Webinars are nothing new: they’ve been around on the Internet since quite some time. However, the year 2020 ushered in a new era for webinars. The Novel Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Disease-2019 pandemic is rattling our world. And this disease, Covid-19 or simply Coronavirus, is changing the way we live and work.
Majority of companies worldwide are allowing key employees to work from home, where possible. The Internet makes this possible. That’s because Covid-19 contagion is notorious for spreading rapidly.
One of the resources that’s enabling companies to permit work from home for employees while minimizing the impact of lock-downs, self-isolation and social distancing are the best webinar software and platforms that are available free or for a reasonable cost.
Best Webinar Software Platforms for 2020
The list I’m providing consists of free as well as paid software for webinars. Therefore, you can select the best one that suits your needs and pockets. Prices may differ according to your location. Hence, the prices I mention are purely indicative and taken from official websites of these software companies.
1. Workplace by Facebook
In my opinion, Workplace by Facebook is the best webinar platform for any organization. Topmost companies including Walmart, Heineken, Air Asia, Domino’s Pizza and Starbucks, among others, are using Workplace by Facebook.
Workplace by Facebook allows you to communicate in as many as 46 different languages, share graphs, charts, conduct online training and hold seminars (webinars), among other features.
Pricing: The ‘Essential’ package for teams is free of cost and available with simple sign-up. The ‘Advanced’ package for large companies comes at only $4 per person per month, with 30-day free trial. The ‘Enterprise’ solution for complex organizations costs $8 per month per person, and also offers free 30-day trial.
2. Google Duo
Google Duo is an excellent free resource for webinars, especially for smaller teams or for a sales pitch to one or more clients, presentations and training. However, the only flipside with Google Duo is that maximum eight persons can connect at any given tme
Google Duo also allows you to conduct online seminars or training but doesn’t come with advanced features such as file sharing or automatic translations. This is the best for individual trainers, financial advisors and smaller teams working remotely.
Pricing: Free. However, performance depends upon Internet connection speed with every user.
Livestorm enables you to conduct live, on-demand, or automated webinars with ease from any browser. This makes it ideal for companies that have remote teams, with some members using different software.
For online sales webinars, training sessions, presentations, sharing complex files as well as videoconferencing, Livestorm ranks among the best resources. Another added advantage with Livestorm is the logistics feature. This allows you to send bulk email or conduct online promotions to boost sales.
Pricing: Webinar & Meet Basic plan is free of cost and covers up to eight users. The Meet Premium is for eight users too but offer added features such as file sharing, sales pitch, online training and sending email at $31 per month per user. The Webinar Enterprise plan is ideal for conducting training sessions online and costs $99 per month for unlimited users. However, the plan has a validity of total four hours only. Livestorm also has an Enterprise Webinar package that is available on demand. Prices for the Enterprise solution depend upon your needs.
4. Webinar Ninja
Webinar Ninja is a bit expensive resource by any standards. However, the high price has a reason. It allows crystal clear video and audio reception, even with slower Internet speeds. You can perform active screen sharing, file sharing, live chat and training sessions as well as sales pitches with product demonstrations.
You can integrate more than 1,000 different apps with Webinar Ninja. This is a very simple and easy to use webinar software. Webinar Ninja also comes with data analytics dashboard and an interface to send emails to customers, trainees or your team.
Pricing: Starter plan starts at $39 per user per month and allows up to 100 viewers. Pro plan costs $79 per month for 200 viewers, Plus plan for 400 viewers costs $129 per month and , Power plan for up to 1,000 viewers is priced at $199 per month.
Webex comes from Cisco and offers high definition audio and video for webinars. Additionally, it incorporates several other salient features such as easy integration with sales and marketing tools and online training resources.
Webex is also popular among e-learning websites for its high reliability and ease of use: the software can be accessed from anywhere in the world on any browser on any device. Another major advantage that Webex offers is the ability to buy a customized package that suits the needs of your enterprise.
Pricing: Basic price $13.9 per month for first 50 viewers on annual subscription basis only. Higher versions of Webex can accommodate up to 1,000 viewers and are useful for international webinars.
EverWebinar is ideal for companies that will use webinars to generate sales. This resource allows you to present recorded videos in the form of a live presentation. And if you’re so inclined, it’s also possible to up the number of viewers on your webinar without actually having as many.
This resource allows you to create real-time conditions, exchange email and other information live as well as train people using various resources. You can also connect easily with users of other webinar platforms using EverWebinar.
Pricing: The entire package of EverWebinar costs $41 per month. The flipside is that you’ve to buy a yearly package that is billed in full at the time of subscription.
7. Skype for Business
Skype for Business comes from Microsoft and hence is compatible with any computer or smartphone. It has an excellent feature, Skype Meeting Broadcast.
Skype for Business is a comprehensive platform that allows you to remote manage teams and conduct online training. It’s also possible to create different meeting broadcast schedules to suit different time zones.
Another excellent feature of Skype Meeting Broadcast is its ability to share videos without actually displaying who’s online. This means, a company owner can watch the webinar without making presence felt.
Pricing: Basic package starts at $5 per month per user for Skype for Business. There’re no free trials. Premium package starts at $9 per month per user while Enterprise solution costs $14 per month per user.
8. Google Hangouts
If you require a complex solution for conducting webinars, go for Google Hangouts. This allows various users to share their screenshots, documents, spreadsheets and charts as well as myriad other documents.
Google Hangouts works well on computers as well as smartphones. The package also includes Google Forms, Google Slides and cloud storage on Google Drive for all users to save their material or content.
Pricing: Basic Plan costs $5 per user per month. Business Plan costs $10 per person per month and is useful for large corporations. The Enterprise plan costs $20 per user per month and is best suited for companies that have operations at multiple locations and need to manage several staff members simultaneously.
Just in case you’re unaware, WhatsApp also has a feature that allows you to hold basic webinars using its videoconferencing feature. To do so, you’ll have to form a WhatsApp group and ensure every member is online at the time. There’re no recording facilities available.
In fact, several Asset Management Companies (AMCs) and financial institutions are now turning to WharsApp for conducting investor education webinars. A maximum of 32 people can have videoconference via WhatsApp. And there’re also basic features such as file sharing available.
WhatsApp comes from Facebook. It’s billed as one of the most popular instant messaging, voice and video calling app in the world, with over 1.5 billion users spread around the world. The advantage with WhatsApp is that people can access a webinar from a smartphone or computer using WhatsApp Web. It works on mobile data and home or office Internet too.
Pricing: Free of cost.
Replaying webinars when necessary or upon demand is one of the most desirable features of Demio. It integrates well with Mailchimp and lots of other business software necessary for webinars and customer support. Demio also comes with a feature that allows you to add more or more co-hosts or interviewers or co-presenters seamlessly on the same webinar.
The ability to replay webinars enables you to reach a wider audience, according to time zone and differences. It’s possible to schedule your webinars for automatic start with Demio. And you can allow multiple presenters in various countries for this feature, if needed.
Pricing: Basic package costs $49 per month for 30 users, billed annually. The Pro pack comes at $99 and allows up to 75 users. You can also get customized packs for your needs.
GetResponse is superb webinar software for online marketing. It allows easy customer outreach and the ability to connect with clients at their convenience. It allows customers to replay a webinar if necessary.
It’s easy to share product information or company data through GetResponse without the fear of piracy or your data falling into wrong hands. There’s no need for your customers to download GetResponse merely for your webinar: they can access your webinar from their browser using a link you send.
Pricing: Basic plan for reaching up to 1,000 clients by email and videos costs $15 per month. You also have Plus, Professional and Enterprise packs costing $49, $99 and $1,999 respectively.
12. Zoho Meeting
Webinar registration, webinar fee collection, attendance records and lots of other features come packed in Zoho Meeting. This is one of the most popular resources for enterprises and small companies to hold anything from staff training sessions to large international conferences for any purpose. Zoho Meeting is also very easy to operate.
You can moderate live any webinar with Zoho Meeting. This means, you can allow an attendee to ask a question or conduct a live panel discussion with Zoho Meeting. A presenter can also display computer screen with his own image shown in another smaller side window.
Pricing: The basic plan known as Webinar-25 costs $49 per month for the host. The most expensive is for 250 attendees and costs $199 per month to the host. You also have Webinar-50 and Webinar 100 plans as well as Zoho Meeting-300.
Special Mention of other webinar platforms
There’s another excellent resource for webinars that was commonly used by companies worldwide. However, I am mentioning it especially for reasons that I’ll explain further.
For several years Zoom was almost an undisputed leader of webinar. It offers excellent features such as creating and sending single-use email links. Zoom also doesn’t require people to download the software. It can be easily used from any good browser on computer or mobile phone.
This webinar platform also allows you to change the background image, record and store audios as videos and share online through social media.
However, major vulnerabilities of Zoom were found by hackers worldwide in March 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, conferences and webinars of several reputed companies were disrupted or hacked to get confidential information.
Zoom owners have admitted that glitches exist and promised to fix the same. However, the issue remains unresolved at the time of writing this article.
14. Adobe Connect
Adobe Connect comes from the Adobe, as the name suggests. It is an intricate yet superb platform for webinars. However, I will recommend Adobe Connect only to larger organizations that have several years of experience in webinars.
For one, the basic package of Adobe Connect comes at $130 per month, that puts it on top of the range. And secondly, it has multitude features that only a large corporation would require. Regardless, it is the single most popular and best webinar software your company can own.
Many people compare WeChat with WhatsApp. However, WeChat isn’t all that popular. It’s fairly good software for network marketing and helps you connect with maximum of 18 users at a time. However, WeChat is slow and doesn’t offer other features such as file sharing. This is basic software that’s available free and can be used by beginners or individual marketers.
Advantages of Webinar Software
- Webinar is perhaps the best way to reach out entire world just sitting in front of your computer. You do not have to travel and present in-person to different places. You could address hundreds of people sitting at different places at a time without spending huge money.
- You save a lot of time and money with webinar.
- The results that you get in terms of increase in sales of products or services you are selling online are phenomenal.
- The best part of webinar is the cost of operating it. The cost of a webinar software ranges from free to $5000. Whether you are an individual or a company you could afford the price considering the benefits that you get.
- It is very easy to operate or run as anyone without technical knowledge could to it.
How could You Make Best Use of a Webinar Software
- You could train staff remotely
- You can promote a workshop
- If you are consult in a particular field then you could charge a fee for listening to your webinar
- Generate leads and convert it into sales
- You can conduct interviews of great personality to endorse your product.
- Auto webinar allows you to sell even when you are sleeping because it works round the clock
As you can see from my above list, there’re wonderful webinar software and resources available to suit every need, from training to sales and marketing, customer retention to international conferences.
And there’s free webinar platforms as well as paid ones with prices to suit every budget. These best webinar software should help your organization to nullify some effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and help future growth.