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List Building Live Events The Email Marketing Show Podcast

Run Your Own Online Summit – Profit and List Growth with LeeAnn Marie Webster

You may know what an online summit is (you may have even been on one) but how do you really monetise them and gain hundreds of new subscribers to your email marketing list? 

Online summit extraordinaire LeeAnn Marie Webster joins us to give her best, super top-secret (OK…maybe not that top secret) strategies to get the absolute best out of these virtual expos.

So, if you’ve ever thought about hosting an online summit, this episode will show you exactly how to maximise their potential value by growing your list and bringing in those sales.

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Run Your Own Online Summit – Profit and List Growth with LeeAnn Marie Webster

Episode Content

  • (02:02) It’s Rob’s turn to guess the two lies and one truth about LeeAnn – Let’s see if he can finally start to overtake Kennedy’s winning streak.
  • (03:12) As technology advances, so have online summits. So how did they start out?    
  • (03:50) We want to know exactly what is involved in a virtual summit and why should you think about hosting (or being a part of) one. 
  • (04:42) How niche is too niche? 
  • (07:02) One of the biggest mistakes LeeAnn regularly sees virtual summit hosts make.
  • (08:22) There are multiple ways in which you can monetise a virtual summit and use them to grow your list. Let’s find out how.
  • (10:42) LeeAnn shares her own 100% success rate method to get amazing speakers onto your own summits.
  • (13:04) Another amazingly effective (and surprising simple!) strategy to ensure maximum summit success.
  • (14:00) Find out why we are all about “getting your Judie Dench” on board.
  • (16:28) How can you ensure that your speakers become the ultimate key to your summit success?
  • (18:08) This subject line of the week got LeeAnn the highest unsubscribe rate ever.

Episode Resources

LeeAnn Marie Webster’s Website

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Here’s the full episode transcription

Today on the email marketing show, we are speaking to legendary Webster, who’s the creator of Email with Heart. She’s produced more than 100 virtual summits and she’s completed the Ironman challenge. Terrifying. Today, we are talking about hosting your own virtual summits so you can build your email list and credibility.

Now, when this podcast ends, we want to bring you in on the conversation. Don’t feel like you’re stuck all alone with your questions. Come and hang out in a free Facebook group. Share what you’re working on, get help and advice, make friends, hold yourself accountable and get our training and resources. It’s totally free. Just go to Rob and Kennedy Group and you’ll be able to go and jump straight into the Facebook group.

As ever, I am joined by the man who failed his driving test just the twice it’s hypnotist’s, Robert Temple,

And he spent a full day at a beach in Thailand wearing a long sleeved shirt. It’s mind reader, Kennedy

So I want to tell you that actually I lost my luggage, so I think it was KLM I’m naming and shaming, I’m not afraid they lost my luggage. And so literally, I was in Thailand for a week with no nothing short of a long sleeved shirt and full length jeans, the ones I was wearing on the plane. That to me excuse and I’m sticking with it tanlines on nicely. In time, no clothes shops where he could have gone and bought shorts.

Nothing to say to you. Yes, every week we’re right here in your log, who’s helping people like yourself, course creators? If you’ve got a coaching program or a membership site, we help you make email marketing less of a numbers game and put the odds back in your favor with harder hitting, higher converting, psychology driven email marketing. And we are joined by Leigh Anne Marie Webster. Rob, three Foxfire well, three statements. Only one of them is a fact.

You reckon LeeAnn sleeps in her slippers? Does she go on park runs with a well-known actress not allowed to say who or did she have a pet skunk?

Three good ones there, dude, I kind of suggest at least the two of you made it. We’re good. I’m going to suggest that, uh. I don’t think it’s the well-known actress thing, because I think I did they’re not allowed to say who in order to make that more complicated. I think they are sleeps in her slippers.

The what’s true? I have a pet skunk, come on. Yes. She actually had to in her entire life, didn’t you? Yes, they did. Yes, I did. They were adorable. Why do they stink that bad?

No, they have they get the gland taken out, but they don’t know that. That’s what’s funny is that they still like but they came up and they kind of like they’re trying to spray you, but nothing’s happened. That is amazing. Absolutely.

Love it. You’ve been running. How long have you been doing running these sort of free online summits for people for and producing these since twenty thirteen?

I got a number of years now.

OK, so that’s like before I knew they were invented. Same. Same.

So I mean obviously I think from what I remember, they probably started off as like telephone seminars, summit things. Did they. Yeah.

When they first started telling them it’s kind of a term of art because when they first started, it was all audio. So some people would do a live component where you dial in and but all the interviews were prerecorded for audio only.

Wow. OK, so just in case, anybody’s not massively familiar with that because in some pockets of the world you may not have seen these things, the virtual sort of summits that I’m familiar with and correct me if I’m wrong, are they usually the ones I talked about? Certainly they are free to attend. You get a lot of people in usually multi speaker events, lots of different speakers. And the idea is, as the host, you’re trying to use that as a way of building your list and by creating value, which is the right of it.

Yeah, yeah. That’s a great, great summation of it. Typically, it’s about 20 speakers. It’s kind of the the baseline model. And you’re doing interviews. They are for free, but you limit the amount of time that the interviews are are posted so that there’s an incentive so people can attend for free. But then you sell the recordings and you can talk about other things include in that package. But that’s how you monetize the event. Yeah.

OK, so so there is a direct monetization thing. I always thought that was just a list builder, but of course the all building because you usually have it around your topic area. So if you if you teach Excel training, you might have a whole thing about the Microsoft Suite or something like that or whatever it might be. I’m making things up, of course, but you would have it you would make sure the audience is all focused around one topic, or would you go quite broad?

Like how Niche is too Niche, I suppose it’s actually the more niche, the better, because this is the evolution I’ve seen since the summit started. Right. So when it first started, you could be a little more general and still get a pretty good Lascelles, meaning a two thousand or so people on your list. But if you can reach it in an American type niche, that’s OK.

You go ahead. You might to go about it.

And I really actually wish you’d call it a telephone because I love when when I tell in it so much. But anyway, the more you know, the better chance you have of not only building a list and building a list that really wants what you have, but also the turning them into sales not only during the summit, but in the in what you’re selling after the summit. So it helps to get really focused.

OK, OK, so the way I put one of these together and we’re going to go on to something slightly different angle on this in a bit. But the way to put this together is to start off with your market and how you serve the market and then build around that rather than broadening. Like, how do you decide on the topic of your summit? So let’s take an example selfishly.

This is going to turn into a free coaching program for Robinho. So we obviously teach email marketing will help with email marketing. That’s lovely. Would you create something as broad as email marketing? Would you do email marketing just for people with with courses? Where would you begin if you were telling us what to do as an example?

Well, the first thing we do is hone in on on two things. One, who’s your ideal client? And second, what do you want them to what do you want to do with them on the other side of the summit? Do you want to sell private coaching? You a group coaching. You have a digital course, you have a membership. What where do you want them to go? Because then we can identify who best goes there and what problem we’re going to solve at the summit around that.

Great. I mean, it makes perfect, absolutely perfect sense, doesn’t it? So the first thing that we need to do, I guess, or one of the things we need to do is to go ahead and find the people who are going to participate in this and be the other speakers. How much, like Kennedy, usually the center of attention and most of the things we do, how much of a of a starring role does the host play this versus actually just leveraging the credibility of the speakers?

I guess the.

Well, it feeds upon itself. Right. So the host is, of course, going to run all the interviews. So they’re going to be participating in everything. And that’s part of how they build the know like and trust with the audience throughout the event. And they also need to participate. And this is one mistake I see. A lot of stuff I make is that they interviewed twenty experts. They’re positioning twenty people as the experts in the field, and then they don’t do their own content.

And it’s kind of. Saying these guys are great. You know, I’m just kind of here when you’re interviewing somebody or when you’re hosting something to look like the idiot because you have to ask the questions, even though if you’ve not got the questions you ask for clarification, questions about the audience. It’s easy to position yourself as the anti expert, really, isn’t it? Right.

Right, exactly. Yeah. Because it’s like, oh, I don’t even know what I’m doing versus utilizing your expertise throughout and then providing your own content to it to demonstrate how you differ from the 20 experts you just interviewed, but also how you shop and help your clients love it.

OK, so like Rob said, we we’ve participated and been asked to speak at many virtual summits as one of the lineup of perhaps 20 speakers. But one of the reasons that you and I got talking, I think, early on was because I said, well, how do you even build a list out of this? Because I think the intention of the host of the summit is each of the speakers will mail their list or tweet about it and do all the things to push people towards it.

But we have never, ever emailed a list about a summit we’ve been involved in.

Sorry, everybody haven’t, because we never even thought about doing it.

It wasn’t because we’re like, what? Definitely not going to do that. Whatever.

So how do we incentivize all speakers to actually mail that list? Like how do we make something in it for them?

Yeah, that’s such a great question. And this hits on. One of the biggest challenges that I see that hosts have is that they often make it too much about themselves. I’m doing this. I’m going to build my list. I’m going to make money. And and the speakers are like, why should I just tell you that they don’t get it? So I always work with my clients on making it a win win for everybody. When, when, when principle.

So part of the reason to incentivize you to promote is that you are going to generate revenue from the sales that come from your affiliate. So if the event is free and let’s say the upgrade package is seventy dollars, then you’ll get 50 percent of sales generated from your list. So that’s number one. You can grow your list. So you offer a free gift and leave magnet, get that ready. You offer that to an audience that you likely haven’t been in front of because it’s the it’s the leverage idea.

Right, of 20 speakers are are promoting to 20 different audiences. There’s 19 that you haven’t been in front of or that you can get on your list by offering a great leap. Agnete, down the road, you can make money off that.

You got your email, your campaign set up so they drive people into a sale. Then you can make the sale down the road and of course, have some great new subscribers on your list, which is always good. And that’s how we build our businesses. And so those are those are the big things. You also it’s also a good incentive just to position you well in the marketplace, position you as an expert, because it’s that third party endorsement of I’m being asked for my expertise.

It must be an expert because they’re putting me on this panel.

I love it. I think I think it’s a great if it makes a loss in terms of when you approach somebody about that, you’ve got everything set up, you know you’re going to do it. You’re going to approach these experts. Do you deal with the idea of his this is effectively a product promotion, what, you’re going to earn a commission or do you lead on that? This is a really cool this building opportunity or do you lead with do you want to be an expert in this thing?

Like what’s most appealing to most people? It will vary.

Yet I think the do you want to be an expert? Is it the best place to go? Because we all love to have our ego stroked a little bit and we all love to feel like we’re contributing. I have an email with Hard and I tend to focus more on heart based businesses or come from a heart based place. But it’s very important for me to not have just anyone on the summit that I do and especially the ones that I hosted.

And so I kind of approach them that, hey, this is what I’m building, this is what I’m creating. Here’s why. Another key thing. Here’s why I want you in particular to be on it. This is the other mistake that I see people making post making. If they do this copy and paste and they send these invites out and it’s like, hey, you’re doing great things in the world and I want you to be a part of my great thing in the world.

And then it’s blanket and it mean it’s not at all tailored to the person versus I really love the show like with you guys. Right. Like I was excited to we got an introduction, but I was like, oh my God, I love these guys. Like, they’re they’re interesting. They’re funny. They’re putting up great content. I want to be a part of that. Right.

Yeah, no, I actually we’ve had a few episodes recently where we’ve talked about the idea of a guest on a podcast or have guests on your podcast and all of that stuff. And that’s a that’s a key example of a place where you just need to be good at the outreach bit like you need to have done your homework and be present in that initial email, right?

Yeah. And go ahead and say I’ve been playing with about to host another one of my own.

I’ve been playing with I’m doing a personalized video interview requests. So Uloom, I just hop on Loom and less than three minutes. But it’s like, hey, listen, I loved when you spoke about this. I loved. If you do this and here’s how it impacted me, and here’s what I’m creating, and I really want you to be a part of it, are you in? And then we can work out the details from there. But that I’ve had one hundred percent of the people have asked and that never happened.

Oh, my God.

A hundred percent don’t send anymore because you can only do worse. No. In seriousness, one of the.

Do you ever use just an idea that came to my head if we were ever going to do one of these things is to ask the people who’ve said yes to recommend other people who they think will be good.

Is that strategy you use a little bit as well? Absolutely.

Absolutely. The I am. So there is because there’s a good referral, right. There’s the hey, I’m going to take part of this. I know you love this person and I also do I’m part of this part of what I do as a producer of these summits is I’ve kept my list of everyone who’s been on a summit that I’ve produced. So I have my naughty and nice list. So when one reason to go with someone who is who has done this a lot is I can steer my clients towards and away from speakers and I can make introductions where it makes them.

And people are more likely to be on a summit if I make the recommendation, because they know it’s going to be well run and they know the people know what they’re doing, they kind of get that.

I’m interested to find out the order in which you approach the speakers. Let me tell you a little a little quick story about it’s what we call getting you Judi Dench. Right.

And so when they were making the movie, the remake of Murder on the Orient Express with who was in that role?

Judi Dench. Yeah. Who’s the guy? Johnny Depp was in it. There was a whole like it was all A-list celebrities. And when they were being interviewed, I think it was on the Graham Norton Show here in the UK, but I might have that reference wrong. The the host said to the director, he said, how did you get all these people? And he said, All I did is I knew if I could get Judi Dench to say yes, it doesn’t matter who I ask, everyone else is going to be like, oh, she said, I mean, it doesn’t matter what the script looks like.

Well, to some degree, do you do it that way around? Do you try and go for your big one first, like magnetize as your Judi Dench, or do you sort of try and get some, like, easy to contact people first?

Like, how do you sort of stop putting that together? I do it.

I actually approach both of those. At the same time, though, if I if there’s a big fish that I want to get, you call that an anchor speaker.

That is a name that people want to be on a panel with. I’ll start working towards them at the same time. I’ll work towards the speakers who have who I know are going to promote who I know we’re going to play well and who I know bring really good content. I can kind of get that level going. There’s really kind of there’s at least two, maybe three tiers of speakers that you have. You have the big celebrities. You will draw others in who draw like credibility to the summit, who people want to be a part of.

They want to hear what they have to say. Those people oftentimes aren’t going to be the ones who are going to mail. They’re not going to bring the eyeballs, bring the list. Well, there’s also some people on the other end of the spectrum that might have great content, but a really small list. And you like them and you want to give them a forum and you know that they’ll be excited to be on it, but they might not bring a lot of eyeballs.

Safe space for a couple of those. The in-between are the the like you sort of they used to surprise.

And that’s the movie you go and see. I don’t think about this movie. It might be all right. Oh, my God. It is amazing.

It’s not totally, totally. And then you’ve got the kind of work in between. And these are the ones you have the list, you have great content and they will totally promote. So they’ll bring all those eyeballs to everybody else.

I love I love that. I my question is, how do you sort of the speakers, because they’re they’re all the crux of being able to grow the list and grow all of this whole thing, because without that, there is no audience for the rest of the speakers. Everybody loses.

So do you are you a fan of giving them SWIP copy banders? Like, do you give them a lot of stuff? Is it possible to go overboard? What works?

I don’t think it’s possible to go overboard. And not only do I give them that stuff, I actually am not. Many people do this. I actually take the white copy and I embed the affiliate links in the SWIP copy and send that to them so they literally can copy and paste it. And so we don’t run into the I forgot to use the link. I couldn’t find the link.

I think Megahed spoonfeed there’s no speakers as much as possible and you really want to have a good speaker manager on your team if you do this to keep in touch with them, to just make sure because sometimes, sometimes it’s an accident. I’m using my air quotes, sometimes it’s not an accident that somebody doesn’t mail. And you want to really make sure that the ones who are genuine and who are promoting get rewarded and the ones who aren’t don’t kind of get away with not doing it.

And so you can really stick with them. Get the result. My brain is buzzing with a little ideas of how you could do that, like you could do an email that says hi five to this person who’s just mailed awesome stuff. If you haven’t mailed yet, here’s your stuff again. Like you can make them privately feel like, oh, you must remember to do that, rather making them feel stupid. I could talk about this all day.

We’re running out of time for this, but we are definitely going to do more on this.

Let’s let’s move into the subject line of the week, subject line of the week, this week’s subject line of the week.

What have you got when they read something, when they actually just sent it out, when LEPs period, then period, go herion. It was about unsubscribes, and so the whole email was about how people unsubscribe, let them down or worry about it, it’s not personal. Of course, I had one of the highest unsubscribe rates ever, really.

But it’s OK.

I gave them permission. Don’t want to be there. I let them go.

All right. Absolutely love it. That’s a great one. As part of a hygiene strategy, I think just giving people the reminder that the unsubscribe link was there and it’s OK to use it as a good thing. But actually, just to pull out of that subject line, I think it’s a really lovely writing to create a bit of impact in the middle of a piece of writing. So to have the same thing, dot something, dot something is a really nice way to just never seen a line.

Script scripts, great subject, line of the week, subject line of the week. And if people want to find out more about you, whatever you’re doing, rather, and they want to get involved, tell us where to go and just hop on over to my website.

It’s my name, LeeAnn Marie Webster, dot com.

Like the dictionary, I love and find that even easier. We’re going to put all of the links to that and where to find you and more about you over in the show notes which are going to be at the email marketing show, dot com slash skunk, obviously the most with be just because it makes sense.

If you want to come and join in with this conversation and ask your questions and get involved and find new friends and hold ourselves accountable, make sure that you do come and jump into our three Facebook group community. There’s a whole bunch of resources and training and stuff there as well, and it’s growing all the time. Just head over to and Kennedy Group and you’ll be able to jump straight on inside and hang out with us. How about that?

Thanks so much. Thanks, LeeAnn.

Thank you. This is so much fun. I love it. New perspective on those summits that totally amazing.

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