Hosting webinars can be an effective marketing strategy.
However, choosing a webinar software that is right for your specific needs can be a daunting task.
In this article, you’ll learn the most important features to consider and what to look out for.
Decide if You Want to Host Automated or Live Webinars (or Both)
The first thing you should decide when choosing a webinar software is if you want to host live webinars or automated webinars.
Live webinar is a live video seminar event that is scheduled. That means the webinar host (most likely that’ll be you) will be presenting the material using a slideshow, sharing their experience, answering audience questions and at the end – present an offer.
Automated webinars are essentially seminar events that have been pre-recorded. That means the host doesn’t have to be there physically to present. There are a couple of strong upsides to automated webinars. You can record a perfect video presentation once and use it dozens of times, over and over again.
The other upside for automated webinars is that they’re extremely scalable. You could potentially host more than ten automated webinars every single day. All that without having to physically be there in the event.
The upside for live webinars is that interacting with the audience is more real and you’ll be able to answer questions live. Your audience will definitely sense if it’s a live or automated webinar.
If you’re just starting out with your webinar marketing strategy, I recommend starting with live webinars. They’re easier to set up and your audience is more forgiving, because they’ll feel more connected to you during a live webinar.
For that same reason, live webinar offers convert better as well.
Estimate the Number of Attendees and Hosts
If you’re just starting out with webinars, you might feel more confident if you have a co-host. When choosing a webinar software, check out the pricing page to see how many hosts are included.
An equally important aspect to keep in mind when choosing a webinar software is how many attendees will be attending your webinar. You could judge it by your email list size and give a rough estimate.
But a good rule of thumb is to have at least 100 attendee seats in the webinar room.
Usually, the cheapest package includes 100 seats. Demio has even less for the first package.
Look for Webinar Landing Page Customization Options
Your webinar landing page is arguably the most important step in the webinar funnel.
It’s also the first step and determines how many visitors will actually register to your webinar.
The best webinar software have all included webinar landing page design and customization options. They allow you to choose a registration page template, add a product image and customize it to match your brand colors.
If you want to really kick it up a notch, then I recommend choosing a webinar software that includes landing page A/B testing. That means you can create 2 simultaneous landing pages and half of the visitors are shown variant A, the other half will see variant B.
Afterward, you can explore which layout, design and communication converts visitors to attendees better. This way you’ll always be improving. For example, WebinarJam has the landing page A/B testing feature.
Try Out the Audience Engagement Tools
How well you can engage with your audience and how much emotionally invested you can get them will directly impact the results of your webinar marketing campaign. It’s perhaps the most important factor for choosing a webinar software for live webinars.
Typically, the webinar platform enables you to set up the audience interactions before the webinar, so you can just launch them at any point during the webinar.
Launching pre-configured engagements will make the presentation feel smooth and make you appear professional and well-prepared.
Some of the crucial live webinar audience engagement features are:
- Public chat (preferably with private chat, too)
- Running polls (preferably with the option to share poll results with the audience)
- Asking questions in a Q&A format (preferably with upvoting questions)
- Interactive offers (preferably with CTA buttons)
Handy Webinar Presentation Tools Make You Look Like a Pro
When choosing a webinar software, it’s important to figure out if the presentation tools actually make the presentation easier for you.
If you have the right tools, your presentation will look professional, rehearsed and well-timed. You’ll reduce any kind of mess-time or waiting time for attendees. All this makes you look prepared and competent.
Some webinar presentation aspects you should consider:
- Slideshow pre-upload (launch slides from the webinar platform)
- Webcam/Slideshow switch (for emphasizing a point and switching to full screen webcam when you need to)
- Video pre-configuration (set up a video you want to show during your webinar)
- Drawing tools (for illustrating your thoughts on slides by drawing on them)
Your webinar event success will often be determined before the webinar. If you prepare well by uploading the slideshow, configuring the videos you want to show, planning out your presentation elements and preparing them before the webinar sets you up for a successful webinar.
Weigh the Pricing Options and Opt for the Trial
A reliable webinar software typically costs around $50 per month. You’ll always get a better deal if you opt for an annual subscription.
There are certainly free webinar software out there, but they typically have a poor feature set that will get in the way of you creating an awesome webinar experience.
Investing in a professional webinar software will help you massively in webinar sales, so it’s worth it.
Most webinar software also offer 1 or 2 weeks of trials, so you can host a test webinar and try out all the features before actually making the decision to subscribe.
Make a Decision and Stick with it
Choosing a webinar software is an important decision and you want to consider all the aforementioned aspects before making a decision.
That’s because switching out your webinar platform is a pain. All your past webinar session recordings, attendee data and webinar analytics will be stored to the webinar platform.
The webinar attendance data enables you to make smarter decisions and make improvements upon your future webinars. The more data you’ll accumulate there, the better.
That’s why I recommend making the right decision when choosing a webinar software and sticking to it for the long haul.