What is a webinar?
A webinar can be characterized as an online seminar. They allow 1 or more presenters the ability to engage potential customers/clients/employees with dynamic content across different locations via the internet. People have trained employees, given online interviews, presented new products and even sold new products using webinars. Its definitely a modern tool worth looking into to find out if it fits into your marketing strategy.
Why use a webinar?
Depending on your purpose for using a webinar it can greatly reduce the costs for connecting with others and sharing your idea or service. Your goal may be to spread the word on a new product or service and hosting a Q & A session might be a great way to do that. Others might find it a great way to connect with employees for training or even holding an online interview.
What's it going to cost?
There are both free and paid webinar software products out there and I will focus on the free ones for this article. My next article will be a more in depth look at the paid solutions so stay tuned for that. Using a free webinar service means that the cost for your business would only be in the amount of time you or your employees spend on the planning and development stage of the webinar and again in your time to host the webinar itself. If you manage to schedule some appointments or make a few leads as a result of the webinar than it was more than worth the time and effort.
Free webinar services
While there are plenty of companies offering a free trial of their paid webinar software I will only focus on the truly free services. Lets dive right in: Official website. In keeping things simple, Google did a great job of offering a free webinar solution to anyone that has a gmail account. I’m not even sure I know a single person that doesn’t have a gmail account. Google Hangouts includes features for collaborative meetings, presentations, workshops, etc. About the only thing it doesn’t do (yet) is allow you to charge your audience to hangout or sell within a hangout. Key Features:
- Up to 10 people in a single video/audio call.
- Ability to live stream straight to your attached YouTube Channel and/or a website. All while live at the hangout link too.
- Can automatically record and publish hangouts to YouTube.
- Works on all devices and platforms.
- Send photos, emoji, and chat messages during hangout.
- Screen share
Official Website. Skype is one of the world’s most popular calling and video conferencing apps today, which is why many choose to use it for group meetings, coaching, workshopping, etc. Key Features:
- Skype to Skype calls
- Group Voice Calls (up to 25 people)
- Group Video Calls
- File Sharing
- Screen Sharing
- Group Screen Sharing
- Contact Sending
Official Website. Webinars & Screen Sharing Made easy. Host your next webinar or meeting for up to 10 people absolutely free with a fully featured MeetingBurner account. Features:
- 10 Attendees
- Instant Screen Sharing
- Mac & PC Compatible
- Audio Conferencing (Telephone, Computer)
- Mobile Attendee Support
- Meeting Scheduling
- Streaming Video of Host
- Registration Widget
- Facebook Promotion Tool
- Automated Email Reminders
Through my research of different webinar products and reading reviews by people that have experience using these products (paid & free) I found that there is no silver bullet among any of the services available. They each have strengths and weakness’ that make them better or worse for different situations. While some might put more preference on easy of use, others might find general stability more appealing while others put more value on scalability and cost. The best way to find out which of these free services is best for your business is to try them all. They are free after all.