After I shared my last post How to run a paid webinar I realised that I wasn’t approaching things in the most logical order. I really should have started a post on How to run a webinar! So here I am.
There are a few different parts to running a webinar and what frustrates me most is people with great knowledge to share and a desire to do it via webinar getting stuck with the technology.
There seem to be 2 main stumbling blocks; choosing your platform and then all the moving pieces that go into getting your webinar to work for you. In this post I’m going to look at the some of the platforms you might want to use.
The Grandaddy of Webinars – Goto Webinar
This is the most expensive of the options I am discussing and for a long time the leader of the pack. Goto Webinar generally has an incredibly stable connection and works well even with slower broadband. 2 years ago when I started out with webinars I used it as I had rural broadband which was a bit rubbish and Goto Webinar enabled me to stay connected.
While it’s still a great option, it’s also quite expensive at £69/month for up to 100 attendees but if you have connection issues and want to be sure of a seamless experience I still recommend it. It’s also well know in the corporate world so if you are working with larger businesses then it may be easier for the viewers to access.
The new kid on the block – Zoom
Ok so maybe it’s not that new but I feel like Zoom has suddenly experienced a rush of users. It’s become much more stable and I now use it for all my online programmes. The great thing about Zoom is that they offer a free meeting facility for anyone with an account which allows you to have a Zoom meeting with 1 other person on video (or a few of you for up to 45 min).
Zoom meeting is similar to Skype but you can easily record the session (I do this when I am doing tech support so that people can go over what I said when they next need the help) and it helps you get more familiar with the platform. When you want to run a webinar you can upgrade to the webinar version (which is $54.99/month for 100 participants) and it doesn’t all feel so strange and new.
Zoom also don’t mind you hoping in and out of paying for their services. You can just get a month of the webinar tool for a launch period and then drop back to a free account again. This makes it more cost effective than an annual payment if you are an infrequent webinar holder or just want to try it out.
Where Zoom falls down for me is a lack of innovation. They don’t make it easy to add people to your email list (though it is entirely possible to do with a third party integrator such as Zapier) and they aren’t sales focused so don’t offer some of the special features of other tools though they have recently introduced livestreaming for Facebook.
That said it’s still the one I recommend most as I think it is great for all types of business.
Worth a mention – WebinarJam
Webinar Jam changed the face of webinars by being the first company to use Google Hangouts as their platform. While I love an innovative company, they are very salesy, and it’s really hard to even find out the price without watching a video and taking up a free trial!
Initially the platform was very unstable as Hangouts uses more bandwidth (you need faster internet) and I couldn’t watch anything on WebinarJam as my internet connection wasn’t good enough. Now I understand they have switched to using Amazon S3 and the platform is more stable. They offer a great service if you want to be able to do lots of selling on your webinars.
Where WebinarJam lead the field is the extra features. They integrate with Mailchimp and a lot of other email marketing tools, they integrate with texting tools to let you text people reminders, they make it easy to share links for people to sign up or buy your products at the end of the webinar. They can even link to your sales system and post a notification to the webinar audience when someone has made a purchase… social proof of your product being worth buying. They also let you livestream the webinar to Facebook, YouTube and a range of other platforms.
If you are looking to maximise sales of your webinar then this could be an option worth considering.
What I use – Webinar Ninja
After all that, I use a different platform entirely. I bought Webinar Ninja in a one off lifetime deal when it was a relatively new platform. This means that I get to use it free forever. In light of this I tend to overlook some of it’s little quirks and foibles however I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it over Zoom for someone running their first webinar. It costs $49/month but unlike some of the other platforms this is for unlimited attendees so if your webinar is popular you don’t end up with a last minute panic to upgrade.
On the plus side it is really easy and quick to set up, integrates into most email systems so you can add people to your email list and lets you create paid for and evergreen webinars (a ‘play on demand’ pre-recorded webinar that you can sign up for anytime) as well as the usual live ones. This gives more flexibility in how you use the material you create.
It’s not quite as solid as Zoom or GoTo Webinar hence my not recommending it unless you specifically want the evergreen or paid for features.
To summarise I have made a little table of the different systems and features. If you are thinking of running a webinar and want some advice, feel free to drop me a line.