SUCCESS STORY QUICK WINS
Aj had hustled very hard for a few years to build an email list of 1,800 subscribers, and they weren’t very engaged. He had no experience about virtual summits beforehand, so he knew he needed some hand holding.
HOW HE USED VIRTUAL SUMMIT MASTERY
After seeing the success I had with The Branding Summit in late 2014, Aj knew that he had to create one as well. He created one of the most talked about virtual summits of 2015 after implementing the proven VSM Method.
Aj grew his email list by over 2,400 subscribers and generated $16,000+ in revenue from the summit, and built authentic, powerful relationships with some of the most well known influencers in his field.
“I earned $16,000 & 2,400+ susbscribers thanks to Navid’s fantastic Virtual Summit Mastery method…” – Aj Amyx
Today I want to share the story of my friend and VSM graduate, Aj Amyx. Aj had a common problem, “not growing his email list and business rapidly”, but he committed to running a summit and it took his business and brand to the next level: 2,400+ email subscribers and $16,000 in revenue from a 14-day virtual summit (and all the other benefits that comes afterwards).
Why did you want to do a summit in the first place?
I was really inspired by what Navid was doing.
He was able to get over 2,000 opt-ins without spending a cent on ads. I did the math in my head and thought, if I was using Facebook ads at a lowly cost, let’s say $3, that would be about $6,000 worth of leads.
What’s more: by the time we talked, Navid had done 120 sales, which amounted to around $12,000. He eventually ended up doing close to $20,000. That led me to say “okay, well I want to do the same thing!”
How did you come up with the idea of your summit?
I was coaching people on launching their coaching businesses. They’re authors, speakers, coaches, building products and programs for the market, so there are a lot of moving pieces. I thought, “What if we created the playbook that took somebody from an idea all the way to completion, like to completely having it done?”
So that’s what we did.
I brainstormed every single step from point A to point Z and I came up with 36 topics. If somebody will follow these 36 things and execute on them, then they’re going to launch their business, they’re going to build an audience and they’re gonna get paid. They just need to do the work and that’s the whole theme of the summit.
We wanted all of the interviews to be very real, very raw, just direct to the point. Our goal was to provide lots of “how-to” content. The vision was to give people the blueprint because so many times they are piecing together everything by themselves through trial and error.
We wanted to bring everything together here and make this the one-stop-shop summit.
How did you decide on the name of your summit?
I went into the Google Keyword Planner and looked up what people were searching for. I found that there were 880 people a month on average looking for “how to build a brand”, and there were another 600 to 700 searching for “how to start a movement”.
Once we come up with this tagline of “how to build a brand, start a movement”, we had to figure out the actual name. We wanted to do something that was short, something that was memorable. We came up with all kinds of names, and finally I said, “what about Movement Marketing Summit?” and so that’s how we started out.
How much did you grow your email list by putting together this virtual summit?
We only had around 1,600 people on our list. By doing this summit, we grew our list by over 2,400 people. Basically, we more than doubled our email list, all without any ads!
How many sales did you make through The Movement Marketing Summit?
Altogether, we did 139 sales from all around the world; I mean we’re talking, like, Tanzania, United Emirates States. We had people in Australia, Canada, UK, all over the United States, Ireland. It was totally selling on a global scale. That was amazing.
How much revenue did that generate for you?
We did $16,000 within a 14-day time period, and yes, all without any ads!
What advice would you give to others on running their own summits?
I would narrow, narrow, narrow, narrow down the topics.
“Build a brand, build an audience” is a huge topic. We ended up doing over 50 hours of interviews that are about various areas within the summit. I mean crazy, right? Being able to articulate that and sell it and have people understand instantaneously it was a challenge. If I’d do it all over again, I would pick a niche like Twitter Marketing or Facebook Marketing.
So many times, as an entrepreneur, we think that serving our audience more information is better. The truth is, no, it just dilutes what we’re doing and makes it harder to sell and harder to articulate the message to people. And while we’re doing that we’re buying into this mentality of scarcity rather than creating from this place of faith and abundance. So just be willing to narrow it down.
What are some of the strategies you used to get speakers on board?
We knew our topics first and then we came up with our speakers who would be a good fit based upon those topics. I would have 2 or 3 speakers and whoever replied first got that spot or topic
From there, we built the landing page. Once we put it up, it’s really easy because we knew that we were going to get probably 3000 people to attend the event, so we just emailed speakers and said, “hey so and so, we’re hosting this event. You’d be a great fit. Would you like to speak on this topic? We’re expecting 3 to 5 thousand people in attendance.” And that’s it.
Actually even before I started emailing, I started with Facebook messages. I had this network of people built over the years. It’s important to go out and build relationships before you need them. That’s something I hear Navid talking about a lot. I had done that kind of not knowing I was doing that, but I had done that , so I had this great network .It was easy for me then to just send people private messages and be, like, “Hey Sue. I’m hosting this summit. I want you to talk about Instagram Marketing, are you down?” And like, “yup, I’m down”.
Most people, in our experience, did not turn us down. We only had 30 people say they weren’t a good fit, and it wasn’t because they wouldn’t be part of it. It was just because their schedule wouldn’t allow it. They were really busy.
So I had our first ten speakers within that first day. It’s really, really simple and once I had those speakers, then when I reached out to those people I didn’t know very well or didn’t know at all, I could say, “Hey, we have this person and this person, and this is how many people we’re expecting. We want you to speak on this topic. Are you down?” Everybody would respond and be, like, “Tell me more, let’s set a time to talk”
That’s the next step where I could then sell them on how the summit is a benefit for them because it would get them in front of a targeted audience of 2 to 3 thousand people who were also their target market. They had the opportunity to say “go here to get my free thing” and get leads from that.
I really wanted to add value to the speakers. I got text messages and Facebook messages from some of the speakers who said, “Dude, after I went live on your summit, my phone was just vibrating like crazy, it’s like, bzzzt, bzzzt, bzzzt from all of the leads that were coming in”. There are hundreds of leads from just speaking on a summit and I think that’s just awesome because it’s a win-win for everybody.
What are some ways people can reach out to speakers if they are just starting out and they haven’t built a network yet?
So I would do a couple of things. One thing that they could do is use Twitter to reach out to these people. Start sharing your content, start engaging them in conversations. Start engaging them in conversations like, “Hey I read your blog post on X, Y and Z. I was listening to you on so and so podcast, and I loved when you shared this”. You’re not asking them for anything. So that would be one strategy and I’d probably do that for like a month, trying to just network my butt off on their blog.
So then a month later, you can say, “Hey man, I’ve been really enjoying your blog post. I’m doing this event we’re gonna have 2 to 3 thousand people or 5,000 or a thousand or 500 people.” Whatever the number, is just be honest. Don’t use fake numbers. If you think you’re gonna have 500 people, tell them. If you think you’re gonna have 10,000 people then tell them. Just be honest.
Strategy number 2 would be to have this platform like a podcast where you’re interviewing, and as you interview people, that allows you to exponentially grow your network. For those who don’t want to do a podcast, they could do like a Google Hangouts TV show interviewing people on certain topics. And they could do that for 6 months.
We become friends with the people we interview because we’re spending an hour of our life together. We are able to talk and do pre-chats or post-chats so we get to know each other. And really, it’s like having coffee but without coffee
If you do that and drop an interview every week for 6 months, your network will grow exponentially, putting you in the position to then reach back out to these people who are guests on your show to be, like, “hey, we’re doing a summit. You wanna be on it?”
If you having nothing but you’re willing to just face your fear, you can try these two strategies.
What promotional strategies did you use to grow your email list by over 2000 people?
So there are a couple of things. I’m gonna talk about one myth first, which is people think social media get you the vast amount of leads, right? And it’s great for branding and I’m not gonna sit here and tell you social media doesn’t bring in leads, because it does. But if you want to build a successful summit and really grow your list from this, you have to get your speakers to email for you.
People think email marketing is dead. That is the biggest lie in today’s market. Email marketing is alive and well. To promote a summit, you have to understand the thing that’s going to move the needle, which is getting your speakers on board to mail for you.
If they’re just, like, “Oh I’m gonna share some stuff on Facebook or Twitter”, and they have 20,000 fans or followers on Twitter, that’s great, you’re thankful for that. You’re gonna have hundreds and thousands of people to see what you have going on and they’re gonna be somewhat aware of it, but it’s not gonna drive you 500 opt-ins, 200 opt-ins, or even 100 opt-ins. You may drive 10, maybe 15.
The big thing is organizing your speakers to email for you. I’ve been in a lot of summits and these days people would say, “hey, I want you to be on our summit but you have to mail to at least 5,000 people”. We didn’t do that though; we didn’t have that in our contract for people.
I don’t like to just send people an agreement and say that’s the deal. I got them on Skype. I invited almost every single speaker that we had to a 5-minute Skype conversation just to say, “hey, this is the summit. Do you have any questions? I really appreciate you”, and they would ask questions and I would answer them, and then I would also say, “hey, would you be willing to mail for us, you know, on this date?” and they’re, like, “absolutely, I’d love to”. And that’s how I got everybody on board to mail, by just asking them.
We also planned out a whole promotional calendar, and I think this is what a lot of people overlook. The thing that we did very differently and that people loved is that we communicated and we had our promotional calendar just for the speakers, so they knew what was going on before the event even started.
In hindsight, is there something you would change in your promotional strategy?
Now the thing that I didn’t do very well is I said, “Hey can you mail between this date and this date?” Which was like two weeks before and the day we’d go live. Everybody agreed to that. but I didn’t know when people were actually gonna mail. That threw off the projections a little bit. Some of the speakers later told us, “Dude, we love to promote for you cause we love what you’re doing, but I wish you would have just told us mail on this date. Like, be a little more specific”.
That was the big lesson: get your speakers to email for you and give them a specific date.
From start to finish, how long did it take to put together this epic virtual summit?
It took us a solid 3 months of work. For those of you looking to create an epic virtual summit, not just a mediocre one, you will need at least 90 days, I would probably even say 120 days so you’re not freaking out.
What was the cost of putting together your summit?
Altogether, we spent around 5 grand, including $3,500 for consulting. Looking back, I see that there are some expenses for things we just didn’t have the bandwidth to do ourselves, nor the skill sets, so we had to pay somebody to help us meet our deadline of doing it in that 3-month window.
Did you face any big challenges in your journey to create, promote and launch your summit? How did you overcome them?
The first hurdle we had was that we had so many people promoting and we were expecting so many people that we began to wonder if that would crash the hosting server. We called the shared hosting platform we were using, and they’re, like, “Yeah, you’re gonna crash your server” but they didn’t provide a clear solution, so we ended up switching over to Cloudways and they took care of everything.
The next hurdle was that we were building our whole platform on OptimizePress and I am not a programmer. I just know enough to be dangerous and break enough stuff, so what happened was we had this really long opt-in page and sales page but we couldn’t get it to go live and I couldn’t figure it out. I had to call Jan Koch, who is a WordPress genius and he knew there was someone on the code and the PHP — I still don’t know what that means, but we got it fixed. That was frustrating, and we had a lot of technical problems like that because we were doing it all on our own.
I also remember being on Skype with Navid, freaking out. It’s so funny how our ego drives us to think “We’re gonna fail!” Oh, that’s gonna be terrible. It’s embarrassing you know? In times like that, it’s nice to have a support team as that sounding board, cause your mind’s a crazy place, man. Our mind’s a crazy place.
How did you feel to make first sale from your summit?
The first sale was uber liberating! When people were opting in and we got multiple sales, I don’t remember the exact number but we did 5 or 6 or 10 sales the first day. And I thought, “It’s working, people are buying!” So it was like this high, I guess you can say. It’s very exhilarating. We created something that people are liking it. This is good news!
How has creating this virtual summit changed your business and life?
I guess you could say this summit was the first online product that I had created, and so it’s very liberating. I remember the day the summit closed, before the price jumped from $97 to $197. I went to the gym that day and I’d already written all of the emails about the last chance to get the pass at the lower price. When I came back from the gym, I had 8 sales. That’s, like, $800. I just made money and I didn’t have to do anything to fulfill it. Ultimately, I have a service-based business. I do coaching and consulting. This was my first experience of somebody buying a product and I’d already done the work to fulfill that. It felt good! I started thinking, can we do more of this?
Also, from this summit, we now have this list of almost 4,000 people that I’m able to communicate to, whether I am serving them my content or promoting for other people. That’s a big deal, that’s kind of cool, it’s like I have power and influence others and be able to support friends in my network by sending people their way.
The other thing is the positioning that I have in the market. Since I had super high-end speakers for the summit, my network has grown exponentially, and so even if I’m coaching clients, I’m able to say, “Hey, you need an Instagram expert, go work with Sue Zimmerman”, or, “hey, you need to know this, go work with this person”, or “Hey, you need to know how to do a summit, work with Navid”. I am able to serve my clients better and bring them immense value because of the network that I’ve created on the summit.
Were there any surprises that resulted from creating, promoting and profiting from your summit?
The biggest surprise was related to a course we had called Gametime University. It’s this all-in demand training for helping people launch their coaching business. We have this on our website and a sales page created in October 2014, way before April 2015, but somebody got this somehow, and they paid a thousand dollars for it. Some random person I’ve never met my entire life bought this thousand dollar course that I never promoted and I still, to this day, don’t know how they got there. But we emailed back and forth and they are happy to be in there and accessing the content. It’s amazing that they went on to discover that old sales page because of their participation in the Movement Marketing Summit.
Thinking about joining my Virtual Summit Mastery program?
First, if you want to do a summit, my advice to you is to focus on the overall experience that you want to create for the end-users. You need to show up and create an epic experience for people. Everybody’s gonna love you: the users, the attendees of the summit, the speakers. That’s huge for you.
Navid has done a really wonderful job of simplifying the whole process down to a step-by-step process in The Virtual Summit Mastery course. All you need to do is just show up, listen and then take action. Do his 7 steps, and you’re going to see results.
The course also comes with an awesome community. Get in there, because if you don’t have a community, you’re gonna feel like you’re doing this lone wandering on a deserted island. You’ll feel like you’re the only person but you’re not, alright? There’s a whole very active community that Navid has put together.
I highly recommend you to get in there because things are going to come up, and I don’t care who you are, what stage in life and business you’re, in shit’s going to happen. It’s nice to be able to have a sounding board. That’s gonna give you shortcuts to your results, so you can actually pull this whole thing off.
VIRTUAL SUMMIT MASTERY IS CURRENTLY CLOSED
Join the wait list now to know when Virtual Summit Mastery reopens (and get my epic VSM Blueprint PDF for free).