End strong—an absolute must for web conferencing success

OK, you've coming to the end of an engaging, informative web conference. Your audience has participated enthusiastically, they've asked a lot of good questions, and they’re with you.

But to finish well and get a successful result, you've got a little more work to do. Here are seven secrets to ending strong and achieving your webinar goals:

1. Make your last slide strong:  Though oft-neglected, remember that your last slide is the one that will remain in people’s minds. Give it the attention it deserves. Consider the message, and the way in which it is expressed. Does it make a strong visual impression? Does it deliver the right message to inspire a sale or to be a jumping off point for an on-going relationship?

2. Don’t be shy to make your pitch, and include a call to action: If you have a product or service that will help people, you shouldn’t be embarrassed in making that available to them. Be clear and confident. If it is premature to promote sales directly, there should always be some kind of call to action, a clear mechanism for your audience to engage with you on an on-going basis. It could be free consultation, a white-paper or e-book download, or possibly an invitation to sign-up for your email newsletter. If you don’t use the opportunity to build a relationship, your webinar has been a waste of time.

3. Say thanks, and deliver promised gifts promptly: Within a day, send out thank-you’s to all those who attended (a good online meeting platform will give you a list). Be generous: People appreciate the offer of your slides in pdf form, so they can print out a hard copy. Also consider making a recording available, and a transcription. There are good automated recording services on the internet that will transcribe for in the range of $1 per minute.

4. Ask for feedback. How did they enjoy this experience in web conferencing? Did it deliver the information they were seeking? Keep your questionnaire short–five questions is enough–or many will not respond.

5. Stay in teaching mode: Keep the flavour of your relationship with customers and potential customers educational. Become a trusted resource. You can do this by, for example, asking in your follow-up emails if they had all their questions answered, and if they have had any new ones come up since the web conference.

6. Follow up with those who did not attend: Offer them a link to a podcast, available for a limited time, for which they must fill out a registration form, so that you get their demographic information.

7. Assess how it went. A good webinar platform will make available to you the numbers on how long each person stayed with the presentation, and if they didn’t stay for the whole thing, at what time they signed off. You can use this information to see the weak and strong segments of your presentation, for fine-tuning another time. Quality of leads, rate of conversion to buyers. Compare to past events or targets you have set.

Everyone knows how important it is to make a good first impression. Keep in mind that that the other half of a successful presentation is a strong conclusion (with followup), and you'll be way ahead.