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Event planning was once restricted by time and location. Now, however, companies can host virtual, interactive events and learning sessions using webinar software, overcoming the traditional barriers.
Webinars allow businesses to reach existing and potential customers, especially those in the early buying cycle stages, and connect employees as more companies adopt a remote work culture.
Webinar software solutions typically offer features such as event management and functionalities designed for an interactive experience. In this buyers guide, we’ll look at their core features in depth.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
Webinar software is designed to help businesses conduct interactive, virtual events and distribute recorded promotional and educational presentations to employees and existing or potential customers.
Most webinar software solutions are cloud-based but there are a few on-premise options. When choosing between cloud-based and on-premise deployments, consider your business needs and the pros and cons of each model.
Cloud-based software is hosted on the vendor’s or a third-party’s cloud server and is accessible through any device connected to the internet. You can access the software by paying a monthly or yearly subscription fee, and the vendor manages support, maintenance, and data storage for you.
With cloud-based software, the upfront costs tend to be lesser than with on-premise solutions, but you might end up spending more in the long term.
On-premise software is hosted on your business’s server, which means you are responsible for the maintenance, upgrades, support, and data storage. You can access the software on any device connected to your internal server.
On-premise solutions require a one-time payment for the license and can pay off over the long run. However, you should consider the time and effort it will require to manage the software internally.
Key questions to ask a vendor before you buy: When thinking through the deployment options, consider your business needs and goals. Try to identify aspects, such as the number of users that will need to access the platform.
Ask the following questions:
Is there any form of customer support available for the on-premise solution?
How many people can we support with our preferred plan? How much will the cost increase if we need to accommodate more users?
Can users access the full platform through web browsers or will they need to download a desktop application?
Here are some common features of webinar software that can help your business manage webinar events and make them more interactive and engaging.
Event management: Easily manage the logistics of upcoming events—schedule dates, send invites, collect attendee details, etc.
Event management in Demio
Live chat: Make webinars more interactive by allowing participants to use the chat function to ask or answer questions in real time.
Live chat in ClickMeeting
Screen sharing: Enable presenters to share their computer screen with participants for dynamic presentations and to ensure everyone is one the same page.
Screen sharing in Join.me
Customizable branding: Make your company’s webinar its own by adding customized logos and colors to the interface.
Customizable branding in BigMarker
Polls/voting: Create quick polls or quizzes during presentations to keep people engaged.
Polls in Crowdcast
Analytics/reporting: Track and view webinar performance metrics.
Analytics/reporting in GoToWebinar
Key questions to ask a vendor before you buy: Webinar software features are not limited to the ones listed above. Ask vendors what they offer.
What third-party applications will we be able to integrate with the software (e.g., AI transcription, background noise cancellation, customer relationship management, file sharing, analytics, and email applications)?
How feasible is it to record webinars and share them through email and social media?
Does the software offer secure file sharing that is compliant with our industry standards?
Can hosts and attendees receive alerts and notifications within the platform?
Does the platform support multiple webinar hosts?
Can the software be accessed through mobile devices?
Back to webinar software directory
Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context, and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations, obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.