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SPI 641: Next-Level Audience Growth with Virtual Summits

Virtual summits are shaping up to be a game-changer for our 2023 marketing efforts! Listen in on this episode, where I’ll loop you in on a strategy that can take your business to the next level, even if you’re just starting out.

You see, large audiences and niche authority are no longer the requirements for big online events. In fact, hosting a summit is a great way to generate a snowball effect around your brand and bring in your first wave of superfans.

To share exactly how you might make this happen, I have Benjamin Dell of HeySummit joining me for an incredible discussion. Amongst other things, we discuss the best ways to use HeySummit to build a following and monetize your passion.

HeySummit lowers the barrier to entry and makes it very easy to set up a digital event. Ben and I talk about the best practices for beginner and advanced hosts alike. You’ll also get a glimpse at how we’re now using event marketing at SPI to raise awareness of and generate leads for our All-Access Pass.

If you’re interested in doing something similar, get a free trial and 15% off for life by using our affiliate link for HeySummit. Enjoy!

Today’s Guest

Benjamin Dell

Benjamin Dell is the founder and CEO at HeySummit (the easy-to-use virtual event platform that helps you grow your audience and monetize your passion).

Ben is a serial entrepreneur, with multiple exits under his belt. His real passion though is creating impactful products that empower businesses and brands to grow and reach their goals.

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SPI 641: Next Level Audience Growth with Virtual Summits

Benjamin Dell: It’s quite easy to get this sort of snowball effect of people out there sharing your event, as well as affiliates and all sorts of things as well. So yes, of course, it helps having an audience ready-made, ready to go. But it doesn’t have to be. And in fact, we’re seeing more and more of our customers using virtual summits as that initial way to get that audience. Niching it down around a particular topic, and then using that as the magnet, the initial magnet, to bring in that first wave of people for them to start building that audience.

Pat Flynn: Hey, first of all, happy New Year. This episode comes out right before 2023 begins. But even if you’re listening to this in the future, this is a big one because I’m gonna reveal some of the stuff that we’re gonna be doing next year to help us market our stuff. And a lot of you might know and have heard that we launched something called the All-Access Pass recently, and we’re just very grateful for the excitement around that.

We’re taking a stance in the industry that, you know, if you’re gonna educate an audience, like having community behind it is definitely the best way to go. And so that’s been really neat. But we now are in the phase of, well, how do we continually promote this thing? And one strategy to do that in 2023 is gonna be through the use of what we’re calling virtual summits.

I mean, that’s not a new term that has been done before, but virtual summits for the purpose of A, providing value. B, building relationships with other people in the industry and C, of course, generating sales and or leads for the All-Access Pass. And I wanted to take you behind the scenes with a person who we’ve been working very close.

His name is Ben over at heysummit.com. HeySummit is a tool that you can use to set up your own summit and it enables you to make this very, very simple. That’s the beauty of this, right? Running your own summit can be difficult, not just the technology behind it. And you know what’s nice about HeySummit is you can embed your usual familiar sort of streaming thing like Zoom or something else.

But the setup of the summit itself from getting guest speakers to come in from running the summit and you know, auto playing things at certain times to coming in live at certain times and all the ins and outs around scheduling and even inviting guests from in the outside to come in your attendee list, registration paid, free, whatever.

There’s a lot that goes into this, but when executed properly, it can work very, very well. We recently ran a virtual summit that we called the Business of Community Summit. With our partners over at Circle and that did tremendously well. Tremendously well from thousands of people joining and getting value to hundreds of people joining Circle through our affiliate link and everybody’s happy and we’re gonna use this strategy.

That was sort of our first testing ground. We’re gonna use that strategy along with HeySummit to make this simple and systematic for us. And I wanted to bring Ben on from HeySummit to talk about the ins and outs of what it might take to actually run your own virtual summit. And almost kind of role play if we were going to run our very first one.

And so we take the position of you’ve never done this before, and you’re gonna run through that process. So here in episode 641, we’re just gonna take you through it. And Ben, thank you so much. This is an amazing episode that I think you’re gonna get a lot of value in. And perhaps you might want to include virtual summits in your repertoire, in your holster for 2023 and beyond.

Here he is, Ben from HeySummit. If you wanna check out HeySummit, you can go through our affiliate link. HeySummit.com/spi and here he is. Let’s make it happen.

Announcer: Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, he uses fear and discomfort to guide his next move because there’s usually awesome on the other side of it. Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn: Hey Ben, welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast. Thanks so much for being here today.

Benjamin Dell: Hey, pleasure. Good to be here.

Pat Flynn: And happy New year to you and the team at HeySummit and your family.

I mean, this is the last episode of the year here in 2022. Happy New Year, but how is 2022 for you and and for the company?

Benjamin Dell: Yeah, it’s 22 and two is a, is a fascinating year. For most people actually around the world, right? I mean, we’ve all been impacted by Covid and kind of the fallout from that. But particularly for businesses like ours, those in the virtual summit space or virtual event space it’s a little bit more heightened because we saw a massive kind of rush from companies around the world and, and creators around the world to put on virtual events during, so we had a massive sort of spike and then we kind of had things normalizing a bit as we kind of move into or what as we moved into 2022.

So we’ve been kind of lots of macro, micro kind of market sort of stuff to kind of really jostle with and get your head around and at some point you just gotta run with it and plan for the next year and you know, water under the bridge, et cetera.

But it’s been a rollercoaster of a couple of years.

Pat Flynn: Yeah, in 2023. It’s gonna be really exciting and I know it’s exciting for you guys and we’re gonna be doing some stuff with, with your software, in fact, to host an event and we’ll talk more about that at the end of the show. So stick around for that. But you know, HeySummit, for those of you who don’t know, is an amazing virtual event software, right?

It’s super easy to use, it’s very intuitive and allows you to set up something. But I wanna have you answer this question cuz this is, I know the question that’s on a lot of people’s minds, right? If I’m gonna run a virtual event, like why use something like, HeySummit, when we all are familiar and use things like Zoom, like why, why not just use Zoom?

Benjamin Dell: So the short answer is you can to a certain extent, but often with, with things like this, you, you will hit sort of blockers at some point where your tolerance lies will determine whether you are comfortable with that or, or not. But the other way I like to think about it is that companies make a choice about what it is they’re choosing to focus on as a business. And when we look at someone like Zoom, clearly they’re, you know, they’re their sort of engineering chops, their engineering time their R&D time, all that sort of stuff is mostly spent on the video technology. The bit that actually streams the, the video so keeps it in sync, does all that clever stuff so that we don’t have to worry about it.

And that’s great. It means that they have an excellent piece of video technology, but actually because of that choice they’ve made, they, they don’t spend as much time on all the other things that are quite important when you start thinking about putting on an event. So how do you actually engage with your speakers?

How do you help them construct and put together their bio and, and descriptions and all that sort of stuff? How do you manage the event, generate revenue, create tickets, coupons, referrals, viral loops, all these sorts of things. On the flip side, what we do is we, we focus on everything but, ironically, the video piece, we furnish a, an ecosystem of video providers so that our customers can use zoom, Vimeo Live, or YouTube and, and in fact, they can mix and match. So for me, it all comes down to having a product that helps you from start to finish. That is our focus. How do you, how do we help people set up and think about the event in the first case? Put it on, deliver an excellent, awesome event, and then how do they learn from it, pull off reports, generate cash at the end of it, keep those referrals coming in. We’d really like to help from start to finish that and sort of holistic experience and that’s where we, we sort of jump in.

Pat Flynn: And, and that’s so good. And that’s exactly what we’re gonna talk about today. From kind of start to finish, how can you, the listener, set up your own virtual summit and do this well in 2023.

We wanna actually encourage you to do this because it could be used for, for many ways, right? Like, let’s maybe chat really quick about the different ways that a person can use a virtual summit. Like why do this in the first place? And to define a little bit of virtual summit might seem different than just like a webinar, right?

Also, this is maybe another distinction we need to make. A virtual summit might include multiple speakers. It includes maybe an agenda and a schedule, and it’s something that is more event like a person subscribes and registers for it, whether they pay for it or not. Maybe it’s used as a lead magnet. And, and, and it, it, it uses the systems to create this position in your space so that you can do things with that you can.

Lead people into a product and, and you can have just a ton of value added into the community. So anyway, how else would you define virtual summit versus something like a webinar and like, what could we do with it? How, how might it inject into our business one way or another?

Benjamin Dell: Yeah. I like, I like what you’re, how you’re framing it there.

And I, I think possibly, there’s two ways to kind of think about it. There’s the, the fluffy and the, the non fluffy. So the kinda the more technical side. Yeah, it, it is really just a collection of webinars. So if you’re, if you’re familiar with what a webinar does, we use Zoom as the example a few moments ago.

It is really, in many ways a collection of those. So it’s, it’s, it’s down to you to decide, are we doing one day with five webinars or are we doing a five day thing with three per day? That’s down to you. So that’s the technical piece. It is just a collection of webinar spread over one or more days with, as you said before, multiple speakers from the sort of the human, the fluffy, the more tactile set aside.

It represents to me an opportunity to really think about how you get your passion, or how you communicate your passion with your audience, how you cement yourself as an authority in your space or, or at least start to build that authority in a way that is just far more complicated or less easy.

With webinars, you don’t quite get that traction and that engagement with the attendees and everything else, so it’s a real opportunity to deliver a, a number of talks, sessions, whatever you wanna call them collected around a theme in a way that really sort of resonates in a more meaningful way with with your audience.

And when things resonate it helps you look better, it helps you build authority, but it actually also helps you find more meaningful ways to generate revenue, build those leads out and, and create meaningful connections. And that’s really what it’s about. If it’s just a webinar, you are sort of blasting them. It’s almost like a little mail shot.

You’re doing sort of one little webinar. You’ve got a very, very small opportunity to transact or to to get an idea across or whatever it might be. Virtual events are kind of that times a hundred.

Pat Flynn: We recently hosted a virtual event with partnership of with Circle, and it was all done sort of piecemeal, right?

We did not use HeySummit, unfortunately, but we had things put together and so we had to email the speakers, sort of like separately using our own email systems and like remind them our on our own. We had to get the Zoom link and then send it to them and we had to create our own landing page, right? We had to create a sale, like a sales page to come off of it.

We had to manually collect the bios from everybody and like it was a struggle to put it all together, but it, it happened and we made it work. And then coming off the event, it really is amazing because a, we used it as a sort of lead generation tool, right? Because it’s a big event. It’s, it’s exciting.

People can look forward to not just me talking, but everybody else who we bring in the community together to talk to, and what’s really amazing is a lot of those people, those speakers who you bring to your summit will also promote the summit for you. And so you’re now tapping into other audiences. So for lead gen, it could be great.

You could hypothetically choose to have people pay to get access to these events as well. So that’s very popular, especially during the pandemic, people weren’t able to travel, so let’s set up these events and make them high value sort of virtually. During the summit we sold a partnership sort of bundle with Circle for anybody starting community.

And what was really nice was like unlike a webinar which I’m so used to doing where it’s 40 minutes of really high value content, but it’s moving like really fast and you can’t really get super deep with anything and then 20, 25 minutes of pitch, it’s just like a lot to take in, especially that really long pitch at the end, which does work and it converts, but, in a summit, we were able to mention our product bundle after the keynote for a little bit. Then after the workshop, then after the panel, and it just became a constant reminder of this amazing offer that was there the whole time. And it never felt snarky and never smelled like bait and switch or anything.

It just injected itself in between. And so it’s converting and it’s selling, and that’s amazing. And so to feel that from the audience, to have them receive that offer multiple times, and say thank you so much for the event that you just put on, and thank you to introducing me to these speakers and these speakers coming back saying, Hey, thank you. Have been getting a lot of love from your community. It’s a win all around. So hopefully that might convince you to open up to this idea of creating a a summit for yourself in 2023 here. What might be the first steps be, Ben, when it comes to putting on a summit? Cause you know, let’s say a person has no idea what the summit should even be about.

How do they go about choosing what to create a summit about?

Benjamin Dell: As with most things like this, particularly around content, and that’s really what we’re talking about here. It always will serve you to talk about and to create content around areas that you already have knowledge in. So domain expertise, and at the very least, just an area that you’re passionate about.

So whether that’s the core of your business or something on the peripheral. For those familiar with, with blog posts, think of it as the long tail versus the, you know, the kind of the, the more focused sort of end of that tail. And the opportunities that exist in both. You can go straight in if, if we talk about circle as an example, talking about community, because that’s the very central thing to their, to their products.

But actually the opportunity with virtual summits is that you can create much more sort of niched down conversations around sort of themes like that. So it could be something on the peripheral. As long as it’s anchored to something that you are passionate about, that that is linked in some way to your business and what you do, the rest should follow pretty easily.

And the one thing that I’m, I, I love seeing, and I see it so often throughout from our customers, is the realization once they get started that it’s a hell of a lot easier than they initially thought it was. And, and it, it’s often the case with almost any technology or any sort of new thing that you’re doing.

It always seems, and feels like the, the new kid on the block. Therefore, it’s gonna have a massive learning curve and everything else. And the reality, once you get started, it’s, it’s a lot easier than you first thought. And so think about the topic, but don’t worry too much about ironing it down too much initially, because actually what we find is that the theme that, or the wider theme is quite often honed once you start bringing in your speakers. You’ll give them some guidance around the types of topics that you think your audience will enjoy, you’ll ask them to maybe propose one or two titles, maybe write a a little synopsis of, of what they’re gonna be talking about. And once those start coming through, that will really inform where those things kind of overlap and, and where the opportunity is from a topic standpoint.

Pat Flynn: I like that. And I think it’s really important to also be Sure, and you, you’d mentioned passion, right? And, and having some interest in it is obviously gonna be really important, but also, remembering that your why behind doing this, which yes, is partly selfish, right? You want leads and sales and all that kind of stuff, but I think if you start with serving first, how can I create an event that actually serves this community?

All those other things will fall into place, right? The revenue and the leads and whatnot. What might be most helpful for your audience right now. And how can you bring other people, other speakers, other authorities in the space together in a way that creates this amazing event around it? So let’s just pick, for example, maybe this is the example we’ll use, I don’t know, I didn’t even tell you this, Ben, that we’re gonna do this as an example, but let’s just say that I wanna put on an event in 2023.

My passion as of late, has been fishing. I’ve been fishing a lot. Okay. And I wanna put on a little summit for anybody else who might be interested in fishing. And let’s say that maybe, yes, I did have a little bit of an audience in the fishing space already, you know, a small following on social media. I mean, do can, can you run a summit with no following at all?

Like maybe I can ask that question first.

Benjamin Dell: Yeah. I mean, I think absolutely because you know, as you were talking about with, with the circle example before, once you have your speakers on board, It’s as much in their interest to bring people to the table as it is to yours. You’ll find that they will be sharing, particularly within HeySummit, we have viral sort of incentives and, and other sort of hooks that can help it make it a little bit easier for people to share or when they sign up to share with their audience and et cetera, et cetera.

So it’s quite easy to get this sort of snowball effect of people out there sharing your event as well as affiliates and all sorts of things as well. So yes, of course. It helps having an audience ready made, ready to go. But it doesn’t have to be. And it, and, and, and in fact, we’re seeing more and more of our customers using virtual summits as that initial way to get that audience. Nicheing it down around a particular topic, and then using that as the magnet, the initial magnet, to bring in that first wave of, of people for them to start building that audience.

Pat Flynn: I like that. Obviously you can send ads out there to, to get more people to come as well. But I love the idea of, you know, as a benefit to having this platform in this event to showcase these speakers. I would imagine that a question people have as well. I’m a nobody in this space. How could I even get speakers in the first place sometimes just putting on the event is enough value because now you are offering a person a stage. It’s similar to like a podcast, right? You might think that if you just started a podcast, it’s gonna be hard to get guests. No. Especially if a guest has something they’re wanting to promote, like a book or something, right?

This is an opportunity and a stage that they might say yes to in a virtual one that they can just show up in the comfort of their own home and still get value. And maybe, maybe you record these as well to give them to their audience, or you record the presentation and give it to them that they can now use as an asset and chop up and put into different social media platforms.

There’s a lot of benefit, right, to having speakers come on in gifts that you can offer them without having an audience yourself. And that cross pollination between the different speakers with each other as well as a value to a speaker too. Like I’ll connect you with other speakers in the space. So anyway, let’s go back to this example.

So it probably wouldn’t be wise for me if I wanted to put on a fishing event to just say like, Hey, I’m gonna put on a virtual event and it’s just Fishing in 2023. That’s gonna be the name of the event. Like that, based on what you’re saying, maybe too general or, or, or too broad. Right. Would a, would a better idea perhaps be Fishing for Beginners how to fish for, for the upcoming spring season of 2023. Right? Because I know from a fisherman’s perspective, the way you fish and the winter is different than the way you fish in the, in the fall and, and, and all the different seasons, and specifically for bass fishing. So bass fishing in 2023.

How to approach the spring 2023 season as portrayed by these expert bass fishermen, who I can, who I can find, what am I like thinking about this in the right way?

Benjamin Dell: Spot on. And I think the same rules apply, you know, this is not a, this might be a different medium, but it’s still marketing 1 0 1. So the more kind of focused around who your audience are and, and what their needs are, the better.

So I like the fact that you’ve put a, a season to it and, and you’ve pinned it to beginner kind of segment of, of the audience. And what’s brilliant, I think about summits if we think about this as, as the scenario, as the case. It gives breathing room for a whole range of topics. So even though you’ve kind of narrowed it down to beginners within this particular season, bass fishing, and I know nothing about fishing, so I’m probably gonna completely fail at at jargon and everything else here,

But you could have really kind of narrow kind of conversations around bait and equipment and, and someone from a particular shop or outlet specifically talking about kind of what’s new on the market today and someone else. Oh, that’s great. Talking about an experience, you know, more of a story led approach and.

What they did last year and how it’s kind of, you know, changed their life, et cetera, et cetera, and then many more tactile things in between. The point is, and the reason why we focus so much in terms of our marketing language and also just what we’ve seen resonating so well with our audience, this word passion is because when you start putting content on, that is hinged around your passion, people that share that passion, like to hear and absorb all of those minutia little things. It almost doesn’t require any planning from your side as an event organizer because. If you are into fishing, you are going to want to listen to that person who, who owns this shop down the road talking about the equipment that’s just come in, almost no planning required, but to the person that’s passionate about that subject, that’s gold dust.

They’re not getting that anywhere else, and you are bringing together either a super focused or a slightly disparate collection of topics or a talks around one topic, and that’s brilliant for someone who’s really into that sort of subject matter.

Pat Flynn: Ah, that’s so good. I mean, I can take those talks and repurpose them and share them.

I can package them in different ways as well. I can turn like one little quote that one of them said in a, in a, in one of the talks into a TikTok that could do, like, there’s a lot of benefits to this, but. Th this is what I would do at this point. So now you’re excited and you get these all, all these ideas.

Now let’s brainstorm different topics, right? Like you said. So what baits to use, and then who can I find to talk about that? Well, I’m gonna go to Ty Berger who has bass fishing HQ on YouTube, and I’m just gonna reach out to him and say, Hey, Ty, I mean, I already have a relationship with him because I reached out to him to thank him and then he talked and he actually listened to my podcast back in the day.

Really, really random. But anyway, I can go to him and it might help to go to people that you know first, right, to be a part of this so that it’s not all cold. But I might go to him and say, Hey, I’m hosting an event to help other fishermen, beginners specifically, and there’s nobody better than you that to, to talk about like what lures to use next year.

Could I have 30, 45 minutes of your time on this date? And you’ll, you’ll be a featured speaker and I wanna make sure to push as many new people your way as possible too. Like that’s a really good ask, I think. Yeah. And then I might go to, you had mentioned like the seasonality. There’s another one, another guy who has a channel, it’s called Fish the Moment, and he’s more into the science of fishing and what, like what, how the bas are behaving at certain periods of time. So I’m gonna bring him on and I’m gonna like, I don’t know anything about that. That’s a cool thing. I don’t need to be the expert . Yeah. I’m bringing the experts on so I can bring him on and say, Hey, you know, Fish the moment.

Great fishing channel. We’re gonna spend the next 30 minutes talking about the behavior of bass during this season and what are they doing and where are they going. That way you as the viewer, or listen, can know where to take your boat or where to go on shore and not waste your time. And so now I have an expert talking about that.

And then I have, you know, another person talking about the rookie of the year last year in the San Diego Kayak Bass Fishing Championship. I’m gonna invite him over, actually know who that is and I’m gonna invite them over. It’s actually a she. She is gonna come over and talk about her experience becoming Rookie of the year, and I’m just gonna interview her during that time.

Like that would be, so I wanna put on this event now, Ben, this would be really fun.

Benjamin Dell: We’re also touching on ways of delivering that content a a little bit. So on the one side, for those that, for those speakers that maybe are a bit busier, a bit more press for time, you can go straight out and say, look, this is gonna take half an hour.

Let’s do this as a pre-recorded video. Let’s be conscious of your time. Pre-recorded. So they do pre-recorded. They then send you the video. They’ve got the freedom to do it a at home or in their office or wherever it happens to be. They can do many, as many takes as they want. They can get comfortable with it.

Not everyone is comfortable on video, but when you say, Hey, look, it can be pre-recorded, or at least you have the option for that, but it lowers that barrier that a, a speaker might have. So, those that can do that. Then you mentioned someone there that you, you would interview potentially like a fireside chat or, or something there that would lean really well towards a, you know, a live zoom sort of interview or fireside chat.

You could also sort of have something in between where, where you have a live kind of all hands session where all the attendees join and it’s a q and a, so kind of like a panel approach. So you have one or more or sort of speakers or hosts. And then you sort of have that interactivity there.

Pat Flynn: The q and as are good cuz like a person might not have the time to prepare something, but you know, they have that expertise. That’s why Gary Vee does Q and As as mostly, cuz you just bring ’em on stage and like that alone is, is a value. So wait, pre-record so you can take a video. And actually play it live to people during the summit.

How does that work technically? And like for me as the host of this summit, am I still coming in at the beginning saying like, Hey, everybody, like you’re about to watch a video of this, or are we pretending that it’s live?

Benjamin Dell: Yeah, it’s, it’s kind, it, it’s more of, of the pretending at this stage.

It’s more, think of it as if you are pre-loading in the videos ahead of schedule. But each talk, each session still has a date and a time that it will go live in inverted quotes or be broadcast. It will be available and at that point now we’ve seen hosts run it in multitude of different ways.

As you say, sort of putting in a little intro at the beginning, but even that is prerecorded and this is something that we are playing around with and we’ll be doing more with as we enter sort of 2023 and beyond. Because our shtick really, if we go back to that initial analogy or comparison, I should say with with Zoom, where they are focused on the tech and the video streaming, and we kind of focus on the experience of putting on an event.

What that means from a, from a video standpoint is that we, from the get-go, have a, an ecosystem of providers that we support from the pre-recorded, to the sort of embedded and, and live streaming sort of providers through to the more integrated webinar providers like Zoom. And so you, yeah, you can sort of mix and match and, and, and decide how you do that.

But yeah, from a pre-recorded standpoint, it just goes live when you tell it to. So essentially if you, we, we have customers who will do it entirely pre-recorded, and so their work is done weeks before it even goes live. And all they have to do is watch the money come through all the leads, depending on what they’re trying to do.

Pat Flynn: Wait, okay. So I can make this entire fishing event completely pre-recorded, insert everything into the system in, in some way, which again, which is the benefit of using something like HeySummit and these things will play at a specific time, maybe at the end I come in with a live q and a so I can answer questions or something, right? Can that be completely automated, hands off? It, it fires off on its own? Or, or, or am I still like clicking play?

Benjamin Dell: No, it’s entirely automated. And even if you have some in there that are going through Zoom, for example, because you, you’ve connected your Zoom account and you’ve set up the hosts and everything.

We are in the background creating the webinar on your Zoom account. We’re automatically registering every attendee, we’re adding the panelists, and so the, when the talk’s about to go live, sort of half an hour before your attendees, your hosts, your speakers will all get their unique URL generated from, from your Zoom account so that you don’t even have to worry about configuring Zoom or setting up sharing the URLs or anything like, like that at all.

So super, super straightforward,

Pat Flynn: That’s kind of mind blowing, actually. Pretty cool. That is really cool. You can polish it and fine tune it and then it just kind of goes, but a mix of some live and some fireside and, and some q and a interactivity is probably recommended.

Benjamin Dell: Yeah, I mean, so although you can do 100% pre-recorded and we definitely have customers who have done exceptionally well with, with that, and maybe there’s more personal preference, putting myself a attendee hat on for a moment, I think the best mix is somewhere in between. So you know, anything up to 80% sort of prerecorded is perfectly fine. But if you dovetail it, you know, the beginning, the end, maybe something in between with a live session, it just helps reinforce the, the sort of, the effort that you’ve put in, the effort that you’re continuing to put in, and, and you, it really resonates with the audience. So it’s, it’s, it’s something I would recommend.

Pat Flynn: Perfect. Okay, so for, for everybody listening, let’s help them shape their first talk. Like, so for, for this fishing one, again, this is maybe the best way to do it.

Like how many days should it be? How many speaker, like what would be an ideal to start out with? That’s not super overwhelming, but still worthwhile to do. How many speakers should I have and how long should this event go for?

Benjamin Dell: First of all, don’t do what I did when I first created HeySummit 4, 5 years ago, I think. I did it because I was bored one summer. I, for another business of mine, I wanted to put on a sort of a free sort of event of some sort for our customers. And so I decided to put on a 100 speaker event over, I think it was two weeks.

Pat Flynn: What?!

Benjamin Dell: That was ambitious, but actually it forced me to solve all of the problems that HeySummit solves today.

It was fun, don’t get me wrong, but it was absolutely consuming. I wouldn’t necessarily suggest doing that. So what, on the flip side, what is perhaps advisable? Certainly if it’s your first one, I kind of wouldn’t get too hung up about it. Yeah, I think as long as you’re putting on a single day of talks and that day is filled with content, and when I say filled, it could be two in the morning, two in the afternoon.

Maybe just, maybe even just five is perfectly fine. I think that is fine. I think as long as you, you get some good quality speakers. Giving a range of conversations around the topics that you know your audience will enjoy one day to three days is probably the sweet spot.

Pat Flynn: Okay, perfect. To get HeySummit, to be able to manage this process for me heySummit.com/spi is where I would want to go. Because that is where you can see a special offer that’s there for anybody who wants to, to check that out. Like, I think it’s like a free trial, 15% off for life, I think, and 15% off for life. Dude, that’s awesome. So you’ll see a, a video of me there talking about the software.

So again, HeySummit.com/spi. That is an affiliate link, just so y’all know. But this is an amazing tool to help you do these really cool, polished events without having to work so hard, right. And still gonna take some work. So, okay, I have this event in mind. It’s gonna be a five hour event one day, and I have some speakers in mind and I have, you know, some ideas on what it could be exactly.

Like, what are my next steps? Where do I, where do I go from here? After signing up for, for a HeySummit, do you actually walk me through like the checklist? Here’s what to do next and here’s what you need, and like all that kind of stuff?

Benjamin Dell: Yeah, you’ll get a guided approach once you are in there and you’ll receive alerts if we notice that you, maybe you’ll, you’ve added a talk and haven’t yet added a speaker, so we’ll keep you in the, in the know throughout, even whilst the, the event’s running.

If we notice something that needs improving or adding, you’ll, you’ll see a little pop up in the interface to keep you honest. But yeah, I think the, there are multiple different ways of attacking this. You know, you can start off by setting up your talks and sort of scheduling them out and sort of creating placeholders for, because you don’t, maybe you don’t know the titles yet and you just wanna put the dates in just so you can kind of roughly know kind of how day one or day two is gonna sort of flesh out.

Or maybe you go straight to your speakers first, and as we’re talking about before, kind of just get them to kind of fill in the gaps and to come up with the titles based on the, the broad kinda subject matter that you’re talking about. But it, it, it really starts with speakers and talks and just getting those added into the system.

That’s where I, I would start and perhaps in tandem with that, think starting to think about ticketing. So by default you’ll have a free ticket set up. You have to have at least something free as the default that we set up so that there’s something for people to to sort of purchase, if you will join checkout.

But you will want to think about whether this is pure free summit or whether it’s purely paid or whether it’s something in between. And generally speaking, something in between is, is often the best route to take.

Pat Flynn: So what does that mean exactly?

Benjamin Dell: So, different ways of slicing this, but what we’ve seen working well pretty well is free tickets, because you can distinguish within the tickets what you get for that. You know, you, you could say, look, I have a ticket that is just for day one content, or just for day one and three. Or you can say just for these categories. So, because you can categorize your top talks, you could have, oh, okay, equipment.

And you could have advice, for example, really silly examples, but, so you could have one ticket that gives you access all the advice, let’s say the fireside chat seminars and maybe a paid one that gives you access to all the interviews, for example. Or you can say you can distinguish between broadcast and replay.

So we spoke before about when the actual talk goes live, even if it’s pre-recorded. That is what’s what we think of as the broadcast kind of stage. But once it’s finished, it switches into replay mode and you can actually narrow these down on a ticket level by saying, And this is what, what we found works well is a free ticket for the live broadcasts.

So you are encouraging people to come and watch it live. That’s great because your speakers want to see those numbers in Zoom and everything else sort of to up, if they’re using Zoom. But the paid package gives maybe lifetime access or, or year’s worth of access to all of the replays. So access to the library, and that can be really powerful because the reality of putting on a, on a summit an event like this is the best will in the world, you’re not gonna be able to watch all of them as an attendee. And so to some extent, you’re gonna have to watch something over a replay. And so separating the two from a free to paid can be a pretty powerful way to. To sort of separate and deliver value way into the year. And of course, once the event’s gone live, or sorry, finished, I should say, you can still continue to sell the replay tickets.

And so it actually becomes a source of income on a reoccurring basis, month to month for years to come. We’ve seen people. Create businesses out of this and leaving their sort of their full-time work, which is just amazing to see.

Pat Flynn: That is so cool. To finish up here, and again, Ben, thank you for this. This is really inspirational, and again, we wanna encourage you to create your first virtual summit next year.

And you can check out the free trial and save 15% by going to HeySummit.com/spi. So the final question here, okay, set this up. HeySummit provides like a landing page for me, which is great to collect registrants and sell tickets. If it is a paid event, how do I get people to find out about it? Like what are the best ways that people that you’re seeing are getting people to come to these summits and register and attend?

Because it is actually kind of a big ask to ask people to take time out of their day, to spend a half a day. You know, it’s similar to like an actual event that a person might go to there. There’s a big commitment there. So how are we getting people to sign up.

Benjamin Dell: I would partially disagree with that. I mean, yes, it is an ask, there’s no question, but I think when comparing it with other types of, I mean certainly if it’s an, if it was an e-commerce or physical sort of product, it is a, do you want this now?

If you do pay cash now it is a very, very, very simple sort of transaction with something like a, a webinar or, or a virtual event. I think people are pretty, Sort of aware of what that means. And it means something that they a don’t need to be committing to right now in terms of eyeballs on the screen.

They know it’s something that they can book into now and come back to, and, and crucially will be reminded about because that’s what we’ve been taught in the years of, of webinars and, and what have you. But people always assume that, also assume that there will be replays and that I think lowers that kind of friction quite considerably.

What you don’t wanna be in, in this situation where someone buying now has to be confident that they can definitely turn up in two months time or two weeks time. But people don’t feel that way. I, I don’t think about webinars and, and events. They know that there will almost always be a replay and that removes that friction.

Makes it so much easier to jump in and, and get paid. But beyond that, what can you do? Well, obviously if you have your own list, friends, family, colleagues, that sort of, clients that’s definitely a place to go. Do the obvious things, like maybe write a blog post about it. Start share on social, put it into your email signature at the bottom.

It’s a great way cuz you just don’t know who that’s going in front of, especially if you have a free version or entirely free access for that popping that into your signature will not come across as a salesy thing. It will seem as if you giving or wanting to give advice and, and, and, and sort of information to people that works really well.

But then layer it up. Talk to your sponsors if you’re lucky enough to find any, which actually is a lot easier than you think, cuz again, it’s a similar sort of thing. They want to be in front of the audience. As long as you choose the right people, of course they want to be in front of that particular audience and, and have pride of place.

Go to your speakers, they will have lists as well. And actually most speakers know how to do this already. They’re already. Sharing other people’s talks, book launches, special offers, black Friday deals. They’re in that game of, of kind of sharing things with their audience. And so reach out to them. And then one final layer on top of that is, is sort of affiliates.

And you can either work with your speakers to be affiliates for your program as well, which HeySummit entirely handles for you. Or you can just go out there and find other affiliates that maybe aren’t speakers and have them work for you as well. So just layer things up again, if we come back to that sort of central premise of passion and centering it around that, whether you’re talking to affiliates, attendees, speakers or sponsors, if it’s centered around a passion that they buy into as well, it’s not really that often seen as a sale. It’s, or, or, or selling to the mechanism. So, yeah. Much easier than you think.

Pat Flynn: So good. And I think, you know, in addition to the summit itself being the thing that you put out there and, and “sell” and get people excited about. I think the individual talks could absolutely be a big driver for what gets people to sign up, cuz some people may be excited about a particular speaker, some people may be excited about a particular topic, have those things shown.

And they are shown on the sales page or landing page anyway, which again, is auto-generated. And you know, there is a little bit of work involved as you’re setting this up. But again, HeySummit walks you through that process. And I’m excited to be going through the software and using this myself. So stick around cuz I’m gonna tell you about a fun little event that we’re gonna be putting together very soon using HeySummit.

And, you know, I’ll be documenting that process and you know, as an advisor to the company, part of that is to go, Hey, here’s what could be improved. And you know, you guys are always looking for feedback to make this the process even smoother. But we, we just know that this is the right way to go about it because it’s gonna make the process easier for us than the summits that we’ve done in the past. So just thank you again for creating this tool and you and the team and the other Ben who’s on the marketing side of things over there too. Like you got Ben and Ben over there. It’s just such a pleasure. And so, you know, any final lords of advice for people who are gonna be running their very first summit in 2023, maybe to get over the fear of doing that?

Cause I think a lot of people might stop themselves because they’re just maybe scared to try something new.

Benjamin Dell: Yeah, I would just say, don’t worry because you can throw yourself in as much or as little as you want to. You don’t even necessarily have to be in front of camera. So if your camera’s shy, but you just love organizing around the particular topic, and you might have your name and the emails that go out, but you don’t really want to be front of camera, that can be done as well.

So don’t get too preoccupied with this notion that either you have to be front of camera and hosting and know how to host an interview and everything else. You don’t have to do that at all. And equally, this notion. I guess feeling as if you don’t have a, an adequate sort of grasp or level of expertise in that particular domain or, or area that you’re talking about always helps, of course, but absolutely not essential.

And, and as we were talking about before, if you’re bringing in 20 speakers and you are not really doing anything other than from a speaking standpoint, you’re. You’re just hosting them or just, you know, setting up the software. You get that authority by association. So you don’t need to be the authority before you start putting on an event, but I guarantee you by the time you put it on, you’ll know yourself a lot more as well as your attendees of course.

So there’s everything to gain and, and, you know, just, just give it a go and, and if you have any questions at all, what I’m doing right now anyway is I’m, I’m sending out emails directly from me during onboarding. It is me, it’s automated. Yes. But, but any reply comes straight to me. So if you’re signing up through the SPI link that we’ve just mentioned and you see that email, I think it’s usually a few days after you’ve signed up, hit reply.

I’m happy to jump on a call, walk you through it, spitball a few ideas. No problem at all. Great to hear from a few people that have found us through SPI.

Thank you,

Pat Flynn: Ben. This has been a pleasure and look forward to working with you again soon.

Benjamin Dell: Awesome.

Pat Flynn: Alright, that was Ben from HeySummit.com. Again, if you wanna check out HeySummit and use our affiliate link, we appreciate that so, so much. We do get a kickback of course, but you also get a discount in a trial offer HeySummit.com/spi. Again, HeySummit.com/spi and if you happen to go to SmartPassiveIncome.com/event, you’re gonna see our next event, whatever it might be, or a coming soon page of sorts.

And if, if you’re really early on, we might not even have set that up yet because our next event using HeySummit is gonna be kind of toward the end of February to beginning of March. So we may or may not have that “landing page” set up yet for the event because we’re at the end of December and we’re just coming off of the launch at the all hands launch of All-Access Pass, which is still available.

By the way, if you wanna check that out, SmartPassiveIncome.com/allaccess. Hundreds of students have come in. We’ve gotten so much amazing feedback from it, and we really do believe that this is the new way to educate online entrepreneurs or just educate people online in general. So go ahead and check it out, SmartPassiveIncome.com/allaccess.

But our event will obviously talk more about it as it’s coming, and these are the challenges and events that are gonna come up to provide value to build relationships with you, the audience, and other partners in the space. And of course, hopefully help you make your way into All-Access path so we can best serve you.

So again, SmartPassiveIncome.com/event. We will be using HeySummit for that and we’ll let you know how it goes. Of course, after in postmortem, that’s what we call it in the business. It’s like, Hey, after it’s done, let’s talk and assess how it went. I don’t know if I like that term postmortem, though. It feels very macabre.

Right. Is it maca-bre or macab? I don’t know. We’re at the end of the year. You know how it is. But again, I appreciate you so much and again, check out, HeySummit, and thanks to Ben. HeySummit.com/spi so you can make virtual summits a part of your 2023 marketing plan. And again, start simple, start easy, and then you can expand and perfect from there.

So all the best to you. Happy New Year to you and your family. I appreciate you so, so much for being a part of the SPI community in whichever way you are involved, whether you’re just a listener and lurker, or you are literally posting every day inside of the communities. We appreciate you either way.

Thank you so much, and we look forward to serving you next year. Cheers, peace out and as always, Team Flynn for the win. Have a good one. Happy New Year.

Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast at SmartPassiveIncome.com. I’m your host, Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is David Grabowski. Our series producer is Paul Grigoras, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media. We’ll catch you in the next session.


Smart Passive Income Podcast

with Pat Flynn

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