In the past few years, a number of Internet Marketers have put together free events with multiple speakers, often lasting a few weeks. These are either teleseminars (phonecall only) or webinars (includes visuals and possibly live video).
John Assaraf did one and so did Sue and Steve Soucy. Inspired by Sue and Steve’s event, I created my first event last year. It was called Outstanding Presentations Workshop and featured 8 speakers, including myself.
As a result of the event, I added over 1200 people to my email list! This year, I’m doing it again, with even greater results.
How can you create a multi-session, multi-speaker event?
Let me start by warning you that it’s a lot of work and you should get some help.
Here are the basic steps:
- Decide on a topic in your niche. It should be a topic that will attract as many people as possible. Your goal should be at least 500 people registered.
- Collect a list of the top people in your niche. Your list should have 4-5 times the number of sessions you want to offer. Don’t shy away from the top people!
- Set a schedule, starting approximately 3-4 months away.
- Research the technology. Sue and Steve used Instant Presenter and Adobe Connect. They both include live video. I used GoToWebinar, which doesn’t. Download the free trials and use them to see their features and ease of use. Don’t forget to compare costs! If they are too high for you, consider using a teleseminar service.
- Invite the people on your list. Start by telling them the other people you’ve invited. As soon as you have 1 big name, mention it to the others to encourage them to participate. Tell them you’re planning on having at least 500 people attend, either live or via the recording.
- As you get acceptances, assign them a date. Assign yourself the last date. When your schedule is filled up, you have to turn people away, but keep a list of people who accept so you can invite them for the next event. Putting yourself on as a presenter immediately upgrade your expert status because it associates you with the other experts.
- Send out an email to your speakers, explaining their responsibilities. I send them a Speaker’s Contract. Once of their responsibilities is to market your event. Explain that when all the speakers market the event, all benefit because they’ll speak to more people.
- Set up a website or use your existing website. I created a new URL, www.outstandingpresentationsworkshop.com for my event. On the home page, explain what registrants will get and include a button to register for the webinar or teleseminar. In my experience, this button should take them straight to the service you’re using, such as GoToWebinar. I also created a schedule page and a page for each speaker.
- After the event, you’ll be able to download the registrants from your service and add them to your email list, as long as you make it clear that you’ll be doing so. For example, GoToWebinar has language on its sign-up page that people are signing up for the “webinar and other services.” You can also add a small blurb to this effect on your sales page.
- If you think you can get sponsors, ask some businesses to sponsor the event. This worked well for me and covered all my expenses. (Your main expense will be the webinar service.) Another advantage was the that sponsors also marketed the event for me!
- Market your event to your email list, Twitter list, and Facebook fans — anywhere you can. I recommend setting up a marketing plan/schedule because you’ll need to continue marketing for several weeks–up until the first day of the event — and even after that.
- Remind the speakers and sponsors to do their own marketing. Keep them up to date on the number of people registered. (Your webinar service will have those statistics.) As the numbers get higher, publicize them, so people see that others are signing up.
- Don’t forget to spend time preparing your own presentation!
- Make sure you know your webinar technology cold. I also make the speakers do a quick test before their event to make sure they can hand over control of the webinar, that the audio is good, and more. Also, practice downloading the list of registrants and importing it into your email service.
- Have an assistant to help you on the day of the webinar in case there are any glitches. Know the number to call if you need support.
- Record your sessions– not everyone can come at the time of the webinar. Make the recordings available for a set period of time after each session.
- Continue to remind registrants of each session beforehand and then tell them afterward where the recording is . That means you’ll be sending out 2 emails each week. Be sure to download the list of registrants before each email, because people will continue to register throughout. That’s because attendees will tell their friends — marketing the event for you!
- When the event is done, send out one last email thanking them for attending, asking for feedback, and telling them that you’ll be adding them to your newsletter mailing list.
You’ve just grown your list by leaps and bounds!
Update: The second year, 3,000 people signed up. The 3rd year, I charged $7 for the entire 8-session series and got 500 people. Out of the $3500 income, I paid the presenters $250 each. I also paid an assistant to create the website. Because I got sponsors, the rest was pure profit.
Leave a comment with your thoughts about the type of event that would work in your niche!