Every marketer has heard about webinars. We all know roughly what they are and what they are for, but most companies or organizations use them only from time to time. Why? After all, a webinar is a perfect, almost natural and easy to conduct PR and content marketing tool.
What is a webinar?
Webinar (web + seminar) is, as the name suggests, a kind of "a sebinar conducted and conducted by means of (...) emission of voice and image on the Internet", with the provision of a return channel. Webinar "enables two-way communication between the host and the participants, using virtual tools. It is intended to resemble a traditional meeting and to enable contact despite long distances. Webinars are mainly used as training and marketing tools."*
Purpose of webinar
In other words, a webinar is nothing more than a live online meeting - on the Internet or on the intranet - enabling two-way, remote communication between the sender and the recipients.
This is what makes it different from a simple webcast: it is interactive by definition. Its recipients, i.e. participants, can ask questions and exchange comments in real time - at least in text form and - what is a better option - using voice. They can also exchange files, vote or fill in questionnaires, share data or applications from own devices (computers, tablets, smartphones) with others, e.g. share a desktop, draw, display presentations, graphics, photos, etc.
Benefits of webinars
Webinars, apart from newsletters, e-books, blogs and article publications, are the most popular content marketing tools. They allow to acquire and activate a community around any issue, organization, product, service or brand. They can also be used to generate leads, consult with buyers and users, gain inspiration from recipients and opinions from customers, and then to create a useful knowledge base.
Key benefits of webinars
There are many ready-made solutions available on the Internet - tools, services and platforms - to run webinars. GoToWebinar, Anymeeting, Instant Teleseminar, Fuze Meeting or Spreed are just some of them. Also e-mail marketing service providers and companies dealing with online image transmission, such as GetResponse.pl or TransmisjeOnline.pl, offer their own solutions for webinars.
Four selected webinar tools
Formerly known as MS Live Meeting, Lync is an underestimated, simple tool, quite suitable for modest webcasts and simple online training, especially for small, closed groups. It is a bit forgotten, the producer hasn't been investing in its development for some time. The advantage of Lync is its integration with other elements of the Office suite, including the online version of Office 365. Its free version - Lync Basic - can be downloaded without any registration from Microsoft's website. It is perfect for e-meetings within an organisation. Unfortunately, with the help of Lync, you will not create a dedicated website to register participants in the network, i.e. a landing page, nor an attractive email template with an invitation to participate.
ClickMeeting is a fantastic online service, a real harvester for regular webinars. It's a tool that's affordable and powerful at the same time. In ClickMeeting, with just a few clicks you will prepare a webinar and invite participants. You can easily diversify it with a company logotype, lead and engage the audience. You can also collect feedback and comments from participants and even send them a thank you note for their participation at the end of the event. The system also allows you to analyze and share participation statistics and record the course of the event. Prices for using this service start from 39 PLN per month with 25 participants. Nothing more, just recommend!
WebEx is best suited for large teams and organizations. It is widely used by large companies and corporations, e.g. in internal communication and training, e.g. for distribution and sales networks. It is a complex and versatile tool. However, it is not free of charge. Cisco offers access to WebEx as a service in the form of monthly or annual packages, differing in price (from 19 to 90 USD per month) and number of functions. WebEx allows simultaneous transmission of up to 7 video streams. It also provides the recording of entire meetings, as well as the video itself. It also allows for voice transmission not only over the Internet, but also in the normal telephone network, and from mobile devices, through free apps. In WebEx you can also create your own registration form for the webinar, set up automatic confirmations and send e-mail reminders to registered participants.
Adobe Connect is an advanced cloud service, competing with WebEx. It is actually a package of three separate solutions: for group work in the network, preparation and management of marketing webinars and for extended on-line training, i.e. e-learning. The service allows to run webinars for up to 1000 recipients at the same time. The monthly cost starts from about 50 USD up to 370 USD. You can also take advantage of a free trial period, once a year for 30 days, for 25 users. A huge advantage of the Adobe Connect platform is an extensive analytics in the form of an administrator console. It makes it easier to track the behavior of participants during the session, find moments of highest interest and graphical visualization of collected data.
* Source: Wikipedia.org