In total, we provided 13,000 hours of free class time, 1,000 people took an inbound marketing certification exam at the end of the classes, and there are now 500 Inbound Marketing Certified Professionals around the world.
In the process of organizing IMU, I learned a series of new marketing lessons myself. Here are a few of the most important ones:
1) Partner with stellar organizations to increase promotional reach. When we started organizing the class topics for the program, we contacted the best-of-the-best for each subject. By inviting thought leaders on each topic, the program had the best possible content, increasing program value. Partners valued the opportunity to internact with a large audience passionate about marketing, and helped expand this audience with their own networks.
2) Do everything you can to enable interaction among participants. We did this by creating a hashtag ( #IMU ), setting up a " Student Bulletin Board ," and encouraging people to ask and answer questions in the InboundMarketing.com Forums . We also wanted to add value by helping them grow their own networks, while creating a resource where folks could ask questions and help each other out.
3) Have personal contact with your community. I feel like I personally got to know a lot of the folks who participated in IMU, and they got to know me. Adding a personal touch added to the community and enhanced the experience overall. In the event that people had feedback, questions or wonderful compliments, they felt comfortable enough to tell me directly.
4) Listen and integrate your participant's ideas. A few days into the first program, a handful of folks mentioned on Twitter that they would love a LinkedIn group exclusive to IMU students and alumni , which was something I hadn't even considered! Folks also chimed in with great feedback on how to improve the PDF certificate. Thanks to the great suggestions from the first class, IMU2 should be even better.
5) Offer an opportunity for participants to learn about your company, but don't push it. At the end of the first IMU program, we invited students to another webinar that taught how folks could implement their new inbound marketing skills with the HubSpot software . Some attended the webinar; some sent the invitation along to a friend; and some appreciated the invitation but chose to pass. Very few found the invitation pushy. They already knew that we had organized and provided IMU, and they appreciated the value the program gave them. That's true inbound marketing!
And now I invite you to attend the new IMU2 program yourself! Visit http://www.inboundmarketing.com/university to register for the new live webinars and/or take the inbound marketing certification exam.
IMU2 will include two fantastic new classes -- one taught by Todd Defren of SHIFT Communications and one by Laura (@ Pistachio) Fitton, co-author of Twitter for Dummies . (You also can catch up on the webinars from IMU1 anytime you want .)
So, what do you think? What marketing lessons have you learned--or would you like to learn--from Inbound Marketing University?
IMU includes 11 free webinar classes and note sheets . The program drills into each component of inbound marketing and prepares you for the Inbound Marketing certification exam.