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What is webinar software?
Webinar software allows companies to conduct audio and video presentations online. Presentations can be interactive and live or pre-recorded. You can use webinar software to train employees, inform stakeholders, promote products and services, and collaborate on projects with offsite partners. Such webinar platforms provide an effective and efficient way to connect visually and in real time with both internal and external stakeholders.
Webinar tools help teams:
- Train employees and authorized representatives.
- Collaborate with remote or offsite stakeholders.
- Present sales pitches to customers.
- Record presentations for later reference.
- Share computer screen content with participants.
The benefits of webinar software
- Effective and robust large-group presentations: Webinar platforms can stream live speakers, show videos, display slide decks, field audience questions, host chats, track analytics, and perform other functions for large groups. Any presentation can be recorded and archived for future use—a considerable return on investment for organizations that train stakeholders.
- Connective customer sales: A face-to-face meeting with video chat is more compelling than a phone call, allowing salespeople to develop a stronger rapport with existing and potential customers.
- Effective off-site work tools: Webinar software allows remote employees to participate in meetings and contribute to team decisions more dynamically than conference calls do, enhancing employee engagement. In addition, meeting presenters can track participation and customize feedback to participants via private chat.
- Dependable connectivity during business trips: Organizations can create standing webinar appointments so out-of-pocket employees have a reliable way to participate. This approach sidesteps the need to create dedicated meeting invitations. Webinar apps for mobile devices make it easy for business travelers to connect in airports, hotels, and other remote locations.
Typical features of webinar tools
- Screen sharing: Enable users to share screens during a presentation.
- Live chat: Attendees can chat in real time.
- Event management: Manage list of participants, attendance, and cancellations.
- Q & A: Answer attendee questions privately or publicly.
- Branding: Customize logo and images on webinar materials.
- Polls and voting: Create quick polls to keep people engaged.
- Recording: Presentations can be recorded and archived for future use.
The webinar software directory lets you filter by feature(s) to view options that meet your business needs, which can help you narrow your software shortlist.
Considerations when purchasing webinar software
- Scalability: Webinar platforms often have technical limits on the number of attendees who can join at once. They also tend to offer pricing tiers based on audience size. It’s a good idea to estimate how many participants you are likely to have now and in the future before choosing webinar software.
- Ease of dial-in: Some webinar platforms are easier to join than others. Does the system require your stakeholders to download an app? Do stakeholders need to create an account? These hurdles complicate the user experience. Consider participant level of buy-in when purchasing webinar platforms.
- Strength of encryption: Some webinar tools offer built-in, end-to-end encryption. This feature protects privacy and business data. Encryption is especially important in the healthcare and financial services industries.
Relevant webinar software trends
- Wearable technology will make it easier to join webinars from anywhere: Smartwatches continue to grow in popularity. According to our research , 54% of small businesses plan to incorporate wearable technology in the next one to two years1. Wearers already use smartwatches to play music, listen to podcasts, make phone calls, and more. Webinar apps aren’t far behind. Leading webinar services already offer basic smartwatch apps, and more companies will join this space. Users can listen to webinar audio, view slides, and talk to the group right from their watches. Right now, the experience is limited compared to other device classes, but devoted smartwatch lovers will appreciate the flexibility to use their watches if they choose to.
1 Gartner conducted the Small Business Tech Trends survey in April and May 2017 among 699 U.S.-based SMBs, with more than 10 employees and annual revenue of less than $100 million. The survey excluded nonprofit organizations. The qualified respondents are decision-makers, or have significant influence on the decisions related to purchasing technologies for their organization.