GoToWebinar is a web conferencing tool that allows you to create and broadcast live and pre-recorded webinars (web seminars) with up to 1000 attendees. Created by Citrix Online, GoToWebinar is a Software as a Service (SaaS) product, which means that customers subscribe to the application rather than purchasing a license for it.

GoToWebinar is a part of Citrix Online’s suite of productivity tools, which also includes the GoToMeeting online conferencing service, the GoToTraining online training software, and other related services. GoToWebinar includes a full subscription for GoToMeeting.

GoToWebinar basics

GoToWebinar lets you broadcast online seminars to up to 1,000 participants, if you opt for the top of the line $499/month plan. The service covers most features related to sustaining seminars over the Internet, from sending out invitations to prospective attendees, to webcasting the event and analyzing the results of your efforts.

Working with GoToWebinar is one of the most efficient ways of educating people, no matter if you’re working with potential clients, employees, trainees, or other target groups. Here are just a few ways to use GoToWebinar:

  • Hold an online seminar, be it educational, scientific, or professional
  • Train customers or employees
  • Marketing
  • Communicate with large numbers of employees or colleagues.

No matter what you plan to do with GoToWebinar, the service makes it quick and easy to create and hold an online event. In fact, GoToWebinar is so user-friendly that even someone with no technical knowledge or prior experience in webinaring can jump in right away. The user friendliness and the intuitive nature of the service is one of the biggest selling points for GoToWebinar, especially when you compare it with Adobe Connect or some other competing solutions.

To start webinaring, all you need to is to sign up for a plan. Don’t worry, anyone with an Internet connection can participate to your events without registering for the service. If you prefer it, you can install the dedicated GoToWebinar application on your PC or Mac to have easy access to all the features and functions of the software.

Inviting people to attend your event is a very important step for holding successful webinars. Fortunately, with GoToWebinar it’s easy to create custom invitations and send them to hundreds of prospective attendees at a time. You can indicate what information is included in the invitation, such as the date and time of the event or the phone number required to access the audio conference. GoToWebinar offers a set of handy templates, that you can use to quickly create professional-looking invitations that will attract people and motivate them to participate to your conference.

Holding a webinar with GoToWebinar

Once you start your webinar, GoToWebinar lets you share with your audience a specific application, such as Powerpoint or Word, your entire desktop, and even multiple monitors. The software also gives you a set of tools that you can use to emphasis specific elements, including a highlighter, a pointer, and an arrow tool.

GoToWebinar supports images and video sharing, but keep in mind that large multimedia files can cause lag and degrade the experience for your audience. The quality of the videos is mediocre due to data compression, so if you need to run multimedia-intensive webinars, GoToWebinar may not be your best choice. Also, the service does not support video streaming, meaning that you will not be able to use it as a video conferencing tool.

By definition, a seminar lets attendees interact, and GoToWebinar does a good job of enabling and encouraging participation. For example, users have two methods of “dialing in” the seminar – by telephone or via Voice over IP (VoIP). In the first case, GoToWebinar supplies a randomly generated phone number that users call to join the teleconference. You can also purchase a toll-free plan with included minutes from Citrix Online. With the VoIP option, users access your webinar from their computers using their speakers and microphones.

Users can virtually raise their hands to ask questions, and you can select which participant you want to engage. Another feature that lets you interact with your audience is the polling tool, which enables you receive feedback from attendees in real time.

Once the webinar is over, you can query various reports that show you how effective the event was. For example, you can see how many people answered your invitation to the webinar or how many participants asked questions. In addition, the post-webinar survey tool lets you directly ask the input of your attendees. This option is great if you want to hone your content and improve your webinaring skills.

GoToWebinar pricing

GoToWebinar offers three monthly subscription plans, depending on how many users you need:

  • $99/month for 100 attendees
  • $399/month for 500 attendees
  • $499/month for 1000 attendees

All plans come with a 20% discount if you subscribe to GoToWebinar for an entire year and include a 30-day risk-free trial period. Multi-user accounts can be accommodated. Every GoToWebinar subscription also provides you access to GoToMeeting, Citrix’ online meeting service.

The bottom line

GoToWebinar is a feature-rich web seminar service, packaged in an intuitive yet powerful interface that makes it appealing to both novices and seasoned users. The few limitations of the service (no video conferencing, poor video quality) are offset by the wealth of innovative features provided by GoToWebinar.

Although the price of the service may be a little high for some users, the benefits of webinaring certainly make GoToWebinar an attractive investment.