MeetingBurner: The Affordable Alternative to GoToWebinar

January 14, 2014 · 11 comments

About a year ago, I began experimenting with webinars. They proved to be an effective way to share my expertise, build my email list and engage the readers of this blog.

As I explain in this post, which details my return-on-investment from webinars, there’s something powerful about interacting with readers in real time, when they can hear my voice and truly get to know me. Blog posts might bring readers to you, but webinars turn those readers into loyal and active community members.

Image: Choose MeetingBurner for webinars

Readers ask: Which platform do you use for webinars?

Yet when you’re just starting out with webinars, experimenting to see if they’re right for you, you don’t want to invest a lot of money up front. At least that’s how I felt when I began looking into which technology I would use to power my webinars. And it’s why I gasped when I found out how much I’d have to pay to use GoToWebinar, the platform that’s known as the industry standard.

The problem with GoToWebinar

GoToWebinar’s lowest-priced plan is $99/month and allows up to 100 attendees. That’s not a bad price, but I knew straight away the plan wouldn’t work for me, since I hoped to entice at least 100 people to join my events. (Nearly a year later, I can report that I typically see about 300 signups and a 40% attendance rate, so it was smart not to cap out at 100 attendees.)

Then I looked into GoToWebinar’s next-biggest plan, which allows for 500 attendees — and that’s where I gasped. It costs $399/month.

For an established firm that’s bringing in the big bucks, $399/month (or nearly $4,800/year) might be a drop in the bucket, but for my bootstrapped startup, that’s way too much. Especially considering this isn’t the only digital tool we use every month. When you add in fees for MailChimp (for newsletters), Flow (task management), Hootsuite and more, it all adds up. And since we planned to start by offering only one free webinar each month, I knew it wasn’t worth spending that cash.

(Quick side note: I share these specific figures because sometimes the fee for a new tool sounds like a lot of money, but when you actually do the calculations and factor in how much you’ll earn, it’s worth it. In this case, it wasn’t.)

An affordable alternative: MeetingBurner

So I looked around for alternatives, and here’s what I’ve used ever since: MeetingBurner.

Image: MeetingBurnerFor just $99.95/month, MeetingBurner allows 1,000 attendees, making it much more affordable for solopreneurs and bootstrapped startups. It also offers a version for just $39.95/month, which accommodates up to 50 attendees.

Of course, while the price baited me here, price isn’t everything. I also cared about how easy the platform was to use, both for me and for attendees; whether it looked professional; and most importantly, how well it performed.

On all of these accounts, I can now recommend MeetingBurner. The company still has some kinks to work out, and not all components of the platform are perfectly user-friendly or seamless. But MeetingBurner has become my platform of choice, one I’ll continue using for the foreseeable future — and not just because I like supporting the underdog.

MeetingBurner offers all the features I need and want, and whenever I can’t figure out how to do something I haven’t done before, the company’s support team responds quickly via email with helpful instructions.

I use this platform not only to deliver my webinars, but also to hold conference calls and virtual meetings with my Socialexis team. It allows me to record webinars (so you can view them later if you miss the live event), see attendee analytics, hand off the meeting to other presenters, watch attendees chat in real time during the webinar, and more. There’s even a PayPal integration that lets you charge for events — something I’m hoping to try in February with my first paid webinar. (Update: This webinar on contracts for freelancers is now available.)

So for all you readers who have asked how I deliver my webinars, MeetingBurner‘s the answer. Highly recommended.

This is part of a series of posts about tools I use to run my business and blog, a topic readers often ask about. I’ve included affiliate links because I highly recommend the tool, but the creator of this product has in no way directly compensated me for the post (and, in fact, doesn’t even know I’m writing it).

If you have any questions about webinars, I’m happy to answer in the comments!

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Le David Morris January 16, 2014 at 10:37 am

Alexis, I enjoyed the article on webinar pricing. I am looking at several options. Like you I believe that Gotowebinar is pricy. Thanks for the article.
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Laila Atallah January 16, 2014 at 3:14 pm

HUGELY helpful, Alexis! Thanks, as always, for so generously sharing your experience and all the hard-core financial/attendance/etc. numbers.

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Drew Meren January 23, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Hey Alexis,
With my recent move from a company that used Citrix’ GoToMeeting a lot to a company that does not use any very much I found your blog to be most helpful. I have been looking into other webinar sites that are used: Adobe Connect for Webinars is one that seems to offers lots of promise. There is also Google Hangout but it does not look like it should be used for professional purposes with one of the main reasons is not being able to capture the attendee list.
Thanks for posting
Drew

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Joel January 25, 2014 at 1:07 pm

Great article Alexis! I’m not currently at the stage of hosting webinars, having just started my blog, but this will be a great resource when I eventually do.

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Aliasgar Babat November 7, 2014 at 2:00 am

Hey guys, another very good affordable alternative to Gotomeeting is: RHUB web conferencing server. You may try the same.

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Indigo April 21, 2015 at 10:03 pm

If you are using MailChimp, I’m surprised you’re so happy with Meeting Burner. The fact that it doesn’t integrate with MC is the one thing stopping me from getting it. How are you getting around this?
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Alexis Grant April 22, 2015 at 9:18 am

Hi Indigo — I actually don’t use the platform anymore, but when I did, you could use their built-in reminders (emails) for anyone who signs up. Then once the webinar is over, I imported all the emails I collected into MailChimp, right into my webinar segment or onto a separate list where they’d get autoreponders from me. Hope that helps!

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Dawn May 1, 2015 at 6:08 pm

Now that’s an interesting response Alexis – I’m curious! What made you switch from MeetingBurner, and what have you switched to?

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Alexis Grant May 2, 2015 at 8:11 pm

They didn’t really do anything to make me switch — I just needed a break from webinars (they can be a lot of work), and I realized it wasn’t worth paying for the subscription if I didn’t do at least one each month. However, I think if I start doing webinars again on a regular basis, I will look into GoToWebinar instead, since I can afford it at this point. I did like MeetingBurner, it was just a bit clunky/buggy, but a great option if you need something more affordable.

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Shan August 24, 2015 at 12:51 pm

I noticed recently that MeetingBurner does offer integration with MailChimp now, as well as AWeber, InfusionSoft, and GetResponse. Just FYI for people who were looking for that.

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