It’s hard to talk about marketing to a group these days with all the one-to-one focus of social media. You might engage on a mass level, but experts advise you to “engage the individual.” This is timely and good advice. But it puts webcasts, webinars, and online seminars in a “past their prime” bucket, for some. Don’t discount the method yet, lots of people still like to connect with companies and brands in a good old fashioned (in web years) webinar. This review is for the business owner considering a broadcast type campaign.
In our last webinar tools post, 26 Webinar Tools for Small Business Owners, we covered many of the best known players and some small ones, too. Many have started to offer cool new tablet or smartphone access to run your online meetings or webinars. This Apple page offers a quick look at some of the apps. Constant Contact, the email marketing company, has a useful download, 10 Reasons You Need Event Marketing, about how to plan your online event and tie it into your social media.
AnyMeeting (formerly Freebinar from the last list) is mentioned again because it has done so many positive updates that I view it as a new company. Of course, that’s just my perception and the company hasn’t really changed in its core offering that much. They still have screen sharing, social media integrations, and event management tools (sell tickets). Best of all, it is completely free.
MeetingBurner is a popular webinar provider with a great set of tools. They have a forever free account with no ads for up to 15 people. You can’t record your webinar on that plan, but you can do a bunch of things for free with them that you can’t do with others. For example, you can change presenters, manage chat, and modify your registration page. The pro plan is $39.95/month for up to 50 and lets you record and lots more. Compare their plans here.
Watchitoo is terrific whether you want to livestream or collaborate in real time via video. The feature that caught my attention was this: “With one click of the mouse, the a meeting host can drag a user out of the audience and bring them streaming live into the meeting to collaborate with the group.” That’s pretty cool. I didn’t see a free trial option, but the pricing starts at $39/month.
Mikogo might be the ideal solution for small teams on a small budget. Their online meeting product starts at $13/month for up to 3 participants. You can join from any browser. They support 35 languages. And I really liked that you could create a page on your own website and embed their code so your customers can join a session right from your website.
JoinMe is a robust screen sharing application. They don’t have a recording feature, but the free version gives you a quality way of interacting with up to 250 people. You can view from iOS and Android devices, too. Pro version is $19/month.
Instant Presenter is packed with useful features that make them ideal for small businesses with focused small webinar plans. It is $39/month for up to 25 attendees. You can record, custom brand the look and feel, upload files, and more.
ClickWebinar offers a clean looking interface and service starting at $40 a month with a 30-day free trial. They have some powerful chat features that can help you moderate the conversation in a webinar.
HearMe offers online meeting rooms for small business. I found them when searching for video conferencing through their parent company: PalTalk which hosts video chat rooms. They have a 14-day free trial, then start at $29/month for 5 attendees.
YuuGuu is an easy web conferencing tool to share your screen. You can share with up to 30 attendees for $99/year. It also have a free audio conferencing service with dial-in numbers in 15 different countries.
Spreed is free for up to 3 participants and lets you record on that plan. It is feature-rich for small teams, in my view, and their live whiteboard options make it one to consider. As I understand it, you can share a PDF, annotate it, and save that PDF again with all the brainstorming intact. Plans start at $199/year.
Glance is one of my favorites. As a screen sharing tool, you can create a real-time meeting room for up to 100 attendees. They don’t offer webinar recording, however, they suggest a few recording tools in their support FAQ section. They have a free 7-day trial and I love that they offer a day pass option for $9.95. It is a light and fast application, too.
eZmeeting offers live, interactive meetings that let you connect peer-to-peer rather than through a central server. Participants can collaborate with you and your document or file — including 3D files (useful for designer and CAD types). 7-Day free trial, then $99/month for up to 4 participants.
BeamYourScreen is another great feature-packed desktop sharing and webinar platform. From sales presentations to online meetings to IT remote support, you can quickly share your screen (and record it in a proprietary format). You can change presenters and integrate your logo into the sharing screen. I didn’t see a free trial, but pricing starts at approximately $240/year (site pricing shows in Euros).
TeamViewer caught my eye because it isn’t primarily a web-based solution. You download a full version of the software with a lifetime license (Business version is $749 for up to 25 attendees), but that means no recurring fees. It is an all-in-one program. If you are a non-commercial user, it’s free. There is a web-based viewer for those who don’t want to download the full program.
Skype is known mostly as a free VOIP (voice over internet protocol) phone company, but they have a rich feature set for both consumers and business owners. They have a screen sharing option and group video calls on their premium plan for $59.88/year. I’m a huge Skype fan and use it on a daily basis, but have not used the group video option yet.
Google Hangouts is the last one I’m going to add to the list. It is not officially a webinar or webcast solution, but it does offer an affordable way for up to nine people to gather in real time. If you want to test it in creative ways, you could gather people into a “hangout” virtual room, complete with webcams running for each, and engage with your group. I have not seen any recording options, but you could capture the entire screen with something like Camtasia. The audio might overload your senses though since anyone can speak at any time. If you are already a Google+ user, then you can see the details on the far right column when you are in the plus dashboard.
Let us know what you’re using for your webcasts and webinars in the comments below. Don’t forget to visit our first post: 26 Webinar Tools for Small Business Owners if you don’t find something you like on this list of 16 new webinar tools.