For those of you who haven’t been in tune with the tech game recently, webinar is the new buzzword, and today we’re going to discuss how you can go about hosting a webinar, no matter what field or industry you are championing.
Starting at the beginning: a webinar is basically a seminar, hosted solely through the internet. Think of it as a conference, but in virtual reality. Not only are webinars fantastic ways of engaging with your customers or fans, they are also extensively helpful when it comes to data collection, as well as imparting a skill upon your consumer base. However, before you pick a software, it is important to know the reason behind hosting your webinar—the why will affect the how almost directly, so it’s important to deal with that first.
Once that’s done, it’s important to decide on a budget. While some options are free—such as Hangouts, which will be unpacked later—a large percentage of webinar software is charged, and so the amount you’re willing to spend should be compared the number of people you’re hoping to reach. If the number is small, as the case would be for an in-house training seminar, then your choice in webinar software should reflect that. If your audience is large and spread across the country, or even the world, it’s necessary to accustom yourself to a software like Demio (read the Demio Review) that caters for those needs.
- Google+ Hangouts
While the software is rather limited in its capacity, Google+ Hangouts has the ability to stream the hangout to the connected YouTube channel, which not only increases viewership, but engagement as well. In addition to being free, Hangouts is also surprisingly simple to use, and can be accessed from all smart devices and platforms. If you’re just starting out and don’t have the budget for too much monetary commitment, Hangouts is the best option for you.
2. Adobe Connect
For those with a bit more financial freedom, Adobe Connect comes highly recommended. With an extensive list of features, Adobe Connect brings the user the ability to collaborate, archive past webinars, receive analytics from these webinars, and allows several options for integrating multimedia into your webinar. Starting at $45 a month, Adobe Connect is certainly a force ot be reckoned with.
GoToWebinar, though rather expensive, provides absolutely everything that the user would need to host a quality webinar. Its long list of features, including custom branding, automated emails, reporting and analytics, only lengthens depending on the plan you choose. With three plans, Starter, Pro, and Plus, GoToWebinar has a solid, inclusive range of products that go beyond the requirements of the basic user. Monthly plans start at $109 a month, while annual options save you 20 percent on the total cost.
4. Webinars OnAir
Webinars OnAir, a Google-produced software, adds extensive webinar capabilities to Google+ Hangouts, ranging from scheduling webinars to streaming to both YouTube and your designated website. While not fundamentally differing from Hangouts, Webinars OnAir does possess a few features which will become vital to newer brands and businesses that need more exposure.
While webinar software is growing and growing by the day, it is important to pick the software that will not only fit your needs but the needs
of your customers, regardless of where they come from. Mobile capability is one of the most important features to take note of. Thus, Hangouts and Adobe Connect take the cake in terms of features and affordability. For those with more money to spend, GoToWebinars would be more highly recommended, with the new Webinars OnAir following closely behind.