Webinar Tools

Small Business Webinar Tools

When combined with great resources, useful downloads, and soft sell approaches, webinars offer a way to engage prospects and customers at a higher level.

Here are a few webinar services for you to consider.  Most of these define meetings differently from webinars, in both number of participants and pricing,  so if you simply want to run an internal meeting with remote users there are affordable options within this set of providers.

imagesMost of these offer the ability for you to present from a video camera (web cam) or just from your computer microphone via VOIP or via a regular phone. Most do not recommend calling in from a cell phone if you’re the presenter/moderator.  All of these allow you to share your screen, which is usually at the core of any webinar presentation.

The first five are the well-known heavy hitters in the webinar platform world.  They offer a track record and stability that you have to admire, but if you happen to need other options, we include 21 more.

 

Go To Webinar
GoToWebinar is probably one of the most popular services for Internet Marketers and online business owners. Their pricing model increased recently and that is probably the only deterrent for small business.  For up to 100 attendees, it is now $100/month.  For up to 15 people, you can use the GoToMeeting service at $49/month. Free trial for 30 days.
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Verizon
Verizon Small Business Web Conferencing is part of the Verizon Business focus. You can join the collaboration centre and get online meetings and more starting at $24/month, but you need to call a small business representative to get pricing on the web conferencing platform.
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Adobe Connect Pro
Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro has a reputation of being one of the most elegant conferencing solutions and wins awards regularly.  It works as a webinar tool, but adds e-learning components if you need to track how people interact with your material and if they complete certain courses. They offer a 30-day free trial. Monthly fees start at $45, but they also offer a pay-per-use pricing plan which is nice.
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Cisco Web Ex
Cisco WebEx offers unlimited meetings a month for up to 25 people is $49/month.  They are one of the best known web conferencing solutions and offer mobile access (even from an iPhone or iPad), attendee polls, and all the other cool features you hope for in a webinar. Great for one-on-one meetings with sales prospects. Offers a 14-day free trial.
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Gather Place
GatherPlace focus on small business and has a simple-to-understand pricing model.  They offer a free trial with no credit card. Pricing starts at $29/month for up to 5 users.  You can run it in a java-enabled browser or download a small application from them.
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Mikogo
Mikogo is a desktop sharing tool full of features to assist you in conducting the perfect online meeting or web conference. Take advantage of the opportunity to share any screen content or application over the Internet in true colour quality with up to 25 participants simultaneously, while still sitting at your desk. Relatively inexpensive too.
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Tok Box
Tokbox defines itself as a video chat service, but it does most of the same, if not all, of the things a webinar service offers.  Basic video chat for up to 20 people is free.  Share presentations, documents and videos.  Send pre-recorded video messages.
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Dim Dim
Dimdim is one of the new webinar players on the market. They have created an open platform with a forever free plan for up to 20 users.  Paid plan starts at $25 for up to 50 people.
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Brain Shark
These guys are in a category all their own. They are a webinar platform, but one that offers major tracking capabilities. You don’t conduct live meetings with them, but create the material and then allow people to consume it as they want, on-demand.  You can then see what and how your attendee uses and moves through the content.  Sort of like Slideshare, on steroids.
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Glance
This software is not free but is a widely used, reliable and particularly simple screen-sharing application. Presenters install a piece of software, and can then share PC or Mac desktops with participants on PC, Mac or Linux, who view the desktop through a browser without installing.
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Fuze
Fuze is figuring out the mobile aspect of running a meeting better than almost any of the other webinar platforms.  You can instantly start a meeting from your iPhone or certain Blackberry models.  You can snap a photo and share it in your meeting, too.  Runs great from a desktop.  30-day Free trial, then starts at $29/month for up to 25 users.  Oh, last cool feature Fuze Fetch: You give them attendee phone numbers and they call them for you.
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Ready Talk
ReadyTalk calls itself a white glove solution.  It offers a 30-day free trial and then $49/month for up to 15 users.  They call it white glove because they offer an event support for your important high value events, so you’re not alone in trying to coordinate the many details that often go with supporting a webinar. ReadyTalk is reliable and widely used by nonprofits. It offers strong voice conferencing solutions at additional cost, and voice and visual recording features which integrate fully with the Web solutions, but no support for VOIP conferencing, white-boarding or video conferencing.
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Pow Wow
There are times when you don’t want all the screensharing and video options and just need a conference calling option, so I’ve included one that looks pretty dependable and robust.  Also, you may have some screen sharing capability and only need the phone portion. This would be one to look at.
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Any Meeting
They have a forever free plan for up to 150 people per meeting/webinar. Unlimited number of meetings.  They have an advertiser-based model to support the forever free plan.  Browser based and also has custom registration form options, which is a good feature.
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Mega Meeting
MegaMeeting is a high end web conferencing platform that offers a standard subscription that’s good for small business. They also offer the software for purchase and use on your own servers. It comes at a high price point, but if your business depends on webinars it might be worth a look. Offer a free trial and then plans start at $45/month for up to 3 users.
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Zoho
Zoho offers a completely free one-on-one online meeting option and then prices start at $12/month for up to five users.  That is one of the best prices in the market.  They also offer a cool feature called Embed Meeting so you can insert the meeting details into your website or blog and actually conduct the meeting right there.
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IBM Lotus
IBM Lotus Unyte.  Okay, these guys are clearly 800 pound gorillas and should be listed above, but hardly anyone I knew realized IBM had a webinar platform.  They offer a free 30-day trial with unlimited use for up to 14 people.  They also offer a completely free one-on-one option that you can use for desktop sharing.  Events subscription starts at $99/month.
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Yugma
Yugma is one of the innovators in the small business webinar space. They offer a completely free option and then prices start at 14.95/month for up to 20 users.  It also supports VOIP conferencing, including a feature that integrates seminars with Skype calls. Presenters can use PC, Macs or Linux. Participants can use almost any system or browser by downloading a Java applet.
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Intercall
Intercall is an audio, video and web conference tool and I was impressed with the iPhone and Blackberry add-ons they have built into it.  They have a Small Business Plan section that they just introduced for unlimited webinars.  Free 30 day trial, of course, they also offer a pay-as-you-go for 10 cents per minute/per user which might appeal when you only need something every now and then.
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Saba
Saba has an eMeetings option which is good for up to 20 people at $15/month and then bigger packages, if you need them, there is a free option too. They offer mobile phone options as well.
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Nefsis
Nefsis makes some bold claims that they are more powerful than Webex and so it made me pay closer attention.  Having done a bunch of webinars,  many platforms can have issues with audio feedback.  This is when you have someone with an open microphone somewhere and it causes static and screeching.  Nefsis states they’ve solved this.  They offer a free trial but their pricing is at the higher end of the scale.  It might fit a specific need for the advanced small business owner doing remote meetings and webinars.
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iLinc
iLinc offers e-learning, webinars, meetings and a way to tie it all into Salesforce.com and create a great customer tracking option.  This will be an important option for many small businesses that have automated much of their marketing work.  They offer a free 30-day trial.
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Inter Call
STREAM57 now part of Inter call, is a Flash webcasting software product that appears to be quite robust and high quality, the demos look like professional newscasts.
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Dialcom
Dialcom offers a collaboration software tool called Spontania that is a client-server solution.  It is used by many large corporations and some smaller ones.  They offer some useful case studies to show how banks, healthcare, and manufacturers have used their video conferencing and collaboration software.
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PGI
PGi Better Meetings appears to offer several solutions its own, plus Adobe, Microsoft and other webinar products as part of its custom approach.
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Desktop Sharing Software

Simple desktop and application sharing tools have fewer features than full online seminar tools, but are often easier for participants to use. They offer a less cluttered interface, making them a good choice for straightforward sharing. Presenters typically install the software on their computers, and share the information on their screens with others at a specific Internet address.

Screen Stream
Free for anyone to use, Screenstream allows Windows PC presenters to share their desktop with participants on PCs, Macs or Linux, who view the desktop through a browser with no install required.
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Team Viewer
While focused more on desktop support situations, Team Viewer allows presenters to share PC or Mac desktops. Both presenters and viewers must download and install an application, making it more appropriate for internal teams than more public situations. A free version of the tool is available for private use.
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