At this point, I think I can safely say that you have been invited to many webinars. Chances are you registered for a handful of them and even joined a few. The topics range from thought leadership in your space to product releases and training.
In 2019, webinars are a critical component in a marketer’s toolset, but marketing isn’t the only reason to create a webinar. In a recent post, we dove into How To Create A Webinar That Works In 2019. There we explored why you would host a webinar and some helpful tips on creating an engaging webinar. You’ll probably want to check that post out before continuing through our list on the best webinar software below.
How To Choose The Best Webinar Software?
Choosing the best webinar software like choosing the best virtual classroom software comes down to knowing what you need and what you want.
Let’s think about your needs and wants a little more. Seeing as we have joined a few webinars as guests, we should have a pretty good idea on what constitutes a good webinar vs a not so good webinar.
Personally, I like webinars that include the audience in the presentation. I crave engagement and I enjoy discussions more than lectures. I dislike webinars where the audio quality sounds like the presenter joined from a phone and all they do is screen share a presentation. It’s boring. Webinars are demanding in that they are live (mostly) so at the very least put a little production value in it and do something more than just showing a static slide. That means when I’m looking for webinar software I need tools that will help me engage my audience.
If you are a marketer and you want to produce webinars to generate inbound traffic and bring in leads, then you’ll want webinar software that helps you track ROI. You’ll need webinar software that easily integrates with your analytics, email marketing, CRM, and shopping cart applications.
Consider your audience. Are you doing mostly internal webinars for company-wide announcements and large scale training activities? Or, are you mostly trying to reach new audiences from outside your company? Knowing your audience helps you focus on what you need in terms of features in your chosen webinar software.
Once you think about your wants and wishes as well as your audiences’ expectations, make a list of your key features and requirements. You can then narrow down your webinar software options to help you choose the best webinar software for you. We put together this list of the best webinar software to help you explore different webinar software with different capabilities and focus.
The Best Webinar Software Solutions in 2019
About this list. There are many companies offering webinar solutions today. You have certainly heard of some of the below while others may be a bit more under the radar. We highlight a mix of some of the well known webinar software solutions as well as some of the lesser known options.
BigMarker is a marketing centric solution – billing itself, “The #1 Webinar Hosting & Automation Platform”. It is a browser-based webinar solution which means you eliminate one of the key points of friction for your attendees and presenters. They allow for up to 9 webcams participants to broadcast at the same time. BigMarker offers the ability to put together a number of different kinds of webinars – live, on-demand, automated, series, evergreen, and 24-7. As BigMarker webinar software is built for marketing, they offer integrations with top marketing and CRM tools as well as features like Twitter linking.
Newrow Smart is a browser based virtual classroom platform built for teaching & training online. The core feature-set enables you to deliver highly engaging online instruction, helping remote facilitators interact with their learners. With a flip of a switch you can convert your virtual classroom to a webinar. This enables you more moderation capabilities and finer control.
By default, participants are able to participate in chat, live quizzes for real time assessment, and digitally raise their hand. Every participant is a potential webcam participant so you can bring on remote participants to open discussion in your webinar. You can have up to 25 webcam participants at once which can open up quite the debate. Breakout rooms encourage group activities that enable you to provide a space for trainees to practice with their peers. You don’t yet have the marketing integrations, but this is a great option for internal training initiatives, large classes, and customer webinars.
Demio is a webinar platform built for marketing and is easy to use. Demio is browser based which means you or your participants do not have to download or install anything to join. The feature set is more limited than some other options, but what they have covers what you need well enough. You can preload content like presentations and video to share them in your webinar. Demio enables you to launch CTA’s within the webinar to make offers to your attendees and provides ways to share handouts for the audience to download.
WebinarJam caters to small and medium businesses. It encourages customers to build an engaged following and monetize their webinars with tools like CTA’s to push interested buyers to shopping carts and creating pay-per-view webinars. Webinars allow for up to 6 webcam presenters at a time and they do not require all attendees to download a client. Some unique features include the ability to add transitions between slides on uploaded presentations which are most likely converted to images. WebinarJam did run into some issues with participants being able to join or getting kicked out, but their feature-set and some promised updates make them a webinar software worth a look.
On24 is another one of those webinar software that pushes marketing first referring to itself as “Webinar Marketing Software”. The On24 webinar software solution is quite different than most other options. It is more similar in look and feel to Adobe Connect with its use of pods. This enables you to deliver a highly customized experience, but this may come at the cost of aesthetics and usability. Features include widgets that allow you to share static information regarding the speaker, relevant Twitter feeds, as well as various polling tools. On24 webinars traditionally have a single video feed as opposed to a discussion via webcam. They offer integrations with marketing automation services and CRM’s.
GoToWebinar is a popular webinar software owned by LogMeIn and is part of the GoTo offering . To host or participate in a webinar via GoToWebinar, you do need to download and install their client which has a tendency to require many updates overtime. There is a limited browser based version for attendees that is sometimes an option. GoToWebinar offers features that help you plan & promote your webinar, engage your attendees, then perform post-webinar analysis. You can have up to 6 webcam presenters at a time along with screen sharing as well as options to playback preloaded video and conduct polling.
Zoom has been making news these days with its recent IPO. Known for its no thrills, but reliable video conferencing, Zoom also offers webinar software. Zoom webinar software allows for larger audiences of varying degrees of participation. Additionally, Zoom provides brandable registration emails and registration management tools. You can simulcast your webinars to YouTube and Facebook Live. Features within the webinar include screen share and polling. You are also able to integrate with CRMs, marketing automation tools, and video platforms and monetize your webinars.
Cisco WebEx refers to their webinar software as a webinar feature or as another product, WebEx Events. WebEx does require hosts and participants to download & install their client which can make joining webinars challenging for those connecting on their work or school computers. Because WebEx is a popular meeting tool, many people are familiar with it. The webinar feature is simply the video conferencing solution pushing events to larger audiences. WebEx Events includes the elements to plan webinars and manage enrollment processes. The features focus on screen share and video conferencing. WebEx pushes scale with Events enabling you to host webinars of 3,000 and streaming to 40,000.
The Best Webinar Software For You
A great resource I came across while researching and working on this list is Webinar Palooza. Webinar Palooza, self described as a “pub crawl through the most popular webinar platforms”, is a course offered by Steve Dotto of DottoTech on helping you decide what is the best webinar software for you. I was super impressed with the deep dive into many different webinar software solutions and you will be, too.
Most of the solutions we listed enable you to have a free trial. It’s important that you take them up on the offer and start playing with each solution. You’ll not only be able to review your feature needs, but also start to feel the products. You might find that the experience of one outweighs the feature advantages of another.
If not any of the above, then do yourself one favor before committing to one webinar software or another, join the webinars that you are invited to. Beyond learning something new, you’ll start to experience the various webinar software as an attendee. You’ll see what works and what doesn’t, what you like and what you don’t. You’ll not only recognize what makes a good webinar in terms of content, but what is the best webinar software to help you deliver that sweet, sweet content.