Which type of webinar is best? Live ones or pre-recorded ones? This is a common question for many entrepreneurs that are considering using webinars for business. In fact, it may be a question you have been pondering yourself. If this sounds like you, you’re in luck because in this post we’re breaking down both types of webinars in the hopes that you can decide whether live or automated webinars would work better for you.
The Differences Between Live and Automated Webinars for Business
For those of you who are not completely clear on what a webinar is, it is essentially an online seminar or web conference, that allows you to directly connect with your potential customers. The host of a webinar will generally share a presentation that teaches something or demonstrates a product. They also will explain their background, and why they are qualified to be giving the presentation.
At the end of the webinar the host will typically finish with a way for the audience to continue working with them in some capacity. This can mean a sales pitch for a product or service, or some other call to action for additional interaction or online education.
Though it might seem obvious, the biggest difference between an automated webinar and one that is live, is that one is presented in real time, and the other is prerecorded and can be shared at one or many scheduled times.
Both live and automated webinars require sign ups from the people who want to attend the presentation. They each give the list of pre-registered attendees a unique link to watch it. Both involve creating a presentation complete with some sort of a soft sales pitch or call to action. You don’t need expensive equipment to host either one. They each allow you to reach hundreds of potential new leads all over the world, and grow your business online.
They both come with their own sets of pros and cons, however. That’s why we’re going to break these advantages and disadvantages below to help you decide which is the best option for your business needs.
Pros and Cons of Live Webinars for Business
- You can engage with your audience in real-time
- If your audience has a question, you can answer it for them instantly
- You can ask your audience questions too
- If needed, you can change your presentation on the fly based on how your audience is reacting/responding to it
- Unlike live events, your attendees can still see you live, but they don’t have to leave the comfort of their own homes
- You’re at the mercy of your internet speed while you are live
- You’re live! And anything can go wrong while you are live
- The power could go out, your internet could go down, audio or video could cut out, etc…
- Perhaps you wake up with a scratchy throat or aren’t feeling well the day of your webinar, making it difficult to share a good presentation
- What if you forget your script or get “stage fright” while on air?
- The audience may not be available at the time you’re presenting
- You have to physically show up at the time you promised you would (i.e. you’re locked into this schedule)
- If you have to reschedule this can upset your audience, and if they paid to attend it could result in a frustrating refund process
- You can record it over and over again until you have the perfect presentation
- If you get nervous while filming, you can start over
- Let’s say you wake up not feeling well – you can reschedule consequence free!
- Should anything else go wrong in the process such as audio, video, internet or other technology issues – it’s not as much of a big deal because you can simply begin recording again
- You can schedule your presentation multiple times with webinar recording software, allowing your audience to register and view it as frequently as you want
- You could be asleep or even on vacation while the presentation is playing, and there’s nothing quite like making money without even being online
- The same webinar can be used multiple times
- The webinar could be added to your sales funnel and combined with automatic email responders and other software to bring in leads, and qualify them 24/7
- Automated webinars typically offer multiple times, making it easier for your audience to schedule and reschedule too
- If they miss it, they can watch at another time and date you’re offering
- There might be a difference in interaction with your attendees as you will be faux interacting.
- You can’t answer questions asked during the webinar in real time although you can get similar experience if you use these strategies
- You’ll need to use caution about mentioning timely events in your presentation
- You can simply re-record it if anything in the presentation becomes outdated or irrelevant
Finding The Happy Medium in Webinars for Business
After weighing the pros and cons of live and automated webinars, there’s a good chance you’re more torn than ever before as to which one is best for you. Then again, if the idea of automating your business, and earning money on autopilot is appealing to you, it might be a no brainer to simply opt for automated webinars. On the other hand, there is sometimes when live webinars are needed if you are going to “conference” with your users.
Is there a happy medium? Yes!
One thing you can do, is host an automated hybrid webinar.
That is of course, provided you’re using a good automated webinar software platform like StealthSeminar. This allows you to present the recorded video, and then come on live at the end to answer unique questions and engage with your audience.
Of course, the kicker is that you will have to show up for the live portion. If you’re goal is to automate your business significantly, this might not be an attractive option because it still locks you into a scheduled time.
Another happy medium option is to host it live, and then share the recording multiple times.
With StealthSeminar, you can record your live webinar on YouTube Live or Ustream.tv. This gives you the authentic feel, and look of being live. Then, you can take the recording and schedule it for new audiences multiple times until you are ready to record another one.
For example, let’s say while you’re sharing the recorded sales webinar different questions keep coming up. Now, you can take those questions and integrate them into a new live webinar, record it, and then share the updated recorded presentation. After that, you can keep recording new webinars as frequently or infrequently as you would like to.
Again, you’ll just want to make sure you re-record new material if anything in your presentation becomes outdated, or no longer relevant. You’ll also want to use caution in saying things like “we’re live” if you plan to use the recording, as you don’t want to lie to the people that are only catching the re-play.
This method won’t allow you to completely automate your business either. Still, it could give you more freedom, and possibly more revenue too.
How To Decide Between Live and Automated Webinars for Business
Ultimately, you are the only one who can make the decision about whether to use live or automated webinars in your business. The good news is, any decision you make doesn’t have to be set in stone. You could do some live videos, and some automated. Or you could do all live, or all automated. Heck, you could do live until you are ready to go on vacation, and then switch to automated ones for a short time. It’s completely up to you.
You might find you love the rush of going live and interacting directly with your audience. Or you could learn you only want to come on live at the end for a unique question and answer session. The beauty of online business is that it can evolve in any number of ways, and you can pivot or completely change things whenever you want.
Whatever you decide to do with your webinars, StealthSeminar can help. Whether you prefer live, automated, or somewhere in between, our software is just what you need to take your business to the next level. Click here to learn more about StealthSeminar.