Marketing in Higher Ed: When Everybody Comes

When everybody comes, you better be prepared.

Last week, we put on our third webinar in the Beyond Pages series. Incorporating feedback from the previous two, we had some new optimizations.  Thanks to that feedback, we were able to register three times the attendees of our previous webinars. The whole office was excited about the turnout, and got caught up patting ourselves on the back – and rightfully so. It turned out to be a great week at Inigral HQ.

Game day

On the day of the webinar, I got into the office earlier than usual to make sure everything would run smoothly from a logistical standpoint. All systems were go.

Then suddenly, in my TweetDeck dashboard appeared a tweet from one of our friends Ed Cabellon, saying “Help! I can’t get in online to the webinar” My heart leapt in my chest, trying to figure out what the issue was in order to solve it. Before I could even say “social media,” another tweet came that said that we had a cap of attendees that locked him out of the webinar.

(Play moment of plot twist for the worse music here.)

Ed Cabellon tweeting to Inigral about webinar issues

Ed Cabellon tweeting to Inigral about webinar issues

Lesson learned

The takeaways from this fiasco are: we learned it’s too early to celebrate before you follow through, and that achieving your marketing goal is not just gaining a sizable audience but whether or not you develop relationships when you have one. It’s all great when you get to say “Here comes everybody!”  But this was an instance where we weren’t prepared for everyone to come, even though we thought we were.

Theoretically, it’s a good problem to have. You know, too much buzz means we’re doing something right. But it all comes down to what we did with what we got, so the ignorance excuse just doesn’t cut it.  And in this case, we need to do way better.

In retrospect, maxing out your webinar capacity could be a good problem, if handled properly

In retrospect, maxing out your webinar capacity could be a good problem, if handled properly

Only about 120 higher ed folks were affected, and we’ve already taken steps to remedy the situation. But we thought it would be of value to our Marketing audience to be reminded of this “social media fact of life,” as your audience ranges anywhere from 10 to 100 times the size of ours. When promoting events, focus on execution.

But forget excuses.  Coulda, shoulda, yada yada.  We learned and modified, and we care about all those that didn’t get to participate.

  • Ed Cabellon

    Thanks Tony, I truly appreciate this blog post, as do the many others who could not participate in that webinar. I admire your willingness to reflect and share what you and Inigral learned. It’s what we ask our students to do after challenges in their events and programs. You’ve role modeled that here and served as a great example of how to use social media as a conversation and grow your business from it.

    Looking forward to more of Inigral’s programs.


  • Jeff Jackson

    You could have tried to sweep this under the rug and shift blame but you didn’t. Kudos for taking ownership. You will be a better company for it