Top-notch digital strategist Liz Carter lets us in on how to maximize a virtual summit’s benefits for your speakers, registrants, and your brand in this episode of the Feed Your Brand podcast. Liz discusses how she organized a successful virtual summit with over 3000 attendees, despite having only 60 people on her email list. Disenchanted with corporate America after more than ten years as a digital marketer, she took the leap and is now a free agent who is passionate about helping women conquer the digital world, as well as in helping grow businesses with actionable strategies that promote authenticity and collaboration to create a genuine relationship with your audience. She details strategies on promoting your brand by being recognized as a thought leader and how virtual summits are an excellent tactic to grow your email list, which is still at the core of converting leads.
I’m excited to have a guest who’s going to help us Unlock the Secrets of a Virtual Summit. I know a lot of you are interested in doing that. You, obviously, have known Liz for awhile and you were one of the speakers on her Virtual Summit. I didn’t participate in that. I was excited to really learn all about it as we conducted this interview. The more I heard about it, the more I think, “This is a really brilliant marketing strategy that I think a lot of our listeners should and could consider. We’re going to have on the show, Liz Carter, who is a digital strategist, an innovative marketer. She’s had more than a decade of digital marketing within a company and a year ago, went out on her own. Her goal is to help women conquer the digital world and grow transformational businesses with really actionable things that actually work.
Her decade in digital marketing is so critically important to know what works and what doesn’t. We had a tremendous mind share when I was guest on this Virtual Summit and the mind share is on that she wants to create authenticity, relatability and connectiveness through whatever digital marketing are doing. I think that that’s so true to what we do here at Brandcasters. That’s what everything’s about. It’s creating that authentic and relationship with your listener or your viewer, your reader, whatever that might be and the connectiveness of what we do with guests is very similar to what she does with speakers. I think that this is going to be a really great episode that you’re all going to love and you definitely want to stick around and hear the whole thing.
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How a Virtual Summit Can Help Promote Your Brand With Liz Carter
Liz, I’m so glad to have you on our show. It’s been great to be on your show, but I’m glad to have you on ours.
Thank you so much. It is an honor to be with both of you. I’m so excited for this.
I want to dive right into the thing that fascinates me the most, Liz, about you is that you’ve been an entrepreneur because I’m sure you’re pretty entrepreneurial when you were in-house working for over a decade in digital marketing, and that now you’ve moved out. What has been your biggest a-ha in finding the difference between the two?
The biggest difference is not having the team around me. I played a variety of different roles when it comes to a marketing position. I’ve had to wear many different hats, but this is the first time where it’s really been on me and to have that pressure, but also that freedom has been absolutely exhilarating. It is incredible to be able to have that experience of, “This is on me. Whether I succeed or I fail, it is all on me,” and I love it. I love that pressure.
That’s so good. I think that is so true. It is isolating and the difference between having a team and not having a team, butt-freeing. Those two things are in contrast but also there. For most of my career, I’ve been independent but there had been a few stints I’ve had being an employee at a company. It didn’t last that long because I’ve found that I was really somewhat inherently incompatible with working in a corporate environment. I remember getting out of my last experience and I’m feeling this weight lifted off my shoulders because I could get more accomplished in two or three hours in the morning, than I would all day long in the office because of the endless meetings that I would get dragged into.
Even just the endless cycles of approval. I remember the first time that I had a really good deal for my company. We had this great opportunity to work with an outside vendor and it was going to drastically impact our business and it had to go through five different layers of approval. By the end of it, it was just, “What are we doing guys?”
This is exactly why I wanted to have you on the show because we have a balance in our Brandcasters business of corporate podcasts and publication-based podcast, big companies behind them. Then we have lots of independence. You have the contrast, too and what we see on the outside is sometimes shocking. We’ve had this one company where they’ve gone through fourth or fifth iteration of their cover art because they can’t pass legal. I thought the first one was awesome. They are so frustrated by it. It’s what’s holding them up from getting started. It’s interesting, we think that big companies have all these resources and all these things, but they also have a lot dragging them down, too in being innovative and being on being on the trend of what’s going on.
It’s so discouraging being in that role, especially with digital marketing. The last company that I worked for was a little bit more of a traditional corporate structure and it was so hard pushing new innovative technologies into this stodgy old company. Just having to explain to our executive team what a website is or what we’re trying to do with pay-per-click or what we’re trying to do with anything else with remarketing or anything like that, it was exhausting. It’s terrible. The worst was when I had to spend 45 minutes walking one of our executives through our Google Analytics account. Showing them where somebody went through on our website and it was just like, “Come on you. You’re one of the presidents of the company. You have to have something more important to do right now.”
Google Analytics makes me want to blow my brains out. I don’t want to look through it. I know I should and I know I do occasionally, but I’m like, “I don’t want to do this.” You definitely don’t have time for that.
Let me tell you, Google Analytics is my favorite. I love sitting in Google Analytics and just analyzing everything that people are doing, the subtle little nuances. I really geek out on Google Analytics. It’s the best.
The one I geeked out on his Hotjar. For everyone who don’t know what it is, if you put it on your ClickFunnels page or your webpage or anything like that, it shows you a heat map of where people were stopping and reading and where they kept clicking. It gets bright red and bright green in areas and it’s just very visual and I’m such a visual person. I loved the idea of that because it just shows you really quickly and you don’t have to go and look through the numbers if you’re not a numbers person. Before we get into your Virtual Summit, which is how we met and what I really want to get to, but I want to understand a little bit about that decade you spent as a digital marketer and what your experiences were so we can sort of set that up. How did you get started in digital marketing?
I actually got started when I was an undergrad. I took a digital marketing class where we were developing websites and I just became fascinated with it. Even though I’m classically trained as a marketer, every situation that I face, I approach with a digital background. I approached with that digital lens. I have seen more power in digital marketing than any other facet of marketing.
What kind of power?
The immediate results, first of all. You can make a change to a webpage and you can see immediately if it’s going to work or not. You can put out a pay-per-click campaign. You could see if people are coming to it or not. I love that immediacy. I remember the first direct mail campaign I did, we spent so much time developing this amazing print piece, sent it out and then just sat there with our fingers crossed and just waited. I hated that. I’m terrible when it comes to patience. I need results now. That’s why I love digital marketing. I hate patience. I’ve always just approach things from a digital perspective. It seems like every opportunity that I’ve had, whether it was in working in professional sports or working in a typical corporate America company, everything has always come back to digital. It’s just always fallen in my lap. It’s actually a little bit closer to thirteen years, I’ve launched social networks. I’ve launched email campaigns. I’ve revamped different digital marketing campaigns. I’ve really been able to do it all.
I’ve been able to have my hand and a lot of different projects. Every single one of them has taught me so much. What I’ve realized throughout being in those different situations is that this belief that I have in women and the strength and power that we innately have within ourselves. Corporate America does not bring those qualities out, particularly in women. I don’t think they really bring it out in any person, especially women. I mentioned this during the summit, I played softball growing up. All I wanted to do when I was little was I wanted to play baseball. I didn’t want to play softball, I wanted to play baseball. My dad sat me down and said, “I know this is what you want to do, but girls play softball.” From a very young age, I had this thought that there were certain things that girls did and certain things the boys did. I didn’t understand why there was a difference.
I have three daughters. I grew up a similar way because my dad would say that, but what he expected to have happened which is what I did, which is I argued with him on it. I’m like, “No. I think you’re wrong and I’m going to find a way.” That’s what he engendered in me is this like, “No. It doesn’t have to be like this.” I didn’t realize it. I thought he was just making me angry.
I was probably like five years old when I had this conversation. I wound up playing baseball. I was in college. I played baseball for one summer and it was the best experience of my life. I remember putting on that uniform and looking at myself in the mirror being like, “This is incredible.” Being in that different experience was absolutely incredible for me. I’ve always had that understanding of the separation between the genders and not really being able to grasp why. Without softball, I would not be where I am in life. I’m so grateful to all of the experiences that I’ve had, the people who I’ve met, the things I’ve been able to do as a result of that sport. I’ve always felt this need to give back. About four years ago, I was really starting to just really just disenchanted with corporate America. I loved what I was doing, but it just gets a little exhausting after awhile doing this thing over and over again. I wanted to start coaching.
I started coaching in the evenings, just giving private lessons and giving back to these young girls and showing them what you can do with softball. I absolutely fell in love with it and saw the desperate need that there is for strong women to give back to young girls and teach them about confidence and teach them about leadership. Obviously, the on the field skills are very important, but so are the off the field skills, probably even more important. I absolutely fell in love it. My coaching business just took off and I was giving lessons in a week than I was working in the office. I was driving myself insane. As a result of those lessons, as a result of teaching all about confidence and leadership, I realized that I wasn’t getting that in my corporate job. I left to coach softball fulltime. It was amazing, but it didn’t last very long just 100% coaching because I miss that digital marketing piece. I missed having my hands and in more than just softball.
You found a way to combine both.
Just let me set that up because I’d really love for everyone to understand. In case they didn’t read the emails that we sent out or in case they’re new to the show or only subscribers, Liz ran a Virtual Summit with 24 experts. It’s called Unlock the Secrets and it was more than just digital marketing tips and that thing. It was really about secrets of confidence, secrets of being a woman in the digital world. There were so many things you touched on throughout that. I didn’t get to watch all 24, but I watched quite a few and they were so good because there we’re really tips in there, too. Like, “I could do this. I can apply this.” It wasn’t just a story.
Thank you for that feedback because that was my point. My goal with this was helping cut through the clutter. If anybody has tried to start a business, you are just bombarded by different pieces of information about what you should be doing, what you could be doing, and it’s completely overwhelming almost to the point of paralysis. I wanted to cut through all of that and help give actionable tips, actionable advice on what you can do right now to grow your business. Probably the best thing that I learned from that entire experience was just the level of collaboration that exists among entrepreneurs right now. I didn’t realize how much support I would get from the entrepreneur community of just these amazing experts that wanted to share their opinions and wanted to help women entrepreneurs get better and grow their business and conquer that fear.
From men and women alike. There are some great men out there who make it a mission to support women businesses. I applaud that and I am so grateful to have many of those mentors, including my husband. That’s really the case is we feel alone when you’re in your entrepreneurial world, but then when you start reaching out and you start feeling this collaboration, it is empowering.
It’s just absolutely electric. Not just the 24 speakers who I had involved in the summit, but the 60 plus people who I spoke to as a part of this Summit, I feel that team around me. I feel that energy and it makes me want to be better in my day-to-day work and it’s been incredible.
Let’s get to some of that nitty-gritty because we like to give actionable tips and things like that here on Feed Your Brand as you know because you’re a listener as well. I want to talk about it because I think there’s a lot of our podcasters or aspiring podcasters who are thinking about this virtual summit idea. It’s very popular. I have been on a lot of them in the last couple of years. As a guest expert, it’s not like it’s this massive boon of people, but the people who do connect with you are very action-oriented. For that, it’s always been worth very worth it to me. I’d love to find out about how you planned it and then what the results were for you?
I want to clarify the difference between a summit and a podcast, because they seem like they’re very similar, but they’re very different. The podcast is a little bit more collaborative, I think. It’s a fantastic vehicle, but a summit is a free online gathering of pre-recorded interviews that there’s usually one host, a couple of different hosts possibly, but typically one host in my case, it was just me. I worked about four months to bring together different speakers who had audiences that I wanted to speak to, but also brought a message that was unique. So often I found that summits regurgitate the same thing over and over again. Tracy, I’m sure that you’ve seen this.
I have. I’ve refused a few because of it.
It’s hard to stand out in this world of summits because it almost seems like it’s reaching a saturation point. I don’t think that it’s there yet, but if it’s not done with that eye for being unique or that eye for standing out, then I think that it can be really boring honestly. The goals for a summit are really to increase your perception as a thought-leader and to grow your email list. As a host of a summit, those are your two major goals. To be able to do that in the form of the summit is an absolute whirlwind. I remember when I first started this thing, the coach who I worked with was like, “You need to make sure that you’re on top of this. You need to make sure that you’re organized and that you’ve got everything because these four months are going to go by faster than you could ever imagine.” I remember thinking, “I have rolled out multimillion dollar projects. I got this.” About two months in, I went, “This is so much bigger than anything I’ve ever done in my entire life.” Thank goodness, I have my husband and my family here because I needed that support structure so much. It does take about four to five months to plan your first one. I have heard of people doing it in two to three months, I don’t know how they did it.
I had one that said, “It’s going to be in January and it actually came out in March.” It just ends up delayed. I think to be overzealous about it and overestimate your ability to pull it off, one or two things have happened and one is that you end up pushing it back realizing that you’re not going to bring the bodies that you thought you would. You’re not going to get the listeners and the viewers that you thought you would. That’s exactly what happens as you fail to provide them and then it hurts your ultimate goal, which was grow the email list and be an authority leader. Neither one of those two things happen. Losing a little face and pushing back a couple months is actually the better choice I have discovered.
100%, I completely agree with that. To plan on I would say five to six months. If this is your first time around, I would plan on five to six months start to finish. Let’s talk about what goes into that. It’s insane.
Did you have any email list to start? That’s what I want to do, ask you. Many people worry about whether or not they have that and that holds them up.
I did not. This was how I launched my business. I think I probably had an email list of like 60 and so a smaller email list. I’m very grateful for all 60 of those people who had been with me since the beginning, but it was very small and I had played in the shadows a little bit. I haven’t fully committed to being out in the spotlight. Planning the summit, putting myself in front of speakers, putting myself in front of the world really pushed me in the spotlight and helped me. For those of you out there who aren’t sure if you’re big enough to have a summit, you can start with an email list of zero and be completely fine.
That’s so good to hear. Thank you for sharing that. That’s a great piece of knowledge that I’m sure everybody listening will really appreciate it. I think that that’s the practical reality for a lot of our listeners is that they’re starting from square one and sometimes people won’t even maybe want to be a guest on their podcast or engage with them in certain business until they know how big is your email list. You got to start from zero at some point. I’m very interested to hear how this worked for you and what goes into it and I’m sure everyone will, too. Please continue and share that.
You can start with an email list of zero and call yourself an expert because you really only need one person to call yourself an expert and that’s yourself. If you can own it and you can have that confidence behind it, you’re an expert. The funniest part for me was I would be talking to these speakers and I’d be telling them my idea about having this action-oriented summit and really having it be tactic-focused. Every single one of them would say, “Thank you for putting this on. Thank you for doing this. We’ve been waiting for somebody to do this.” All of a sudden, my thoughts about, “Who am I to really put on a summit,” changed to, “Who am I not to do this?” Obviously, I’m tapping into something. I’ve got to do this. This is incredible. What I felt like when I first started this was the lowly old me being like, “I can’t do this. Nobody’s going to pay attention. Nobody’s going to show up. I can barely even get a speaker to say that they’re going to do this.” All of the sudden it just snowballed into this huge thing of where I had people signing up and I had people reaching out saying that they had watched and it helped them.
It turned into just this amazing experience for me of where I was able to see the impact that I one person can have as a result of joining up with these amazing speakers, these experts and that joint impact that all of us can have. The first thing that you have to do is just you have to have an idea. You have to have an idea that really resonates within your heart. Because if it does not come from who you are and who you want to be, if it doesn’t have that authenticity, it is not going to ring true with the speakers. That’s the first level of support that you have to have. You have to have the buy in from the speakers.
We recommend here that people have a concerted guest plan. You decide who you’re going to invite on your podcast. This is the same thing. You decided who you’re going to invite, you reached out to people and then you said, “Let’s have a first conversation to make sure it’s a fit.” I appreciate that so much, because it really helped me evaluate whether or not this was going to be the right fit for me. It was of course that action-oriented that attracted me as well because that’s the kind of speaker I am. It was a right fit for us, but I appreciate that you put the time because that does take extra time.
It does, but it’s really important. For anybody who puts on a summit, you have to realize that being a thought leader, you can call yourself an expert, but you’re not necessarily a leader overnight. You are associated with the people who are on your summit. You have to be very thoughtful of who you want to bring on your summit and who you want your name sitting next to you on that Facebook ad, on that piece of content. I wanted as many speakers as I could possibly get, but I didn’t want just anybody out there. I wanted the best of the best. Part of my messaging was that people would be able to learn from the best business and marketing coaches. I put that out there. I have to follow through on that now. I basically had a marketing communications plan for all of the speakers.
You have a plan. I hear so many who go through these things without a plan. That’s why I just wanted to applaud that.
You have to have a plan. Even if it’s just like a sticky note of these are your steps. You have to have a plan, otherwise, you’re going to wind up three months into this ripping your hair out. I had my target audience, who I wanted to reach out to you. I had my messaging. I had four different touches of emails because people aren’t going to open your email for the first time around and you have to bug them. Then you then you reach out to them multiple times. You try to get them on the phone with you and then you see if it’s a good fit from there. There were probably about five different levels of vetting that all of my speakers went through and each one of them was more important than the next. Each one of them was so crucial.
I had a feeling that that’s the way it was when I talked with you. You didn’t say that to me, but I appreciated it because you were very clear about why you reached out to me. A lot of times I get it and people are just like, “Probably I showed up on some influencer list or somebody Googled something on my name showed up,” and it’s like so random. Do you really know who I am because I don’t think we’re a fit? It’s hard for me to sit back and say that, but you had the opposite. You knew exactly why you were contacting me and I could feel that and it made a big difference.
It is. Just like you would target your customer base, the speakers became my customers at that point. I had to make sure that I was being very strategic, that I knew what I was talking about because I wanted to come off as the expert that would attract the best people. So having a plan with contacting your speakers is very important. I can also not talk enough about having help. You have to have a tech VA, at least one person. I pulled this off with one person and I would rather have had two to three. The next time I do this, I’m going to have a team around me for the summit. You have to have at least one person to help you follow up with speakers, to help people build those landing pages, to help you with all of the administrative work that goes into this? Having 24 speakers, that means that’s 24 different recording dates, 24 different dates that they’re sending emails out, 24 different dates that they’re sending out social media posts. You’re just basically drowning in a sea of information and dates. Then somebody who didn’t get a graphic and somebody’s link didn’t work and all of the stuff that you have to have at least one person to help you out with.
If you’re stuck in the weeds there, then you have a hard time of being present when you’re trying to do the recording.
That’s the most important part. If you don’t come across on those recordings, you’re the thought leader, you’re the expert and that you can’t have this conversation with your other speaker, then you’re not going to get the results from the summit that you want. You’re not going to have that thought leadership. Have your idea, come up with a little bit of messaging and then hire somebody as soon as possible.
Let’s flip this side of it and let’s look at it from the side of how you got people to come to it. I think that’s the biggest scary point, but I think it’s also the most overlooked point for new entrepreneurs. People that want to start an event, whether it’s a virtual event or an actual in-person event, getting people to attend is not an easy proposition. I’m dying to hear about your process for that.
I relied heavily on my speakers. At the preemptory interview, I would say, “I really need your help with the promotion of this. I’m brand new. I’m starting out. I’m launching my business. I need your help.” That was my primary source of promotion was using the speakers’ lists and speakers influence to get people to pay attention. I don’t have $100,000 budget to spend on Facebook ads. I wish I did, but I don’t. My small little budget on Facebook ads wasn’t going to make the impact that I wanted to. Doing different things like affiliate marketing, being on other podcasts, I didn’t have the impact yet that I wanted to so I had to rely on my speakers. That’s where that collaboration comes in because what I didn’t realize is that the speakers are getting just as much out of this as I am.
Tracy mentioned a few minutes ago that the leads that come to her from these summits are more engaged than the typical lead. They know who she is, they’ve heard her thoughts, they’ve heard her viewpoints. They are really excited to reach out to her. I realized that every speaker was going to be getting as much out of this as I am. Every list that somebody sends an email out to, everybody else who’s going to benefit as well. One of my favorite quotes is that, “A rising tide lifts all boats,” and that is the perfect way to describe the summit because it really does. Everybody who’s involved in the summit is going to see some benefit from it. That emphasis on collaboration and co-creation is very big when it comes to a summit. That’s what I did.
Would you say that the other speakers who were involved in your summit also benefited from each other being in the summit?
Yes, exactly. That rising tide, if one person has a list of 100,000 people, that’s 100,000 impressions for all of the speakers involved. It really is a mutual benefit for everybody who’s involved.
If I didn’t have a list at all and I decided, “This kind of summit is a great idea. I’ve got a killer mission or subjects that people really would be interested to learn about and I don’t have a list.” I’m approaching these potential speakers, but I’m essentially nobody yet. Just by virtue of the fact that I’m putting this summit on, you can sell each of the speakers on the fact that it doesn’t matter that I’m not well known yet or I don’t have a big list yet, but you’re going to benefit from all these other speakers.” Was it a bit of a chicken and egg situation? You get the first one to agree to do it where you could say to others, “I’ve got this person and this person, don’t you want to draft off them?”
That is an excellent way of putting it because as soon as that first speaker signed up, then in every email that I sent out, I would include that person’s name and then the next speaker and the next speaker and the next speaker. As soon as you get that first one, more of them start to come in because if somebody is willing to take a risk on you then I can too. That’s the best way of putting it. As soon as you get that first one, then you’re pretty much golden.
That’s such a good way. This goes back to your essential, your number one thing was to vet them because if they didn’t have a good list, if they weren’t at digital marketing. I gave a talk about I call it the Travolta problem. I’m actually about to give a webinar again this afternoon, but the Travolta problem. I was on an event where I was interviewing someone for my Inc. column and we were doing this whole thing and they said, “There’s a red carpet later and John Travolta’s going to be there and his team wants digital columnists to interview him. He gets a lot of video, a lot of TV, but he doesn’t get enough written blocks basically.” I write for Inc.com, they said, “We’d like to have you do that on the red carpet. You’ll have three minutes or something like that to ask him questions.” I was like, “That’s a pretty high profile celebrity. That’s going to be fantastic and his PR firm asked for it. They’re going to push out this article.” I go. I did my interview. I write the article later. I sent it back to the firm and they didn’t even share it. It was a nice article. It was pretty nice compared to actually how the interview went. I really was pretty nice to him. It was one of those things where you think you have these high celebrities and these great speakers and all of this, but the reality is that they don’t have systems, they don’t have teams or they just don’t care and it doesn’t work for you. Vetting them and making sure that they’re active and that they will send out emails and they will do those things is as critically important.
It is. Even after five layers of vetting, I still had some speakers that didn’t do what they said they would do. They didn’t promote it in the way that I thought that they would promote it. The biggest shocks to me was I figured that somebody had signed up and somebody said that they would send this email, that they would actually send an email. It seems like that would happen.
What you don’t realize as many of them don’t have teams either and that’s what happens.
They don’t have teams, they don’t have systems. Even something as simple as checking an email before they send it out, I was really surprised at that, too. That was one of the biggest lessons that I learned is that nobody is going to care about my business as much as I do. Nobody’s going to care about my summit as much as I do and nobody has as high of expectations as I do. I have to make sure that I am setting appropriate boundaries and setting appropriate expectations of everybody else so that they know what I need from them. That’s one of my biggest takeaways is just making sure that I’m a little bit more in control of what the results are.
Thank you so much for sharing all that detail and information. One of the things that I’ve been talking a lot about lately is that the more webinars that I’ve been doing and the more summits that I’ve been doing is that we’ve been seeing a much lower lows and lower conversion off of our list and that’s across the board. I think also that’s something everyone should be aware of is that while you may think you have a great list, we were once on a 200,000-person list, it got emailed out and I got 150 people to sign up for the webinar but only 50 showed. That was probably a third of what they used to see a year earlier. It is surprising how in decline it is and I think it has to do with just an overwhelm of the emails and messaging and social. We just should be aware that even though we’re looking for people with a certain size list or a certain size that, the conversions maybe lowering on you month after month. You should also be aware of those. I think it depends a bit on the market though, doesn’t it? I think there are some markets that are bombarded with too many email offers than others.
I would definitely agree with that as well. I think that Tracy, you bring up a really good point. Just because somebody says they’ve got 25,000 people on their email list, it does not mean that they actually do. I could start to pick out the people who had a very dirty email list that didn’t go in and clean it all the time or didn’t really care about the activity of their email list. Coming from a strong email marketing background, it was a good reminder for me of how people hit that number and then they’re just excited to stay at that number and they don’t want to lose it.
That’s a new digital marketing term that I heard, a dirty email list. I’m going to note that one. That’s going to be one of the quotes from this episode. We have though seen other people, even podcasters that we work with who do virtual summits, like for instance, Scott Carson of the Note Closers Show. He put on a virtual summit that he called Note CAMP and this is real estate note. He had engagement throughout this four-day period of at least between 500 and 600 people watching these different sessions. In his case they were actually live. They weren’t recorded, but it was put on very much the same way that yours was. I know that he swears by email marketing. Not that he’s not very active on social media and live streaming, a lot of these things as well, but he’s a big believer in email marketing.
He has a very focused list that’s clean and that makes a big, big difference. It’s a very focused list of people who are very interested in learning more and that is really the difference for me. I would much rather have and we do have a much smaller lists than most people because we prefer to keep it clean. At the same time, I’m also really careful not to use my email list and not to commit to using my email list to something that I don’t believe is of benefit to my audience. That’s where you get into these professional affiliate market or lists, because they’re all over the board, they’re not specifically in one topic area or of interest to the profile of people you’re attracting. They tend to get a lot of un-opens. They just ignore it because they’re not important to me and/or a lot of attrition off that list.
You bring up a really good point especially with affiliate marketing. I think that so many emails are sent out. They don’t really care about providing value. They just want to get that affiliate click. I want to get my two cents off of whatever that click is. You can definitely tell that and I think that the average consumer can probably really sniff that out in their inbox. The emphasis on email marketing is huge because, who knows what’s going to happen with Facebook now? I think that there’ll be fine, but who knows? Something might happen with Facebook. They might have to become regulated and their model might completely change. If somebody has 10,000 Facebook followers, you might lose them and you’ll never get those back. You don’t own your social media followers. You don’t have that information. When you have a person’s email address, you have that person. It’s important to remember that that is worth its weight in gold.
It’s a real person. That’s the other thing. I can’t say I know everyone on my email list, but I feel like I know a good portion of them and that makes me feel, “I want to be safe with their list. I want to earn their trust every single time I send them out something. I want it to reinforce that.” Your Virtual Summit just by virtue of every different speaker pushing it out to their followers, lists, their audience, however that might have been, you got all these people who signed up into your email list just because they signed up for the Virtual Summit. You didn’t necessarily have to promise them to send them anything after the fact other than they’re signed up, they’re going to be notified about every different portion of the Virtual Summit and you have now grown an email list.
That’s really brilliant. It’s obviously a lot of work on your part and on the part of anybody who’s considering doing this because like you said, four months or four to six months, maybe the first time you ever do it. I want to say, it’s not a quick hit. It’s not that two weeks later, I got a result. You’re grinding it out really. Putting all this together, but that email list is really critical to you establishing yourself in growing your brand or your business, whatever your particular finite goal is within that, it seems like this is very replicatable. People can model this and do it themselves if having an email list is the most important thing.
Definitely it is. I think that hosting the summit is one of the most effective ways to grow your email list exponentially. It’s amazing for that if you’re able to differentiate yourself. It’s so important to have a unique idea or an amazing group of speakers who are doing different things, but you have to differentiate yourself.
Did you have an expectation going into it as to how big you would be able to grow a list with this one summit and did you achieve those goals?
I came really close to achieving those goals. I am a little bit of an overachiever. I’m not entirely happy with my results. I’m very grateful for my results, but I’m not resting on those at all. I went into this wanting 25 speakers so I was one short, but if I count myself, I got there. On the 25 speakers, I wanted to have an overall impressions number of 300,000 impressions and then I wanted to have a resulting email list and therefore 5,000 attendees to the Summit. We got to about 290,000 impressions. Really close on the impressions number, which I was just absolutely thrilled with. The overall attendee was just about 3,000.
3,000 attendees for the summit. I think that’s really good number.
Again, I’m an overachiever.
You spent five months planning, the decline in emails opens and some of those things has happened over the last five months. You probably didn’t adjust your number. Give yourself some credit there, but also you haven’t even entered in as the time that we’re recording this, you’re running a replay weekend. That replay should also bring in new people. I know I just sent out a new email on it. I’m sure many of your other speakers did and will in anticipation of that. You actually should see another boost and I think you might get that.
That’s another tactic as well. There are all these different ways that you can just give yourself little micro boosts of opt-ins throughout the time of the summit. Asking a speaker to post something on social media, getting somebody else who might not even be affiliated with the summit to send something out on your behalf, and then the replay weekend is huge. I did not promote the replay weekend at all during the Summit. Then the last day I said, “You might have missed something. We’re going to do a replay weekend this weekend.” Get excited. All that marketing stuff.
Did you retarget all the people who had signed up but had not attended live? Were you able to dial it in to that level?
Because I did a pre recorded summit, I didn’t have the expectation that people would attend live. I did do one live event. I did a live Q and A and had really great results from that. What I did to help compensate for that, for people not being able to attend the day that the speaker’s interview was released is I have them live for full seven days. Most summits will only do 24 to 48 hours. That was how I differentiated myself with a speaker is I said, “Your content is going to be up for a full seven days.” It’s so much more visibility for these speakers.
That was definitely a differentiator. Can I ask where the attendees or the registrants maybe, were they able to go view any of these 24 or 25 sessions out of order at anytime they wanted to or is it a sequential thing where they have to be at a certain watching at a certain time? You said it was up for seven days. I’m just trying to see how that works.
It’s a little bit of both. I would release the speaker’s interview on one day. Let’s say they went live April 4th, it wouldn’t have been available before April 4th, but on April 4th I sent an email out saying this is the information about the speaker. This is what you’ll learn and then that content was visible for seven days after that.
It sounds like you made it rather exclusive. This wasn’t publicly available. You had to register for it. Had you ever thought of maybe after the replay, repurposing that content even further, like maybe putting out each session as an episode of a limited run podcast?
Potentially. I’m not entirely sure what way I’m going to go with that. I am coming from a digital marketing background. The thought of using an interview one time absolutely drives me nuts.
You must repurpose the content.
I should just have that tattooed on me, “You must repurpose this content,” but I have to find that balance of being able to promote myself as much as the speakers. Now, I am at a point in my business where I have to be really focused on self-promotion and I’m not going to have the speaker there to help promote this interview further and I have to make that decision of whether or not if I release this interview again, am I just going to re-emphasize them? Make them look even better and ignore myself? I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do yet on that. I love the idea of doing some podcast. I’ve always wanted to do a podcast and I want to repurpose this content because now I’m basically drowning in content. I’ve got 24 interviews with all of this amazing information. How do I use it to the best of my ability to make sure that I’m growing my business?
Would you like a little on-air mentorship?
I would love it.
Here’s my suggestion to you, which is that you do both. You build yourself with one episode a week and you tie it in very carefully and replan the order and maybe weed out some of the interviews. Let’s say you were going to do my interview and it talks about building a podcast and all of those things. We talked about that and what Brandcasting meant and what having authority meant, and you have your own topic and lesson earlier in the week that sets that up.
Tracy, you’re a genius.
This is what we do here at Brandcasters. This way you are not only establishing your expertise and sharing that, you’re getting that across, but now you’re associating yourself with me during that week as well. You’ve now boosted your power and your collaboration and your authority by tapping into mine as well, again. You can redo a intro. You’re going to strip the audio off of the video. You can edit that and put a new introduction on it to me that’s a little bit different saying, “Earlier in the week I was talking about this, reminding them that that episode was earlier and this expert inspired me to have that and to talk about this topic with you today.”
I love that. Thank you.
I hate wasted content. If you want to talk about the thing, I cannot stand it when somebody comes to me and I’m like you have 800 videos and you’ve done nothing else with them, but make videos? l just want to scream. I think honestly, you said it earlier in this interview, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” This is an example that. Yes, you’re going to be promoting them. I would put it out as a podcast and whether it’s behind a password protected gate that you make people sign up for you to capture their email address or not, I would create a full blog post on each episode as well because then you’re going to cast a wider net on Google, which you’ve listened to our episodes of the podcast. I’m sure everybody listening to this understands that. You have those blog posts that are going to continue to pay dividends over time. If your goal is to build your email list, you could make them to sign up for list before you see it potentially. The blog post, it gives you another opportunity. You can then send an email back to the guest for that session and say, “We’ve repurposed the content. It’s been released on this podcast and there’s a blog post related to it. You send them an Ego Bait™ graphic. We’ve talked about that. Have a quote they said that makes them look really good and you give them all the information, the link back to that blog post and they’ll have something else to push out to their list and capture even more people.
This is one of the problems with a summit or something that’s behind a gate. I can’t put it on my webpage like my press page and say, “I was on the Summit.” There’s no place to send them that has my episode or has anything about me in it. It sends them to your page, “There was a Virtual Summit.” Yes, my pictures there so if they wanted to double check it, they could, but there’s not an incentive to me to do that when there’s not a direct link to content that people could see me in. From a press perspective and from getting that web backlinks perspective between our websites which is an authority in and of itself, that is just as powerful as email transfer. When you have that happen, that can do more. Actually, that’s something I just told somebody else who I had done a virtual summit when I was like, “I want to say that I was on it, but I don’t have any place to send them to. Could you even just make a little five minute video or could I do that so that I could at least share that.” He was offering the content in evergreen, but you still have to sign up so you couldn’t see anything about what I said on there. If I was driving them there, it didn’t make sense. That’s a big problem that I see with these big events. I had the same problem with the Prosper Show that I just did, is they gave me the videos, but they’re all locked behind a thing. There’s no like summary video that even has a picture that I was a speaker in it. There’s nothing for me to send people to that says, “This is of value.”
I love what you said about repurposing that introduction of this is what I said earlier in the week, this is that content. That makes it so much more realistic for me because that’s what I’ve been struggling with is like, “How long am I going to go with you the Unlock The Secret Summit? I’m just repurposing this content over and over and over again. I love redoing that intro.
Depending on how long each session was with each speaker, you could break it down into narrower subjects and make more episodes out of it. It doesn’t have to be 24 just because that’s how many things you had. You could do narrow subjects. You have your earlier episode in the week and the great thing is, you’re open looping them to the next episode where they want to come back for the next one and you give them a context and a clip.
Thank you so much.
Liz, we have to thank you for being on the show. One more thing I wanted to point out is look at the residual benefit. There are a lot more residual benefits from doing things as you pointed out, it’s the connectiveness and the collaboration that goes on that got you invited back on our show because I had such a good time relating with you when we were in her recording the interview. I realized that I wanted to hear more about your expertise and get you on my show. Those residual benefits of being connected with your speakers is really important too.
I said it before, just having that relationship, having that connection with somebody else, it’s not like going to the office building everyday where you have your team around you, but to be able to have to know that I can send Tracy an email and just ask her a question or just see how everything is going. It’s so nice to have that built-in network and it makes me want to be better every day.
That was perfect. Thank you so much.
How a Virtual Summit Can Help Promote Your Brand – Final Thoughts
I really enjoyed that interview because I like learning the tactical realities of really what the point of a virtual summit is. Not only the point or the value for the attendees, which is obviously to be able to be a fly on the wall and soak up the expertise of all the speakers, but the value of it for the person putting it on. Clearly there is a definite purpose to it and it is to build your email list. It’s a lot of hard work but it’s brilliant. I really think anybody could do it. It’s a brilliant way to start for her because she needed to have a community and connectiveness and having that many speakers on their helped to build that. The minute I met her, I knew she was an expert. It wasn’t like she called herself an expert. I knew because we had this conversation about lots of tactics and other things. Her expertise goes really deep. When you’re new in an industry or you’ve just gone out on your own and you’re hanging up your shingle, it’s hard to say, “I’m an expert,” and have other people believe that. You need that power of association that comes with that and it’s the same thing we deal with when people start a podcast.
Clearly, she has expertise from her decade plus working inside at another company in digital marketing. That’s undeniable. Just because you say it doesn’t really mean anything. The rest of the world needs to say it and the rest of the world needs to believe it. That’s the social proof aspect and the benefits she got from being associated with all these other speakers at her summit. The trick is and this is really where I hear it from a lot of people who run virtual summits is, “How do I now establish my expertise in this? I’ve got my authority. I established that I really am an expert. I’m associated with great people, so I’ve set myself at that bar that they were all at,” and maybe even a little buff because being a host puts you above because you’re in control. We always talked about that as well. The next step is for her to really be able to get what she does best across. She’s got this email list and that’s what you want to use that for, but you also have to find other ways as we talked about in our little mentorship session that there are ways to do that for her with a podcast and not have to create all new content because that’s a whole lot of work when you’re building your business.
We are a huge believer in squeezing absolutely the most you can possibly squeeze out of every piece of content. If you’re not repurposing it every which way, you can think of and talk to others because there are probably even more ways to repurpose it. We didn’t mention this, but a book. There are tons of other things that you could be doing with that content ongoing. It’s a lot of effort and work putting five months of blood, sweat and tears. You want to make sure to get the most out of it you can and repurpose it everywhere. I just think that she was successful with what her goals were, but you don’t want to just drop it there because there’s so much more you can do and keep it building your business every single day. I thought you’d love her. I knew it. We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and you can find more about Liz Carter and unlock your secrets on Unlock the Secrets Summit and my participation in that. You can find all of that at the blog post at FeedYourBrand.co. You can find us on social media @FeedYourBrand. Thanks so much. We’ll be back next time with another great episode. This has been Tom and Tracy on Feed Your Brand.
- Liz Carter
- Virtual Summit
- Unlock the Secrets
- Note Closers Show
- Note CAMP
- @FeedYourBrand – Feed Your Brand Facebook
About Liz Carter
Liz Carter is a digital strategist, innovative marketer, problem solver, and bad ass. She works with other bad asses to grow their businesses and help them change the world. For over a decade, she has been immersed in digital marketing. In 2017, she branched out on her own to help women discover the confidence and strength within them to conquer the digital world and grow transformational businesses online. She believes that success comes from being true to who you are and building an authentic brand that is relatable and connects with your ideal clients. When she is not helping women demystify digital marketing, she is coaching softball and helping young girls develop the confidence and leadership skills that will help them succeed in this world.
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