Are you considering using a video conferencing solution for your business or using the power of webinar marketing to sell your products or services online?
Web conferencing software is growing in popularity for several reasons: more businesses reaching a global audience, more people starting an online business, more people leveraging the power of video conferencing and webinars to increase sales, and more companies using this technology to cut travel costs and communicate with a increasingly growing virtual workforce.
Whatever the reason, with improving technology and decreasing costs more video conferencing and selling is becoming more and more accessible and a standard part of doing business.
Not surprisingly, the choice of video conferencing and webinar software for businesses is a crucial element of the overall webinar marketing strategy and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Two very popular options on the market right now are Skype and GoToMeeting / GoToWebinar - both stable platforms from reputable companies with a proven track record.
Both have significant strengths and benefits; the right option for you will really depend on how you plan on using video conferencing in your business - let's take a look at each of these starting with Skype.
Skype for Video Conferencing
For many computer users, Skype may have been their first introduction to real-time video conferencing over the internet, even if it was only to talk to parents while away at college or long lost friends who now live on the other side of the country or world.
For those not familiar, Skype is one of the pioneering consumer video chat and voice call options. First released in 2003, it is one of computer technology’s most recognizable brands and can be fond on most PCs and laptops today. Skype has had a number of high-profile owners, including eBay, venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). In 2011, Microsoft made a huge splash by acquiring the company for $8.5 billion USD.
Skype has also become popular for its additional features which include instant messaging and file transfers. It supports various mobile platforms and devices (e.g. Windows Phone, Android, Apple (Mac, iPhone, iPad), etc.) and offers both free and business-oriented services, including:
- Skype to Skype calls (free)
- Calls to mobile devices and landlines (paid feature).
- One to one video calls.
- Group calls (premium feature to add up to 25 people, including yourself).
- Group video calls (premium feature to add up to 6 people).
- Send texts (SMS)
- Voice messages
- Screen sharing and sending contacts.
- Skype WiFi
- Skype Manager and Skype Connect
Skype is a great way to familiarize yourself with video conferencing basics and may satisfy small entrepreneurs who do not need the bells and whistles associated with more specialized software companies.
Generally speaking, Skype is great for doing one-on-one video calls and screen sharing or having meetings with a small group of people. Skype is definitely a better solution for group conferencing versus doing a controlled presentation.
If you're a coach or consultant working with clients one-on-one or in a small group setting; or facilitating any type of smaller group meetings where everyone is an active participant than Skype is an ideal solution for you. It's also a great solution if you just want to say hi to mom!
If you're looking to do more of a one-to-many presentation with a larger group of people then you would consider something like GoToWebinar, which we'll look at in more detail now.
GoToWebinar for Group Presentations
GoToWebinar is the mid-level conferencing software product within the Citrix family. All three (3) of its plans give customers the following:
- Unlimited webinars.
- Unlimited online meetings with GoToMeeting
- Full-service registration and reporting
- Desktop and application sharing.
- Integrated audio and high-definition (HD) video conferencing
- Free mobile apps
- Archived Recordings
GoToWebinar lets you host up to a thousand individuals per presentation. You can present your webinar from Mac computers or PC and attendees can come in from Macs, PCs, or Chromebook, and mobile / tablet devices. GoToWebinar offers automated reminders and follow-up emails so crucial to subscriber list management and attendance.
You can add to Calendar links for Outlook, Apple, Google, and Yahoo!. It also offers one-click recording, polls, surveys and private chat, detailed reporting and an option to add toll-free numbers. Depending on your operating system, you may be able to share specific applications and on-screen drawing tools.
As you can see, based on the number of attendees you can have, GoToWebinar is a great solution if you are doing a presentation for a large group of people. Though you can interact with people and have multiple presenters; think of GoToWebinar more as a solution for presenting to a large group of people rather than as a solution for small group interaction.
As mentioned above, for a one-to-many type presentation there are much more controls available to the presenter, such as muting out others on the call, only having select people on the webinar as speakers.
There are also many interactive components such as being able to create and take live polls on the webinar, unmute individual attendees, and inserting links and handouts into a group chat area.
Another key feature of GoToWebinar is the ability to create automated email reminders to maximize webinar attendance and you can even create followup emails for after the conference. This powerful feature allows you to craft entire email campaigns that help to move your prospects into buying mode.
You can also send out email blasts after the webinar to include a replay of the webinar and slides. This is a big help for those who weren't able to attend in real time and can create additional sales.
GoToWebinar also integrates with many other third-party email service providers so you can effortlessly build your email list with your primary CMS solution. This allows you to use advanced features of behavioral email customization that is available in platforms like Active Campaign to truly tailor your email messages to the actions your client is taking in your website.
GoToWebinar vs Skype: Which is the Best Option?
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, comparing Skype to GoToWebinar is really like comparing apples to oranges as each has it's own particular strengths depending on your use.
I personally use both in my online business depending on what my needs are.
I generally use Skype for doing one-to-one coaching calls with my coaching and consulting clients and use it to communicate with vendors and partners if necessary. I don't really use Skype as a selling tool.
On the other hand, I use GoToWebinar to do webinars and sales presentations to larger groups of people.
If you're already using a webinar to sell then you should strongly consider using automated webinars in your business as well; as you can make your presentations more accessible to attendees and leverage your time. My favorite tool for doing automated webinars is EverWebinar. Another popular option is Stealth Seminar.
With an automated webinar you can create your best webinar presentation once, then replay it over and over again; allowing attendees to select the best times to accommodate their schedule and you truly get time freedom by not having to actually be there live to deliver the presentation. This allows you to leverage your time in new ways and creates automated sales funnels that can do much of the heavy lifting for you.
One final note for consideration as an alternative to GoToWebinar, if you are presenting to smaller groups of people, is GoToMeeting, which is also offered by Citrix. This can handle multiple participants, HD video conferencing; and is a suitable alternative to Skype for those smaller group interactions. Also, Zoom.us is becoming a popular option that can be appropriate for both one-on-one meetings and larger group meetings.