Hosting online seminars, better known as webinars, is an excellent way to convey information to an audience that may be located all around the world. A webinar can be as dynamic and engaging as the host chooses to make it. And when organized meticulously, it can have a positive impact on the bottom line of your business.
However, in addition to a host with a great personality, the right online webinar software can make the difference between hitting a home run and striking out with your audience.
So, how do you choose the right online webinar platform? It all comes down to features. Here are ten “must-haves” on your webinar software feature list:
- Content Authoring Tool: A webinar involves more than just posting videos or slides. The best webinar software will offer tools to help you create excellent content that will enrich your webinar experience.
Whether you are a new host or experienced, the right tools can make all the difference in helping you connect with your audience. You should not have to complete all of the work offsite and upload it; working within the platform will help you assure everything works smoothly and efficiently.
- Interactivity: Your webinar participants will become bored if all they get to do is just watch. Most people are better able to learn when they can participate.
A webinar hosting platform that supports interactivity in multiple ways will allow you to host programs that are entertaining and educational. A few things to look for include group chats, private chats, a breakout message board or chatroom for group discussion, forums, and a virtual whiteboard.
Interactive elements like these that allow attendees to be heard and ask questions are one of the best ways to get people sincerely excited about the things you have to say — and to grow your future events.
- Scaling: Some webinars may be small. In fact, you may only be speaking to one or two people. However, do you have plans to speak to the masses? Do you have plans to hold events with multiple speakers?
Finding a platform that will grow with you (scale up) is vital. Think beyond what you need today and find something that will meet your needs months or even years ahead, too. With a cloud-based platform, you are able to scale-up simply–there is no need for complex software upgrades. You simply change your existing plan and upgrade to the next level when the need arises.
- Engagement Tracking: How do you know who are engaging with your content? What are your attendees actually doing with the information you are providing? Which features are being used? Which are ignored? Information about what your attendees do today can help you as you plan for your next webinar — if you have a way to track their behavior.
Choose a software system that gives you deep insights into user activity. Analytics is an important feature in order to track the activities, preferences, progress, and engagement of participants as well as moderators/speakers.
Find a program that includes engagement tracking and that takes advantage of this feature. It could be a big eye-opener in regards to how effective your webinar is to your audience.
- Video Streaming and Recording: How are you recording your video? Are you streaming live? Video has come a long way in recent years (and even in recent months). A webinar platform should be taking advantage of these technological advances and making it easy for you to add video to your presentations.
Video should be seamless for you to add, as well as easy for your viewers to watch. Today’s newest cloud-based webinar software options allow you to record online sessions automatically, even if you are dealing with low bandwidth. WizIQ is the best in the category.
- Mobile Access: How many times you actually sit down in front of desktop ever since you’ve gotten a smartphone? Same applies to your audience. While some of your viewers might be on the desktop, chances are an enormous number of people will be tuning in while they are on the go.
You need to be able to offer mobile access that is as easy to navigate from a tablet or smartphone as a full-size computer. Any software that isn’t mobile-ready or doesn’t offer a native mobile app today is not going to be what your audience needs or wants.
- Branding or White Labeling: When you are connecting with your audience, whose brand do you want the crowd to remember? Do you want the brand that sticks in the viewers’ minds to be the webinar platform brand or your brand?
White labeling should be available so you can put your touch on everything you offer. If not, it may be that your webinars wind up looking like an advertisement for the wrong company altogether.
- Polls and Surveys: You may need to conduct opinion polls and surveys during the webinar to know your audience better or collect some information regarding how they’re finding the sessions and what improvements they suggest. Make sure that your online webinar software comes with this inbuilt feature.
- Assessment Options: While not every webinar will have the need for a testing portion, it can be useful to have assessment options in place. When you can test or assess your webinar participants on what they have learned, not only are you keeping them engaged in the program, but you can discover more about what you need to focus on in future online seminars too.
If you find that your group is missing out on information about one area, for instance, it could be a sign you need to spend more time talking about that subject.
- Campaign Tracking: In many cases your webinar is part of a much bigger project. Campaign tracking gives you insights as to how your webinar succeeds independently, and as part of that bigger picture, too.
Conclusion: At the end of the day, the key to choosing the right online webinar software is finding a solution that allows you to deploy information in a simple, straightforward manner. Each of the features mentioned above may be “must haves,” but they are all meaningless without a simple interface that brings it all together.
Therefore, as you investigate the options for webinar software, keep one final thing in mind — ease of use. The perfect webinar solution shouldn’t be a burden to use; it should be as easy to use for the webinar producer as it is for those who participate in it!