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Picking the right webinar service for your business can be confusing.
If you’re a marketer in 2018, you need a webinar solution.
Even though only 44% of marketers have actually hosted or participated in a webinar, 87% have found it to be an effective strategy.
I’m going to outline the pros and cons of the top online webinar tools on the market.
Table of Contents
Webinars an easy and affordable way to engage “face to face” on the internet with your customers, provide value and build trust.
You’d be surprised how easy it is to get people to sign up for free and informative webinars, and once they register, they’ll spend between 35-45 minutes on average listening!
It’s a great way to nurture your customers and bring them closer to a point of sale.
The hardest part is often getting started. That’s why I put together this perfect webinar script template as a free template for you. Simply fill in your company info.
And once you’ve done it once, you can record it and upload it to a platform like EverWebinar, so you can use the same content over and over again on new potential customers.
It’s kind of a no brainer.
Photo of me being excited about webinars below…
How to pick the right webinar solution
Picking the right webinar platform is important.
You want to make sure you have the right tools available to engage with your customers during the webinar, and that the platform will run smoothly, be easy to use and reflect positively on the sophistication of your brand.
Some webinar services are easier to use than others, some are more cost effective than others, and some have a user interface that is more modern and well-designed than others.
These were all important factors to me when I went investigating for a platform to use myself.
Here’s what I found when I tested the various webinar platforms:
WebinarJam vs ClickMeeting vs EasyWebinar vs GoToMeeting vs BlueJeans
WebinarJam is the best webinar service available, from what I’ve seen first hand.
Sorry I’m not sorry for spoiling the surprise early on. Now it’s the one tool I use for all my webinars.
It literally takes 10 seconds to set up a new webinar, so I can get up and running in no time. It’s simple and easy to use with step by step instructions at every turn, and the user interface is intuitive and sleek.
For the price you pay, you get features that would cost thousands of dollars on other platforms for less than $500. Also it’s easy for attendees to use also, because they don’t need to download anything to access the webinar. They can just click into the room and listen right away.
- Cost-effective: WebinarJam is the cheapest platform I’ve seen that offers the most sophisticated features. The team behind WebinarJam really cares about making their product the absolute best in class in the webinar category.
- Tons of features: There are some features in here that I’ve never even seen or heard of on other platforms that make the webinars more engaging and increase conversion rates. My favorite? The ability to add a call-to-action pop-up mid-webinar (which increases your conversions and sales.)
- Detailed analytics: After the webinar, you can click into the analytics section to learn about how long attendees stayed on the webinar, the average length of attendance, which links were clicked on and more.
- No attendee limit: Many platforms have a limit on attendees, and to upgrade to at high-attendee plans usually costs an arm and a leg. You don’t get that problem with WebinarJam. Add as many attendees as you want, no up-charge.
- All the webinar layouts you need: Show your face, your screen, both your face and screen, or just a whiteboard. Want to turn an attendee into a presenter mid-webinar? Go for it! Anyone can “raise their hand” and become a speaker instantly.
- Upload your presentation to WebinarJam: Instead of booting up Keynote or Powerpoint, you can upload your presentation into WebinarJam so everything is ready to go and no worrying about technical difficulties.
- Pre and post-webinar autoresponders: WebinarJam sends out reminders and follow-up emails for you– you don’t want to give a presentation to an empty room! And you don’t have to worry about doing the extra work to set up an email campaign around your webinar.
- Webinars record automatically: This is great if you want to send the webinar as a replay or upload it to WebinarJam’s sister platform, EverWebinar, to create an evergreen or automated webinar. Learn more about evergreen webinars here.
- One pricing tier: For example, there is no way to pay more and get more support, like onboarding help or a dedicated account manager. (Although I’ve never had an issue getting support from their team when I needed it)
- Sound delay: Some people complain about a sound delay for up to 10 seconds, but most webinar platforms have some delay built into the platform.
- Limited co-presenters: WebinarJam allows you to have up to 6 co-presenters, which might be limiting if you want to have more co-presenters involved.
WebinarJam price starts from $39.99 per month (when paid annually).
Try WebinarJam for 60 days for just $1, click here.
ClickMeeting claims to have over 100,000 satisfied customers on their website, so naturally I wanted to check it out myself. While the platform is called Click”Meeting”, its primary goal seems to be focused on being a webinar solution.
I wanted to dig into this platform to see if it appears to rise to the occasion as a viable webinar software.
- Custom branding: There are a few custom branding options that help your webinars feel more like your own. You can add your logo, change the colors of your page, and even customize the waiting room your attendees will see while they wait for your webinar to start.
- Analytics: A focus on providing in-webinar insights for understanding your customer experience.
- Free trial available: Testing a product before you buy it is always great. Even if you don’t end up liking the platform, being able to test it for a month will show you what you do and don’t want in a platform.
- No downloads required from your computer: You don’t need to download anything if you are hosting or attending a webinar on your computer.
- Available on mobile: If you and your attendees are on the go, you can use the ClickMeeting mobile app to attend and host meetings from your smartphone.
- Add-Ons: Add-ons in and of themselves aren’t necessarily a con, it’s always great to give someone more options, but based on the steep price you are already paying, add-ons can add up.
- Runs on Adobe Flash: While there are no downloads required for ClickMeeting, it also runs on Adobe Flash. Adobe Flash has been used less often by developers, so your attendees may not have the most updated version of Adobe Flash to join any webinars.
- Glitchy and laggy system: Hosting a webinar with ClickMeeting can get a bit laggy, especially when you are sharing any replays. The lag can be distracting for both you and your customers.
ClickMeeting starts at $25 per month (paid annually) or $30 per month (paid month-to-month) for 25 webinar attendees and unlimited webinars. If you’re planning on hosting webinars for more than 25 people it might not be the best solution, unless you’re willing to dole out more cash to upgrade.
Larger companies that can afford to upgrade to the enterprise level at $209/month.
EasyWebinar is an all-in-one webinar platform that can serve your needs whether you want to create live webinars or automated webinars.
It’s a platform that is trusted by over 8,000 customers including some pretty big company names like Drip, AWeber, OptimizePress, and more. With all of these customers and claims, I decided to test out EasyWebinar and learn more about some of their pros and cons.
- No cap if you go over your attendee limit: If you go over your attendee limit you will be charged an additional $15 per 50 extra attendees (on the standard plan) and $15 per 100 attendees (on the pro and enterprise plan.) This is a great feature to have if you underestimate the popularity of your webinar and you need to let more people in at the last minute. (I once had this issue with GoToMeeting and their customer service team would not let more people into my webinar which was extremely frustrating!)
- Evergreen webinar capabilities: If you need to host evergreen/automated webinars, you can do so included with the price of your subscription at the pro or enterprise level.
- Reseller account options: You could potentially make your money back and then some with the ability to add reseller accounts to your plans. Sub-accounts can be used in your own business, or as a way to make extra cash by selling accounts to your clients.
- EasyWebinar hosts your webinar from start to finish: Similar to WebinarJam, everything you need to host a successful webinar can be done through EasyWebinar. They host all your pages such as registration, event, thank you, and replay pages.
- Essentially capped at 2,000 viewers: While they won’t kick out your audience, in a way you are capped at 2,000 viewers unless you want to pay an arm and a leg. For example, if you are consistently getting 3,000 webinar attendees, you will outgrow the platform unless you want to spend an additional $150 every time you host a webinar.
- Only four presenters allowed: As far as capabilities go, this is on the lower end of presenters permitted in a webinar. If you intend to host multiple presenters, there are better solutions out there.
- Expensive for what you get: EasyWebinar has a lot of great features, but ultimately it’s pretty expensive given that you can’t scale much past 2,000 webinar viewers on the platform.
EasyWebinar pricing starts at $336/year or $39 month-to-month ($468 per year), but this level only includes 50 live webinar attendees.
Very small businesses that plan to conduct webinars of under 50 attendees. Otherwise it’s a bit expensive for what you’re getting.
GoToMeeting is first and foremost a video web conferencing platform. That means it is mainly meant for one-on-one or group meetings via the internet. However they do offer a webinar product as well called GoToWebinar.
When I first started looking into webinar platforms, it seemed obvious to go for the GoToMeeting/GoToWebinar solution, because so many use and love the platform. However, my first impression with their user interface was that it was very dated and clunky. I ultimately swore off the platform all together due to a poor customer service experience I had, which you can read more about here.
Here are some pros and cons we faced when dealing with GoToWebinar.
- Up to 5,000 members: With the enterprise level plan, you can invite a ton of attendees to your meeting or webinar (but it will require upgrading to an enterprise level so keep that cost in mind. When compared to a competitor like WebinarJam that does not upcharge for this)
- Share promotional videos, demos, etc. during your broadcast.
- Custom Branding: Your webinars should feel like your business. GoToWebinar gives you the ability to do that with branding options.
- Simulated live webinars: These webinars allow you to have pre-recorded webinars that feel as real as live ones. Simulated live or automated webinars are becoming more popular for growth marketers, my favorite platform for simulated live webinars is EverWebinar.
- Quality Audio/Video: Your audio and video reflects upon your brand. You can trust that GoToWebinar will provide excellent audio and video for your webinars.
- Access to webinars via phone & computer: Your audience is on the go. Allowing your audience to access webinars wherever is a crucial feature for webinar software to have.
- Polling features. Polls are great to keep your webinar attendees involved and interested in what you have to say.
- It’s expensive: The lowest plan alone costs $1,068 per year paid at once or $1,308 paid monthly ($109 per month). After the lowest plan, it only continues to get more expensive if you want more features and attendees.
- The smallest plan only allows 100 participants to join per webinar: That number was too small for me and my business when I wanted to host my first webinar and make a big impact.
- The software is outdated: It looks like it was last updated in 2006. Not as clean or user-friendly as some of its competitors like WebinarJam.
- Software download required: All users have to download the software to join the webinar which can be confusing for attendees or other hosts.
- Poor customer service: There have been multiple times where I was trying to host a webinar using gotomeeting or I was an attendee on one of their webinars and there were technical difficulties. This is not the kind of experience I would want my attendees to have. One time I tried reaching out to customer service in the heat of an issue and they were completely unhelpful. Not the kind of customer service you want when you’re dealing with a live event.
GoToMeeting pricing is more expensive than other webinar software. The lowest plan alone costs $1,068 per year paid at once or $1,308 paid monthly ($109 per month). After the lowest plan, it only continues to get more expensive if you want more features and attendees.
BlueJeans is known as a meeting software, but they have also dipped their toes into the webinar/event space. They have some pretty big names on their client list: Wikia, RedHat, the University of Michigan, Illumina, and many more––but is it the right platform for your business? BlueJeans
These are some pros and cons I have assessed after checking out the platform:
- Connect from multiple devices: BlueJeans has developed numerous apps which allow you to connect with your meetings from any device you can think of: Mac, Windows, Linux, Google Play, and iPhone apps are all available.
- No downloads required: There are a ton of apps for BlueJeans, but your audience isn’t required to use them. They can also join meetings from their browser if they don’t wish to download or open the BlueJeans app.
- Has infrastructure to host up to 15,000 streaming viewers: Most webinar platforms are capped at 10,000 or fewer viewers. If you need a ton of webinar participants, this platform can scale with you.
- Cloud recording and storage: You can record your entire presentation and store it in the cloud for later usage.
- Free trial: You can try BlueJeans Events for free for 30-days to test out the platform.
- Event support options: If your team isn’t on the tech-savvy side, BlueJeans does over event assist options. This is great for helping your first event go off without a hitch and helping you get used to the platform.
- Their focus seems to be on video meetings: They may be able to host a webinar, but it doesn’t mean you should go with them. Their heart seems to be set on helping companies solve their video meeting issues over webinar issues.
- Lack of information: Overall, there is a lack of information from their website, product and team. As a small business owner, you can’t take chances with your work. Free trials are great, but if the website and product is not intuitive, it can be challenging to get started.
- Potentially expensive at the webinar/events level: BlueJeans is not forthcoming about their webinar or pricing strategy. It’s clear that hosting a meeting with 75 participants is $16.65 a month, which is cheap, but for a webinar of 15,000 it is not clear from their website how much that would cost.
- Confusing website to navigate: When trying to get more information about the platform, there isn’t a straightforward way to get information. Multiple landing pages are talking about virtually the same product instead. The difficult nature of the website throws off the user experience.
As I mentioned earlier, they aren’t all that forthcoming about their webinar/event level pricing. It’s hard to determine what their pricing structure is. They are much more forthcoming about their meeting prices, see below.
There are a lot of webinar platforms out there, but most don’t seem to measure up to my favorite tool WebinarJam.
Where the other platforms fail:
- Low attendee options: Yes, some of these platforms can host large numbers, but their basic plans are of a size that is limiting. As a growth marketer, you have to organize decently sized webinars. Most of these platforms don’t have the infrastructure to do that at a reasonable price.
- Price point: The price point for most of these options is not in line with what most small businesses can afford when it comes to webinar solutions.
- Focus on video meetings over webinars: While video meetings and webinars both need video software, they are two entirely different things. To host a successful webinar, you need to have people, communication resources, as well as data on the webinar. GoToMeeting and BlueJeans are primarily focused on video meetings and so they fall short on providing the best webinar resources.
Try WebinarJam for 60 days for just $1, click here.
Still not convinced? I would recommend reading the post I wrote where I reviewed 12 different webinar tools. Don’t be afraid to test platforms out, read reviews, and get to know them before you make a final webinar platform decision.