In this article I will share with you 5 key innovations in webinar automation software that makes it possible to mimic or "simulate" live webcasts and webinar broadcasts and put it on auto.
I will also touch upon why I believe automation through the use of "Live Event Simulation" technology can help a business increase the ROI longevity of a live webinar and attract more leads, customers and sales with webinar recordings of live events that would otherwise sit on a hard drive gathering dust.
This is not of course a case for the replacement of live webinar software, simply a review of one of the best software as a service solution that can help businesses extract as much out of a live webinar event as possible.
However, if you're looking for, or interested in, a detailed review of a solid, top performing live webinar broadcasting software, then you might what to take a look at the Webinar Jam Studio software set up.
Webinar Automation Software Evolutionary Development
The term Live Event Simulation describes an evolutionary development on mainstream automated webinar software, which I believe was first coined by the developers of the EverWebinar software platform.
It is essentially a concept to describe a new innovative approach to running on-demand automated evergreen webinars or webcasts.
What is Webinar Software?
Webinars, webcasts, online virtual meeting & video conferencing software use internet technology (TCP/IP connections) to instantly broadcast and distribute live media presentations (voice, video & text based communications) from one web-connected computer that is simultaneously received, on-demand by other web & internet connected computers.
Their applications commonly include virtual private meetings, online training, speaking events, lectures, demonstrations, teaching, online sales & marketing presentations.
When we talk about software for webinars, we're referring to software that is available either as a paid or free download (freeware), or as a fully supported software as a service (SaaS) platform.
Automated webinar software uses the same internet technology as "live events" to broadcast presentations across the internet. The only difference being that the broadcast is of a recording that is streamed live and not of the live event itself.
Live event simulation approach to running automated webinars began with the idea of full automation, then evolved and morphed it - with the aid of software - to blur the distinction between a fully automated webinar and a live webinar presentation, such that they are almost indistinguishable to an attendee of a webinar.
EverWebinar's software platform and service - which is not to be confused with Mike Filesaime & Andy Jenkins' live webinar platform called Webinar Jam - was designed and developed to "simulate" a live webinar or webcast, but do it so it is on autopilot, making it potentially a powerful combination.
Lets now take a look at 5 key innovations to webinar automation software tools.
1. Your Automated Video Presentation Can Be Anything You Like
The first thing to note about this automated platform is that the recorded video presentation can really be anything you want it to be so long as it is in mp4 video file format. This opens up bags of flexibility and possibilities to create different styles of webinar presentation that will suit all types of businesses.
If the video presentation that you want to use is not in mp4 format, just get it reformatted to mp4, which is much easier than might think. Simply search google for a free online video converter.
….and just like a live event, if an attendee arrives slightly late to the scheduled time, they will join an event that has already started rather than from the beginning - as with fully automated software solutions - giving it a live authentic feel.
Also, should an attendee hit the refresh button in their web browser while they are in the virtual room, the event will not start over, like a video would, but it simply picks up where the presentation left off, simulating a live broadcast.
2. Simulated Webinar Chat Interaction Just Like A Live Event
During a live webinar you'll get a lot of interaction e.g. attendees' instant messaging with the presenter, the presenter pushing out questions to the audience, conducting surveys, or even conducting polls, which by themselves create a real sense of community and buzz, and it is these interactive webinar exchanges than make an event feel live.
The software can automate all these things.
It can even "simulate" these interactions, inject polls, questions, surveys, etc into the recorded video presentation and have them pop up at precisely the point that you want them to. In other words it doesn't have to be part of the original video presentation to be added to your automated webcast.
The software's live chat simulator lets you import a chat transcript or create a chat roll entirely from scratch and then precisely synchronise it to the exact moments in your webinar presentation just like a live event, making your automated events feel real, engaged and more exciting.
You also have the ability to clean up chat interactions by removing comments if for example it is off topic or inappropriate, modify the chat, or even create entirely new chat interactions. It's entirely in your control.
"For example, you can create a simulated question, and then have it answered by a simulated moderator. The advantage of this is that you can tailor the chat interaction to be more informative to your attendees and so ensure they get to hear your most important message(s) ".
Imagine the possibilities?
Imagine the possibilities of being able to go through a chat scroll and pick out questions and comments that you weren't prepared for and perhaps didn't address properly. So now you can clarify points and ideas. Maybe you want to elaborate on an issue that you hadn't previously considered to be that important but but discover during your life webinar that the issue is clearly important to your attendees and customers.
"In other words you can create a simulated interactive chat that is even more valuable and informative to your attendees than what you might get from a live chat exchange."
And another interesting feature is that in the same way as with a live event you have attendees joining and leaving the webinar room, you can mimic that experience by pre-defining your desired attendance peak level.
The software will then automatically and progressively build up attendance numbers to your prescribed peak level and thereafter have attendees slowly drop off as the event rolls out to its conclusion, which is what normally happens on live webinars.
Which leads me to the next important innovation, which is referred as a hybrid webinar.
3. Run Webinars Fully Automated Or As A Hybrid Webinar
Everwebinar's live event simulation software gives you the option to run the webinar presentation completely on autopilot, or if you prefer you can retain more control of the webinar by using the hybrid webinar feature.
This unique feature allows you to run your on-demand video presentation on autopilot while you focus on being active in the chat room answering attendees' questions, which is why it's referred to as a hybrid webinar because it's part recorded and part live.
With the hybrid feature you have the option of building lots of webinar assets online that pull in leads & sales on virtual autopilot. Or you task the job of moderating the chat and answering attendee questions to a member of your staff, or you can simply outsource it, which frees up more of your time to prepare your next live evergreen webinar event.
The flexibility and efficiency of the software could provide a very powerful tool to add to any company's marketing arsenal.
"And the more webinar assets you create and run on autopilot online for your business, the more quality leads, customers and sales you'll be able to pull into your sales and marketing funnels, absolutely hands free."
Is Simulated Hybrid Webinars Better Than A Live Webinar?
Everwebinar's innovations, many of which are unique in the webinar industry, in particular the ability for a real person to pop in and out of the webinar and interact with attendees in real time, blurs the line between a simulated webinar and an actual live.
In fact the product developers believe that this innovation along with the ability to customise the chat roll so it is more invaluable and informative to the attendees, is why some customers are seeing sales conversions that are even higher than the live webinar!
4. Unique Scheduling Approach To Your Automated Webinars
Unique scheduling technology lets you set up your pre-recorded webinar to play at specific dates and times that can run monthly, weekly, or even daily, so you can set up your on demand webinar at a time that is as convenient as possible for your target audience.
In fact with the detailed analytics and data that this software platform provides you, you can identify what time appears to work best for your target audience and set a schedule based on that data.
You can even set time-zone auto detect to run your webinar at a specific time of the day no matter where in the world your visitor is based, enabling you to exploit the best time to play your webinar regardless of time zone differences.
5. Just In Time Webinars
After executing thousands of automated webcasts and webinars, the developers learned that a big factor in determining the success of your event is to make sure that the person that registers actually turns up to the event, which makes complete sense.
Why is that?
Because, if an attendee doesn't show up then everything you did to get a visitor to your registration page and then to enrol for your webcast, would have been a waste of time.
So the product developers came up with a novel solution which they call "Just In Time Webinars".
"Your Just In Time For The Next Broadcast!"
With the "Just in time webinars" you can add even more flexibility to your auto scheduling, by offering visitors the opportunity to watch the next shortly to be broadcast webinar that so happens to be starting in the next few minutes!
This gives your visitors a better more conveniently tailored experience.
However, what's likely to be more important to business owners is the fact that existing customers of the Everwebinar have reported attendance rates ranging between 70-90% when using the Just-In-Time option.
That's more than double the attendance rate, even for a live event!
Other Positives of Everwebinar's Software automation
1. Just 3 Minutes To Convert A Live Recorded Event To An Evergreen Webinar
If you are an existing Webinar Jam member that uses the Webinar Jam platform to broadcast live events, then the good news is that it takes just 3 minutes to go from having a live recorded webinar to creating an evergreen automated webinar that you can use on autopilot.
Simply import a past live webcast and Everwebinar will automatically convert it giving your prospects access to a virtually indistinguishable-from-a-live-event webinar, 24 hours a day 7 days a week, or howsoever you want to configure your webinar schedule.
If you're not a webinarJam customer, new customers of Everwebinar get to try out Webinarjam's live webinar broadcasting platform for free for 3 months.
2. Custom & Optimised Template Registration Landing Pages
The software platform also takes the pain and headache out of creating a registration landing pages. You get access to dozens of professionally designed templates that you can use. What's more you can search and select the best converting registration page according to the average opt-in ratio experienced across all users of the platform.
Because the software is web based there is nothing to install, so it works on Apple Mac, Windows and Linux operating systems.
You don't even have to host the webinar registration page or the simulated webinar as the platform will do it for you.
And if you want to test 2 different registration landing pages to identify which works best for your business, you can do that too, with the A-B split testing feature that will help you to maximise registrations.
3. Full Blow Auto Responder Integration
Fully integrated autoresponder system is built right into EverWebinar. You even get a full blown email followup auto responder and SMS message management application to keep your webinar registrants in the loop.
You can also integrate your own auto responder service with copy and paste ease so you can integrate and automate a complete email sequence to keep in touch with your best prospects.
4. Simplicity of Use Plus More Webcasting Innovation
The software developers understood when they were developing this automated webinar system that their customers are business owners and entrepreneurs who may not be tech savvy, and many simply don't have the time or resources to learn a complicated system.
So they came up with a webinar automation software system that is not only reliable but easy to use so there's no need to hire expensive web developers or software engineers just to run your automated webinars.
The set up is intuitive, quick and simple to follow.
To get your first automated webinar up and running simply follow their step-by-step instructions that practically forces you to set up your automated webinar correctly.
Everwebinar achieves simplicity and ease of use, which is a big thing for entrepreneurs and small business owners who don't have a lot of time and who need tools that they can pick up and run with quickly.
In fact there's a lot more that can be said that is not covered here because the software incorporates many of the innovations that its sister platform, Webinar Jam Studio first introduced to the market in 2014.
Give Everwebinar a test run today, risk free for the next 30 days. Plus if you're not already a Webinar Jam customer you get to try out Webinar Jams's Studio live webinar platform for 3 months at no cost.
You'll also get an incredible amount of bonus resources and "how to" training, from beginner to advanced strategies.
More Top Performing Webinar Software Services & Platforms
Doing a comparison of webinar platforms is actually very difficult. The reason is because fundamentally while many of the platforms essentially do the same thing i.e. broadcast live media presentation over the internet, their marked differences are found in their functionality, easy of use, their backup support and their "other available resources".
And so while there are many review and comparison sites providing information about the various webinar platforms and their key features, they are only able to at best provide a brief overview of what each service offers. And when I say brief overview, I mean that the information is so light on detail that it is virtually impossible for anyone to make any kind of informed decision.
So to the question what is the best webinar platform or service for a given business it really boils down to what your ultimate objective is for holding a webinar and of course what you are prepared to pay.
For example, if your webinars are primarily used to connect with small groups of attendees, perhaps with other colleagues in your company or industry in other locations, and you need collaborative tools and a means of sharing files, etc then you'd be better served with software services (often referred to as video conferencing software) that focus on this type of functionality.
Or perhaps your focus is simply to have a tool so your can teach or give information style presentation without all the sales and marketing tools that are provided with services like those provided by Webinar Jam, WebinarJeo & WebinarsOnAir to name a few.
If that is your anticipated use then you might want to take a more detailed look at the following platforms and services and actually contact these companies to see if you can get a free trial so you can conduct a test run on the software's suitability for your intended use:
Zoom produced by U.S company Zoom Video Communications provides a software service that combines video conferencing, online meetings, and mobile collaboration into one platform. For larger capacity audiences, its Video Webinar service, which is a non-collaborative tool, will allow up to 10,000 attendees but it charges based on the number of attendees.
2. Adobe Connect
Adobe Connect, an adobe flash based platform first developed by Presedia and which later became Adobe Connect, is a software that creates presentations, video conferencing and desktop sharing and collaboration tools. It too has a non-collaborate webinar version that charges according to the number of participants, so if you have potentially a large number of attendees it can work out quite expensive.
GotoMeeting, a web-hosted system by Citrix Systems that also provides GoToWebinar, is an online meeting, desktop sharing and video conferencing software suite. It was an early adopter of online video conferencing solutions and a popular choice in the internet marketing space. However, they too are expensive and charge by audience size.
However, as a frequent attendee of GoToWebinar, since many of my online marketing colleagues use this system, I personally find it very glitchy perhaps because it requires frequent software downloads that is dependant on end-user system compatibility, which is why I refer webinar platforms that are more cloud based.
4. Cisco Webex
Cisco Webex formerly known as WebEx Communications provides on-demand collaboration, web conferencing, online meeting and videoconferencing software applications. But at costs from $19 per month for just 8 people per meeting it's not a very cost effective solution.
However, that said it is an industry leading platform and works extremely well for presentation and teaching style online meetings. But it's not a strong platform if you are looking for something with a slant towards sales and marketing so it's important to focus your buying decision on what it is you need from your webinars.
MegaMeeting by MegaMeeting LLC which launched in February 2004, is a web based solution for online training, seminars and product demonstrations.
Its webinar platform has many of the usual features that one might expect from a webinar platform such as polls & surveys, public and private chat options, paypal payment gateway, screen sharing e.g. PowerPoints, documents and websites, etc. But like many companies it charges by number of attendees and if you're looking for marketing and sales features, this may not be the most suitable platform. However, if cost is not an issue and you don't use your webcasts for selling your product or service, then this too is a good service to consider.
Other platforms that are worth considering are WebinarsOnAir, ReadyTalk, Onstream & AnyMeeting.
WebinarsOnAir like Webinarjam (WJ) is a Google+ Hangouts platform and offers many of the functionality that WJ offers, but pricing is more expensive and it doesn't come with the detailed expert training that you get with WJ.
Both ReadyTalk and Onstream are cloud-based platforms and offer a good deal of choice whether you're looking for a video conferencing style platform or a webinar style platform. However, they both come at a price and so it may be more attractive to well established businesses and online professionals that already have a strong online presence and customer following and who can quickly absorb the cost of running their webinars.
Webinar Best Practices
Whether you're new or a seasoned expert at running webinars, adopting best practices in running live webinars and webcast events will go a long way to boasting your ROI on both your time and money.
Therefore, adopting practices and marketing strategies that have been tried, tested and proven to improve the success of a webinar event is key, whether that's measured by numbers of registrations to your online event, boosting participation rates or simply getting more engagement or ROI.
Of course you'll want to do all three well for a truly successful webinar. You can learn about the 4 critical factors that will boost the ROI success of your next webinar by checking out a simple to follow Blueprint that offers advanced webinar marketing strategies and best practices.
A User's Experience