WebinarJam is made for webinar.
It’s made for what creators need to deliver their online seminar. It has all the bells and whistles you need to engage audience, solicit feedback, offer product, and more.
There’s a whole list of stuff it can do for you. And you can read all about it, nodding your head along, agreeing that you need all the fun features.
…until you start using it. The insufficiencies starts to crop up when you start using it. It can happen during the first use, or seventh.
I think that’s what often happens with many softwares, plugins and extensions.
The initial intent (when you’re shopping for a solution) of how you want it to work will change. Your business changed, your products changed, your launch sequence changed, and you need to respond to those changes.
As you realise the software/ plugin/ extension isn’t quite up for the job, that it cannot accommodate those changes, paying for a $300/month software sudden becomes painful. It’s gonna hurt even more if you have a year-long contract.
We have been at that moment a few times now. Realising the imitations of WebinarJam and considering a switch to another webinar platform.
Here’s a list of stuff that I discovered WebinarJam is unable to do:
1. The thank-you page is not customizable.
You can add a video, some text, and survey your registrants, but you can’t do anything beyond that. I think a solution like the Custom Registration Page (where you enter a URL) would be great. At this moment, I can’t change the format/ layout/ styling of the thank-you page.
In a broader sense, I think this is one of the weaknesses of WebinarJam. Many of its features are still very much WebinarJam branded. This goes for the email notifications sent to registrants and webinar room. It would be better if we could incorporate more of our brand identity into those pages and content.
2. There’s no middle ground.
Nothing exist between WebinarJam and EverWebinar.
We bought both products, and the main distinction between the two is live or not-live.
This former runs live webinars, meaning the presenter needs to be live most of the time (not all the time, you can inject pre-recorded video, for example).
The latter runs on autopilot. All the details of the webinar are preload.
Each have their separate set of functionalities. And that’s tricky for me because of the following.
If I want the automation of EverWebinar, but would like to be able to take over the chat room whenever, it is not possible (it only runs the preloaded chat lines). But with WebinarJam, although I have full control of the chat room, I can’t preload video injection, chat lines, product offers, etc.
I realised this insufficiency when we wanted to try evergreen webinars, but would like to be able to contribute live to the chat room. I think this adds a lot of value to the attendees, having someone answering their questions, in real time.
There is the possibility of having their questions emailed to admin and answered post-webinar via email. But I would prefer to strike while its still hot.
EverWebinar is for automating the process, another “make money while you sleep” tool. And it presents the webinar to registrants as if they’re just in time to catch the next webinar. It puts on the facade of a live webinar. That’s why you preload chat lines and all.
But when people see that it’s not live (usually when they ask a simple question and get no response), people get frustrated. And this bugs me.
I want to present the business as authentic (-enough) one. Sure, we can say that they’re just-in-time, but I draw the line at saying that it’s “live”.
This is just one demonstration of how the software have so many great functionalities, but I can’t pick and mix.
3. Advertising with Facebook ads.
Facebook gauge the recommended bid for your ad based on several factors. One of which is the landing page of the ad. Facebook checks: After clicking on the ad, is the page helpful to the person? Does the page converts well?
Back to WebinarJam. When a new webinar is created, it is given a new ID. It means that every related page of that webinar (registration page, thank you page, etc.) will carry this ID in its URL.
So in the eyes of Facebook, a different URL means “let’s check on the conversion rate of this page”.
So for each new webinar, Facebook’s recommended bid is ‘reset’. As there is no ‘history’ of its conversion rate, you’re back to square one, and you’ll have to build confidence/trust with the Facebook’s algorithm again.
That’s frustrating, to say the least.
4. Sending ad-hoc emails.
I found this out at the moment of panic.
A couple of weeks ago, Jeff made some configuration to his Google account and it somehow broke the integration between Google Hangouts and WebinarJam.
As WebinarJam was previously build on Google Hangouts (they have the option of switching to YouTube Live now), the broken integration meant that Jeff was unable to present.
It’s almost 15 minutes passed time, and I could only imagined how frustrated the attendees are, sitting in the empty webinar room.
We needed to send out an email notification explaining the technological hiccup pronto.
I went to the Analytics tab, selected the specific webinar and then expanded the Registrants & attendees tab.
Clicked on the Email all button.
A popup appears. I clicked on create a new email.
And I saw this.
Dang. Wasted 2 minutes to get nowhere.
The only solution I’ve found so far is to create a new notification altogether. I created one with the delivery time that had already passed on the timeline (i.e. before the webinar).
I went back to the Analytics tab, selected the specific webinar, and clicked on Email all. I chose the newly created notification and clicked on Resend email. And voila, its done.
It’s tricky and not so straightforward. But it can be done.
These are the few of things I wished WebinarJam could do, or do better.