There are dozens of good webinar platforms. To find the right one, you first need to decide whether you’d rather run a live webinar or pre-recorded automated webinar.
I believe that for most businesses, an automated webinar is going to be a better solution.
Why do automated webinars instead of live webinars?
Pre-recorded webinars have a few significant advantage over live webinars.
- They allow you to automate your webinar instead of delivering the same performance over and over again.
- They’re more convenient for customers to schedule, since people can watch them on-demand.
- You can edit your presentation to create a more perfect performance, so you don’t have to stress about delivering the whole presentation live in one perfect take.
- You avoid the possibility of delivering a live webinar to 1-5 people. I’ve seen people give up entirely after running one disastrous live webinar, which is a loss for their business.
The biggest reason to do a live webinar over a pre-recorded webinar is the energy you get by communicating with real people in real time. Webinar hosts will frequently swear that they have a completely different connection with their audience when communicating live.
ActiveGrowth: Webinars vs. Livestreaming vs. Online Meetings
So which to choose? I think for most businesses, the value of automation and convenience trumps the value of the increased customer connection. While live performances are great, they’re just not feasible for most small- and medium-sized businesses that can benefit from making webinars.
That said, pre-recorded webinars still have many features that effectively simulate a live event. People can’t pause them, so they have to watch all the way through in one sitting. By including polls, chats, and live offers, you can still create an engaging experience with more energy than an always-on YouTube sales video.
A third of webinar attendees will register on the same day as the webinar. For people who are eager to learn right away, an automated webinar could make the most sense.
The best live webinar platform
If you’re going to host a live webinar, then Google Hangouts, Skype, Facebook Live, or YouTube Live could work well for you. They’re free and they provide a lot of tools to interact with your guests.
Rev: How to Host a Webinar on YouTube Live for FREE
The best automated webinar platform
Most businesses will want to create an automated webinar that can be replayed whenever someone requests to view it.
EverWebinar is the most popular solution for creating this type of pre-recorded evergreen presentation.
EverWebinar charges $497/year with no option for monthly payments. While this could sound like a lot, this averages to $42/month, which is less than competitors like GoToWebinar.
You can learn full details at EverWebinar’s website. Here are a few notable features.
- EverWebinar allows you to upload your webinar to a simple video service like YouTube and then publish the link into a webinar campaign.
- EverWebinar has template-based registration and follow-up forms. You can customize follow-up messages based on who showed up and stayed, who showed up and left, and who didn’t show up at all.
- You can pre-record two versions of your webinar and split test them.
- The just-in-time meeting option has helped companies achieve 90% attendance rate. (That’s incredible!)
- You can still answer questions in real-time if you choose to be online while the webinar is running.
Other webinar platforms to consider
If you want to do more research on this, there are dozens of competitors in the webinar industry. GoToWebinar and WebinarJam are designed for live webinars. MegaMeeting and Cisco WebEx specializes in video conferences.
If you have had a good or bad experience with a particular platform, you’re very welcome to share your experience in the comments.
Don’t get too hung up on finding the perfect platform. Most likely you just need to promote an idea, service, or product to a wide audience with minimal hassle and cost. If that sounds like you, then I’d honestly recommend just going with EverWebinar and calling it a day. Put the time you save into the next steps required to get your webinar launched.