how to share this with participants, whether it is VoIP or directly dialing into an audio line. Run the audio through a few test drives as well, because as said above – this will make or break your webinars! Webinar software’s that invest in providing secure, quality audio are the platforms to take a closer look at.

Utilize interactive features when trying free webinar hosting sites to see if your audience will like the platform, too.

 

interactive features with free webinar hosting sites

 

#5) Review if the engagement features are really… engaging

Many webinar platforms promote that they have awesome engagement features and will provide an experience like no other – but that is just often not the case. You owe it to your future webinar attendees to truly test out if the engagement features of the webinar software match up with the competition and your expectations! Testing out your top 3-5 platforms will give you a real sense of which platform is built with the best intentions when it comes to your attendee’s experience.

spend time and practice with free webinar hosting

 

#6) Spend at least 5 hours working with the trial

At the end of the day, a trial is a test! You are testing the capabilities and functions of a webinar platform where you can expect to spend a good chunk of your time in the near and far future. Don’t slack on the testing process because you could just be hurting yourself if you don’t fully understand what you are getting into.

As with any test, you should be spending a few hours studying before the test day, right? Same goes for a software free trial. We recommend you spend at least 5 hours working with a trial to get a real feel for the platform. If you follow tips 1-4, committing to these 5 hours will be easy to achieve! Note, if at any point, you are having a bad experience with the trial and don’t see yourself ever committing to that webinar software, abandon it immediately! The 5 hours should only be dedicated to a webinar software you are truly interested in.

 

#7) Actively engage other end-users and hosts in your trial

Two or three brains are always better than one! Bring in your co-workers to test out the platform with you. Particularly anyone who will also be engaging with the platform on a semi-regular basis. They are likely to have questions or have difficulties in areas that you might not have. Be sure to have these other people test out the platform as a host and as an end-user to get a variety of feedback on both ends.

 

#8) Schedule a training or demo of the webinar software with the company

My final tip is to schedule a training or demo with the company! Personally, I like taking a test drive of a platform before I engage with the company. I like to think that I am tech savvy enough to figure most software’s out, so I want to see if the platform is indeed user-friendly and intuitive. This would be one of the items on my own comparison checklist that is important to me.

Regardless if you have the training or demo before or after your free trial, it is always a good idea to get this deep dive session with a live person before you decide. The people putting on the demos are the expert of the product, and so there will likely be features and functions you didn’t read about or notice as you test drove the webinar platform. Some of these features could be the coolest ones or unexpected ones that make your life easier as your start your webinar journey!

Additionally, during this demo, it is important to notice your experience with the company! Is the person running you through the demo helpful, pleasant, accommodating? Or was the support you received lackluster and uninformative? Most likely, you can expect the rest of your experience with a webinar software to match this initial meeting.

These tips have one theme in common: testing, testing, testing! Take the time to dig into your trial and take advantage of free webinar hosting. Get to know the platform and even what additional webinar services the company might offer. The goal is to ensure you pick the best webinar software to produce and host a successful webinar!

 

Start Your Free Trial

At BigMarker, we offer a robust 14-day free trial of our modern webinar software when you sign up for any of our premium hosting plans. Sign up for a 14-day free trial today or send us a message if you’re interested in learning more.