vs Webinar Express
This week, two ground-breaking new WP plugins have arrived on the scene poised to change the online marketing scene forever!
Two years ago, when Google+ first launched with Hangouts, many marketers quickly picked up on hangouts as a tool that had a ton of potential.
Yet there have remained many things, including environment control, and centralized chatting, that have held Hangouts back from taking their proper place as a true webinar platform replacement system for businesses.
That all changed this week with the arrival of “Hangout Plugin” and “Webinar Express“, two WordPress plugins that aim to solve these shortcomings and take on the webinar platform “big dogs”!
Hangouts provide a free platform for webinars that quickly eliminates many of the barricades of the traditional monthly fees associated with webinars. Powered by Google’s robust hosting platform they are backed by some of the biggest servers in the industry and incredibly robust. Bandwidth optimization is superb, providing a usable experience for many viewers who are in bandwidth restricted regions and not otherwise able to attend. The “on air” feature of hangouts has built in “on the fly” recording capabilities that mean your recording is ready almost as soon as you’re ready to see it!
… And no monthly fees!
WordPress.org self-hosted websites provide a stable, flexible, user-friendly interface for building on top of. In addition to being stable, the prevalence of WordPress makes it easy for anyone to “own their own data” and keep their tools under their own control.
These days it’s easy for any small business to get a WordPress.org based website of their own!
… And no monthly fees! (If you’re already using WP)
The Goal of Hangout Plugin & Webinar Express
The goal of both of these plugins is to replicate a webinar-style experience using WordPress and Google+ Hangouts.
Four critical systems including:
1) Integration with the Hangout video embed
2) a system for future attendees to register for the event
3) a system for sending reminder emails to future attendees so they do not forget the webinar
4) … and a manner for the attendees to ask questions of the presenters during the session.
Both plugins succeeded in meeting these critical core objectives for webinar-replacement.
However, they tackled the issues in different ways and that led to the need to look much closer.
I want to note that both plugins come from teams with a great track record of providing support. They also both have good tutorial videos. You’re in good hands with either support team.
Hangout Plugin Review
– Super easy set up and configuration
– 2 options for type of landing page (long form optin or “guru style” full-image background)
– From installation to “go” in under 30 minutes if you know what you want to present
– Notifications can be sent through the WP software, using the hosting mailer (free)
– Visually unimpressive except when using an elaborate custom background
– Lack of “sequence” of pages for opting in, confirmation, attending.
– Possible to attend without registering
– Minimal configuration options
– Need to install mandrill (free) or similar to avoid notifications going to spam
– Only integrates with Aweber and GetResponse for optins
– No audience chat box
Currently priced at $47 (Pricing is steady for now)
Webinar Express Review
– Visually professional
– Logical “sequence” of pages for opting in, confirmation, attending.
– In dashboard (non-unique) subscriber/registrant/viewer/reviewer statistics
– Easily overwrite the CSS or JS of any internal page with your own code
– Optional replay count-down timer and timed-action (order button) display
– Integrates with nearly any Autoresponder company for opt-ins
– Only 1 option for registration page format
– Setup Intensive (not hard, just a LOT of moving parts)
– Relies on SendReach (only) to send notifications, requiring a monthly subscription
– Chat system currently is Livefyre which kinda sucks for this use. However, the embed field would likely take other chat modules.
– Stats are currently non-unique making them not all that useful
Currently priced at $47 (Goes to ~ $297 in 3 days)
(Go Pro, I do not recommend the Lite Version)
I came into this launch intending to support Walter (Hangout Plugin) due to the truly superb and personal support he provided everyone during the launch. My heart likes to support the underdog and this looked like a great time since he had a unique product. Walter’s been the kinda guy we avidly want to support out here.
Then Mark Thompson’s team came on the scene (Webinar Express) and truly took the game up a notch so to speak.
Both of these guys are quality folks to do business with. And in fact, both plugins deliver what they promise and meet all four of the critical goals. Regardless of which one you buy, you can feel good about these.
Hangout Plugin could very well become a marketing staple with it’s ease of use, simple style and more affordable price tag (after WE goes up).
If you can deal with the unfortunate fact that SendReach (which I’d assume Mark is an affiliate for) is your only way to generate webinar-reminder style notifications from Webinar Express…. then it is hands down your winner at this time.
Webinar Express has the quality, shine, and professionalism to be fully capable of taking this plugin to $297. This is a plugin that is “already ready” to make your business look good.
There is only three days left to grab Webinar Express for the introductory price of $47!
I’m definitely looking forward to doing a LOT more with Webinar Express!
~ Kim ~
Simple Tech Tips For Marketing
BONUS! If you buy EITHER of these plugins through my link above (I must get credit for the sale), open a ticket at my help desk, with the subject “Webinars”, and I’ll hook you up with a free copy of my Webinar Checklist and Webinar Action Tips as soon as I have them ready.
Disclosure: I am an affiliate of both products. I received review copies of both products for the purpose of this review. Thank you to both teams for kindly assisting.