Last updated on July, 27
🏆 Best Webinar Hosting Services for August 2021
With webinar hosting services, you can host a live event from anywhere in the world! This is easy-to-use and can work on any device so there’s no limit on where people can your webinar.
What is a webinar hosting service?
Short for web-based seminar, a webinar is a presentation, lecture, or seminar that is transmitted over the internet using video conferencing software. And in order to hold a webinar, you will first need a webinar hosting service. It is an online platform or tool that is used to conduct a webinar. There are tons of platforms to choose from, but understanding the basics of a webinar hosting service is essential.
Why do you need to use a webinar hosting service?
Webinars can be used in all spheres, ranging from education to business to marketing and corporate training. To host an online webinar, you’ll need to find the perfect hosting service or platform that suits your needs. Here’s why webinar hosting platforms are needed to start your first online web conference.
Reach More People and Build a Bigger Audience
Through online webinar hosting, you can get your brand or company’s message out in the online world with just a few simple steps. Webinars can help you generate more leads than any other type of marketing.
Present to More People in Less Time
Some webinar hosting services can handle more than a thousand attendees at a time, depending on the features of the webinar hosting platform. Through a one-hour webinar session, you’ll be able to reach hundreds or thousands of people in less time and effectively share your message to a wider audience.
Conduct Online Classes
In today’s fast-paced world, we must continue educating ourselves. In order to keep up, one of the best tools is through online courses. With online classes for high school, universities, and even those who want to further their studies, webinars are a great way for educators to teach a class and hold an interactive session for their students.
Conduct Cost-Effective Company Meetings
Webinars are convenient for both presenters and attendees, which is why the format is becoming more and more popular every year. Webinars are also a great way to hold internal meetings for your company. If companies with remote employees all over the world can benefit from webinars, it’s just a matter of finding a common time for everyone to jump in the meeting. Also, it cuts the cost of transportation, venue rental, and equipment rental.
Reach More Prospects and Possible Clients for Your Business
For businessmen and entrepreneurs, a webinar hosting platform is a tool you can use to market your product and company. It includes a feature to present slides and show HD videos to your audience, which makes your audience more engaged when they see visuals and is a great way to feature your products and services. A great mix of on-cam live presentations and high-quality videos are a great way to entice your audience to stay for the whole webinar and generate possible clients.
Core features of best webinar hosting services
The market is flooded with dozens of webinar hosting services and companies, but depending on the webinar hosting platform, the features would vary from one platform to another. The best platforms are those that offer an end-to-end solution, starting from invites, to registration, to the actual presentation, interactions, and post-event data analytics. They give you and your audience a complete customer journey.
Your webinar will catch the attention of your audience if you can send more customized email invites instead of generic ones. Great webinar hosting services have email automation where they can design and customize their e-invite (online invite), confirmations, and reminders.
To create a better recall among your audience, a custom branded webinar would do the trick. By displaying your company or brand logo on the platform, the presentation slides, videos, and all webinar materials will strengthen your brand recall and promote your brand.
Depending on the type of platform and the service you avail of, there are several types of audience interactions that you can use to spice up your webinar. You can create polls and insert them within your presentation, create surveys, and engage your audience with Q&A. Polls, surveys, and Q&A are important and an awesome way to engage your audience and at the same time, a valuable way to get information and audience insights.
Videos and Handouts
High quality videos can be shown to entice your audience and to share valuable information. Webinar platforms also have the handouts feature wherein you can upload the PDF, Excel, or Word document for the easy access of your audience. This is also great for those who may have a poor internet connection and wasn’t able to catch parts of the presentations. They can refer to the handouts for all the info presented in your webinar.
Bio Page for Guest Speakers
Your guest speakers are an important part of your webinar. They are a tool for enticing your audience to attend your webinar session. By including a bio page of who your speaker is with their details, background, photo, and what his/her topic will be about - your audience will get more information and hopefully encourage them to sign up. By adding this section, you’ll be adding more social authority to your webinar.
Data Reporting and Analytics
After the event, you can extract the data from the platform. These can include the names of attendees, the time they signed in or signed out of the webinar, the questions that were asked, and answers to the polls and surveys. Get the data you need to be able to identify qualified leads and track which channels drive the most registrations.
Types of webinar hosting services
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Free Webinar Hosting
Most online webinar hosting services have a free version. Hosting a webinar for free will have certain restrictions on the platform like a limited maximum number of participants, a limited time per session, some free versions can’t record the session. But if you are an owner of a small start-up business or looking to teach a class with a few students, then you’ll find that the features of a free webinar hosting platform will work well for you.
No recurring fees
Includes screen-sharing and video sharing
Easy-to-use features that are easy to understand and great for users of all skill levels
Limited number of participants
Some have time limits per session
Some don’t have an available recording feature
Some free platforms have a trial period that will require you to pay to
continue using after the trial period ends
Videos are not as high quality as compared to paid webinar hosting services
Paid Webinar Hosting
Paid webinar hosting is for those who are looking to use webinars for boosting their business and getting a wider audience reach.
Can hold up to 10,000 view-only attendees
Host up to 100 or more video participants
Automated and customized emails and notifications
Customizable features and platform designs
You can broadcast your webinars on social media platforms like Facebook or Youtube
Private or unlisted option for selected audience/participants
Complicated and complex tools and features
Who needs a webinar hosting service?
Whether you want to host a webinar for your internal company meeting or for a larger audience to promote your company, there are a lot of web hosting service options to choose from. As a professional, you can deliver your message, your company’s plans, and the next steps through this platform. Webinars are also a great place to exchange ideas when the team is working on a project.
As an educator, you can reach a wider number of students through online webinar hosting. Online webinar classes are one of the most powerful tools a professor or educator has access to. It is interactive and can reach students all over the globe. Some webinar hosting services include online courses, product demos, that are great for your online classes.
Webinars can be used to promote the launch of your online course. So ideally, your webinar should precede your course launch. Pre-launching your online course helps you gauge the interest of your audience, get their feedback, and start building up your subscriber base before you sink your time into creating the content for your course.
An online meeting is a great way to market and promote your product and business, at the same time, gain trust among your audience. Because webinars can be massively profitable lead generation tools and are highly cost-effective, more and more businessmen are using webinars to promote their company, products, and services. When you show how your service and products work, answer questions from your audience, and do follow-ups, this builds trust and shows that you care for your customer.
Step-by-Step guide to hosting a webinar
Step1: Choose a date and time.
The first step would be to agree on a specific date and time for the webinar. Webinars are usually 30 minutes to 2 hours long, depending on the content and reason for the webinar. Schedule a time that would work well for your attendees. Make sure to take into consideration the time difference if your attendees are from different time zones. Just create an account on a webinar platform of your choosing and use the dashboard to set the event’s date, time, and duration.
Step 2: Choose your topic.
Choose your specific topic depending on who your audience is - they could be your students, your colleagues, your teammates at work, or potential clients. Choose a topic that is informative and will motivate your attendees.
Step 3: Build your webinar content.
If you are a professor and are hosting a webinar to teach a class, create a lesson plan that will fit into the allotted time slot for your online class. Remember, this is not the physical class in classrooms that we previously had, wherein the teacher can see and really interact with their students. Given this, it is best to keep your lecture concise and simple yet informative to keep your students engaged.
If you are a businessman looking for potential clients and want to host a webinar to feature what services you can offer, create engaging and informative content that will hook your audience to avail of your services.
If you are a leader setting up a team meeting or a general company town hall meeting, prepare the points for discussion and make sure to have action points for your employees’ next steps after your webinar.
Step 4: Choose your webinar hosting platform.
Once you’ve got your format, schedule, visuals, and scripting down, the next step is deciding on the best tool for hosting your webinar. There are tons of option hosting services out there, and by just doing research, you’ll be able to find one that will fit your needs.
Step 5: Prepare and test your hardware and software.
The essential items and tools to run a webinar are a high-speed internet connection, a web-based browser, good noise-canceling headphones, a laptop or PC with a camera.
Step 6: Do a practice run.
Once your content is ready, and your audience has been informed and has confirmed their attendance, it’s best to have a practice run of what you’ll be presenting on the platform that you’ll be using. Always double check your webcam, microphone, headset as well as the internet connection before you jump into the event.
Step 7: Inform your audience.
Send out the online invites to your audience to inform them of the schedule of your webinar. Wend the invite to your email list and add the schedule to you and your email lists’ Google calendar.
Step 8: Follow-up and remind your audience.
One or two days or even hours before the actual webinar, send an email or notification to gently remind your audience about your upcoming webinar. If the platform has an early log-in feature for those who want to enter the webinar earlier, make sure to tell them about it.
Step 9: Host your webinar.
That day has finally arrived!
You’ve prepared your content, informed your audience, and set up the technicals needed for your online event. Your days or weeks of preparation will finally pay off. Now is your chance to make a lasting impression on your audience and achieve your goals through this webinar.
Step 10: Record your webinar and do follow-up questions.
Before your lecture or the speaker’s talk, don’t forget to record your webinar to have a copy for future reference and in case your audience would request one.
After the talk, before ending your session, ask your audience if they have any questions. Each platform has different features for audience interaction. Some have polls, question tabs, and features to raise their hand so the person can speak to ask any questions. This is the time to engage your audience.
Step 11: Post-webinar.
After your webinar, you may send your presentation slides or handouts to your email list if you wish for them to have a copy of your lecture, meeting agenda, or slides. You can also post the link to where your audience can re-watch and re-visit the recorded webinar if the need arises.
Afterwhich, you may inform your audience of the next schedules of your upcoming webinars, if any. By doing these, you can broaden your reach for your next online event.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The higher the internet speed, the better. But since Wi-Fi can be spotty at times, it is best to use a wired LAN cable if you are hosting a webinar. Make sure your computer is connected to your router by a cable to keep your broadcast smooth.
Multiple attendees under a single registration or company can register as a group for more convenience. A designated representative can fill-in the details of the group members while the other members of the team just need to verify their account. This makes registering easier for the attendees and makes it smoother for the hosting platform in the back-end.
Each webinar has a different length, and this would depend on the topic, the agenda, and the audience. But a good range would be from 30 minutes to 2 hours max. Anything more than that would cause your audience to lose focus. It’s best to keep things short and concise.
Most webinars are done live. This is to create the feeling of having a live event wherein the audience can see and hear presentations in real-time. However, many companies also offer recorded webinars. These are good for training purposes, and webinars can be repackaged and used as incentives for new customers to sign up.
Some webinars are a mix of live and pre-recorded materials. If some speakers or presenters have bad WiFi or internet connection, they can choose to pre-record their lectures. A recorded lecture will be played during the webinar. The live component would be the question and answer portion. This is a great way to keep the balance of interaction between speaker and audience while taking into consideration technical difficulties.
Most webinars are free, especially if they are run by entrepreneurs or businesses looking to grow their audience. But depending on the topic and the amount of interest in it, hosts can charge for webinars.
1. Define your target audience or your ideal client avatar. Ask yourself who would want to take up and subscribe to your courses. After you have your personas in hand, it’s time to start considering promotional strategies for your course. You can start with your email list then work your way up to paid ads on Facebook or Youtube.
2. Create your content. For most course creators, educational and workshop formats will be the easiest to get started with.
The most common source structure for online webinar courses is:
Lecture with 1 to 2 presenters
Polling within the presentations
Q&A: Audience-driven, with a subject expert, with a skilled moderator
Panelist discussion: This can include 3 to 5 influencers and a skilled moderator
Workshop: This can include one presenter who can share his or her screen to conduct the workshop
Call to action: This can be anything from promoting your next courses or giving a take-home assignment for the attendees.
For attendees, high-speed internet connection, a laptop or computer, and headphones are the key essentials to run a webinar.
For hosting a webinar, first, you’ll need the webinar platform or webinar hosting services - whether paid or free. Some platforms require you to download an external application, while other platforms just use the internet browser without the need to download a third-party app. Next, you’ll need high-speed internet - a wired LAN cable is better since WiFi can sometimes be spotty. Lastly, a good quality headphone is another essential when hosting a webinar.
Don’t panic. When you see trolls or hecklers trying to disrupt your webinar, you can mute or block them or ask your host to do so. Focus on providing quality content for your audience.
All online platforms have their associated risks. Each webinar hosting service has a different set of security measures in place. In order to ensure the safety of everyone when using an online webinar hosting service or platform, here are the best practices to follow:
Password protect your meetings:
The simplest way to protect your meetings is to create a password before anyone can join or enter the meeting. Passwords can be set at the individual meeting, user, group, or account level for all sessions. If you want to set up a password at the individual meeting level, head straight over to the "Settings" tab and enable "Require a password when scheduling new meetings", which will ensure a password will be generated when a meeting is scheduled.
Allow only signed-in users to join the webinar when creating a new webinar event.
Turn off participant screen sharing:
This security measure will manage who can present and what will be shown on screen. This will help avoid participants who may intentionally or unintentionally share their screens with info or visuals not intended for that webinar.
Use waiting rooms:
Waiting Rooms feature is a way to screen participants before they are allowed to enter a meeting. The host will have to approve who can enter the meeting.
Update your app:
Make sure that your webinar hosting service app is updated to ensure that the security features will be enabled. In order to check, open the desktop application, click on your profile in the top-right, and select "Check for updates."
A lot of people subscribe to educational webinars. eLearning webinars are used as an extension of the classroom, and can reach a wider audience.
Panel Webinars/ Panelist Discussion Webinars
This type of webinar is a great way to extend your audience with your existing network. This is an avenue for you to reach out to other professionals you know have knowledge on the subject and ask them to join your webinar so they can share their opinions.
Employee Training Webinars
This is essential to business people because skilled employees who are up-to-date with the latest market trends will be able to perform better, thus, generating more leads for the company.
Product Demonstration Webinars
Oftentimes, product or software demos are what closes the deal. The goal of product webinars is to help answer the final questions attendees have on why they should pick you.
Customer Onboarding Webinars
Customer onboarding is one of the most important interactions you have with a new customer — it sets the tone for the rest of the relationship. Customer onboarding and training webinars allow you to deliver more product value to your customers in an interactive way
A workshop webinar takes advantage of the ability to share computer screens with panelists. You can take your audiences to a step-by-step guide on what your audience needs to do.
Corporate Communications Webinars
This type of webinar platform allows you to broadcast company events on a one-to-many scale. It can be used internally by companies to hold web conference calls or externally for employees, plus their business partners.
Lead Generation Webinars
For lead generation webinars, you're targeting an audience relatively new to your brand. This is why your content needs to educate the audience about the issue and introduce them to a potential solution. This will move them from the awareness stage to the consideration stage.
Customer Retention and Nurturing Webinars
Through this webinar, you can create a platform to nurture your customer relationships and give your clients the opportunity to stay informed about important company or product announcements.
Branding / Reputation Management Webinars
Another important way for companies or businesses to generate more leads is by branding your webinars. Webinars can help you build your brand awareness and status as an industry leader by creating a connection between your valuable content and your customers.
Association Membership Content Webinars
Through these types of webinars, you’re not only marketing your organization’s expertise to both current and prospective members, but you're also catering to those looking for access to specialized information..