This is just a quicky review of GotoWebinar by Citrix and dimdim, two online meeting and webinar services that I have used. I’m simply writing this post to share the experience I had with both services and explain why I ended up using the one I ended up using.
After many webinars and some bad experiences, I hope I can make the decision a bit easier for you, if you’re currently on the lookout and unsure which service to go with.
I started out using dimdim, because they offer their services at very attractive prices. At the same time, their platform is still very feature-rich and there’s the added bonus that the meetings and webinars in dimdim are browser based, so that the attendees don’t need to download and install any software to take part.
You can use dimdim for online meetings with up to 10 people, completely for free. Just $25 per month will expand that to 50 users and even the webinar option for up to 1000 attendees is still very affordable at $65 a month. When I was looking for a webinar platform, I wasn’t sure what exactly I’d do with it and I didn’t know if I’d be hosting webinars on a regular basis or not. Because of this, I was happy to find an affordable solution like this.
In total, I held one meeting and two webinars with dimdim, before I stopped using the service. The meeting, including only two other people apart from myself, went down without any issues. The first webinar was a bit more problematic. Some of the attendees couldn’t get the audio-feed to work and there were some other minor glitches along the way.
The second webinar was a catastrophe.
I had invited a guest expert for this webinar, which was being held for paying customers. We tried for about 40 minutes to get everything to work before we gave up and rescheduled the webinar… Among other things, either the audio or the video feed (or both) always went lost when we switched the presentation over to the guest presenter. We also couldn’t find a way to turn off the webcam feed, which was only burning up resources and, if anything, distracting from the actual presentation. The whole thing just felt like we were using a pre-alpha version of a program, with every action accompanied by various glitches and problems.
I was lucky. I was lucky that both the guest expert and the customers were willing to show up again a week later and no-one asked for a refund (although many were clearly frustrated with the experience).
In this age of Google Alerts, it’s not unlikely that a dimdim rep will jump in, in the comments section and let me know that this was a big exception and they’ve served thousands of webinars successfully etc. But the problem here is that there absolutely can’t be exceptions like this. Interaction between yourself and your subscribers and customers is extremely valuable and you can’t take it for granted that people actually make time to show up for a live event. It’s incredibly damaging to your reputation and your business when the attendees are “punished” with a negative experience, once they’ve decided to pay attention to you like this.
GoToWebinar is the webinar platform that pretty much everyone in Internet marketing uses. And once you’ve used them yourself, you’ll see why.
The downsides are that everyone involved needs to download the GoToWebinar software to be able to host or attend webinars and that the prices are pretty steep. The option for webinars with up to 100 attendees will cost you $99 a month, the plan for up to 500 attendees per webinar costs $399 a month and the largest plan, which allows up to 1000 attendees, costs a whopping $499 a month. If you ever wondered why so many marketers desperately pitch their products on webinars, that’s part of the reason, right there.
Having said that, you need to be aware that it takes a bigger list than you might think to even get 100 attendees into a webinar. Basically, look at the average amount of unique clicks you get from sending an e-mail and divide that by three. That’s roughly how many people will show up to a webinar, live. So, it’s not like you need the max. plan if you have a few thousand people on your list.
I’ve hosted about a dozen webinars with GoToWebinar, so far. All of them have been completely glitch-free, I’m glad to say. The GoToWebinar control panel is also very cool, offering you tons of useful features. The learning curve is minimal and I felt right at home with the platform, fairly quickly.
If you find yourself in the same situation as me, a few months ago, where you aren’t so sure about webinars and GoToWebinar just seems too expensive, here’s my advice: Take their 30 day free trial and do at least two webinars during your trial period. The only question is: Are you going to do webinars on a regular basis? If the answer is yes, then go with GoToWebinar.
Don’t worry about the price. It’s very easy to make the money back, even if you are not being pitchy and promotional in your webinars. Particularly the prices of the larger plans can be off-putting but believe me, once you have enough leverage to get 1000 people into a live webinar, a $499 a month price-tag is not going to be an issue for you, anymore.