With so many online tools available these days, it’s hard to know which to use.

Webinars and Web conferencing are terms that people use interchangeably. Although they have a lot of similarities — audio and visual features, the ability to provide presentations and use whiteboards — they’re not the same thing.

In order to decide which one you need, you’ll need to know a little bit more about each one. In this article, we’ll explore what the differences are and when you should use webinars and when you should use web conferencing.

 

How Small is Your Audience?

When you’re planning an event, even online, you have to know how many people you’re expecting. Is this an event for 5 people? 50? 500? How many people you have attending will direct what kind of event you have.

If you’re having a small online event, say you want to train your 5 new branch managers, then a web conference may be the way to go. A web conference allows for collaboration and gives everyone the chance to speak and ask questions. You not only build community in your organization, you can also make sure that everyone’s input is heard, and you can get a feel for what other support they might need.

 

How Big is Your Audience?

However, if you’re having an event for 500 people, web conferencing is not going to work. You’re going to have a hard time controlling a conversation with that many people, and you don’t want your message to get lost. This is when you would choose a webinar.

Webinars give you more control over the conversation. You can choose to share the presenting with someone else, or not. You can also decide when, if at all, you want audience input. Rather than a full-on conversation, where everyone gets a chance to speak, you can do a Q&A session, moderated chat or polls and surveys to get audience input.

 

How to Control the Conversation

In a web conference, the whole session is open for people to share. For a webinar, you can hold a live Q&A. Q&A is the portion of the webinar where you allow your audience to ask questions and you answer them. You can make this portion of the event as long or as short as you like, depending on your needs.

Webinars also enable moderated chat. If you’re not going to do a live Q&A, people can still ask you a question and then you can publish it at the right time so that everyone benefits from the answer. If you want to gauge what your audience understood or get feedback from them, you don’t have to turn over control of the webinar; you can simply use Polls & Surveys to get their opinions or see what they know.

 

What’s your purpose?

When you have a large organization, or offices spread out in different parts of the world, it’s hard to get everyone in one place to hold important meetings or collaborate on a new product.

Web conferencing allows you to meet with people all over the world at one time without the costs and planning of traditional, in-person meetings. Web conferencing is a great tool when you want everyone to have input.

However, if you’re looking to train a large group of people, launch a new product, establish yourself as an expert in your field or make money from your online event, then a webinar is the right tool for you.

 

Do You Want to Profit?

Your knowledge is valuable. Webinars allow you to share information with a large group of people at one time and charge for your event using Paid Webinars.

Now, you don’t have to try to sell tickets to a large event at the Marriot in Des Moines, Iowa. You can do the same thing from your home or office and not have to pay for travel costs or event space. You can charge a fee for people to attend your online event and share your knowledge and expertise with them easily.

Once you’ve done your online event, you can make it available to those who paid as an on-demand webinar. You can allow people to go back and watch you even over and over again to gain clarity on your field, feel inspired, or get more information.

 

So, which is Right for Me?

Both tools are great for engaging people without the costs associated with traditional meetings and training sessions. When planning your online event, you want to look at your purpose and the size of your audience to determine which is the best online tool for your particular event.

You may even use both. You may start with a web conference with your managers, then decide you need a large training for your sales team and make the switch to a webinar. Either way, you have a ton of great online tools you can use to make your event the best it can be.

Be sure to check out all of the features ClickMeeting offers, so you’re making the most of your event, whichever one you choose.

Posted by Jakub Zielinski

Jakub is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist at ClickMeeting.

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