When you’ve decided webinars make sense for your business, and the benefits are worth the effort, your next step involves searching for tools and applications that ensure your efficiency in both creating presentations and hosting webinars. With so many options available, where do you begin without feeling overwhelmed?
To help you out, we’ve pulled a list together of popular options you’ll find on almost any best-in-class list for tools and apps in these two categories.
Tools To Create Webinar Presentations That Engage Viewers
Microsoft PowerPoint: The go-to presentation tool for many businesses, PowerPoint lets you create compelling and unique slideshows using a variety of layouts and design tools. For those of you who like to keep track of your talking points with as little distraction as possible, the Presenter View feature enables you to view your notes on the same screen while your audience only sees your slide. If you don’t own the Microsoft Office tool suite, you can purchase PowerPoint as a single app.
Google Drive: Although this tool isn’t as sophisticated as other options, Google Drive still offers a collection of themes, templates, and basic features to develop presentations that are worthy of your webinar. It’s a great tool if you’re looking for software that’s free and easy to use.
Prezi: This virtual whiteboard allows users to create visually appealing and dynamic presentations that include images, video, sound bites, and more. While the tool lets you offer your audience a multi-dimensional story experience rather than a slideshow, it’s important to use Prezi’s software correctly so that you don’t make viewers nauseous. Licenses range from free to $13.25 per month.
ClearSlide: Besides letting you tell your story through a combination of images, charts, shapes, layouts, video, Flash, and more, this provider lets you pull real-time data into your slides, share your creations easily, and measure the effectiveness of your presentations with powerful analytics. Although a free trial is available, you may find this tool pricier than others.
Keynote: Apple’s answer to presentation software, Keynote is ideal for constructing beautiful presentations with 3D charts, animations, special effects, and other design elements. The tool currently offers 44 different themes, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding one to suit the tone of your webinar topic.
Tools for Hosting Webinars Effortlessly
When looking for a good webinar hosting tool, you’re looking for things like flexibility, functionality, audience capacity, consistent quality, and reasonable pricing. With these factors in mind, here are five service providers you might want to try if you’re new to the webinar game.
GoToWebinar: This feature-rich software offers full-service registration, customized branding, screen sharing, recording options, interactive features like polls and Q&As, phone and VoIP support, post-session surveys, follow-up emails, video hosting of recorded webinars, and more. Packages range from $99 – $499 per month with a 20% discount for annual plans. A 30-day free trial period ensures you can evaluate this webinar hosting tool without any risk.
AnyMeeting: Ideal for small businesses, AnyMeeting’s features include the ability to customize the meeting with your own branding, record your sessions, share your screen, present PowerPoint presentations, and play Youtube videos. It’s also mobile-friendly, offers Twitter and Facebook integration, and provides you with a personal URL. While the upside is you have access to a free version that allows up to 200 attendees, the downside is that an advertiser-based model supports it. Alternatively, you can opt for the ad-free Pro25 or Pro200 plan, which run for $18/month and $78/month respectively.
Instant Presenter: This excellent tool is jam packed with features that allow you to promote your webinar, engage your audience, and evaluate your message’s effectiveness. Besides automated meeting and registration tools, custom branding, PayPal integration, and presentation sharing, you’ll have access to live video and audio, a whiteboard, polling, survey and testing tools, on-demand recording, and other useful features. Although pricing starts at $35 per month for a maximum of 25 attendees, Instant Presenter offers a 20% discount if you purchase an annual plan.
WebEx: Whether you’re hosting a small webinar with a few people or large-scale event with up to 3,000 participants, WebEx offers a powerful hosting solution for businesses of any size. As part of their packages, you’ll find customizable invitations, registration tools, application and multimedia sharing, polling, Q&As, chat, high quality voice and video conferencing, record and play back options, lead tracking, campaign management, and attention-monitoring functionality. While the free plan is limited, WebEx offers competitive rates when you compare their features to similar providers in the market.
Adobe Connect: Adobe’s web conferencing platform provides you with an all-in-one solution that includes tools and templates for developing engaging landing pages and emails, a brandable console, polling and surveys, an interactive whiteboard, chat, recording and playback, attendee reporting, lead tracking, and marketing analytics tools to help you optimize campaigns. You can expect to pay around $45/month for the annual plan, $55/month for the monthly plan, and $0.32 per minute per user for the pay-per-use option. Adobe Connect is definitely an option to explore if you’re looking for a robust webinar hosting platform at an affordable rate.
- Zoho Meeting
Before you put an unknown tool between you and your audience members, make sure you test these options out and select the best one to suit your business needs. The last thing you want is to lose a prospect or client because of crappy audio or other technology-related issues.
Are there any presentation tools or webinar hosting services you’d recommend? Drop us a line in the comment section below and tell us why you love them so much.