You need webinar software if you want to maximise your business without working more!
One of the biggest tools in many online coaches, trainers or consultant’s toolbox is the webinar.
It is quick, relatively easy to run and offers a higher touch point with your audience. In other words, they develop know, like and trust (KLT for short) for your brand quicker. The more a prospect builds KLT with you, the greater the likelihood of them converting. It’s that simple!
For those of you who might be on the fence about webinars, here are a few quick points that we know will win you over.
FOMO is real, people do not like to miss out on “one-off” events. They are more motivated to turn up.
People see value in a ‘live’ training event, even if you are using a webinar for list building. People will sign up just because of the fact you are offering a webinar.
You get to find out more about your loyal audience and can get to know them both by looking at their comments and how they chat. Plus, all that webinar analytics really helps! The more you know your audience, the more you can be specific and relevant to them which creates more sales.
You’ve created your own stage.
A webinar is your own virtual stage with people turning up to find out more about you and your services. They allow you to reach a wider audience, fast.
You get to hold their attention when you have someone watching you on a stage. Even a virtual stage like a webinar holds the audiences more than other mediums and often this attention span is 45+ minutes.
You can go into detail and explain all those parts of your business that, might just be harder to explain in an article or on a sales page.
So webinars are great, we all love them. At GrowthVine, they are certainly a key part of our strategy but jeez, knowing which tool to actually use for your webinars is really tough.
In fact, when we were looking for a tool it felt like we needed a PHD in webinar software just to pick which software to go with.
But, luckily for you, we’ve taken the work out of it by creating this handy guide to the best webinar tools to take with you into 2019.
Considerations before choosing webinar software
Before we dive into each tool, it might be helpful for you first to take a look at the questions below. Make a note of your answers. They will help you work out which is the best software for you. Don’t worry if you don’t know all of the answers, they are just here to act as a guide.
1. What is your budget? Can you afford expensive solutions? Could you save money by being able to pay an annual license rather than pay per month?
2. How big is your audience? Being realistic how many attendees do you expect to show up to your webinars?
3. How tech savvy Is your audience? Could they download and install software? Are they likely to be viewing on mobile or desktop? If mobile, what OS and devices do they use?
4. When it comes to the webinar what features do you need to have? Eg. Screen sharing, pre-recorded video, replay/ recording capability, etc.
5. Will you be having help running your webinars or flying solo?
6. How many presenters will be taking part in the webinar?
7. Will you be turning the webinar into an evergreen ( on demand webinar?)
8. Will you be geeking out (I do!) and needing analytics tools so you can analyse your webinar later?
9. How important is chat to you anyway? Do you need to be able to moderate, take private messages, survey people etc?
10. Most importantly, are you hosting free to attend webinars for marketing purpose or because someone has already paid or are you wanting people to pay on their way into the webinar?
Knowing the even a few answers to these questions will help
That was a lot of questions, I know. Trust me though, knowing the answers or even just a few of them already is really important. It means you can think about them as you read each software reviews below.
Webinar software recommendations
In this article we are looking at 5 of the best webinar tools out there.
Before we dive in, just so you know, we don’t believe that we have found one perfect solution for every coach, trainer, consultant or digital service based business. There are so many things we need to consider in a quest for the perfect tool but we do include links to the website for each software we are reviewing.
Some of these links may be affiliate links, we want to be open about that and why they are there. In order to review the software, we’ve spent time and money buying the tools and testing them out. Often using them way beyond any guarantees they may offer. Any affiliate links included, in this article, are just our way of funding the next in-depth tool round-up article we do.
Not all links are affiliate and you don’t have to click on them if they are, but we hope you like the review enough to want to help us test out more webinar software as they come out.
Our Top 5 Webinar Tools
You will already know this name as it is a common tool for interviewing and video conferencing. It’s as popular for those features as Skype but what most people don’t realise is it is also a really great webinar tool.
Zoom is built for large companies that are willing to pay big bucks for its services but that doesn’t mean it is not good for you too.
One of my favourite things about Zoom is that it offers basic webinar features for free. The only big sore point in our opinion, is that you are limited to only 40 minutes for your meeting.
I don’t know about you but I can not do an in-depth webinar properly and deliver all of my value if I’m racing through knowing I have a cut-off time. The good news though if you are counting dollars and dimes, is you can upgrade to Pro for the month for a super low price and then downgrade again.
For someone starting out who wants to do webinars but not every month or only maybe with product launches, to begin with, Zoom certainly makes good financial sense as for webinar software. Zoom terms this as a ‘Meeting’ rather than a webinar, as unlike a webinar all users mics start turned on!
We like how Zoom has you covered if you’re looking to host one-on-one meetings, conference calls, or even webinars. Zoom Webinar is an add-on to their video conferencing service, meaning you need at least a Pro (lowest paid) account in order to add on their webinar software.
It’s really important to note that Zoom Webinar is not a standalone tool.
Using it Zoom for video conferencing
The video conferencing side is where you can get access to the free plan and here are some of the basic features that are included:
Screen sharing: Meet one-on-one or with large groups and show others what is going on on your screen. At GrowthVine, we use this for working 1:1 with clients and being able to still show our smiling face at the same time or to present decks. Some clients even use it for short product demo’s.
One-on-one meetings: We love having the ability to host unlimited one-on-one meetings even with their free plan. Zoom allows you to look professional and organised with people across the world without paying a cent to do so.
Group video conferences: If you purchase the ‘large meeting’ add on to a paid plan, you can upgrade and have up to 500 people on the conference with you. If you don’t you are limited on the Basic, Pro or even Business plan to only 100 attendees.
Adding on Zoom Webinar Features
If you did upgrade to the Zoom webinar add-on, here’s what you can expect:
More participants: If you are a coach with a large list about 50k subscribers then the webinar add- on is perfect for you as where Zoom’s Video Conferencing feature is capped at 500 participants. Zoom webinar can host up to 10,000 participants.
Webinar Integrations with CRM & marketing automation tools: Zoom’s video conferences don’t have integrations with popular CRM and marketing automation tools which for me is one of the negatives. I like to use a lot of automation and make sure I store recordings of any client sessions with the client’s information in the CRM. You can only get these features when you get the webinar add-on.
Automatic mute features: Now this is where the who is helping you question is important. If you are using the regular video conferencing, mute is not automatic. Meaning your support will have to manually mute them or get participants to do it themselves.
Panelist Green Room: I always find these a bit scary, no matter which software I am using (I worry I’ve somehow left the room, gone live and everyone has seen me looking silly as I prepare for a webinar!). If you have a lot of panelists, having a place to practice your presentation is important though. With a Zoom Webinar plan, you unlock a green room feature that allows you to practice your webinar with all your panelists.
Costs can easy add up though
If you are working with a large team, Zoom Business and Enterprise plans both require a minimum number of hosts which makes the cost of those plans skyrocket dramatically.
With any Zoom plan, you have to buy multiples of the same plan if you intend to have several employees with a Zoom account. This can add up fast.
The pricing for Zoom might be a little bit mind boggling right now so you really need to think long and hard about how you are going to use it, the features you need and how often you will be creating webinars.
If it will be every month then at first glance, Zoom Webinar’s pricing seems reasonable for most high-end webinar platforms. A year of hosting unlimited webinars of up to 100 participants is $549. Another popular one we will be looking at is cheaper but it depends on what you need. If you are only going to do webinars as more one off’s but maybe do 5 or 6 in a month then maybe upgrading and downgrading is better if you want to use Zoom.
- Unlimited meetings. Zoom allows you to host unlimited meetings so no more condensing webinars to meet a limit.
- Free plan which is handy if you are just starting out and want to look professional from the offset.
- Scalable: You can scale up or down to suit your marketing and your budget. I’m sure this is not what Zoom want, but it is do-able and you can add in the features you need when you need them.
- Excellent webinar reporting features. Make life easy for yourself and pull the reporting from Zoom so you can really get to grips with what is happening on your webinars.
- Expensive: When you start to scale up, you may need to use more add-ons. Meaning, the cost can quickly creep up but as with any software, hopefully you would be reviewing the usage and seeing if you’re on the best plan once a year in which case you can always switch.
- They need to download Zoom: Webinar attendees will need to download Zoom to access your meeting. It is quick and simple to do and set up took less than 2 minutes when we tested it. For newbies and those who aren’t as tech savvy, it can make things feel trickier than they are though.
- Too many plan options for a newbie: Zoom plans are pretty flexible and that is great but if you have no idea what you need then you may struggle. We often recommend for newbies using Zoom that you start with the free account and add Pro with the webinar add on when you need to do webinars. Move to pay annual if you are using it every month and your audience size is still within their numbers.
Good for: Newbies who want to control their spend and willing to be hands on doing upgrades and downgrades or for big companies who have the budget not to care quite so much
Marketing Video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGH1y70zSkg
Tech needed: You will still need somewhere to create your webinar landing pages and to connect up all of the email marketing.
A bit of a new kid on the block Crowdcast kind of surprised me, I actually found out about crowd cast from an influencer friend of mine. She was using it and I had signed in to see what it was all about and said ‘Yes keep me updated’. Now every time she does a webinar that’s public ( not for her clients in a course) I get a push notification to my desktop.
To quote Crowdcast themselves it ‘isn’t just a webinar tool’, and they are right!
The experience is much more seamless and less clunky than other software on the market.
Everything is pretty seamless, and one of the key features is that everything in the webinar process is accessible via just one URL. This makes the admin of running a webinar so much easier.
While Crowdcast offer a free 14 day trial, it’s not actually something we at GrowthVine wanted to sign up for,unlike most software on the market, the trial is actually extremely limited.
Sure, you get 14 days free but you can only run sessions for 30 minutes and only have 10 attendees which pretty much sucks as it really limits your potential to be able to road test Crowdcast to the max as a webinar and live streaming tool.
Pricing isn’t cheap either, when you look at a professional plan for a year, but the Lite plan comes in considerably cheaper than the usual market leaders WebinarJam. Although they are not comparable software as each has their own unique wealth of features. For those who would like webinar software with easy pricing then CrowdCast could be a good option.
What we love about Crowdcast however, is the integrations.
I’ve said it before but for us data is king, we want to know who has done what and how with every bit of marketing we do. Not only can you do that within CrowdCast, you can also export information and use a range of triggers using the Zapier integration. Zapier opens up a world of possibilities for you in terms of simplifying your marketing and being able to automate as many processes as possible.
- Super simple for low tech audiences: Everything is accessed from one URL
- Easy to watch webinar replays from the user dashboard
- Able to live stream while running a webinar
- Superior integration capability using Zapier
- Push notifications to attendees browser
- Extra promotion for public webinars on their website
- Simple pricing structure
- Limited free trial
- For regular webinar uses it can feel like you’re missing a step the first time you use it as Crowdcast is so streamlined.
- Pricing is a bit high per month if you are new to webinars or if you want to use the more professional features in higher plans.If you are paying monthly then it is higher than a lot of others out there.
Good for: Those who are more developed in their business and will be using webinars on a monthly basis due to price tag.
Marketing Video: https://youtu.be/B0xm3iBq5iQ
Tech needed: Very little extra is needed as just about everything is built in but you can always connect to Zapier if you want more options.
Go To Webinar
Part of the LogMeIn family, GoTo Webinar can feel a bit old school when it comes to the website and how the system first appears on the demo’s and explainer videos.
Aimed at businesses and solo businesses, my first impression was that it reminded me of WebinarJam. This was in a number of different ways but mainly the user interface and just how many steps there were to set everything up.
For me, that is not necessarily a good thing as it doesn’t feel intuitive enough for a modern webinar. Maybe that is to do with the fact that the software still has toll free dial in numbers for events!
Pricing is straight forward with GoTo Webinar, giving you four simple options, although for the offering we still found them to be quite expensive.
One of the key things that stood out to me was the fact that in the basic package you need your audience to download software. This really got to me. Plus, I personally don’t like it when software names their own features and doesn’t really give a clear explanation of what it is.
We ended up googling to find out what GoTo Stage actually did! And even that wasn’t too helpful!
GoTo Webinar Pros
- You can include handouts and worksheets inside the webinar.
- Packages are clear and have very simple breakdowns of exactly how many viewers are available in each one.
GoTo Webinar Cons
- Feels clunky and old fashioned
- Doesn’t inspire faith that the system will be reliable enough
- Pricing is high for what you get
- Comparing features is hard, especially when you need to Google to find out more about things like GoTo Stage.
Summary GoTo Webinar
Good for: Those who are used to more heavyheav duty old school systems and who want people to be able to dial in to the webinar instead of attending in person.
Marketing Video: https://youtu.be/_AJrrQxP5VE
Tech needed: Personally, I would have another system as a backupback up just in case and expect it to be hard work to easily integrate all of your systems with the tool.
These guys recently re-launched so we went back and took another look. Having used them previously, I must admit the team and I were not a fan but we are open minded enough to always look again. Last time we used them, around 18 months ago things kept breaking. Things like streams were low quality, several times we ended up moving the entire webinar over to Facebook LIVE because the software just broke.
Running webinars using WebinarJam was scary last time we tried it BUT, it has got better.
Well…apart from the ironic video on the homepage. It really made us laugh as we thought back to all of those problems but, WebinarJam looks to have really upped theirit’s game.
When we road tested Webinarjam, we found the new version to be intuitive and feature rich but without the bugs. It feels smooth and has kept some of the cool features like being able to roll in video smoothly mid way through your webinar.
Pricing wise, the free trial does help a lot with choosing to try the tool. Although, the annual price when discounted is comparable to others out there but it is paid annually at checkout. WebinarJam do not offer a pay monthly option at signup.
- Popup calls-to-action during the webinar: making it great to sell a product during the webinar itself.
- WebinarJam is built over of the RTMP, WebRTC, HLS, Flash amongst others so it should work smoothly on all browsers and devices.
- You can moderate comments before they appear in the chat which is one of my favourite features.Plus, you can hot seat attendees and turn them into speakers for 5 minutes if you wanted and then turn them off again, back to attendee mode
- Fast setup- now in under 60 seconds
- Up to 6 co-presenters
- Push to Youtube or Facebook Live ( this is where we encountered problems before as they were built off hangouts originally if memory serves me right. It usually doesn’t but, we did often have problems with Youtube and WebinarJam before)
- Buyer alerts and the countdown timer in the software are pretty nifty too.
- Trial period is more than generous at 60 days for $1.
- There still seems to be some people complaining about experiencing video and sound delay up to 10 seconds.
- This is a worry, as a user it reminds me of my past experience of WebinarJam. Maybe, I am missing something and not all of the problems have been fixed but time will tell on that one.
- The website pop up is super annoying and causes the website to crash several times while I was writing this review.
- No immediate pay monthly option (Pro tip – ask support!)
Price: Starts from $39.99 per month (when paid annually)
Good for: Everyone can work on WebinarJam, as long as you can afford to pay the annual price upfront then you are good to go.
The sister company of WebinarJam and is one of the top solutions of automated evergreen webinars.
Essentially, you can use Everwebinar to run webinars automatically (also known as on demand webinars or just in time webinars). Re-run recordings of webinars without you having to be there delivering them at all!
The platform is for use by small to medium size businesses who can boost their sales by taking existing webinars and offering them as replays or on demand for potential new customers and attendees.
Initially the price may seem a little high for those who are already paying for WebinarJam. Try to think of it as a 24 hour sales agent for your business, suddenly it puts the price into perspective.
Not your ordinary replay
The best part of EverWebinar is that the webinar you show to the audience is not a straight up replay. Sure, people will still watch a replay but it doesn’t have the same excitement and conversion level. This is where EverWebinar begins to shine you can make a webinar feel live.
A live event can keep the viewer engaged 4x longer than a replay environment where the prospect. With EverWebinar you can get the look and feel of the original webcast as often as you want.
The solution is fully automated. You can be in the webinar room and handle the chat while your pre-recorded webinar is played or just have a nice day somewhere in the park while your products are presented online.
Everwebinar takes care of all of the engagement stuff like room count simulation, emails reminders, real-time chat simulation and popup reminders/calls-to-action.
Evergreen webinars work.
- All the same pro’s as Webinarjam but with a few added extra’s
- Simulation capability means your webinar is ready to run and looks just like a real live webinar every time.
- A sales agent in your pocket, this beauty can run webinars on autopilot..
- Again, Everwebinar has the same issues as Webinarjam as the two products are so closely related.
- Having to purchase seperate software for evergreen functionality is irritating if you want an all in one option.
- If you want to run a full simulation you need to have a webinar recorded that is in the file type that Everwebinar wants. The reality is it plays best with Webinarjam so you will need to have Webinarjam as well if you want to run a good evergreen webinar simulation.
Price: Starts from $39.99 per month (when paid annually)
Good for: Anyone who wants to run webinars while they sleep and have a more automated funnel.
Choosing the right webinar tool can be hard. Factors such as budget, audience size and the frequency of how often you will be using it tend to play a big part in the decision.
As we said at the start, think about what you need your software to do and how often you want to do it.
Each of the software tools we have recommended work beautifully for the right individual. Trust me, I know how hard it is to make a decision on which is the best webinar software for your business.
For GrowthVine in 2019, we will likely be using a mix of Crowdcast, Everwebinar and Zoom because of our diverse audience across both the coaching business and the agency.
The best tip I can give you is to narrow down your choices? Take each up on a trial or their money back guarantee (or freemium for Zoom) and just test them out. The worst case being, you ask for your money back and decide a tool is not for you.
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