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.