Three overlapping factors make choosing the right webinar software an unusually tricky proposition.
First, this kind of software has a lot of moving parts. Now two webinar platforms offer exactly the same services, and every platform on the market is built in accordance with its developer’s (sometimes peculiar!) logic. Secondly, these products aren’t cheap. Sure, you can experiment with trial options, but knowing how much you can spend will have a profound impact on the kinds of software you’ll consider. Choosing webinar software is very much a game of monetary swings and roundabouts. Finally, you can never underestimate how much time it takes to learn how to use a webinar platform to its full potential.
So what does all this difficulty boil down to? Put simply, you’ll want to choose as wisely as possible with the least amount of messing about.
These tips will help you achieve just that.
Some software decisions you can leap at using a cheeky combo of impulse and instinct. Webinar software is in no way one of them. To get a sense of just how much there is to think about in a webinar product decision, take a look at this great webinar article, which reviews the strengths and weaknesses of just one product.
The biggest favor you can do for yourself early on is to temper your excitement to get started with some cool-headed caution.
Build a list of your must-have features and your cool-to-haves, and plot how you think that list might change over time. Then ruthlessly cull out platforms that can’t satisfy your basic criteria. Once you have a shortlist, it’s smart to trial each of these, generating a small amount of sample content in each. It’s only when you sit down with software to actually make content that you’ll recognize how smoothly this tool works with how you think.
As you progress in your webinar journey efficiency will begin to be a really big deal. Take the time to find software that feels natural and easy to you and your learning curve will be that much easier to handle.
Know who you’re talking to
Another early consideration to spend plenty of time on is who your audience actually is. You may think you know your target audience fairly well in terms of what they want. But can you forensically break down how they talk? What TV shows they watch? Their education level? Their level of proficiency with technology?
All these factors can affect your product choice.
For example, if you know your audience isn’t particularly tech-savvy, the last thing you want to do is to invest in a platform that requires your audience to download and configure the software. You’ll want to make it easy for them. On the other hand, if your demographic expects spotless professionalism then a basic experience will never cut it.
Be confident your webinar platform will meet your audience’s requirements as well as yours.
Know what you want to say
Ultimately, the best litmus test you can use when choosing a webinar platform is your message. If you plan to engage with your audience, respond to questions, and bring them “into” your content then this should be a guiding criteria. You’ll need to find a software platform that caters to interactivity. If you prefer a more lecture-based, static form of presentation, you’re better served to search through products that offer close editing, marrying textual content with video footage, and a generally structured approach to pushing out content.
Think also about how you like to present yourself. You may already have a distinctive approach to branding. Will your platform of choice complement those design decisions? Ideally, you shouldn’t have to change your existing branding to work with your webinar platform.
Know where your brand is headed
Finally, it’s important to know where you and your brand are going. The kinds of content you produce today may differ significantly from what you hope to be doing six months or twelve months from now.
It’d be a mistake to choose a scaled-up piece of software that’s outside of your budget just because you want to get ahead of your progression curve! At the same time though, purchasing a product that has no room to grow with you is short-sighted, and eventually may bite you.
There’s a Goldilocks zone to shoot for, where a handful of your good-to-have features are sitting there for you to take advantage of when the time is right, but where you’re not overcapitalizing in features you may never use. Spend some time considering that balance and search for software that falls into that Goldilocks zone of careful expansion.
The single best tip when looking for webinar software is not to act on impulse. The more time you can invest in building clarity around who you’re talking to, refining what you want to say, and knowing where you’re headed, the easier it’ll be for you to find success.