Why are you running a scienctific webinar?
Sounds like a simple question but before investing in a new webinar software you must be clear about your reasoning behind your webinar campaigns.
Once you know your why then you can consider other questions like: What do we want to achieve? What is it going to look like? Who is it for? How will you know if it was successful? And which webinar software will support your efforts?
Webinar Software in 2020
Webinar and virtual meeting software has become a huge part of our daily lives in 2020!
More of us are relying on it than ever before, not just for interacting with business partners and potential customers, but friends and family as well.
We are all becoming more accustomed to using webinars in our everyday life and as a result opportunities for businesses to focus on webinar marketing have grown.
Webinar marketing is a great way of providing thought leadership, educating your audience and building brand awareness.
What is a webinar?
Hosted by an organisation, a webinar (short for seminar on the web) is an online event that showcases a variety of media to an online audience.
What are the benefits to your business of running webinars?
There are many potential benefits for your organisation:
- Provide value to your audience
- Build lasting relationships
- Highlight your thought leadership
- Increase brand awareness
- Generate interest and sales qualified leads for your organisation
- Increase sales
- Save on travel costs
What to consider when choosing your science webinar software?
Think about how you want to run and market your science webinar. Then map out your customer journey. Now focus on the key touch points along that journey where you want to communicate a message to your target audience.
Your software should complement your marketing efforts, before, during and after the webinar as well as supporting the running of the webinar itself.
Here are just some of the things for you and your colleagues to consider before picking a science webinar software:
Will the software help me to reach my objectives?
Start with the end in mind and focus on a software that will support the needs of your audience and your organisation. The right software should help you to deliver results that will support your marketing and business objectives.
- Establish Thought Leadership
- Generate Brand Awareness
- Educate your Audience of Customers and Prospects
Is the sign-up process automated?
Most webinar platforms now include this as standard. There are enough moving parts to a webinar without worrying about stop lists and email communications. Add to calendar functionality also helps to boost the registrant/attendee ratio.
Is the software easy for you and your guests to use?
A straightforward process, insightful information and excellent overall experience is the key to a good webinar experience.
Both your marketing team and your audience are investing time into your webinar(s) so ensure your software makes life as easy as possible for your team to set it up and for your audience to enjoy an excellent overall experience.
Does the software provide a great user experience?
Whether you are online shopping for Christmas presents, ordering your next takeout meal, or learning about the latest scientific products, the user experience is of vital importance. Ensuring that the quality of your brand is reflected in the customer experience will strengthen your competitive advantage.
Can your guests watch the webinar on-demand as well as live?
As mentioned above, everyone is extremely busy and there could be a million reasons why someone who wants to attend your webinar can't do so at the time it goes out live.
Having your webinars available on-demand will allow your audience to consume the information in their own time and on their own terms.
You are going to see more and more people consume your webinar content over time if you make it available on-demand and ensure that you put as much effort into your post webinar marketing as you do your pre-webinar marketing.
Can it run live and simulated live events?
Simulated live events give your organisation the option to create your webinar content ahead of time and schedule it as if it were going out live. You can ensure that what you have created provides a good user experience, sort out any tech issues and limit any presenting nerves that your speakers may have.
Does the webinar software support your audience size?
Basic webinar software packages can support approximately 100 attendees and then you have various options leading into the 10s of thousands depending on your requirements and budgets.
Can I use polls, show video, take surveys, run a Q&A?
Fairly standard with all webinar software but often different if you are running simulated live events as opposed to live ones so be sure to check this functionality out if you decide to focus on simulated live webinars.
Is there access to good quality metrics?
Fairly standard again across the board but it goes back to making life easy for your team. Check out what reporting is in place for each software and whether or not it is going to give you the data you require - Things like:
- Total viewing time
- Watched on-demand v watched live
- Poll responses
- Registration answers
Do users have to download an app or can they view in their browser?
User experience can be impacted if your audience has to download an app in order to attend your webinar so this is definitely something to take into consideration.
Are there breakout rooms?
More and more webinar software are now offering the option of call-to-actions where a member of your audience can click a button to chat with a member of your team in a breakout room. This is a great function if you are running a lead generation webinar and they want to speak to your sales team.
It can also be used if you are marketing to different nationalities. You could be hosting a pre-recorded webinar in English with Spanish subtitles and then have a call-to-action button in Spanish where they can speak to a Spanish speaking member of your team.
What is the price?
The price will vary depending on the functionality requirements that your organisation requires. Price is often dependent on the number of attendees that you require but there are several options for all budgets.
Do they offer a free trial?
With so much choice for marketers free trials provide you the opportunity to be sure about your investment prior to paying for any subscriptions. Be sure to test user experience for your team/audience and check the functionality matches everything you need to meet your webinar objectives.
Plan Your Webinar Strategy
There are a number of capabilities that you might want from your webinar software so plan out your customer journey touchpoints and select a webinar software that will best support how you communicate key messages to your audience.
Decide what you need your software to do in order to support your webinar objectives and then select one on this basis
We recently polled 300 marketers working within the science, engineering and healthcare sectors to see which webinar software they were currently using:
GoToWebinar vs Zoom
Our team then tested the 2 most popular: GoToWebinar and Zoom, and put together the below comparison.
The points of comparison are highlighted below and it is worth noting that both webinar providers are regularly updating their features.
A simple registration process is matched with a very user friendly interface. You can also include a number of bespoke questions during registration so you can start learning more about your audience.
To customize the experience you can include a banner image, logo and speaker information and chose from several themes.
Hosting live and simulated live webinars
You can host live events for up to 50,000 attendees depending on your package.
Record your event and set it to be available on-demand. People can then register and watch on-demand whenever they wish.
UX - let's face it, everybody's grandma (including mine) can use Zoom!
Virtual hand raising, whiteboards, sharing the panellist capabilities with attendees, Q&A, chat and polling all make for an interactive and engaging webinar experience.
Zoom will support your marketing efforts along the full communication journey. You will receive a full report on registration, attendance %, polling, Q&A and performance meaning you can analyse your webinar/marketing performance and follow up with your qualified leads.
As Marketers we detest data silos and we strive for the all important single source of truth. Zoom's integrations allow for real time upload of user data into your CRM and marketing automation systems. So your Sales and Marketing teams know exactly where your customers are within a webinar sequence. You can integrate with a number of leading marketing automation and CRM systems such as Marketo, HubSpot and Salesforce.
Full list of features and prices can be seen here: Zoom prices and features
This is straightforward with GoToWebinar for both organiser and attendees. You can capture audience data by asking a number of questions in your registration page like in the example below:
Branding and formatting of your registration page is limited (you can only add your logo, brand colours and basic copy) and the follow up emails too lack a touch of your organisations brand.
Your attendees will receive an automated email once they register with details of how to access the webinar and a calendar reminder that they can download. You can also send up to 3 reminder emails before the event and follow up emails for those who did and did not attend.
Hosting live and simulated live webinars
Host live events for up to 5,000 attendees depending on your package.
You also have the ability to run simulated live events. Record your webinar beforehand and set up a simulated live event to run at a specific time and date.
You can show the presenter webcam, run a Q&A, take polls and do surveys to keep your audience engaged. There is also a resources area for your attendees to view and download additional material throughout the webinar.
You can track your registrations with the source tracking feature and analyse your event with the event analytics and attendee reports which can all be fed in real time into your CRM or marketing automation software.
This enables your marketing team to see how your audience engaged with both the webinar itself and your pre/post event marketing efforts. This enables your team to focus on nurturing prospects further and/or determing if they have become a sales qualified lead.
As with Zoom, GoToWebinar allows you to easily integrate with a number of leading marketing automation and CRM systems such as Marketo, HubSpot and Salesforce.
Your marketing and sales team can benefit from real time insights into your webinar audience that helps to place them into customer segments and personalise their content.
Full list of features and prices can be seen here: GoToWebinar prices and features
Great software can’t make up for a lack of planning or subject knowledge!
Remember that your webinar software can only support your webinar marketing efforts.
Great speakers, subject knowledge, and thorough planning that is supplemented by a software that supports the needs of you and your audience is recipe for a great webinar.
Here is a list of 19 webinar software's available in 2020:
- Engage Webinars
- Adobe Connect
- Zoho Meeting
Are you looking to improve your webinar marketing?
Watch our 2020 webinar: "Using Webinars to Market Science" now on demand
We discuss all aspects of your webinar including:
- How best to market your webinar
- Keeping your audience engaged throughout the webinar
- How to capture and utilise webinar data
- Advice on platforms, equipment and managing your webinars
Gain valuable and actionable insights to support your webinar marketing.
This session is aimed at Sales and Marketing professionals in Science, Engineering and Healthcare.