Have you noticed the amount of Internet marketers offering free webinars on Facebook recently?
Running free webinars which educate people about the service you offer and then driving leads to those webinars through Facebook Advertising has become the latest big thing with Internet marketers.
In this post I will quickly explain the different options available for running webinars on your WordPress site – and how webinars can help you to grow your business online.
Update September 2016: I have now switched over to WebinarJam/EverWebinar and will write a post explaining why shortly.
The back story
Webinars are not new but until fairly recently they were quite expensive.
The market-leading webinar software is GotoWebinar – but at $99 per month (per organizer and limited to 100 attendees), it’s too expensive for your average small business owner.
In May 2013 Google released a new technology called Google Hangouts that allowed you to host a live video conversation (with up to 10 people) and broadcast it live on YouTube to an unlimited audience.
Since then a number of products have emerged that leverage the power of Google Hangouts whilst offering the other conveniences one would expect from a fully-featured webinar solution. These include:
- Registration pages to allow people to sign up from your website
- Thank you pages to confirm successful registrations and encourage people to share your event
- Email reminders – to increase attendance
- Live Questions – so people can ask you questions during the event
- Analytics – to see how many people registered/attended/watched until the end/asked a question
The leading webinar solutions
I looked at 5 webinar solutions before deciding to test 2 of them. The 5 I looked at were:
- Evergreen Business Systems
- Stealth Webinar
The problem with buying webinar software
Choosing between similar software systems is never easy – but choosing software written by Internet marketers for Internet marketers can be a real nightmare.
A few years back it was a similar story trying to choose a WordPress membership plugin:
- some of the companies selling the software are going for the hard sell with every Internet marketing gimmick you can think of
- nearly all the reviews you find are written by affiliates with vested financial interests in you buying the product
For an example of pushy sales tactics, check out the below screengrab from my experience with WebinarJam…
I understand that selling expensive products online is not easy and that sometimes hard-sell tactics such as blocking a visitor from hitting the back button may actually lead to increase conversions – but, for me, it makes the product seem cheap and the whole experience feel tacky.
Why I went with EasyWebinar and WebinarIgniton
I quickly ruled out WebinarJam because it only does live only events and I wanted to test out running automated (also called Evergreen) events.
I ruled out EverGreen Business System for the opposite reason: for $497 it only does evergreen events – and if you want live events then you have to pay $497 + $69 per month.
StealthWebinar I ruled out too because of the cost: $70 per month. StealthWebinar would have been third on my list but I wanted a solution that offered one up-front payment and easy integration with my existing WordPress website.
So in the end I opted to check out the other two leading WordPress webinar plugins: EasyWebinar and WebinarIgnition
My EasyWebinar Review
My first choice was EasyWebinar ($297 + VAT = $365) – largely because of a positive review it received on one of my favorite Internet marketing blogs SmartPassiveIncome.
The EasyWebinar WordPress plugin has a tonne of features, including:
- a choice of templates
- when people ask a question you get emailed
- you can switch from a pre-recorded event to a live event
- you can pretend to have attendees that aren’t really there
- you can add a sign-up widget to any page on your website
The first thing I noticed is that the registration page didn’t look very nice and that all the templates were the same – only in different colours.
I also noticed the Powered by EasyWebinar link in the footer of the page and realized that to get rid of it would cost me another $100.
Also, I didn’t really like the other page templates (i.e. the thank you and live event pages) either.
Now, I should say: every day on Facebook I see Internet Marketers promoting webinars to sell training courses with EasyWebinar – and they seem to be getting on fine.
I should also add that EasyWebinar integrates with services like LeadPages to build prettier Registration pages- but at $37/$67 per month, LeadPages is another expense I don’t need right now.
But that said, I wasn’t overly happy with my experience and felt that the product would benefit if the guys behind it focused more on product development rather than marketing.
Finally, when I tested the EasyWebinar widget in my sidebar, it broke my theme and that’s when I decided to ask for a refund (which, in fairness, I got without any hassle).
My WebinarIgnition Review
Next I tried WebinarIgnition ($197) and immediately liked the sales experience a lot better.
Apart from one sales video that plays automatically on the homepage – they largely stay away from heavy-handed sales nonsense.
I also like their overall design, how they make it easy to see working previews of all the pages – and of course, the price!
After installing the plugin (which is very straightforward), I immediately liked the user interface and how my event pages looked.
Similarly with the thank you page (and all the other pages); they look good and professional and I liked them immediately.
Now configuring some of the finer details of WebinarIgnition did throw up a few minor problems:
- I had trouble setting up the “connect with Facebook” option
- I had trouble setting up an evergreen event that didn’t start for a few weeks
- you have to use a service like Mandrill to get the email autoresponder working (which might be a little confusing to someone with limited computer experience, although there is a walk-though video)
- you have to setup a separate cron service for each webinar you create which adds more hassle to the process (which again might be difficult for someone not coming from an IT background, although there is a walk-though video )
All that said however, WebinarIgnition had me up and running with a live webinar to test with in about 3 hours – which worked with excellent results (14 sign ups with very little promotion).
Webinars are a very effective method of building rapport with an audience and selling a training or education service online.
Of the different available options, WebinarIgnition is the one I recommend for a number of reasons:
- it’s by far the cheapest
- it integrates beautifully with your WordPress website
- it has all the features you need to quickly create and manage professional-quality webinars
This post was written impartially but now that it’s finished I thought I might as well include an affiliate link on the off chance I make a commission based on my recommendation.
Below I’ve added an affiliate link to WebinarIgnition. If you found this post helpful and buy the product as a result then please click it by way of saying thanks and letting me know I’ve helped you out.
Got any questions or comments related to running webinars in WordPress? Please let me know in the comments below.
Image credit: Matthew Pearce