In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the webinar increased in popularity as a sales tool that works well in a remote setting. Companies that never before considered webinars as a tactic now use them as a way to provide value to their customers and generate more sales. And while the demand for webinar tools is growing, there is one question that many business owners ask - is it worth upgrading to a paid version of a webinar tool?
It most definitely is, and there are a variety of reasons for this. Let’s cover some of them today and show why investing in webinar software provides a great return on investment.
#1 More attendees
When you take a look at the most popular webinar software out there, you’ll see that it’s based on the freemium model. This means that you obtain a free version of a webinar software solution with some but not all of its features, or limited ones.
This limitation mostly relates to the most important thing for webinars - the number of attendees. For example, we offer a free version of our app with 5 attendees. This is a great way to test out the app but admittedly, 5 attendees are more of a small conference call than a webinar.
When you switch to the first paid plan, you unlock up to 100 webinar attendees, which is a major difference. Granted, you may need just 6 or you may need 99 attendees, but for the price of two cups of coffee per month, you’ll want to get as much out of the subscription as possible.
The problem is, you may never know how many people will sign up for your webinars. Imagine preparing an event and then realizing that the free plan is not nearly enough to accommodate the volume of attendees you expect to have. Even the cheapest paid plan with any webinar software will give you a variety of options to choose from.
That’s what it all comes down to - options. You may not need 100 attendees, but when you need that much space, your paid plan will be there to provide it.
#2 The recording time
Another freemium feature that often gets forgotten, webinar recording can be incredibly useful. It is available in the free plan of most webinar software solutions, and the more expensive your paid plan is, the more recording time you can have.
You may think that 1 or 2 hours of recording time will suffice, but hear me out. You often cannot plan how long your webinar will last. Besides the standard sessions, there are breakout rooms, discussions, questions, you name it. A webinar planned for 90 minutes can easily go over 120 with everything extra involved.
Recordings can be of great help when it comes to improving your presentation and sales skills. When you watch your recordings, you can see what went well, what could have been done better, and what you can improve on next time around.
Having more (or unlimited) recording time is very much a worthy investment for webinars.
#3 Evergreen webinars
When you take a look around, you’ll see that very few webinar software companies offer evergreen webinars in their free trial packages. For good reason too - evergreen webinars are incredibly powerful, and if done right, they can let you run webinars on autopilot.
An evergreen webinar is a pre-recorded webinar that you can air at certain times. You simply record the best possible version of your webinar and then have it scheduled for specific times. That way, you can automate much of your webinar process, and if you couple the actual webinar with some powerful marketing automation then you will have a winning combination.
Given how powerful this feature can be, it’s only reasonable that it’s a paid feature that cannot be accessed in free plans. In the Pro LiveWebinar plan, you can have up to 3 evergreen webinars running at a time.
#4 Increased number of presenters
Imagine hosting your own conference with only one person talking for the entire time. When running a webinar, you probably have one person speaking in front of the whole company, but that doesn’t always have to be the case.
When you have different audiences, products, or even ways to sell a certain product, you may need different presenters. Most webinar software limits the number of presenters to just one in its free plan. Needless to say, this is not enough for more robust use.
Ideally, you want at least several presenter slots available just to have some variety when you decide to change things up a bit.
#5 Chat moderation
If you’ve ever run a webinar, you’ll know that a lot of activity happens in the chat. Since attendees cannot interrupt the presenter, they will leave comments and ask questions in the chatbox. The problem is, you can never know what your audience will ask. You’re one question away from turning a meaningful discussion into a rickroll or, even worse, an argument.
When you get the free version of webinar software, you don’t have any options for chat moderation. In fact, some providers don’t even have the chat option included at all. What you’re left with is a chat box where anyone can write what they want, which leaves you open to anything happening there.
When you jump to a paid plan, you get chat moderation options. These include turning comments off as well as deleting those you see as inappropriate.
With LiveWebinar, you can go one step further and get automatic translations. If someone types in a language you don’t understand in the chat, the text is automatically translated in real-time, making it easier to communicate with international audiences.
#6 Nudging your attendees and tracking them
You’ve probably participated in a video call during which you sat and stared at the screen, hoping that it would finally end so you could get on with your day. You don’t want that kind of audience at your webinar, so you can use a variety of methods to keep them engaged. The problem is, all of these methods come with a paid plan rather than being available for free.
For example, LiveWebinar has a feature called Presence Manager. This is a neat addition to your webinars that lets you engage with those attendees who are not paying attention. Simply send them a short popup message to ask them if they are still there and watching, or increase their engagement by asking for their opinions.
You can also use this feature and set it so that after X number of messages without response, a certain user can be removed from your webinar. That way, you ensure that only people who are paying attention will keep watching.
If you really want to wake them up, you can also send them an audio notification and a popup along with the question.
#7 Detailed tracking
A webinar is rarely the only strategy your marketing and sales team will be using. It’s usually coupled with an elaborate email sequence, a landing page or two, a sales call before and after the webinar, and more. The problem is, just using free webinar software leaves you with a webinar link while you have to collect all of the other data on your own.
When you switch to a paid plan, you can go one step further. You can insert tracking pixels for your webinar attendees with ease. That way, you can get more information about the devices they are using, their online behavior, and more, meaning you can even retarget them later on.
There are basic forms of tracking even if you don’t want to add pixels. For every webinar attendee, you can Zoom in and see their device, location, and the browser they’re using.
With free versions of webinar software, you just don’t get those insights and capabilities. If you need more information about your audience then investing in a paid plan is definitely worthwhile.
Instead of considering a paid webinar software plan as a cost, think of it as an investment. While free software has its own value, it won’t get you much closer to hitting your business goals. With a small investment in webinars, you can get more up close and personal with your audience and reap some of the many benefits of the advanced features that are offered.
If you’re still on the fence, make sure to try out a free trial of LiveWebinar.
It will give you a taste of what you could do with your customers, and we’re sure that you’ll soon grab a paid plan too. Sign up today to get started!