Webinars or online seminars were developed by Microsoft at the end of 1980s to reach and engage a specific target group in order to exchange information. The first public web conference became available in mid-1996 when Microsoft announced the launch of NetMeeting. That tradition has been mainly upheld in increasing the reach of a target audience and consistently engaging them both live (web streaming) and afterwards (as replays). Today, it has become increasingly obvious that webinars are good for business. In fact, webinars are an essential way of doing business and teaching.
Traditional Networking Events – What Existed Before Webinars?
Traditional networking events such as in-person conferences, workshops and seminars are often encouraged by academia and businesses as one of the best ways to meet and talk to people after presentations as well as to increase communication skills. Many activities at these in-person networking events involve attending the social events, exchanging your contact details to the people you meet, and giving or receiving feedback after presentations (depending on whether you presented or not).
However, networking activities are not limited only to the moments while attendees are at the event. Most often, it takes a lot of work to follow-up with newly acquired contacts after the networking event has finished. Being successful at networking is one of the best ways to ensure that a project or collaboration develops.
Top Webinar Products or Software
With the requirements to observe social distancing, many businesses have needed to seek other alternatives to in-person networking events. As they scour the market for the best solutions a number stand out on top. The top webinar software on the market include:
- Microsoft Webinar Software
- Citrix Webinar Software
- Adobe Webinar Software
- WebinarJam Software
At the writing of this review, a newcomer, GrooveWebinar, which is part of the suite of tools from GrooveFunnels (created from the same developers who created WebinarJam and EverWebinar) is making waves as a disrupter in the webinar hosting space. GrooveFunnels is definitely a trendsetter to watch.
What Are Webinars Best Used For? – Online Collaboration
Webinars use audio, video, and a variety of other technological innovations to produce an interactive experience that’s almost comparable to meeting in person. And with today’s rapid internet speeds and very affordable hosting services, virtually anyone with a computer and webcam can host a webinar.
However, a successful webinar requires a great deal of thought and preparation. One of the first steps involves developing an interesting topic. With the topic selected, the next step is to gather a shortlist and choose a presenter who is skilled in facilitating the webinar and putting an itinerary together.
The webinar will need to be promoted in order to attract the right audience and ensure you are giving them the best information that they are searching for. It might seem like a lot of work, so before you jump in its important to verify that that a webinar is the most appropriate vehicle in delivering your message.
Here are a few of the situations when a webinar is best suited for your business.
1) Webinars Are Best Used To Facilitate Interactive Training
Instruction can often be accomplished via email, recorded video or a teleconference. But sometimes, live, interactive video works best. Participants can follow along with you, asking questions every step of the way. This kind of webinar works best with a limited number of participants.
2) Webinars Are Best Used To Facilitate Product Demonstrations
Traditional businesses often hold demonstrations to show people what their products can do. If you sell on the net, a webinar can accomplish the same goals. Because you can interact with viewers and answer their questions right away, it’s better than recorded video. You can also record the webinar and post it to your site in order that those who are unable to attend can see what they missed.
3) Webinars Are Best Used To Facilitate Focus Groups
Businesses often use marketing groups to fine-tune their products, services and marketing efforts. They choose participants from their target market and show them ads or presentations, then ask questions and allow free discussion to see how they react. Online focus groups work well for online business owners because they allow people to get involved despite geographic location.
4) Webinars Are Best Used When Creating Yourself As An Industry Expert
Online marketers often hold webinars as a way of establishing themselves as experts in their respective fields. Delivering a webinar offers many advantages. Webinars allow customers to put a face and personality with the name of the business, therefore, increasing trust. It also makes it possible to share information in a variety of ways and gives people the opportunity for interactive discussion.
5) Webinars Can Be Helpful Throughout Sales Cycles
Using webinars during the entire sales cycle, from identifying new prospects to closing the deal, can allow you to get in touch with your audience in ways that are difficult though email and other methods.
Limitations of Webinars
Webinars, as with all services that are heavily dependent on technological equipment and services, are limited by the level of mitigation that can be implemented to prevent or minimize unforeseen circumstances. If there are irreparable technical problems these can lead to the event being cancelled, or restrict the number of participants who can log in after the webinar has started due to saturation of the webinar platform.
The energy from the participants (especially their mood) is difficult for the presenter to determine. However, during live streaming, if the interaction between a presenter and participants is reduced to a minimum this could indicate that the participants are not actively engaged or may be they are distracted.
Webinars ultimately help to maximize benefits for audiences
Most webinar hosts encourage their participants to make sure that they attend the webinar using a DESKTOP or LAPTOP computer. This suggestion is intended to ensure that everything loads quickly, without issues, and that all participants have the best experience. Many webinar software often do not behave well with mobile phones or iPads, so to ensure the best viewing experience always use a computer.
Hosting a webinar will most definitely eliminate the need for attendees to travel long distances thus saving them time and unnecessary expenses. Thus, webinars make it easier and cheaper for target groups to network and engage. The host also benefits because the costs associated with organizing a physical event and hiring a venue are much lower than using a webinar platform.
What collaboration or networking needs do you have?
Disclosure: Part of the business model, of Conference and Webinar Platforms for Small Businesses, is affiliate marketing. That means Conference and Webinar Platforms for Small Businesses get compensated if you click on some of the links on this website and make a purchase (at no extra cost to you).