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11 Fundamental Features to Look for in a Webinar Solution

Posted by Anita Wehnert on
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11 Fundamental Features to Look for in a Webinar Solution

Don't forget about the fundamentals when selecting a new webinar provider.

In a recent post on Content Marketing Institute’s blog, Hublished co-founder Nis Frome provided some great advice to help marketers select the right webinar provider to support their content marketing strategy. It’s easy to get distracted by the latest flashy bells and whistles, but Frome brings us back to earth by recommending that marketers evaluate a potential webinar provider based on these two fundamentals:

  • Will it help me seamlessly host webinars?
  • Does it play nice with my company's overall digital infrastructure?

He also shared 5 helpful questions marketers should ask themselves to clarify their business requirements before selecting a provider:

Question 1: Who is my audience?

Does the webinar solution give you the features you need to effectively reach and engage your target audience?  Frome says, “No one is going to engage with your webinar content if they can’t easily attend — no matter how flashy your slides are or how much state-of-the-art, real-time functionality your solution provides.”

Key takeaway: Don’t create barriers to entry for the live event!  You invested a lot of time, energy, and money to get someone to register for your webinar.  You’re throwing it all away if you make it hard for them to attend.

Features to look for:

  • No downloads for participants
  • Support for participating on mobile devices

Question 2: When is my audience most likely to engage with my webinar content — on my schedule or theirs?

In a recent article, Salesfore.com Marketing Evangelist Mathew Sweezey shared that only 16% of marketers he surveyed expressed a preference to watch a webinar live. More and more people want the flexibility to view the recording when and where it’s convenient for them. 

Key takeaway: Don’t create roadblocks to viewing the webinar recording! You’ll miss out on reaching a large portion of your target audience.

Features to look for:

  • Industry-standard recording formats (MP4, Flash, etc.)
  • No downloads to view recordings
  • Ability to playback recordings on mobile devices

Question 3: Who will be presenting in my webinars?

Multiple presenters or non-traditional webinar formats like panel discussions or expert interviews are great techniques for keeping your audience engaged during your webinar. 

Key takeaway: Don’t let your webinar platform limit your event format!

Features to look for:

  • No limit on the # of presenters
  • Easy transition of presenter control

Question 4: To what formats and platforms will I need viewer data exported?

More and more often, marketers are managing and reporting on campaigns from a marketing automation platform, CRM, or other marketing tool. Make sure your webinar data can be woven into this mix of behavioral data. Frome says: “Here’s a hint: If you find yourself running into the word “proprietary” too many times when exploring a webinar software product, my advice would be to look elsewhere. There’s no reason that, in a market with so many choices, you should get locked into a walled ecosystem.” 

Key takeaway: Don’t let your webinar data get siloed in a platform that can’t seamlessly integrate with tools like Salesforce, Eloqua, Marketo, HubSpot, Pardot, and ExactTarget.

Features to look for:

  • Open API
  • Integration with your key platform(s) 

Question 5: How is my overall marketing infrastructure managed?

A priority for many marketers is to keep their audience on their own site vs. sending them to a third-party site. If this is important to you, make sure you find a webinar vendor who allows you to capture registrations on your own landing pages and embed webinar recordings directly into your website, blog, etc.

Key takeaway: Don’t get strong-armed into sending your audience to a third-party site! 

Features to look for:

  • Option to use your own landing pages
  • Embeddable webinar recordings

 

Thanks to Nis for bringing us back to the basics! Are you happy with your current webinar provider or searching for someone new? What features would you add to this list? 


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