Duck – Machine Gun Webinar at 1:00!

On July 12th I was a part of HubSpot’s highly anticipated webinar “The Science of Inbound Marketing” in which they attempted to host the World’s Largest Webinar. Although they had thousands of people online, unfortunately they didn’t make their goal of surpassing the Guinness Book World Record they had last year.  One of the big hooks for it was that depending on how often you Tweeted during the broadcast, you could win big discounts on their upcoming seminar and possibly even free attendance which is worth $600 bucks!  So I thought AWESOME – I can surely do that.  I mean I am a digital age, multi-tasking gal – how hard can this be?

But despite having great minds both behind it and as the slotted hosts/speakers, it was rather overwhelming to me in a myriad of ways and I was sorely disappointed with it.  Their format and dissemination of information truly felt like being on the end of a machine gun – and not the one pulling the trigger I tell ya!  It was rapid fire information which caused lack of focus, confusion and even fatigue – all typical of complete information overload in a short period of time. Now I don’t want to give the impression that is was all bad. The information itself was extremely illuminating and the slides gave rock-solid statistics and trends.  But it was the METHOD of delivery that was like an assault rifle experience.  Now I have NO desire to go to war with HubSpot as I truly respect them as a company and industry leader in many ways. But I feel compelled to say why it wasn’t effective for me and I’m sure many others, that were online.  Here’s why…

The webinar started off like many do.  Introductions from the moderator as to who the talented speaker will be, what their credentials are and what benefits will be graced upon the attendees.  So I removed every distraction, ready with hands on keyboard for note-taking and awaited the flow of great information to make me better at Inbound Marketing than ever! Soon after they began I found myself, a self-proclaimed great multi-tasker, losing ground quickly.  I mean we’re talking like A.D.D. Multitasking without any Ritalin-Tweet, read, listen, store this in your brain and look at these slides…all at the same time! And as the information infantry moved in, they wanted more Tweets – no 20 isn’t enough to get tickets, now you need 120 during the only ONE HOUR broadcast to win free entry to this gig.  The great slides contained a lot of information of which I could only GLEEN the wealth contained therein before they were on to the next.  I counted over 20 during the one hour webinar but I am confident of the inaccuracy of that amount because I lost count numerous times as they flew from one to the next. Once again, it wasn’t a “waste of time” kind of experience.  It was a “Gee, I wish they had done it differently” so myself and the thousand others could have really reaped the huge benefits ascribed to it.  So what have I learned from this?

Bullet Points for Successful Webinars
Doing webinars is a great tool for networking, marketing a product or service and conveying information in a structured way.   But I believe that a few things need to be considered for success of the mission:

Informational Impact – If you are considering hosting a webinar, take your time during it to convey the important information in an ear & eye-pleasing way. If possible, offer the audio or full broadcast on a limited replay for the attendees. As I’ve opined above, if a person can’t take notes during the webinar without knowing shorthand or feels frustrated by the speed (or lack thereof), they’ll lose interest, log off before it’s done and may not tune in again.
Allow Absorption Time – You have to disseminate the information in a manner that allows for total absorption via both eye and ear so attendees can formulate solid questions or just make sense of what they are being told or reading.  If not, they will not reap the value of your hard work & time as well as your industry expertise.
All the Artillery is Not Always Needed – If you have a lot of information, don’t feel pressured to convey it all in one webinar broadcast.  Try breaking your information into several webinars or a multifaceted series.  If you are conveying good, solid industry information, you will create a following and people will return for more. What better way to earn some Social Media street cred!
Who Is Your Comrade? –Isn’t creating relationships at the heart of Webinars?  I often think it’s about touching an audience with your business prowess, conveying information that creates dialogue with your contemporaries and building your business network.

So at the end of the day, HubSpot is still the amazing inbound marketing strategy powerhouse it was before this famed webinar and more than likely, I will attend several of their webinars in the future.  Just maybe armed with a little Kevlar…lol. What about you? If you attended this event or have an opinion on this subject matter, shoot me a comment.



Attending Meetups and Expos really boosts your exposure

OBusiness Networkingver the past two months I’ve been attending quite a few networking groups, meetups, expos, and the like. My experiences range from great to a complete waste of time.  Some were free and some carried an entry fee; but all of them left me with something to learn and something to walk away with.

Let me start by saying that I would recommend any solo-prenuer designer to try to attend as many networking engagements as you can when you’re starting out. You’ll get a chance to practice your elevator speech over and over again. If you don’t have one, you’ll quickly learn one as you introduce yourself to people every few minutes. Have a speech prepared already, the repetition will help finesse your keywords and delivery. Those of you who’ve been around for a few years, you already know that your time is important. Being strategic about which events you attend is key. Think about who in the community in terms of leaders or movers and shakers will be in attendance. Try and work your way to meeting them and making a good impression. Not just to get them to take your business card, but to find interest in what you know about a subject matter. If the conversation goes well then give them your card. Also seek out city officials and editors of your local newspapers.

You’ll pick up a lot of business cards during the event. Even during a 2 hour meetup with about 40 attending professionals, you’re set to collect about 30 new business cards. Treat each new business card as a possible lead. Quickly email them back with a short personal message the very next business day. Include something to remind them about what you may have discussed together and leave them with an open-ended request for service. For example:

“Good morning Mr. Smith. It was great to meet you last night at the Entrepreneur’s Networking Event.  Especially to meet someone else who still wears penny loafers! You had some really interesting points about your products. If you ever have any questions about (design, or websites, or social media, or graphics) feel free to give me a call.”

That’s all you need to say really. Short and to the point. In my experience I hear back from 10-15% of the people I reach out to after an event.  Out of those that I hear back from I’m able to convert clients or referrals out of at least 1 or 2.

The events that could be a waste of time are ones where your target clients are not obviously attending. After you’ve been to a few networking events you should be able to tell from the invite who the audience in attendance will be. Save yourself the gas and RSVP to ones based on who will attend, even if you may be at bit nervous. I’ll admit that stepping out of your comfort zone may be nerve-wracking but the more you do it the more rewarded you will be. Eventually you’ll build up a good confident vibe when entering a room, talking to new people about what you do in under a minute, and having people ask you first for YOUR business card because they recognize you’re the authority on your industry.

Have any recent experiences like this to add? Please share in the comments field below.