What is a webinar?
A webinar is a live online event. Think of it as a digital lecture or conference, with a remote audience. Typical webinars will consist of either a single keynote speaker or a panel speaking on a particular topic or theme. The webinar host will often use audio or visual materials through screen-share to reinforce what they're talking about.
Webinars are usually recorded so that the content can be re-used and re-purposed.
Why use webinars?
If your business isn’t already in the webinar game, here’s why you should be.
Interact directly with your community
Webinars offer an opportunity to interact and engage with your community in a personal way. You’ll be able to showcase your business or product first-hand, build a relationship with your audience, and invite them to participate in the event.
Offer value-rich content
Webinars are a highly engaging way to communicate with your audience. Remember, you’ve got a captive audience, who have signed up to be there. This is a prime time to promote your business or product in a personal way that will appeal to your attendees.
Plus, given it’s a live event, you can tailor your webinar to ensure your audience members get the maximum value out of attending.
Reach remote audiences
During the pandemic, the ability to reach your remote audience has been invaluable. But even as we move beyond COVID-19, your business can still leverage the power of Webinars to reach audiences far and wide.
Create high-conversion leads
If you approach webinars effectively, they can be a highly lucrative sales avenue. Because you’ve already got your captive audience, as long as you pitch it correctly, the likelihood is they’ll be convinced by your product and service by the end of your webinar.
How to get people to attend your webinar?
To get the most out of your webinar, you’ve got to ensure that you’ve got a good level of attendance. Here’s how to make sure people sign up to attend:
Create your webinar registration page
Make sure to create a dedicated landing page for potential attendees to sign up for your webinar.
Your webinar registration page should be straightforward and easy to use. Ensure to include key information about the webinar and what your audience should expect.
Our biggest tip? Keep the barrier to entry to a minimum. This means a signup form without too many fields and a very clear and compelling call to action.
Leverage Social Media
Once you’ve put in all the hard work organizing your webinar, you should be shouting about it. Make sure to leverage your existing social media channels to advertise your webinar. And if your business runs paid-ad campaigns, consider targeting potentially interested audiences.
Post a CTA on your website
Visitors to your website already have an interest in your product, service, or business. Use this to your advantage. Add a big and clear CTA on your landing page promoting the webinar and inviting visitors to sign up.
Utilize your mailing list
Your mailing list is one of your business’s greatest assets. Make sure to use it. We’d advise sending multiple (though not too many), emails advertising the webinar and outlining why it’s worth attending.
Incentivize with a giveaway
Giveaways are extremely effective ways of attracting webinar signups. You know your community best, so consider what a tempting prize or reward might be. Advertise the giveaway across your mailing list, socials, and website to maximize coverage.
Ask partners to promote you
If you’ve got industry partners, personalities, or influences who work with your business, ask them to promote your webinar on your behalf. Third-party recommendations are an extremely effective way to amp up your webinar attendance.
What is webinar software?
Webinar software or web conferencing software helps you host your online event, record your session, and connect with your audience. Some platforms will even facilitate audience participation. There are two types of webinar software: browser-based and downloadable.
Benefits of webinar software
If you choose the right webinar software, it’ll make your life easier, maximize the value you and your audience get out of your webinar, and amp up the production value of your online event.
Video conferencing & web conferencing for teams of all sizes
If your webinar is more of an online conference with a large number of participants, you’ll want to use webinar broadcast software that is geared towards live video conferencing for teams of all sizes.
You’ll need to bear in mind the potential number of attendees. If you’ve got a big invite list, you’ll need to opt for webinar software that allows for a large number of people to tune in with video and audio.
These types of software often come at a premium price point. However, with the higher price tag often comes specialized features and functionality, as well as attentive customer support.
‘Do-it-yourself’ webinars and audio conferencing
If your webinar is going to take a more standard structure, with a single or small number of hosts presenting to a live audience, your requirements for software will be slightly less specific.
You can choose to DIY your webinar, using a software solution like Zoom. This is often a good option for smaller productions that don’t have a big budget or feel they need to invest in a separate webinar software.
If your webinar content is audio-based, you could even decide to run an audio conference where your audience simply tunes in to listen, and potentially participate in the discussion.
What features to look for in your webinar software
The best webinar platforms will offer some, if not most, of the following features:
Planning & Marketing Tools
Some webinar software will offer tools to help you schedule, plan, and market your webinar. These capabilities might include:
- An integrated CRM system. This will include automated emails that will help you to send out email reminders and promotions.
- The ability to integrate your existing mailing lists and email system
- Pre-made webinar landing and registration page templates
- Attendee analytics and stats so that you can track engagement
Personalize your webinar
Your webinar software might allow you to customize the visual aspect of your webinar. For instance, what the waiting room looks like and the ability to include your brand logo and colors.
Live event with audience interaction
Webinar software should maximize the value of your online event for your audience. The best live webinar software will include the ability to run live polls and Q&As, as well as communicate with your live audience through a chat function.
Most webinar software will include the ability to record your live event. However, not all will guarantee a recording in full HD. If you want to make the most out of your webinar content after the fact, you’ll need software that captures your event in the HD quality you deserve.
Live customer support is invaluable in those inevitable panic moments. If something goes wrong during your live webinar, the ability to contact the webinar software team for immediate assistance can be an absolute life-saver.
Ability to live stream
The ability to live stream your webinar is a great way to maximize your exposure and reach all potential audiences. Some webinar broadcasting software will be fully set up for live streaming to all the major social media platforms such as Youtube, Facebook, and Twitch.
What Makes a Great Webinar Software?
This is a highly subjective question. What you’re looking for in your webinar conferencing software will come down to your specific needs, audience, and ideal features. Other factors such as compatibility and budget will also influence your choice.
Here are some of the best webinar software available in the market:
Best Webinar Software
Freemium Plan - Free, with 1 host and up to 3 participants.
Webinar Plan - Starting at $130/month, with up to 4 hosts and maximum 100 participants (upgrades available for additional hosts/attendees)
Adobe Connect features:
- Wide range of marketing tools: includes promotion, registration, and custom integration with your CRM
- Track engagement and analyze your lead conversions
- Simple guest workflow: single-click joining feature and no need to download an application
- Good brand customization. Personalize your room’s aesthetics, use custom banners, logos, and colors.
- Good interactivity and user-friendly interface. Customize your live webinar with custom storyboards, and interact through moderated chat and Q&A function
- Backstage area for host and presenter. Enables you to add and edit on the fly.
- Live engagement dashboard that allows you to gauge what your audience is thinking
Who is Adobe Connect for?
Adobe Connect is the best live webinar software for bigger organizations with big guest lists, a bigger budget, and large-scale ambitious events.
Starter Plan - Free, with a limit of 20 minutes per event with up to 10 attendees
Premium Plan - $99/month, with up to 16 simultaneous live speakers and up to 100 live attendees
- Online Webinar Software - browser-based so no need to download
- Use LiveStorm for live, on-demand, and pre-recorded online events
- Marketing suite with an integrated automated email system
- Track engagement with audience analytics
- Good audience interaction features such as polls, Q&As, and upvoting
- Unlimited recording storage, although the recording quality will be impacted by your internet connection.
Who is Livestorm for?
Best for those looking for pre-recorded webinar software and internal company communication. Optimized for product demos, online courses, and employee onboarding.
Starter Plan - $34/month with one host and up to 50 attendees
Growth Plan - $69/month for up to 5 hosts and events with 150 attendees as well as customized branding
- Good branded marketing tools: custom social media templates and webinar registration pages. And seamlessly integrates with a wide range of marketing apps
- Customizable webinar: fully personalize your webinar aesthetic to match your brand and host your webinar on a custom domain
- Use Demio for one-off live events, a scheduled series of live events, or automated pre-recorded content.
- Maximize engagement with audience polls, launch offers, CTAs, handouts, and a well-organized Q&A function
- Track audience engagement and conversions
- Live customer support with an average response time of 5 minutes or less
- Automated recording so you don’t need to worry about remembering to hit the record button
Who is Demio for?
Demio is an all-rounder webinar software, although the price-point might exclude those with a tighter budget. It’s a good option for both live and pre-recorded online events. And its sleek interface is a big plus.
Monthly Plan - $99/month
Annual Plan - $42/month
- Pre-recorded webinar software that recreates the ‘live experience’
- Automate and schedule your webinars to play at set intervals throughout the day
- Integrates with marketing tools and includes automated email marketing
- Customizable and pre-made landing pages
- Analytics and insights to help you track engagement
- Seamless audience experience with browser-based software that’s easy to log on to
Who is EverWebinar for?
Best for those who want an ‘evergreen webinar’. This means pre-recording your webinars and automating their playback.
Free Plan - Webinar of up to 40 minutes with up to 100 participants
Pro Plan - $14.99/month for events up to 30 hours with up to 100 participants and 1GB Cloud Recording
- Familiar and ubiquitous. Zoom is a household name that everyone knows how to use.
- Host scheduled and unscheduled webinars
- Integrates with calendars for scheduling reminders
- Breakout rooms for more audience interaction and engagement
Who is Zoom for?
Zoom is best for those who aren’t ready to invest in dedicated webinar software. Although it does not offer a robust suite of marketing, promotion, and analytical tools, Zoom gets the job done and will help you to run a basic online event.
Basic Plan - $499/year, for maximum 2 hosts, up to 500 attendees and max duration of 2 hours
Professional Plan - $699/year, for maximum 4 hosts, up to 2000 attendees, and max duration of 3 hours
- Live stream your webinar via YouTube live
- Interactive features: pop-ups to encourage your audience to purchase your product during your webinar, as well as Q&As and polls.
- Integrates with social media platforms for live stream and promotion
- Two-way communication during your webinar using Live Chat
- Automatically records your webinars
- Automated recordings that replicate the live event
- HD video and audio broadcasting
Who is WebinarJam for?
WebinarJam is the best webinar software for prolific webinar makers with big audiences.
According to EventMobi, their platform is ‘built for your budget’, so they have a flexible pricing structure that is tailored to your needs. To access their pricing plans you need to fill a form.
Event App & Virtual Event Platform starts from $1242/event or $10/user/year for year-round engagement
Registration, Website, and Ticketing Platform start from $2000/event or $9800/year for unlimited use.
- Customizable marketing and promotion tools. Create your own event website and email invites.
- Customizable event app. Build your own mobile conference app to help maximize engagement with your attendees before, during, and after your webinar.
- Customize your virtual space with your branding
- Interactive features include breakout rooms, gamification, surveys, live polls, and Q&As.
- Social media integration that allows you to spotlight posts that tag your event
- Create personalized agendas for different groups of attendees
- Measure and track engagement with EventMobi’s analytics
- Multilingual platform (including sign language) with live interpretation so that you can read a wider audience
Who is EventMobi for?
Best for big-scale webinars with a big budget and professional production value.
Vimeo Premium - $75/month
Enterprise Plan includes enhanced security features
Every plan includes full HD 1080p live streaming, streaming to social platforms, and unlimited live events
- Marketing tools that include custom webinar registration forms and personalizing your webinar with logos and branding
- No limit on storage or the number of attendees
- Good customer support with live assistance and, if you want, live stream production services
- Track engagement with integrated analytics
- Livestream your webinar with Facebook Live, Youtube, LinkedIn, Twitch, or through your own website
Who is Livestream for?
Livestream is, as its name suggests, mainly for live video streaming your online event. So it’s best for big businesses and educational institutes looking for webinar broadcasting software.
Starts from $25/month for up to 25 attendees. Custom enterprise payment structures are also available.
- Easy to use interface
- Customizable webinar options, including personalizing your waiting room, reminders, and broadcasting room
- Interactive features including polls, surveys, chat, and interactive breakout rooms
- Social media integration for live streaming to up to 8 platforms, including Facebook Live and Youtube
- Well-integrated with CRM systems, social media, calendars, and other platforms
- Automated and on-demand webinars for those wanting to use pre-recorded webinars
Who is ClickMeeting for?
ClickMeeting is the best webinar software for smaller businesses that are just entering the webinar game. With ClickMeeting you can make the most of live online events as well as pre-recorded webinars. All without breaking the bank.
Plus Plan - $49/month for up to 100 attendees and maximum 3 hosts
Enterprise Plan - $1,199/month for up to 500 attendees, email campaign consulting, and a personal account manager
Get Response webinar features:
- Customizable marketing tools: custom webinar URL, SEO-Optimized landing page, and webinar registration
- Customizable invitations and email templates that are pre-filled with your webinar details
- Storage for up to 20 hours of webinar recordings
- Livestream your webinar to Facebook and Youtube
- Interactive features including CTAs
- Ever-green webinars with on-demand content
Who is GetResponse for?
Although GetResponse is a powerful webinar software, it’s probably ideal for those who already use it as their email marketing software.
Webex Suite - Business Plan, Meet + Call - $25/user/month for meetings with up to 200 people
- Highly customizable webinar platform. Direct exactly what your audience sees in Stage View.
- Good range of interactive features including Q&A function, surveys, polls, emoji reactions, gesture recognition, and breakout rooms
- Real-time translation in more than 100 languages as well as closed captions
- Livestream your webinar using Facebook Live
- Good integration with major marketing platforms
Who is WebEx for?
Best for businesses looking to run internal webinars and video conferences.
Best Webinar Software Platform for Recording?
Riverside.fm is hands down the best webinar software for recording your online event. In fact, with Riverside, you get the best of both worlds. Harness the power of your live event and your pre-recorded webinar.
Riverside Webinar features and benefits:
Record your webinar in full HD
Your webinar will be locally recorded in 4k video quality every time, regardless of how strong your internet connection is.
Each participant recorded on individual tracks
Riverside automatically records each participant (including any screen shares) on individual tracks to make your life as easy as possible. This saves time during post-production and gives you the ultimate flexibility over your recording.
Live stream your webinar
With Riverside, you can live stream your webinar to all major social media platforms including Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Twitch, and LinkedIn. This will help you reach the widest audience possible.
Riverside’s call-in feature allows audience members to participate directly in your webinar. Their video and audio will be automatically included in your webinar recording. This is a great way to incorporate your audience into your online event and really maximize audience participation.
Riverside editing features:
Riverside’s Magic Editor makes creating the perfect pre-recorded webinar even easier.
Riverside automatically generates a transcript of your webinar recording so that you can ensure your content is accessible and repurposable.
AI Speaker View
Riverside.fm’s AI speaker view analyses your video and automatically switches to the person speaking before they start speaking. This ensures your video transitions seamlessly between each of your speakers.
Customize your webinar recording
Make your webinar recording yours, by customizing your background and layout.
The best thing about Riverside? Plans start from $7.50/month.
How to create your own webinar with Riverside
Creating a webinar does not have to be difficult. Depending on the scale of your online event and your desired guest list, hosting a webinar can be incredibly straightforward. Here’s a basic overview:
- Decide your webinar topic
- Invite your panelists or guest host and set a date
- Advertise your webinar across social media, email, and your website
- On the day, log in to your Riverside.fm recording studio
- When everyone is ready, click ‘start recording’
- Once your webinar has finished, go to your Riverside Magic Editor to get your webinar recording ready for export and publication
If you’re looking for more guidance on starting your very own webinar, read our guide.
Webinar Platform FAQs
Are Webinars usually free?
Typically Webinars are free to attend. This is because they’re seen as an extremely lucrative sales opportunity. However, if you feel you’re offering high-value content, you can also charge for attendance.
Is it worth investing money in webinar software?
It depends on who you are and how you’re going to be using your webinars. If you intend to host numerous webinars with high production value, chances are investing in webinar software will be worth it. On the other hand, if you’re only intending to hold webinars every so often, it might be better to make use of a platform you can also use for other purposes - such as Riverside.fm.
How much does a webinar platform cost?
It depends on how much you’re willing to spend. As we’ve seen, some webinar software is available to use for free. Others are only available at a premium price.
What is the best platform for a webinar?
There’s no single answer because it depends on what you’re looking for and which features are non-negotiable for you. For example, if you want to leverage the power of webinars to the max, you will probably benefit the most from webinar software with integrated marketing and analytics features. As we've seen, there are lots of different webinar software out there. Other notable options that didn't make this article include Google Hangouts, Zoho Meeting, and GoToWebinar.
What is the difference between a Zoom meeting and a webinar?
A zoom meeting is typically a business or personal call where everyone is participating in the discussion.
A webinar is a live online event where the audience is there to listen to the speakers and their presentations.
You can, however, host a webinar on a zoom call, and this is where the confusion arises.
Is Zoom good for webinars?
Zoom is a good and affordable option for webinars. It’s one of the best free platforms for webinars. However, be aware that since it’s not a dedicated webinar platform, it’s more geared towards conference calls and doesn’t come with webinar-specific features.
What is the best webinar software for multiple contributors?
Riverside.fm is hands down the best webinar software for multiple contributors. The biggest difference that Riverside.fm offers is the guarantee that each participant will be locally recorded on a separate track in full HD.
What platforms are used to advertise webinars?
You should try and advertise your webinar everywhere you can. That includes social media, email, and your business website.