Vectera Review & Tutorial – AppSumo Limited Time Offer 2019
A Zoom killer is on AppSumo.
If you schedule online meetings with clients, coworkers, or prospects, you gotta check out Vectera.
The feature of Vectera that takes the cake for me is the ability to create a meeting room for each client or project. Then everything you do in that room just stays there, like having a dedicated conference room for that client.
That’s fancy. I’ll show you all the features in this video, so stay tuned to the end. Let me know what you think Vectera got right, and what they got wrong down in the comments.
AppSumo’s Limited Time Vectera Deal
The AppSumo deal is fairly straightforward – $69 gets you lifetime access and 2 GB of storage for your meeting rooms. You’re going to want that storage as you upload files or make recordings of the meetings, and we’ll get into that later.
If you add a second code, you’ll be able to add your own custom domain name and you’ll get a second host, so up to two people can run separate meetings concurrently.
Have a bigger team? You can stack up to 5 codes total, giving you an additional two hosts per code. It’s important to know that each host gets its own 2 GB of storage, but the storage isn’t shared across your team. (A confusing decision – Vectera’s own website seems to contradict AppSumo’s terms.)
Connect Your Calendar
Getting started is easy. First, connect your calendar. Vectera supports Apple, Google, and Microsoft’s calendar platforms so chances are you won’t have trouble integrating.
Connecting to my Google Calendar was simple and it only took a few clicks.
Create an Appointment Type
Next, you’ll want to create an appointment type. From the main dashboard, click the create appointment type button.
Give the appointment type a name and a brief description. You’ll be able to change the public link for your meeting or even disable the appointment from showing up on your booking page completely.
You can choose between an online and an offline meeting. If you choose an offline meeting, I like it that you have the option to set the location for the meeting, like your office for example.
Next you can specify how long the meeting will last and even give yourself some buffer time before and after the meeting, so you’re not rushing from one call to the next.
You can also add additional questions to the form to make sure that you get the important details you might need from your client or prospect ahead of time. In this case I just asked for their URL to try out the feature.
Before you publish your new appointment type, you’ll need to set your availability for that appointment type. This process is a little clunky, as you have to use their drag “to make available interface” and the times were shown in military time, with no option to change to a standard AM/PM setup. I’d personally like to see an option to type in the availability with the number pad.
Share your Link
Finally, you’re ready to share your link with anyone you want to schedule an appointment with.
Booking an Appointment
After clicking the link, your prospect is taken to a booking page that explains the appointment, clearly displaying the description, the length of the appointment and where the meeting is to take place.
It’s important to call out that this page is mobile responsive and looks good on desktop as well as mobile.
For this appointment type, I set the location to be either online or offline. So on the next screen, the prospect is given a choice of where they would like to meet.
Finally it’s time to choose a day and time for the appointment. I’m not a huge fan of the design for the calendar page, and I really wish the times were given in a standard AM/PM format for clients.
After scheduling the appointment, the prospect is taken to the booking form, where they’ll enter in their name and email address, as well as answer any additional questions you’ve configured.
This form is fine, but it’s oddly positioned on the page with no padding at the bottom. It just feels a little rushed, UI wise.
Once the appointment is booked, they’ll be taken to a confirmation screen with the details of their appointment, but no link to add it to their calendar, a glaring oversight in my opinion.
A series of emails is triggered by the new appointment, one to give your client the appointment details…
another that is a calendar invite…
…and a third that is sent to you to notify you of the new appointment.
I think the two client emails could easily be consolidated into a single email, but the emails hit my inbox without issue and the language was clear and professional.
Setting Up Your Meeting Room
Before your first big meeting, you’ll want to check out your audio and video configuration and there is an option right from the sidebar to do so.
You can choose your input devices and easily verify that your microphone and camera are both working correctly. While this is a feature you find on virtually all video appointment software, I appreciate that it is so easy to access without being in an appointment. Also, the directions were really clear and concise.
The software does boast “Whitelabel” features, but that seems to be limited to adding in your own logo and “Greet image”. There doesn’t appear to be a way to add your brand colors, which might mean your logo completely clashes with the platforms own colors, as happened to us with our Client Amp logo.
Creating a Meeting Room
Now, let’s create a meeting room that we can share with clients for weekly or monthly check-ins.
From the dashboard, give the meeting room a name. You can choose if the room should be locked, which means that people will need your permission to come in. If the room is left unlocked, anyone with the link can join.
After you hit create, the room pops open so you can have a look around.
You choose if you want to use audio & video, or just audio. Alternatively, you can also join without audio or video, which is great when joining from a second device like an iPad for writing notes on the whiteboard.
Next you’re presented with the option to test your audio and video, and then hit Join the Conversation to begin your meeting.
Vectera pops open a window asking for your permission to send notifications along with a really confusing series of arrows that seem to disappear before I could get through them all.
At the bottom of the screen you’ll see options to get the link to invite more people to the meeting.
In the settings tab you can configure your audio & video inputs, as well as change the settings for the meeting room. When you enable presenter mode, guests can’t add or edit content that is shared.
You can also turn on “private notes” which allows you to click an eye in the lower left hand corner to make private notes that only you can see.
In our testing on live client calls, the connection was stable, and we left the quality selector at “Normal”. But if you want higher quality and you know everyone in your meeting has a great internet connection, you could bump it up to higher HD.
Next to the private notes icon, there is an easy to access chatbox, so you can share links or drop text to each other – a nice touch. Using other platforms I am often searching for the chatbox, but this is nice and easy to find.
Recording a Meeting
As I mentioned at the beginning of the video, each AppSumo code comes with 2GB of storage per host, so how do you use that storage? One way is via recordings.
Creating a recording isn’t automatic, like it is in a previous AppSumo deal, 24Sessions.
Instead you need to install the Vectera Browser extension…
…and manually start a recording.
This system has its pros and cons.
If you’re the type of person who already remembers to hit record, you’ll probably fit it easier to manage your 2GB of storage. If you’re more like me, you’d probably appreciate an “auto record” function.
It’s worth noting that you can store recordings locally, and in that case you wouldn’t be limited to the 2GB of cloud storage provided.
The Tools Within a Meeting Room
Each meeting room has some really slick and handy features, like the ability to use a whiteboard, share files, share your screen, or even “cobrowse.”
The whiteboard works okay, but writing with my mouse makes me look like I never finished Kindergarten. Of course you can also type, which can certainly be handy.
The marker function is set up to look like a highlighter by default, which is clever and useful.
There are also shape tools which allow you to configure the color of the shapes and the eraser tool works nicely by removing large chunks of pencil markings with one go.
I was able to easily connect my iPad to the same meeting room and use my Apple Pencil to write on the whiteboard.
The experience was certainly far more laggy than the native Apple Pencil integrations I’m accustomed to, and really didn’t improve my handwriting too much, because the lag was noticeably distracting. However, artistic types, or those who like to annotate with a pencil, will certainly love this capability.
After you have sufficiently marked up your whiteboard, it’s easy to click the right arrow and start working on a fresh page, while still preserving your existing whiteboard. If you want to move the whiteboard out of the way, just hit the minimize button.
Uploading a file for collaboration couldn’t be easier. You can connect Dropbox, Google Drive, or just upload a file from your PC. The uploaded file pops open in a new window with the same tools you’ve already seen in the whiteboard section. So you’re free to markup your file to make it abundantly clear what is important or what needs to be revised.
Screen sharing allows you to share your entire screen, a browser tab, or as I prefer an App window. You’ll be able to select the app you want to share from a list of currently open windows and then everyone on the meeting will be able to see the tool.
There is this handy “anti infinity screen” feature I have never seen on another tool, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that Vectera was smart enough to solve this basic feature everyone on a webinar ever has encountered.
Finally, there is the “Cobrowsing” feature that allows you to select an open tab and share it in the meeting room.
Doing this will allow you to review a website together…
…and even take a screenshot of the site so that you can easily mark it up with the whiteboard tools later. This is some pretty thoughtful tech and I can see how this would be ridiculously helpful for review websites with design clients.
The Number of People in a Meeting
At this point you might be wondering how many people can attend a meeting, well according to Dieter at Vectera…
“Vectera works with secure P2P streaming. There is no limit on the amount of guests on the other side, but Vectera is mainly built for small meeting groups and one-on-one client interactions for training/advisory/sales/support/coaching etc. Let’s say 6 people for simultaneous cobrowsing, video etc. should be fine, depending on the bandwidth and PC performance.”
Vectera Final Thoughts & Rating
So is this an insta buy?
Well ya, kinda. For anyone who actually schedules meetings online anyway.
That’s not to say it’s a perfect deal. I don’t like that there is no way to customize booking screen to not say “video call”. I’m currently using 24sessions, and the use of the word “video call” confuses some people into thinking they have to be on camera. Sometimes you just want to take a call in your PJs with messy hair, I get it, so let me change the verbiage on the book page.
There is also no way to set up holidays or unavailable days from within the app. You’d need to mark them as unavailable in your calendar and have that sync into Vectera. Not a big deal and something you’re probably likely to do anyway, but I’d love to have the ability to do it inside the app.
The lack of AM/PM really gets me. It’s one thing if I have to deal with it on the backend, but making my clients deal with it is pretty annoying. This should be any easy thing for them to fix, and I hope they can do that quickly.
The bottom line, this is a really solid tool with a great feature set that is actually unique.
Rating: Vectera gets a score of 9.3 out of 10.
The only thing I have to decide is how many codes to buy.