how to pick the right webinar software

How to Pick the Right Webinar Software

February 9, 2017

by — Posted in webinar platforms, webinar services, 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 This way, you don’t have to worry about spending money on webinar software that will quickly become outdated.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/