How to Pick the Right Webinar Software

A successful webinar can produce any number of benefits for your company. Organizations often utilize webinar software as part of their sales funnel or as an effective way to build their authority.

While there are many ways to host an amazing webinar, high-quality webinar software isn’t enough to ensure the outcome you want. There are several other factors to consider before choosing a software that fits your needs.

Ease-of-Use

Many of these metrics are going to be unique to your company. In other words, the right webinar software for one organization may not be right for yours.

Ease-of-use is a good example of this. Obviously, the success of your webinars will largely hinge on how well you and/or your staff are able to operate the software you chose.

In some situations, you’ll need the easiest possible webinar software to operate. Perhaps, you’re a one-person business at the moment and just not that technically savvy.

On the other hand, if you’ve shown an impressive amount of prowess with learning software in the past, you can consider many more options. Generally speaking, the more time you have to implement the use of a software title, the more platforms you can consider with a greater amount of features.

How Much Can You Spend?

Another metric that is going to cut your list down a lot is how much you have to spend on webinar software. Make this decision early on. With so many options out there, it will be easy to spend more than you intended if you don’t put a hard-and-fast budget in place before beginning.

Keep in mind, too, that with many platforms, this is a monthly fee. Are you going to be hosting enough webinars to make this a worthwhile investment?

Sure, you may not plan to host them once a month, but even if you offer webinars once a quarter, an ongoing subscription may be worth it if it means ongoing updates, too. This way, you don’t have to worry about spending money on webinar software that will quickly become outdated.

Finally, along the same lines as the last section, recognize that training and implementation can cost you money, as well. If you have to pull people off other projects or duties to train on this new platform, that’s at least a one-time fee that will have to be considered in your budget or you’ll end up with a nasty surprise.

Free Trials

Just about every webinar platform on the market comes with a free trial these days. If you’re thinking about one that doesn’t offer you this option, keep shopping. You’ll most likely find webinar software that gives you the features you wanted with the benefit of a free trial of some sort first.

If you’re completely new to shopping for webinar software, this is also a fantastic way to get a feel for certain features.

The Option to Host On-Demand Webinars

Speaking of features, let’s dig into some of those now. One of the most important is the ability for your webinar software to broadcast the event live but also allow people to watch it whenever they want.

Only 16% of B2B consumers prefer live webinars, so while it’s not a bad thing to produce live content, it’s far from necessary. If you’re nervous about the live aspect, this is pretty clear-cut evidence that you can probably put it off for a while. Get comfortable recording them and review your feedback before attempting a live one.

Even if you’re not remotely nervous about live presentations, you really shouldn’t consider any webinar software that doesn’t allow you to record. People all over the world could potentially be interested in your webinar. There are countless other reasons they may not be able to tune in when it’s most convenient for you to host it.

Don’t lose viewers because of conflicting schedules. Instead use a platform that doesn’t make this a constraint. Fortunately, this is becoming the rule, not the exception, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble with it.

Would You Benefit from Being Able to Edit?

Recording your webinar and allowing people to play it back later is great, but you may also enjoy the option to edit your presentations, too. Of course, this means taking the time to learn one more feature.

Nonetheless, the benefits are obvious. If you’re just starting out and nervous, knowing you can provide edits may prove to be a comforting safety net. Even if you’re confident, all kinds of mishaps are possible, but editing means that none of them need to ruin an otherwise great webinar.

Also, it’s not like you need to learn to edit in order to use webinar software. While it’s an extra feature that will take time to learn, it’s one you can afford to put off until you actually have free time or it’s otherwise 100% necessary for the quality of your presentation.

How Will You Be Presenting Your Webinars?

Many people don’t think about how they plan to present until after they have made a commitment to a webinar software. It’s only later that they realize how much they may have limited their options for presenting.

The vast majority of hosts should go with a platform that will not only make it easy to present by yourself, but also have the capability to co-present in split-screen and/or hold a panel webinar with several guest hosts.

At the moment, co-presenting may not seem like a requirement. You might be a one-person-show and have no immediate plans for interviewing people. However, If this should change down the line, you’ll have a much harder time accommodating this new demand if it means switching to another webinar software and learning how to use it.

Tracking Your Webinar Metrics

There are a number of ways to track the success of your webinars and extract other valuable pieces of information from each presentation you host. Don’t stop after looking at the total number of viewers, your webinars could easily give you some very valuable insights.

At the moment, you may already use a CRM, marketing automation platform or some other tool that, amongst other things, tracks valuable analytics for you.

If so, you should look for webinar software that will integrate well with this other platform. This will make it easy to quickly weave insights gained from a webinar into your other reports.

One thing to look out for when you’re doing your shopping is the word “proprietary.” This often means that a product is going to be too walled-in to work with your other software.

Hosting Webinars on Your Own Website

This is another feature we think is central to high-quality webinar software even though it may not be something you’ve even considered before.

Many platforms will require you to send your registrants to their site in order to view the webinar. Again, right now, you may not care. If that’s what a platform demands and you otherwise like it, this may seem like nitpicking on our part.

Still, being able to use your own site, blog or landing page will mean you also get to capture registrations on those pages, as well. This will make it much easier to also gain other important analytics. For example, you’d hate to be blind to where your registrants are coming from. Knowing the source of your viewers is key to making sure you always have more and more in the future.

Furthermore, when your webinar is done, you may find that many viewers decide to become customers right away (obviously, this depends on the topic you covered). You don’t want to lose any of these buyers because they didn’t make the trip from the third-party page back to your site.

Will You Want to Archive Your Content?

Recall earlier that we pointed out how the vast majority of your audience – at least, in the B2B market – won’t care if they view your webinar later when it isn’t live. This just does not bother them in the least.

One way to make sure people can always view old webinar is with an easy-to-access content library. This would be a virtual repository for all the webinars you have hosted in the past. Webinar software these days is often designed to make these libraries user-friendly for both you and your audience.

This might not be a concern. Depending on the types of webinars you host or your typical viewer, you may not see much of a point to one of these libraries. Nonetheless, give it some thought. It might turn into one of those features you wish you had signed up for a year or two from now.

Will Your Webinar Software Support Your Audience Size?

If you have yet to host a single webinar, this is going to be a tough question to answer. However, it should be fairly obvious why it’s an important one to think about when considering your webinar software options. While it’s a nice problem to have, it would still be a problem to find that you can’t allow access to all the viewers who are interested in your presentation.

Here is where it may become tempting to push your budget. Our suggestion, though, is to look for webinar software that will allow you to scale up with ease. Pay for the largest viewer number you can afford and then see how things go. If you do end up needing to increase the size you can accommodate, at least you know it’s money well spent.

Note: On average, approximately 30% to 40% of registrants will attend free webinars. You may find that this number is different for your webinars, but use this metric for now until you know otherwise.

The Value of Interaction

During your webinars, do you want audience members to be able to participate? For example, do you plan on asking questions during these webinars or taking questions from the audience? Either way, it will help if your platform allows people to type in their responses.

This is another feature that’s so commonplace you shouldn’t have any trouble finding plenty of webinar software in your price range that comes with it, but it’s still worth bringing up.

Mobile Accessibility

Just about everyone owns a smartphone these days and the popularity of tablets isn’t too far behind. It’s no secret that the widespread use of these devices means that a growing number of people use them to access the Internet and watch videos.

Earlier, we spoke about letting your audience watch your webinar whenever it’s most convenient. Well, there’s something to be said for letting them watch it where it’s convenient, too. This could mean while they’re on the bus, at the airport, or simply sitting on their couch at home with their tablet.

Make sure that the webinar software you go with is going to be mobile-friendly, so you don’t lose audience members who are inconvenienced when this feature is missing.

If at all possible, do a practice webinar to see what the user experience is on both iOS and Android devices. Just because a platform is mobile-friendly, that doesn’t mean you can take the end result for granted.

What Kinds of Webinar Registration Fields Are Most Important?

For some of you, all you may want from registrants is their names and email addresses. For others, you may want things like their company name, the industry they’re in or how they found out about your webinar.

Look for a webinar platform that will allow you the type of registration functionality you need. As we’ve recommended with other features, it’s probably wise to go with more than you actually need in case those requirements change in the future.

Above all else, take your time with this important decision. Picking the wrong webinar software will mean more than just wasted money. It could result in an embarrassingly bad video and will definitely require that you start the entire process all over again.

 

Now that you know what to look for,  you should have a much easier time picking the best option for your needs.

At BigMarker, webinars are our expertise. Therefore, if you need any help putting the above advice into action or you just have a question, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.toptenreviews.com/business/articles/choose-the-right-webinar-service-for-your-business/

http://blogs.adobe.com/adobeconnect/2014/01/how-to-choose-a-webinar-platform.html

https://www.elegantthemes.com/blog/resources/the-15-best-webinar-software-products-from-around-the-web

http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2014/04/right-webinar-software-content-plan-key-questions/

 

How To Make The Most Of Your Slides During A Webinar

Design and flow of slides are two of the most important factors for a successful webinar. In an online webinar, slides are not just visual aids, they are THE visuals. This makes it imperative for you to work hard on them and create slides that visually engaging yet thoroughly informative.

Your slides should have two basic characteristics:

  • Logical flow
  • Engaging design

It is important that your slides appeal to the left and right side of the brain. The left side of the brain is all about logic, order and flow, while the right side is inclined towards visual and emotional appeal.

It is important to divide your webinar into three defined sections:

  • Introduction
  • Key points
  • Conclusion

Arrange all your content inside these slides in a logical sequence and then begin designing each slide.

The slides that you prepare will be broadcast to a number of people. Remember that not everyone has access to high speed internet, which is why it is necessary to keep your slides light so that they can load in a jiffy. Here are a few other tips to help you create attractive and engaging slides for your webinar.

  • Fixed background

The background of the slide should ideally be a single wash of color, without watermarks or decorative patterns. Avoid using graphics as well. Choose contrast colors for any text on the slides. These simple measures ensure that your slides load fast and are clear when seen on different devices.

  • Remove animation

Try to minimize the use of animation in slides. If possible make the slides static. Animation slows down the webinar and the online meeting software is not able to send the slides across quickly. Slides without animation load a lot faster.

  • Use small pictures

Pictures make the webinar visually appealing and add interest, but you don’t want them to distract the audiences’ attention from the written content and your key points. Shrink any pictures so that they are well balanced with the text. Pictures also make files heavier so stick to smaller pictures as they make it easier to share and load slides.

  • No Transition

Any type of transition between slides is almost unnecessary and is one of the main causes of a slow webinar presentation. Simple or complex, any type of transition involves movement which makes the webinar crawl along at a snail’s pace. Presentation tools like Prezi look very impressive in-person but are a complete no-no as far as webinar speed is concerned, regardless of which video conferencing services you use.

Designing slides is easy and does not require much effort. However, to make your slides effective it is important to invest adequate time in planning and designing your slides. We said it earlier and we will say it again, when it comes to webinars your slides are THE visuals. Always be sure to take some time and effort to design slides that are simple, effective yet visually appealing.

Four Reasons To Use Webinars in 2015

11

Webinars have been around basically as long as slideshows and the internet have been around, but they remain a mainstay of B2B marketing and lead generation. Why is this? Because they work. Webinars are one of the most cost-effective ways to spread awareness of your brand’s products or services while providing your clients and potential clients with useful and valuable information. And you know what? They’re only getting better. Read on to find out how webinars are going to be even more valuable in 2015.

Spread awareness — Twice

Did you know that webinars already started working even before anyone has showed up? It’s true. In this age of social media, webinar hosting services and video conferencing services can serve as a great “rallying cry”  to get your brand’s evangelicals and supporters excited and fired up. Now, thanks to the ubiquity of social media in 2015, this sense of excitement can spread and be shared across Facebook, Twitter, and other networks, building some buzz for your brand. There’s the impact of the direct attention to the event, but also the knock on effects over people sharing their intention to attend — two for the price of one!

A learning (and teaching!) opportunity

When you give your information to a live audience in an interactive format like a webinar or via video conferencing, you massively increase user engagement. And we’re not just talking about the measurements of engagement metrics like clickthrough, we’re talking about engagement in the older sense of the world: engaging your audience! You’re creating a direct rapport with the audience in order to generate new and higher quality leads. Compared to other forms of online information presentation, a webinar strikes exactly the right balance between “interesting” and “informative”  for a B2B audience, allowing you to speak to your clients and potential clients in a fun but authoritative way.

2

Personal service

Webinars or video conferencing solutions are a great “members’ bonus” to be able to offer your clients. Because it gives them the opportunity to comment and ask questions, a webinar lets you create a rapport with your clients, boosting your credibility and helping you make a real connection with them. Basically, it’s almost as good as meeting them in person.

Real, honest lead generation

Webinars are a great way to generate high quality leads. Their natural sharability and attractiveness allow them to spread naturally and (dare we say it?) virally through B2B networks, bringing you only the most interested and engaged leads. Contacts lead you to other contacts, and in the end, you’ve created a highly engaged network of clients and contacts, netting you positive influence.

Webinars and Video Conferencing Services: a timeless tool

Webinars, because of their unique position halfway between an online video and a sales presentation, are a great way to deliver value to your clients while reinforcing your relationship and generating leads. Because of their natural sharability, they’re a perfect tool to use in the social media age. As more and more B2B marketing and networking travels online, webinars and video conferencing services will only continue to become more effective tools.


Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years. He has  contributed articles to Visual.ly, Entrepreneur, and TechCrunch. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas, or you can reach him at NickAndrewRojas@gmail.com.

Why Video Conferencing wins against E-mail!

How Video Conferencing Became Popular

Communication has always been an integral part of human life. Be it a casual conversation or a formal one, we have derived various ways to communicate with each other. As time has progressed, what started from writing letters has been steadily replaced with various forms of digital communication.

stockwoman

Amongst the many forms of digital communication, writing e-mails has become a daily habit as we transfer, document, and share vital data. Although they are widely used today and are definitely much more convenient than the traditional practice of posting letters, e-mails still come with their own set of limitations.

The new trend of Video conferencing however, provides solutions to many shortcomings of the e-mail, especially for businesses.

How is it Better?

  • When humans communicate, they often rely on reading body language to interpret a conversation. E-mails are unidirectional and one cannot see the reactions of the opposite person. This shortcoming of not being able to gauge instant reaction from both the sender and receiver, is resolved by free web conferencing. Video conferences provide with the luxury of showing instant feedback and reactions through voice, and video. Thus, messages are conveyed better, as a two-way conversation takes place.
  • Video conferencing services provide voice to the e-mail. Since one can listen to what is being said, it can help infuse a lot more conviction to the speaker’s opinion and confidence to the pitch.
  • Conferencing saves valuable time! E-mails can lead to a lot of to and fro, and hence end up taking time. On the other hand, web conferencing enables conversations to happen in real time and therefore becomes a useful tool to zero down on solutions in a shorter span of time.

With the rapid increase in video conferencing service providers these days, free web conferencing is fast becoming a mainstream mode of communication for businesses across the globe. With the current pace of technological innovations in consideration, business communication is set to become all the more compact, faster, and personal!

A Few Tips to Enhance your Web Conferencing Skills

With the invention of free webinar software the corporate world has undergone a few changes in the way it functions. Presentations can now be attended from any corner of the world, negating the geographical and time zone challenges. Because of this, the corporate norm of attendees present in conference rooms has shifted, making it possible to save valuable time in an otherwise busy schedule.

Web conferencing

Although video conferencing services enable you to conduct a meeting virtually from any corner of the world, one needs to undergo a certain amount of preparation in order to give that impeccable presentation!

Here are some handy and important tips to present yourself professionally during a video conference:

  1. Practice makes perfect!

Just how you would prior to your face-to-face meeting, you need to prepare for a video meeting as well. Ask a friend or colleague to conduct a mock web meeting. This will give you a first-hand experience of the challenges that you may face, during the final make or break meeting.

  1. Suit Up!

‘The first impression is the last impression’ holds true for corporate meetings so it is critical to dress yourself in appropriate business attire. Although your upper half is prominently visible, that cannot undermine the importance of a complete, professional outfit. Choose a formal shirt of a neutral, mild color that will soothe the viewers’ eyes. Wear a tie and formal trousers or a work-appropriate blouse and blazer or dress to complete your attire for the meeting.

  1. The Bigger Picture

They may not be vocal about it, but the person with whom you are conversing will probably notice an untidy background. This may end up creating a negative impression. Thus, make sure to clean the location before you start. Also, it is always better to sit in front of a wall darker than your complexion, and maintain an optimum amount of light with no background noise/disturbances to make yourself completely visible and audible.

  1. Break The Ice

A good introduction is key when beginning your web conference. Make sure you pronounce the name of dignitaries properly. Even though the person talking to you knows you, introducing yourself will help ease the atmosphere and commence the meeting on a positive note.

  1. Maintain Eye Contact

Always retain a steady eye contact while you speak. Remember to look in the camera with a subtle gesture. This will communicate confidence and assurance.

  1. Body Language

Note that your body language will be noticed by the person sitting on the other side of the camera. Your body language conveys as much as your presentation, so be careful of the movements you make!

  1. A Proper Goodbye

Before you conclude the meeting, make sure you have touched upon all the agendas of the meeting. Also, assert your interest for another meeting. It will communicate your inclination to take the professional relationship forward.

Keep these tips in mind while you prepare yourself for virtual meetings. It will make sure that you impress the viewer with your video meeting presentation skills!