Everyone seems to be catching on to the awesome benefits of using webinars.
They’re engaging, personable, less scripted, and interactive. They’re a lot more entertaining than a blog post or an email, and they’ve been proven to have high conversion rates.
It’s fairly easy to come up with ideas for webinars and find resources on how to host them. But searching for a webinar platform? That’s like searching for a needle in a haystack.
This post includes affiliate links for Crowdcast, but I’m only an affiliate for brands that I already use, love, and would highly recommend to Elle & Company readers.
My love of Crowdcast started much like my love of Squarespace; I’d been through the ringer with so many other platforms that when I finally found Crowdcast, I was immediately hooked.
My webinar journey, in short, went something like this…
I started with GoToWebinar. I’d already attended a few livestreams on their platform and being new to the whole webinar phenomenon, I blindly jumped in.
It was an expensive mistake.
Not only did GoToWebinar limit the number of registrants that could attend the live event, but several times, after promising my attendees (and e-course students) that a replay would be available after a webinar, the recording would conveniently fail..
Each time this happened, I had to either (a) host a second webinar with the same content and hope the recording would work the second go round or (b) record the same content using a different program like Quicktime or ScreenFlow.
Both of those options costed me extra time to accomplish something GoToWebinar advertised and should have provided.
In my frustration, I began to look for other options and ran across this Smart Passive Income article explaining the benefits of using Google Hangouts to host webinars.
While there’s a 30-second delay with Google Hangouts, there’s no limit on how many people can attend a webinar. The broadcasts are automatically recorded and uploaded to Youtube afterward, too.
That was all the convincing I needed. I signed up for WebinarJam - the platform recommended in the article - and tested it out…
...but again, I was very disappointed.
Their user interface wasn’t intuitive. The design of their website and landing pages felt spammy. And their customer service was sub par. The Google Hangout integration was great, but the negatives overshadowed it. So I continued to search for another option.
I discovered that a few trusted sources were using Webinar Ninja, so I decided to give it a try.
But it turns out the third time wasn’t a charm.
Not only did it take me 30 minutes to set up a webinar and customize the registration landing pages, but their website was hacked twice while I was a paying member, almost forcing me to cancel a webinar that I had been advertising for weeks.
I had just about thrown in the towel on webinars altogether when 2 friends of mine, Paul Jarvis and Jamie Starcevich from Spruce Rd., told me about Crowdcast.
So, once again, I took the leap.
And this time, I was totally blown away.
12 reasons I fell in love with Crowdcast
1 | Google Hangout integration
When I first purchased Crowdcast 6 months ago, they provided a package that hosted webinars through Google Hangouts. Like I mentioned earlier, there’s a 30-second delay when you use Hangouts, but this option allows me to have an unlimited number of attendees join in a webinar. And I’m all about unlimited attendees!
Sadly, Crowdcast no longer offers integration with Google Hangouts. Bummer, I know. But they did hook me up with a special coupon code for Elle & Company readers! Follow this link and use the coupon code ELLECHAT-20 for 20% off your first 2 months of Crowdcast. (Thanks Crowdcast!)
2 | Questions & Topics
Most webinar platforms don’t have a separate question section; you have to root through comments to see specific questions that attendees have asked throughout the livestream.
Not only does Crowdcast have a separate question section, but it allows attendees to ask questions ahead of time, vote on questions, and see each question on the screen as it’s being answered.
The questions with the highest number of votes appear at the top of the Question & Topics section and attendees can comment on each one, jump straight to the answer if they’re watching the recording, and even share the answer on social media.
Crowdcast’s approach to asking and answering questions is easy and fun for both the host and the attendees. It’s one of my favorite features of using the platform.
3 | Polls
In addition to the Questions & Topics section, Crowdcast offers another great feature for engagement: Polls.
Polls are an easy way to interact with your audience and turn the webinar into a 2-way conversation. They gauge the interest of your audience on certain topics and require less of people than leaving questions and comments.
You can set up polls ahead of time so attendees can begin answering the questions after they register, or you can create a poll while your webinar is live and ask attendees to weigh in with their feedback.
Crowdcast makes it super easy to set up polls and see the results. I love this feature.
4 | Separate comment section
Crowdcast also makes it easy for attendees to leave feedback and interact with each other in the Comment section on the right side of the window.
And, because it’s separate from the Questions & Topics section, you can minimize the comment section as you’re hosting to cut back on distractions.
5 | Replays are a breeze
Crowdcast automatically records each live webinar, and the replay is accessible through the same registration/webinar link. This is especially helpful for those who are unable to join the live webinar (and for hosts like me who like to round up past webinars in an archive on their website).
Replay viewers also have access to the questions, polls, and comment sections.
(And, unlike the other webinar platforms I’ve used in the past, I’ve never had an issue with accessing webinar replays with Crowdcast. That’s pretty amazing, considering I’ve hosted close to 30 webinars using their platform!)
6 | Viewers can be invited onto the screen
In that Question & Topics section I mentioned a moment ago, there’s also an option to invite the user onto the screen to ask their question live.
Not only does this make the webinar seem more engaging and personable, but it gives you (and your viewers) an opportunity to see and interact with those who are tuning in live and speak to them “face-to-face.”
Crowdcast gives you the option of turning viewers into broadcasters. It’s pretty cool.
I haven’t tried out this feature quite yet, but I might give it a go in an upcoming Ellechat soon...
7 | The design and layout is easy on the eyes and intuitive
As a designer, the look and feel of a webinar platform is important to me. While I don’t want it to ever detract from the content I’m sharing in my broadcast, I want the window to look clean and professional.
Crowcast exceeds my expectations in this area.
Their user interface and webinar windows aren’t busy; they’re simple and straightforward.
And while I’m unable to change the fonts and colors to match my brand, I like not having to worry about all the customizations. They’ve done a great job of choosing neutral colors and fonts that hold up well for any brand.
Crowdcast also gives you the option to add a cover image that appears on the registration page, which is a great way to incorporate your branding and let your audience know they’re in the right spot.
8 | Call-to-action is front and center
Whether you’re trying to sell a new product or you’re sharing helpful information, you often want to include a call-to-action somewhere in your webinar window and direct your viewers to another page.
Crowdcast not only allows you to include a button for your call-to-action, but it places the button front and center on the screen.
See that bright green button below the video?
By placing the call-to-action in a prominent place, you’re able to call attention to it and easily point your audience to a sales page or link to another helpful resource.
9 | Registration is super easy
Registering for a webinar should be quick and simple.
No bells and whistles are necessary. Instead, the registration page should include a brief overview of the event, a countdown, and a register button.
Crowdcast does all of the above. I love the look and simplicity of their registration pages.
When visitors land on the registration page (which is the same URL as the webinar livestream page and the replay), they only have to click the “Save my spot” button, enter their email address, and they’re good to go.
Once they register, Crowdcast will take them straight to the webinar page where they can begin asking questions, leaving comments, and answering polls.
But that’s not all. Crowdcast allows registrants to save the event to their calendar and automatically sends them reminders about the event via email.
I mean, really. Is there anything they haven’t considered?
10 | Detailed analytics
It’s always helpful to see how many participants join your webinar, where they’re tuning in from, and what percentage of males/females register for an event.
The detailed analytics section in Crowdcast allows you to see all of the above, as well as your audience’s social media following and engagement (for those that register with social media).
Like the rest of the platform, the design of the analytics section is simple and straightforward, making it easy to see and understand all the information.
11 | Both free and paid events
If you want to host a free webinar, you can easily do that with Crowdcast. And if you want to host a paid webinar, you can easily do that with Crowdcast.
Crowdcast easily syncs with Stripe to handle payments and you don’t have to wait around for payouts; they send the money to your Stripe account right away once someone purchases.
You can also set up coupon codes with Crowdcast, too.
12 | Customer service is fantastic
Customer service is a biggie for me, especially after my past history with webinar platforms. I want to know that if there’s ever a problem or if I come across a question, I can quickly get in touch with someone who can point me in the right direction.
I’ve been extremely impressed with Crowdcast support.
Whenever I have a question, I simply go to my dashboard, click Live Support, and enter my question. I’ve never waited longer than 15 minutes to get a response, and the staff that reply are always helpful and thorough in their response.
After 3 terrible experiences with other webinar platforms, Crowdcast seemed too good to be true.
But after hosting close to 30 webinars with Crowdcast over the past 6 months, I couldn’t recommend them enough. They deliver on everything they promise, their user interface is simple and fun to use, and their support is fantastic.
If you’ve been struggling to find a reliable webinar platform, Crowdcast is where it’s at.
And don’t forget to use the coupon code ELLECHAT-20 for 20% off your first 2 months of Crowdcast after following this link!
What webinar platforms have you used in the past? What are your favorite Crowdcast features?