As we draw increasingly closer to the one year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is shocking how much has changed. Organizations and businesses world-wide have had to shut their doors, send employees home and scramble to provide some sense of normalcy to employees, members and supporters. It was through this attempt that many turned to virtual events, webinars and conferences to share information and human connection while utilizing safe practices.
As an organization that has been virtual from its inception, Sidecar has extensive experience with tackling virtual events and the platforms to host them. We believe we don’t get better alone; we get better together. So, to help you help the world, here are five platforms we’ve checked out, and the pros and cons of each.
As the most affordable option on our list, Virtual Summits Software offers all the basics for broadcasting your own workshop or conference. Starting at $97/month for its standard package, this platform offers a schedule and landing page builder, sponsor categories, attendee and speaker management, and automated reminders. Unfortunately, Virtual Summits does not allow you to have a live chat option nor does it track attendance.
Livestorm offers a free plan to discover and test the platform for 20-minute sessions with up to 10 live attendees. As you move forward with the premium experience at $99/month, webinars move to a four-hour limit with unlimited webinar registrants and 100 live attendees, with the option to increase those limits. This platform also offers a live chat option, has great analytics, alerts you when registrants enter or leave the webinar, Zapier integration and an automated video release. The downside is that you cannot host more than 1,000 people in your webinar or conference.
My Own Conference
Billed in daily, monthly or yearly installments My Own Conference has pricing tailored specifically to individual event needs. Also offering a free lifelong trial, this platform offers premium subscribers the ability to have anywhere from 1-10,000 attendees, up to 10 cameras in the webinar, offers a live chat feature and has great webinar analytics. But if you are looking for a more hands off approach to your webinar, this may not be the platform for you.
Offering three subscription options, EasyWebinar has many features for all budget sizes. With a 25% discount on annual billing, this platform allows users to have up to 2,000 attendees, unlimited automated webinars, embeddable registration and multiple CRM integrations, and the EasyWebinar Live Engine has its own IOS and Android app. Unfortunately, a live chat feature is only available when the event itself is live.
Last but not least, BigMarker offers packages starting at $99/month. As the platform that we use for our virtual workshops, we have extensive experience using BigMarker. Offering live, on-demand and recurring webinars, numerous integrations, live chats for recorded and live events, reminder emails and more, this platform works well in many settings. On the downside, the learning curve for using this platform with confidence is a bit steep because it has so many options when building out each event.
Choosing the platform that works best for your organization shouldn’t be another stressor on your plate. Use this list to help narrow down your search, and no matter which one you choose, we know your webinar or conference will lead to positive change.